Jihad

JihadJihad means "to strive or struggle" (in the way of God) and is considered the "sixth pillar of Islam" by a minority of Sunni Muslim authorities. Jihad, is classically defined as "exerting one's utmost power, efforts, endeavors, or ability in contending with an object of disapprobation." Jihad when used without any qualifier is understood in its military aspect. Jihad also refers to one's striving to attain religious and moral perfection. Some Muslim authorities, especially among the Shi'a and Sufis, distinguish between the "greater jihad", which pertains to spiritual self-perfection, and the "lesser jihad", defined as warfare.

Most Muslims today interpret Jihad as only a defensive form of warfare: the external Jihad includes a struggle to make the Islamic societies conform to the Islamic norms of justice.

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