Jihad

(redirected from Lesser jihad)
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Jihad

A religious obligation for Muslims. The word is Arabic for "struggle," though its technical meaning has been disputed. Historically, many scholars have argued that jihad primarily entails a struggle against one's base instincts. However, it was used both in the Quran and by rulers of some Muslim-majority countries to justify war, whether to end persecution of Muslims or to provide religious grounds for conquest. The meaning of the term remains controversial, though some groups, notably al-Qaida, emphasize its militant element.
References in periodicals archive ?
Muhammad is reported to have advised his companions as they return after a battle, "We are returning from the lesser jihad (physical fighting) to the greater jihad (disciplining the self).
To this day, most Muslims see jihad as a personal rather than a political struggle, while physical actions taken in defense of the realm are considered the lesser jihad.
The lesser jihad (jihad al-asghar) is the physical (external) struggle, a shared communal obligation for some Muslims (fard kifaya), on behalf of all, to defend the ummah from aggression.
Though it is true that medieval Muslim scholars did divide the world into these two basic categories, Sicker overlooks the long and sophisticated discussions regarding the multivalent meanings of jihad fi sabil Allah (struggle in the path of God), especially the jihad that scholars referred to as the greater jihad (jihad al-akbar); that is, the spiritual struggle within oneself, which is more meritorious than the lesser jihad (jihad al-asghar) conducted against the Dar al-Harb.