Jihad literally means ‘to strive’ or ‘to struggle’.
The essence of jihad relates to the challenges of leading a good life and the struggle to become a better human being.
Jihad, in the collective sense, is striving for justice. It includes advocating political and social welfare, and opposing despotism. As Prophet Muhammad advised: “The best jihad is a just word before a tyrannical authority”.
The Quran describes the Muslim community literally as ‘the middle nation’. Islam encourages balance and equilibrium in every aspect of life. Prophet Muhammad strongly warned against extremism:
“Beware of extremism in religion for those before you were only destroyed because of extremism”.
Islam condemns violence and causing harm to others, and rejects the taking of innocent life, as another prophetic narration states: “Faith is a restraint against all violence, let no believer commit violence”.
The Quran instructs people to live in peace and harmony with each other. The value of life is sacred in Islam and to violate it goes entirely against its principles.
The Quran states that if anyone kills a person, “it is as if he kills all of humanity, while if any saves a life it is as if he saves the lives of all of humanity”.
Jihad is a means towards establishing security, peace and social justice in society. Prophet Muhammad encouraged the community to spread peace in order to love one another.
The Prophet instructed the Muslims with beneficial priorities that served others by saying: “What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured”.
The true goal of jihad is to establish peace within ourselves and in wider society.