JIHAAD DOES NOT MEAN ‘HOLY WAR’
There is another misconception regarding the meaning of the word ‘Jihaad’. Many people translate the word ‘Jihaad’ as holy war. However, if you translate the word ‘holy war’ into Arabic, it is ‘Harbum Muqaddasah’. Nowhere in Quran or in the Hadith do the words ‘Harbum Muqaddasah’ appear. Nowwhere does Islam speak about holy war, nor in any of the verse of the Quran nor in the hadith.
The term ‘holy war’ was first used by the orientalists to describe the crusades, when the Christian crusaders, attacked and conquered different lands in the name of religion. It was called ‘holy war’. These orientalists , once when they used ‘holy war’ for the crusaders, they used it for the word ‘Jihaad’ and unfortunately even many Muslim ‘scholars’ translated the Arabic word ‘Jihaad’ as ‘holy war’.
The word used for fighting in Quran is ‘Qitaal’ which means to fight and to kill. There are two types of Qitaal : ‘Qitaal Fi Sabeelillah’ i.e., fighting in the way of Allah(swt) and ‘Qitaal Fi Sabeelish-shaitaan’ i.e., fighting in the way of satan.
There are various types of ‘Jihaad’ as per the Quran and the sahih Hadith. The Quran mentions:
Strive for the cause of Allah in the way He deserves, for it is He Who has chosen you, and laid upon you no hardship in the religion—the way of your forefather Abraham. It is Allah Who named you ‘the ones who submit in the earlier Scriptures and in this Quran, so that the Messenger may be a witness over you, and that you may be witnesses over humanity. So establish prayer, pay alms-tax, and hold fast to Allah. He alone is your Guardian. What an excellent Guardian, and what an excellent Helper! [Suarh Al HAJJ 22:78]
We should strive in the way of Allah(swt) as we ought to strive – with sincerity, consistency and discipline. He has chosen us and has not laid any difficulties in our religion.
Those who have believed, emigrated, and strived in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of Allah. It is they who will triumph. [Tawbah 9:20]
And whoever strives in Allah’s cause, only does so for their own good. Surely Allah is not in need of any of His creation. [Ankaboot 29:6]
All those who do Jihaad in the way of Allah(swt), they do jihaad for their own good and for their own benefit, for Allah(swt) is free of any wants. Allah (swt) does not require you and me; he is giving us an opportunity. If we strive, it be for our own benefit; it is not going to benefit Allah (swt) in any way as he is free of all wants.
There are various Sahih Hadith of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) saying;
Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “The example of a Mujahid in Allah’s Cause– and Allah knows better who really strives in His Cause—-is like a person who fasts and prays continuously. Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty.” [Sahih Al Bukhari, Book of Jihaad- Vol. 4, Hadith 2787]