“And fight them until there is no fitnah and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah. And if they cease – then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do.”

        Surah Al-Anfal 8:39


The definition, concept, and practice of Jihad has acquired a pejorative connotation in the minds of Filipinos. For a good majority of Muslims in the suburbs, Jihad is the 6th pillar of Islam and thus, an important obligation for every Muslim. For the non-Muslims, to perform Jihad is to wage a “holy war”, an act of killing the infidels which is a clear sign of terrorism. The purpose of this article is to present an accurate and simple understanding of the concept of Jihad.


       Contrary the claims of extremists and Islamophobes that Jihad is “killing” or taking up arms and instigating war, the word literally means “struggle” and its doctrine is rooted in the Qur’an’s command to struggle in the path of Allah. The classical Islamic jurists described Jihad as an effort directed against any object of disapprobation using the heart, the tongue, the hands, and the sword.


       How can Muslims perform Jihad? Jihad is not a single-edged instrument to be employed by violent means only. The classical Islamic jurists has identified four (4) ways by which a believer could fulfill his Jihad. The Jihad of the Heart is directed against the flesh and is accomplished by fighting temptation through purification of the soul. The Jihad of the Tongue and the Jihad of the Hands were undertaken in the fulfillment of the Qur’anic injunction to command the good and forbid the bad. These were considered as “the greater Jihad”. Lastly, the Jihad of the Sword or “the lesser Jihad” was concerned exclusively with combatting unbelievers and enemies of the faith by open warfare. The Holy Qur’an permits Muslims to fight in this lesser Jihad when five (5) strict conditions are met: self-defense; when they are being persecuted for their faith; have fled their homes and migrated to a different country to preserve peace; are targeted to be killed for their faith; and to protect universal religious freedom.


       Islam is a powerful force that governs the life of Muslims from cradle to the grave. Jihad is an important part of a Muslim’s spirituality. In understanding the peaceful religion of Islam, one must bear in mind that those who give a perverted interpretation of its tenets are the real enemies because the difference between Jihad and terrorism are as far as the Earth and the sun.



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  •       Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam and What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam (Oxford University Press, 2002).
  •       Rashid, Q. (2017). ‘Jihad’ is not a dirty word. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/07/08/jihad-is-not-a-dirty-word/
  •       Knapp, Michael G. “The concept and practice of Jihad in Islam.” Parameters, vol. 33, no. 1, Spring 2003, p. 82+. Accessed 18 Aug. 2020.
  •       Willis, J. (1967). Jihad fi Sabil Allah-Its Doctrinal Basis in Islam and Some Aspects of Its Evolution in Nineteenth-Century West Africa. The Journal of African History, 8(3), 395-415. Retrieved August 18, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/179828