Brother Ron Barnes
Founder and Pastor
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Dear Brother Ron
What does Jihad Mean? Is the word used to wage war? I heard of a Greater Jihad and lesser Jihad. Please help me on this subject!
Dear Eddie Mack
There are indeed several forms of jihad. As the term is currently used, it usually refers to jihad as warfare (Jihad bil Saif). Jihad is the only form of warfare permissible under Islamic law, and may be declared against apostates, rebels, highway robbers, violent groups, non-Islamic leaders or non-Muslim combatants. The primary aim of jihad is not the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam by force, but rather the expansion and defense of the Islamic state.
Jihad requires Muslims to "struggle in the way of God" or "to struggle to improve one's self and/or society." Jihad is directed against the devil's inducements, aspects of one's own self, or against a visible enemy. The four major categories of jihad that are recognized are Jihad against one's own self (Jihad al-Nafs), Jihad of the tongue (Jihad al-lisan), Jihad of the hand (Jihad al-yad), and Jihad of the sword (Jihad as-sayf)
In other words, a person may be engaged in a jihad against pride, improper speech or lies, theft, violence or any other worldly temptations. Some Muslims believe that Muhammad regarded the inner struggle for faith a greater Jihad than even fighting [by force] in the way of God, and quote the famous but controversial hadith which has the prophet saying: "We have returned from the lesser jihad (battle) to the greater jihad (jihad of the soul)."
Hope this helps.