The believers are required emphatically to do whatever they can towards popularising, defending and keeping alive and flourishing, as the best and the truest way of life, the way of Islam and servility to Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) they have chosen for themselves. This, in Islam, is called Jihad. It can take many forms depending on the circumstances varying from time to time and place to place.

Suppose there arises a situation in which it becomes difficult or even dangerous for a person or his family or community to profess Islam and to remain true to it. To be a Muslim may become the hardest thing to do in the world. In that case, Jihad will lie in doing one’s best for oneself, one’s family or community to stay firmly devoted to Islam. It would, certainly, be a most splendid Jihad in those circumstances. Similarly, should Muslims, through their own folly or negligence, start drifting away from the faith, then, at such a time, to devote one’s time and energy to their religious revival and reform, too, would constitute a kind of Jihad.

To carry the Divine guidance to those who are ignorant of it and to make an earnest effort to persuade them wisely and sympathetically to accept it is yet another form of Jihad.

Should believers in Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aa!aa) and the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) be in power somewhere and the conditions demand that collective force be used for the defence and assistance of the faith, then, in that case, the use of force for the defence and assistance of faith according to the rules laid down for it, will constitute Jihad. Two conditions, however, are essential for it. Firstly, such a step must not be motivated by any personal or national self-interest, greed or enmity. It should be taken solely to carry out the command of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) and to serve the cause of His faith. And, secondly, that the rules prescribed for it are scrupulously observed. If force is used without the fulfillment of these conditions, it will not be Jihad according to Islam but wanton wickedness and mischief.

To speak a just word before a tyrannical ruler (be he a Muslim or a non-Muslim) is, again, a form of Jihad. In the Traditions it has been spoken as “the best of Jihad”.

All these forms of religious struggle and endeavour, at their proper time and place, are among the obligatory duties of Islam, and, as we have seen the term Jihad is applied to them in various degrees.

We now proceed to examine some of the verses of the Holy Quraan and Traditions of the Prophet (Sallailahu Alaihe Wasallam) enjoining on Muslims the duty of Jihad and revealing to them what unique glory and spiritual merit lies in it. It is said in a Quraanic verse:

And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you. [XXII:78]

Another Quraanic verse is translated as:

O ye who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous penalty? That ye believe in Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) and His Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam), and that ye strive (your utmost) in the cause of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa), with your property and your persons: that will be best for ye if ye but knew! He will forgive ye your sins and admit ye to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, and to beautiful mansions in Garden of Eternity: that is, indeed, the Supreme Achievement. [LXI:10-12]

After these, the Traditions:
“To believe truthfully in Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) and to strive in the cause of Faith is the best of all deeds”.

“It shall not be that a person whose feet are covered with dust in the path of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) went to Hell.”

“For anyone of you to rise in the way of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) (i.e., in the defence of Islam and to take some part in the struggle for its progress and glory) is better than seventy years of worship in the corner of his house.

May it be allotted to us also by Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) to earn the Divine reward that is for those who make earnest exertions in the path of His faith!

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