The Islamic institution of Jihad is the least understood and the most talked about aspect of Islam in the world today. There is great misunderstanding among the non-Muslims that Islamic Jihad is a holy war directed towards the unbelievers for the sole purpose of converting them into Muslims. Nothing, in fact, could be farther from the truth.
Literally, the Arabic word Jihad means “utmost effort” or “striving”. The Muslims are commanded in the Holy Qur’an to strive in the way of God. This struggle could be in the form of propagation, promotion or defence of Islam and may or may not include armed conflict with the unbelievers. In Islamic terminology, the effort to preach Islam to non-Muslims and the struggle to overcome one’s evil inclinations and desires are all called Jihad. If the struggle does indeed take the form of an armed conflict, it must be in self defence and in accordance with all the rules and regulations laid down in the Holy Qur’an.