Digest of terms

jihad

commonly understood to mean holy war, and this has been a prominent (or the prominent) conception throughout the history of Islam. Taken literally, however, it means 'striving' (in the path of Allah), and for many Muslims this means working to combat sin and resist temptation. Indeed there is a saying attributed to Muhammad that warfare is the lesser jihad, and spiritual striving is the greater jihad. Thus Islamic tradition provides resources for both a peaceful and a militant interpretation of the religion. In respect of military jihad, Muslim opinion is further divided over whether this is permissible only in defence of the umma,or may also be undertaken for purposes of aggression. (Muslim ethics)

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