A word that has been so misconstrued by current media leading us to believe that jihad is something carried out by Islamic militants and terrorist groups who bomb, oppress, and ultimately kill people and civilians all under the guise that it is for the sake of the religion of Islam.
I strongly differ on this depiction that we have been constantly fed with simply because of the media’s imposed correlation between the barbaric, inhumane actions that radical jihadi groups carry out and the principles of Islam implying that Islam is a religion of violence and in this post I hope to shed light on the true meaning of jihad and the utter importance it holds in relation to the struggle of the Muslim.
Jihad means “struggle”and can be broken down into two parts: the inner and outer struggle. I will be going into the greater of the two jihads which is one that I myself struggle with on a daily basis (and I’m sure most of you do as well): the inner struggle for spiritual progress. The inner struggle is the more greater simply because it is hardest to control and unlike the battlefield, the inner struggle is the greater jihad because it is a lifelong battle we face everyday against ourselves. Jihad Al-Nafs is the struggle against evil ideas, desires and powers of lust, anger, uncontrollable imagination and finally, releasing all satanic ideas and influences from one’s soul. As ugly as this sounds it is actually a beautiful struggle because by eradicating all of these vices from our souls we are now able to cleanse and nourish it with the love and remembrance of Allah SWT. What a sweet victory that is for those who strive! Moreover, the inner struggle is unique for each person as we all have something different we’re struggling against.
I encourage first and foremost myself and then you to search within ourselves and identify the condition of our hearts as frequently as possible and examine each and every one of our actions, deeds, words, thoughts and so forth to see whether they add or decrease to the enrichment of our souls and with the will of Allah SWT have the strength to eradicate and remove whatever displeases us and in turn fill it with that of which pleases Allah SWT.
Lastly, Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed is a book that has really helped me aside from the Quran and Sunnah and I hope it can serve as a benefit to you on your inner journey to spiritual progress.
Leave some of your struggles and what you’ve done to counteract it in the comment section below so we can all benefit InshAllah.