In order to understand the concepts of Jihad as outlined in the Islam and as they are being practiced now, it is really critical to understand the overall concept of Jihad and how it has been outlined by the Islam in it original principles. Further, it is also critical to explore as to how the Jihad is being conceived and practiced now and whether there is a drift from the earlier established principles or not.
It has been argued that the Jihad as it is practiced now is a complete shift from the earlier traditions of Islam and is now believed to be practiced in a manner which marks a complete shift from the same. Whether this is the case or not or whether Jihad is exactly practiced the way earlier traditions outlined is the topic which this paper will attempt to explore and discuss.
The literal meaning of the word Jihad in Arabic is struggle and is a noun in Arabic language. The word Jihad has appeared in the Quran for more than 40 times however, indirect references to the metaphysical meanings of the word have also been made in Quran on various occasions. Quranic interpretation of Jihad therefore indicates a struggle in the way of Allah and is considered as one of the important religious duties for the Muslims. There are various instances in Muslim history in which Prophet (PBUH) has considered doing Jihad under different conditions. The overall importance which has been attached to it is because it is not only mentioned in Quran but it was also practiced by the Prophet (PBUH) himself. (Burgat & Dowell, 1993)
There are various instances in the Islamic history wherein Prophet (PBUH) has specifically mentioned that the greater Jihad is the struggle against one’s own desires. Based on this, Jihad is therefore often divided into two categories i.e. lesser Jihad and greater Jihad or Jihad e Akbar.