Natana DeLong-Bas

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online December 2009 | | DOI:

Show Summary Details


The Arabic term jihad is properly defined as “struggle” or “striving” and is generally described as taking place at two levels: the inner (or greater) and the outer (or lesser). According to the hadith (records of the sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad), inner jihad is the struggle within oneself to avoid sinful behavior and live according to the principles of the Qurʾan, Sunna (example of the Prophet Muhammad), and Sharia (values or principles elaborated into Islamic law). Outer jihad, on the other hand, refers to the defense of the Muslim community under attack. This can be a “soft defense,” such as through verbal or written debate or persuasion (jihad of the tongue, or jihad of the pen), or “hard defense” (also known as “jihad of the sword”), such as through physical or military defense of a community. In the early 21st century, some Muslims engage the terminology of “civilian jihad” for nonviolent political action and civic engagement.

Article.  12919 words. 

Subjects: Islam

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.