Jihad is a concept that originated from Prophet Mohammed, who is the founder of Islam. It comes from an Arabic word meaning "struggle" or "effort". It is the heart of contemporary radical Islamist ideology that every Muslim strives for as it means striving in the path of Allah according to the Holy Quran. According to Muslims, Jihad is a religious duty to every Muslim whereby every Muslim has to struggle in Allah’s way. Moat Muslims are always ready to fight the Holy War as long as they are defending their religion and everything that comes from Allah The word Jihad appears more than 200 times in the Quran, and is constantly used to emphasize "striving in the way of Allah". On the other hand, in Classical Islam, Jihad is a struggle against those who do not believe in Allah, the Abrahamic God. The people who involve in Jihad are known as muhajideen or muhajid in singular form. To most Muslims, Jihad is a religious duty as they are always determined to struggle for a cause, be it violent or not, secular or religious. Jihad is classified into two types; Greater Jihad, and Lesser Jihad.
According to Peters, Jihad is a Holy War that is much alive in the Islamic world. This Holy War plays an eminent political role in the Islamic world as it shows how islamicists accentuate it as a war against drugs and other communal scourges. In addition, he reminds the reads that, Jihad is not terrorism or war as many people consider it, even though many terrorist try to use it to justify their terrorist activities (Peters 39). Peters explains to Muslims different meanings of jihad and what is to be done and not done during the Holy War.
Classical Jihad is linked to Osama bin Laden. Even though Jihad is an Islamic concept found in the Quran, the term Jihad is a classical concept related to the rise of political Islam, or Islamism. The Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was visibly associated with jihad after he declared jihad against the crusaders and Jews. In addition, Osama Bin Laden ordered many terrorist attacks against many countries, thus killing innocent people. According to Osama bin Laden, "The killing of Jews and Americans is one of the greatest duties "of every Muslim in Jihad (Bergen 67). To some extent, Osama bin Laden’s concept of Jihad conforms to the classical jihad because, according to many Muslims, jihad is a religious duty, whereby they struggle for a cause, be it violent or not, secular or religious. Osama believed that, all the crimes committed by Americans were a declaration of war on Allah and all Muslims, and he had to declare Jihad against them as a duty to protect Muslim countries. Osama bin Laden’s jihad concept conforms to the classical theory of jihad because he was fighting to protect his religion and country.
On the other hand, Osama bin Laden’s concept of jihad differs from the classical jihad theory whereby, most Muslims advocate for a war of peace. They consider jihad as a struggle against evils of the society, and not the killing of innocent people as Osama was doing. Many Muslims believe jihad to be a Holy War and not a war against countries and the innocent like Osama bin laden. For Osama bin Laden, his war was like terrorism as many people were kidnapped and even killed innocently in the name of Jihad. Jihad is an Islamic religious duty to fight to protect their religion, and Islamic culture and views.
Peters, Rudolf. Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam: A Reader (Princeton Series on the Middle East). Princeton: Markus Wiener Pub, 1996. Print.
Bergen, Peter L. Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden. New York: Free Press, 2006. Print.