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TROP is a non-political, fact-based site which examines the ideological threat that Islam poses to human dignity and freedom

Jihad Report
Feb 10, 2024 -
Feb 16, 2024

Attacks 25
Killed 60
Injured 46
Suicide Blasts 0
Countries 10

The Religion of Peace

Jihad Report
January, 2024

Attacks 158
Killed 841
Injured 710
Suicide Blasts 5
Countries 20
List of Attacks

It's much easier to act as if critics of Islam have a problem with Muslims as people than it is to accept the uncomfortable truth that Islam is different


The Quran


List of Attacks

Last 30 Days
2001 (Post 9/11)

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What can we learn about
Islam from this woman?

Myths of Islam

 Jihad Means
'Inner Struggle'

The Myth:

Jihad simply means 'struggle' and really just refers to a peaceful striving against sin rather than a holy war to spread Islam.

The Truth:

In Arabic "jihad" means struggle.  In Islam it means holy war.

The Quran specifically exempts the disabled and 'weak' from Jihad (4:95, 9:91), which would make no sense if the word is being used within the context of spiritual struggle.  It is also unclear why Muhammad and his Quran would use graphic language, such as smiting fingers and heads from the hands and necks of unbelievers if he were speaking of character development.

With this in mind, Muslim apologists generally admit that there are two meanings to the word, but sometimes claim that “inner struggle” is the “greater Jihad,” whereas “holy war” is the “lesser.”  In fact, this misconception is based on a weak single hadith that Islamic scholars generally agree was fabricated.

By contrast, the most reliable of all Hadith collections is that of Bukhari.  Jihad is mentioned over 50 times in reference to the words of Muhammad (in sahih verses).  Each carries a clear connotation to holy war, with only a handful of possible exceptions (dealing with a woman's supporting role during a time of holy war, and a non-combatant's obligation to supply funding).

Neither the Shiite tradition nor any of the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence have much to say about Jihad in a context other than physical warfare against unbelievers and its funding.  According to Reliance of the Traveler, "Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion" (o9.0).

The association of 'Jihad' with spiritual struggle in the modern discourse is a rhetorical strategy to downplay the association of Islam with violence.

[Additional Note: Apologists try to minimize fear of Jihad and devalue its association with terrorism by claiming that Jihad can only be declared by a caliphate.  There are two problems with this.  The first is that a caliphate isn't mythical, but can be self-proclaimed at any time (as all caliphates are). This is the case with ISIS.  The second problem is that this rule of declaring Jihad is found in the Sharia, and is thus as legitimate as anything else found there - including the execution of apostates, gays and adulterers. ]

Further Reading

The Greater-Lesser Jihad Myth (from a Muslim Source)
Explaining Jihad (Islam Web) - A mainstream Islamic source says that waging holy war against people of other faiths is a way of helping them understand the "mercy and blessing of Islam."
The Truth About the Rules of Jihad (Answering Islam)
Examining the "Ten Truths about Jihad" (Stephen Kirby)

Myths of Islam Index

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