Jihad

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Jihad (pronounced /dʒɪˈhɑːd/; Arabic: جهادǧihād [dʒiˈhæːd]), an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates into English as struggle. Jihad appears in the Qur'an and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of Allah (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)".[1][2] A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is mujahideen. Jihad is an important religious duty for Muslims. A minority among the Sunni scholars sometimes refer to this duty as the sixth pillar of Islam, though it occupies no such official status.[3] In Twelver Shi'a Islam, however, Jihad is one of the 10 Practices of the Religion.

Muslims use the word in a religious context to refer to three types of struggles: an internal struggle to maintain faith, the struggle to improve the Muslim society, or the struggle in a holy war.[4] The prominent British orientalist Bernard Lewis argues that in the Qur'an and the ahadith jihad implies warfare in the large majority of cases.[5] In a commentary of the hadith Sahih Muslim, entitled al-Minhaj, the medieval Islamic scholar Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi stated that "one of the collective duties of the community as a whole (fard kifaya) is to lodge a valid protest, to solve problems of religion, to have knowledge of Divine Law, to command what is right and forbid wrong conduct".[6]

In western societies the term jihad is often translated as "holy war".[7][8] Scholars of Islamic studies often stress that these words are not synonymous.[9] Muslim authors, in particular, tend to reject such an approach, stressing non-militant connotations of the word.[10][11]

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