One of the most misconstrued and misunderstood words of our generation. Jihad is the Arabic term that signifies struggling for the cause of God and betterment of society. It means to make an effort, to endeavour or to strive for a noble cause.
It does not mean to take up arms, holy war, or to wreak havoc on innocent civilians.
Everyone has their jihad – for you it may be to fulfill the duties entrusted upon you as a father or mother, or maybe even to do well in school. But the true Jihad is the process through which one strives for the cause of God, and humanity at large.
Our purpose as human beings is to help one another and live selflessly. Jihad is not waging war, crippling society, or proliferating violence in third world countries. In fact, it’s the opposite. To confine your ego is Jihad. To uphold high standards of morality is Jihad. To stand up for what’s right is Jihad. To help your neighbours, friends, and family, at the cost of your own comfort is Jihad.
The greatest jihad, however, is the jihad of self-reformation. Struggling against temptations such as greed, lust, and all worldly temptations, is one of the most pertinent principles in maintaining a progressive society.
Jihad, is the journey of a person from an ‘animalistic’ state of existence, “living for immediate gratification”, to one where their psyche is disciplined to exercise and maintain moral control in difficult situations.
This type of Jihad is obligatory on every Muslim throughout his life, and this is the Jihad through which man and woman can reach new moral heights and find heaven, on earth.
During the early days of Islam there were many instances where the companions of the Prophet sa inquired about Jihad. When returning from a self-defence war, Prophet Muhammad sa stated, “We now return from the lesser Jihad, to the greater Jihad,” referring to the Jihad of self reformation. On another instance, a man came to the Prophet asking his permission to take part in the Jihad of self-defence. The Prophet asked him, “Are your parents alive?” He replied in the affirmative. The Prophet sa said to him, “Then exert yourself in their service.” This concept further testifies to the true colours of Jihad built on the premise of utmost service to humanity.
Jihad of the Pen
The Ahmadiyya Jama’at’s peaceful approach for the Jihad of the pen is rooted in concepts of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah. It is not a losing concept under any standard of morality, justice, philosophy, religion, wisdom or even the commonsense of our era. Arrogance and rebellion are forbidden. Indeed migration is permitted to protect one’s faith. Therefore we say that enforcement in Islam is an erroneous concept which one does well to avoid at all times. Surely, as these words are being written, 700 scholars of Islam from all parts of the world, most of them being erstwhile believers in the taking-over of power and enforcement of Islam, have made a complete turnabout and condemned another group of scholars, also of Islam, in an effort to stop a long drawn-out military conflict between two Muslim states. This call is, to say the least, a defacto admission of the impropriety and anti-religious nature of war as a tool for enforcement of beliefs and ideas.
The Promised Messiah had said this a hundred years ago, and the hard-hearted then accused him of changing the concept of Jihad in Islam. It is on record that both these militants have described their war efforts to be a Jihad against the anti-Islamic forces of the other. This is a result of the non- acceptance of the call of the Promised Messiah. The primary Jihad of our age is the Jihad which inculcates purification of self and others. (Jihad-e-Kabeer, the greater striving which takes up the struggle positively), and not the Jihad of the sword, (Jihad-e-Sagheer, smaller Jihad), which takes up the sword as a purely defensive and self- protective measure. The Holy Prophet sa himself and the Holy Qur’an both testify to the correctness of the above definition of Jihad.
Our era is such that there is a vast proliferation of books, magazines, newspapers and other media. This is the age of information. Yet, ironically a very small minority seems to be interested in the information concerning religion and moral-uplifting. Under these special circumstances a crusading proponent of Islamic superiority, realising this basic characteristic of our time, must pursue his crusade where it is most urgently required. But he must remember that the power of reasoning and intellect of our age are sharpened. Gaining knowledge has been popularised. Powers of all information media have become extremely refined, in order to influence an individual in a predetermined direction. Therefore the responsibility of the Jihad of the pen should not be considered lightly.
Many take up the pen, but few are granted the spirit to conduct the Jihad in the most acceptable manner. Many wish to take up the pen, but their incorrect beliefs and lack of knowledge prevent them from doing so, and thus they drop back into a state of undeclared truce. But, it is the Ahmadiyya Jama’at only which has not stopped this great struggle ever since its inception and it has become the only vehicle to usher in the revival of Islam through its peaceful, yet determined intellectual process which was initiated a century ago by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi in Islam.
We can clearly see the truth of this claim by the Promised Messiah as the modern battle field for even the President of free world now takes place in real time via social media and the news. It is a Jihad of information that is taking place like no other seen before.
Ideology and philosophy dictate action. Ideologies are more powerful than standing armies, because ideas are what shape the world. Therefore – especially – in todays modern age it is the most important thing for all people to share the correct information about Islam, and combat the growing sentiments of Islamophobia that is plaguing the secular world.
It is the true way of Islam to win the hearts and minds of the people by appealing to their rationality and inherent good nature. It is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at that champions this approach in building bridges and a better world for all to equally enjoy peace and harmony.
It is the belief in Islam that Allah has created mankind to struggle, and struggle is something that every single person on this planet knows very well, each to their own capacity.
It is the test of mankind to learn to adopt the correct practices and shun the bad in order to bring balance to themselves and also to bring peace with in society. This is Jihad.