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see IslamIslam
, [Arab.,=submission to God], world religion founded by the Prophet Muhammad. Founded in the 7th cent., Islam is the youngest of the three monotheistic world religions (with Judaism and Christianity). An adherent to Islam is a Muslim [Arab.,=one who submits].
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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Jihad means "holy war." But how that word is interpreted is a matter of some debate, probably because Muhammad himself used the term in different ways. Sometimes he used jihad to describe the cultural and political spread of Islam. Sometimes he used it to refer to the spiritual war against evil both in society and in the human soul.

Following are a few passages from the Qur'an relating to jihad:

Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of God with their goods and their persons. God hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight. (4:95)

Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors. (2:190)

And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God; but if they cease, let there be no hostility to those who practice oppression. (2:193)

And if any strive (with might and main), they do so for their own souls; for Allah is free of all needs from all creation. (29:6)

Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things. (2:256)



(Arabic, “holy war,” literally, “struggle” or “persevere”), one of the precepts of Islam, supported by the Koran (for example, sura 9, verse 29), according to which all Muslims able to do battle must carry out holy wars against unbelievers. The teachings developed by scholars of Muslim law state that the entire world is divided into a “land of Islam” (or “region of faith”) and a “war territory” (countries inhabited by non-Muslims, or unbelievers). The idea of jihad was widely used by the ruling strata of Muslim feudal society to inflame fanaticism and to unify Muslims under the banner of religion. The call to jihad was often used against “external enemies” as well.

At times, under conditions of combat against colonialists, calls to jihad served the interest of defensive war and the simultaneous defense of religion, as, for example, in the Sudan during the Mahdist uprising at the end of the 19th century.

Jihad is also called ghazawat (Arabic, literally a “raid,” “campaign,” or “attack”).

In recent times in Muslim countries the jihad has been a call to war in defense of the fatherland.


Petrushevskii, I. P. Islam vlrane v VII-XV vekakh. Leningrad, 1966. Pages 80-83.
Encyclopédic de ïlslam, vol. 2. Leiden-Paris, 1965. Pages 551-53.


, jehad
1. Islam a holy war against infidels undertaken by Muslims in defence of the Islamic faith
2. Islam the personal struggle of the individual believer against evil and persecution
References in periodicals archive ?
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989) contended that Islamic jurists, "by means of jihad and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, must expose and overthrow tyrannical rulers and rouse the people so the universal movement of all alert Muslims can establish Islamic government in the place of tyrannical regimes.
Another radical Shi'a perspective on the justification for jihad can be found in the words of Shaykh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual leader of Lebanese Hizballah.
29) In his fatwa of 23 February 1998, titled "Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders," which he issued along with the leaders of extremist groups in Egypt, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, bin Laden broadened his earlier edict.
In his 1996 statement of jihad, bin Laden blamed the serious economic crisis then gripping Saudi Arabia (due to falling oil prices and widespread corruption) on the presence of these Western "crusader forces.
Additionally, though he quotes selective (but incomplete) passages from the Qur'an to establish the basis for the jihad, bin Laden's motivations are really not that different from the anti-imperialistic doctrines that sustain religious and nonreligious extremist groups all over the world.
In return for joining the jihad against America, bin Laden has promised his followers an honored place in paradise, in accordance with a statement in the Qur'an that "a martyr's privileges are guaranteed by Allah.
34) The young men at these schools are drawn from the dire poor of the societies they come from, kept in self-contained worlds that are isolated from outside influences, and indoctrinated with a powerful, not-so-academic radical message: their highest honor and duty is to wage jihad to defend Islam from its attackers, and the United States is the chief enemy of Islam.
The thrust of the entire jihad tradition which Islamic radicals have "hijacked" makes it clear that not everything is permissible.
On this basis, the overwhelming majority of Islamic scholars have for centuries rejected indiscriminate killing and the terrorizing of civilian populations as a legitimate form of jihad.
39) Militant Islamic groups, exemplifled by Hamas and the Palestinian branch of Islamic Jihad, have been able to use such poor conditions to their advantage.
Equally positive is the growing recognition in the Muslim world both of bin Laden's lack of proper religious qualifications to issue any religious edicts that promote jihad, and his lack of success, on a strategic level, in forcing the United States to withdraw its military forces completely from Saudi Arabia or to give up its campaign against Islamic terrorism.
As described herein, jihad in Islamic thought and practice possesses a range of meanings, with Muslim radicals focusing on the physical, violent form of struggle to resist what they see as cultural, economic, military, and political assaults from outside the ummah and oppression and injustice within.