|The word Jihad stems from the Arabic root word J-H-D, which means "strive." Other words derived from this root include "effort," "labor," and "fatigue." Essentially Jihad is an effort to practice religion in the face of oppression and persecution. The effort may come in fighting the evil in your own heart, or in standing up to a dictator. Military effort is included as an option, but as a last resort.
Hence, in its literal sense Jihad in Arabic simply means struggle - striving to one's utmost to further a worthy cause. As we say in English, "We must struggle against hardships".
It is a common human trait to work very hard in order to achieve some goal. There are words in every language including Arabic, to express this human quality. The word Jihad conveys this same sense of striving, that is, a great striving.
Noble Qur'an says: "And strive hard in (the way of) Allah, (such) a striving a is due to Him..." (22:7
So, why Islam is so emphatically linked with the idea of struggle? What has the one to do with the other? Cannot a person become a good Muslim without involving himself in a struggle that necessarily requires sacrifices? The answer is: No. And for very obvious reasons.
Islam is not merely the confession of a faith which is made once in a lifetime. The faith is of cosmic dimensions. It requires a radical reorientation of entire life and the world. The confession is not merely verbal; it is an act of witnessing which must transform life into a living and continuing testimony of faith. You enter Islam by saying shahadah (bearing witness). But you can live in Islam only by constantly doing shahadah (al-Baqarah 2:143, al-Hajj 22:2. Doing shahadah will bring you in ceaseless confrontation with false gods inside you, and with those outside you. It will also require a ceaseless striving to reshape self and society so as to attest to your witnessing
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