The Arabic word “jihad” is often translated as “holy war”, but in a purely linguistic sense, the word ” jihad” means struggling or striving. The arabic word for war is: “al-harb”.
In a religious sense, as described by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh “jihad” has several meanings. The term Jihad is mostly misinterpreted and misrepresented. So it is creating many misunderstandings. The actual meaning of Jihad is lost. Actually it implies to have constant struggle or make efforts, to be a good Muslim, that can have an impact powerful enough to bring about a dynamic change in thoughts, morals and actions. Muslims are commanded to do jihad throughout their life. Qur’an gives glad tiding for those who struggle in the way of God :
“And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good” (Qur’an 29 : 69)
Muslims could not themselves decide and declare war or jihad on Muslim/ Non Muslim which is completely wrong from Islamic perspective rather they are indulging themselves in violence and crime which is against the Islamic teachings. Islamic Scholars say most calls for violent jihad are not sanctioned by Islam. If military jihad is required to protect the faith of Muslim and Save innocent people from the hands of inhumanity, that only will be sanctioned by Head of Islamic State and their general body member to rescue them including children who are being oppressed and harassed. There is a difference between what Islam instructs and what some people do, so Islam can’t be judged based on the action of Muslim, whereas Islam is the perfect religion of God.
“And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper.” (Quran 4 : 75)
“The head of the matter is Islam, and its pillar is salaah and the apex is jihad.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Thus, Jihad has different levels, individual and collective:
•Jihad is an Arabic word which literally means striving or struggling not a holy war.
•Jihad is of various kinds, Jihad al-nafs (jihad against one’s self) and jihad al-Shaytaan (jihad against the Shaytaan) are obligatory upon everyone whereas some are obligatory upon the community as a whole.
•There are two types of Jihad mentioned in Islam. Greater Jihad & Lesser Jihad. Greater is personal struggle for self improvement, being closer to God etc. The Lesser Jihad is to Strggle to Defend Islam itself.
• To declare Jihad (Lesser Jihad or Jihad Al-Sagira) requires an legal authority of the state. Thus, a declaration of war requires the approval of the head of the state, if state declares war his order must be followed. The evident from the Qur’an :” O you who have believed, what is [the matter] with you that, when you are told to go forth in the cause of Allah, you adhere heavily to the earth? Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But what is the enjoyment of worldly life compared to the Hereafter except a [very] little”. (9:38)
•There has been no sanctioned/supported Jihad in centuries. ISIS and Al Qaeda’s declaration are not supported by any Authority, School of thought or any of the 56 Muslim countries.
It can be performed using anything from legal, diplomatic and economic to political means. If there is no peace alternative, Islam also allows the use of force, but there are strict rules of engagement. Innocents – such as women, children, or invalids – must never be harmed, and any peaceful opening suggestions from the enemy must be accepted. Islam is the religion of humanity, it promotes peace and supress all sorts of violence, ruthless killing as well as discourage making division among the Muslim.
“And hold fast, All together, by the rope Which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves;” [Al-Qur’an 3:103]