Jihaad means “the Muslim striving to make the word of Allaah supreme and to establish His religion on earth.” The purpose of jihad in Islam is not to kill non-Muslims, rather the purpose is
To establish the religion of Allaah on earth.
To establish the rule of His sharee’ah.
To bring people forth from the worship of other people to the worship of the Lord of all people.
To bring people from the injustice of other religions to the justice of Islam.
JIHAAD is not just physical fighting, there are various kinds, some of which are obligatory upon everyone who is accountable, and some are obligatory upon the community as a whole – if some people undertake them then the rest are relieved of the obligation. And some kinds of jihad are mustahabb (actions that are neither encouraged nor discouraged).
Jihad al-nafs (jihad against one’s self) and jihad al-Shaytaan (jihad against the Shaytaan) are obligatory upon everyone who is accountable.
Jihad against the munaafiqeen (hypocrites), kaafirs (disbelievers) and leaders of oppression and innovation is obligatory upon the community as a whole.
Physical jihad (i.e. fighting) against the kaafirs may become an individual obligation upon everyone who is able to do it in certain circumstances.
Jihad al-nafs (jihad against one’s self) is of four kinds:
1 – Striving to learn the teachings of Islam.
2 – Striving to make oneself act in accordance with what one has learned.
3 – Striving to call others to Islam, teaching those who do not know about it.
4 – Striving to bear patiently the difficulties involved in calling people to Allaah and the insults of people; bearing all that for the sake of Allaah.
Jihad against the Shaytaan is of two types:
1 – Warding off the doubts that shaytaan stirs up to undermine faith.
2 – Striving against him to ward off the corrupt desires that he provokes.
The first jihad is followed by certainty of faith, and the second is followed by patience.
Jihad against the leaders of oppression and innovation is of three kinds:
1 – Jihad with one’s hand (i.e., physical jihad, fighting) if one is able.
2 – If that is not possible then it should be with one’s tongue (i.e., by speaking out).
3 – If that is not possible then it should be with one’s heart (i.e., by hating the evil and feeling that it is wrong).
Jihad against the kaafirs and hypocrites is of four kinds:
1 – With the heart.
2 – With the tongue.
3 – With one’s wealth.
4 – With oneself.
Jihad against the kaafirs is more along the lines of physical fighting whereas jihad against the hypocrites is more along the lines of using words and ideas.
Physical jihad against the kaafirs becomes obligatory in four cases, which are:
1 – When the Muslim is present in a jihad situation.
2 – When the enemy has come and attacked a Muslim land
3 – When the ruler mobilizes the people, they must respond.
4 – When a person is needed and no one else can do the task except him.