Dr. Susmit Kumar

Jihad in Arabic means “struggle,” or “striving.” In the Quran, it usually means “striving on the path of God” and is of two types: Greater Jihad and Lesser Jihad. The jihad described in the Mecca suras, revealed prior to the hijra to Medina, concerns moral striving and fighting against one’s lower tendencies; these are examples of the Greater Jihad. This compares with jihad as described in the Medina suras, which concerns fighting the enemies of Islam and is an example of the Lesser Jihad. Medina, a place where Muslim law prevails, is known as “Abode of Islam” (dar al-Islam), while the rest of world is known as “Abode of Unbelief/Idolatry/War” (dar al-kufr/shirk/harb), or generally simply “House of War,” dar al-harb. The presumption is that the duty of jihad will continue, interrupted only by truces, until all the world either adopts the Muslim faith or submits to Muslim rule.  Those who fight in the jihad qualify for rewards in both worlds—booty in this one, paradise in the next.[1]

1  Lewis, Bernard, The Crisis of Islam, The Modern Library, New York, 2003, pp. 31-32.

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