What is Jihad ?

From the Arabic root meaning “to strive,” “to exert,” “to fight”; exact meaning depends on context. May express a struggle against one’s evil inclinations, an exertion to convert unbelievers, or a struggle for the moral betterment of the Islamic community. Today often used without any religious connotation, with a meaning more or less equivalent to the English word crusade (as in “a crusade against drugs”). If used in a religious context, the adjective Islamic or holy is added. Jihad is the only legal warfare in Islam, and it is carefully controlled in Islamic law. It must be called by a duly constituted state authority, it must be preceded by a call to Islam or treaty, noncombatants must not be attacked, and so on. To justify the struggle against their coreligionists, extremists branded them unbelievers for their neglect in adhering to and enforcing a particular interpretation of Islam. Contemporary thinking about jihad offers a wide spectrum of views, including conservatives who look to classical Islamic law on the subject and radicals who promote a violent jihad against Muslim and non-Muslim rulers. Source: “Jihad.” In The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Ed. John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. 09-Nov-2014. .
Who are Muslim Extremists ?
Narrated AbuSa’id al-Khudri ; Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Soon there will appear disagreement and dissension in my people; there will be people who will be good in speech and bad in work. They recite the Qur’an, but it does not pass their collar-bones. They will swerve from the religion as an animal goes through the animal shot at. They will not return to it till the arrow comes back to its notch. They are worst of the people and animals. Happy is the one who kills them and they kill him. They call to the book of Allah, but they have nothing to do with it. He who fights against them will be nearer to Allah than them (the rest of the people). The people asked: What is their sign? He replied: They shave the head (Sahih (Al-Albani). Source: http://sunnah.com/abudawud/42/170 Abdullah [bin Mas’ud] narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: “In the end of time there will come a people young in years, foolish in minds, reciting the Qur’an which will not go beyond their throats, uttering sayings from the best of creatures, going through the religion as an arrow goes through the target (Sahih Darussalam). Source: http://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/33/31
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