Wednesday, 15 April 2015


What is Jihad?

Bear with me for this.  Soon you will see why I am writing about Jihad in a personal development blog.  And you will also see this is very relevant whether or not you are a Muslim.  But first I need to clear up some gross misconceptions about the meaning of Jihad.

If you are a true Muslim you should know the answer.  I say "should", as there are many Muslims who have completely the wrong idea about what Jihad is, just as the vast majority of non-Muslims do.

Here are some of the things Jihad is NOT:

  • It is NOT a holy war.  There is nothing in Islamic doctrine about holy war, which is a concept created not by Islam but by Christian Crusaders nearly 1,000 years ago.  War is vile and can never be holy, even if it is believed to be necessary.
  • It is not about blowing yourself up.  That is a sin in Islam just as it is in most religions.  According to the Hadith, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said "A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him."  Certainly no suggestion here of many virgins waiting in paradise for a suicide bomber!
  • It is not about killing innocent people.  That is a sin in Islam just as it is for people of other beliefs.
  • It is certainly not about killing people simply because their faith is different from yours.  Christians and Muslims may have done this throughout history, but there is nothing in either religion that condones, let alone commands, it.

The greater Jihad (Jihad al-Akbar) is all about inner struggle.  Not fighting others, but fighting the demons within.  The inner fight of good against evil.

This struggle is almost certainly the greatest and most important struggle you will ever have.  It is a struggle that is ordained for all Muslims (Quran 2:216).  But it is also a struggle we all need to undertake, whether or not we believe in the teachings of Islam.

As Gandhi said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world."  Change yourself and you will change the world.  Make yourself a better person and you will make this world a better world.  Do not believe that you are too small or insignificant to make a real change in the world - you are not!  Work on improving yourself not just because you want things to be better for you, but because you want things to be better for others.  The Christian mystic John Donne knew this when he penned "No Man is an Island".

Change does not come easily.  There is a good reason Jihad is called "struggle".  It is a constant struggle.  There will always be voices inside telling you that it is too difficult, that there is no reason to do it, that it would be much better to sit and watch the latest soap on TV.  You must struggle against those voices and work your Jihad within.

I cannot tell you here what you must do for your own personal development.  How to work the greater Jihad will be different for each of us.  But don't give up at the first hurdle using the excuse that you do not know what to do.  Doing ANYTHING to improve yourself is far better than doing nothing.  So resolve now to begin that struggle by doing something, anything!

If you are stuck and simply cannot think of how to start your own personal Jihad, then go to, where you will be able to download 4 free e-books and to sign up to a regular newsletter which will help you develop yourself.  If you are seeking Muslim teachings you will be disappointed, as I am not a Muslim myself.  But whether or not you are a Muslim, this path will be the first step in your personal Jihad and give you many ways to improve yourself and thereby improve the world around you.

No comments:

Post a Comment