Jihad means engaging in a struggle in order to achieve a lofty goal. One can engage in jihad on various fronts. Armed struggles are one of the fronts on which one can engage in jihad. It is also possible to carry out jihad on such fronts as politics, science, and ethics.
Being goal orientated and making efforts to remove the obstacles which lie ahead are the criteria for true jihad. This is the true meaning of struggle. Jihad means engaging in such a struggle. And when such a struggle is made with the aim of achieving a divine goal, it takes on a sacred aspect.
I advise the dear youth to engage in true jihad. Jihad is not only limited to taking part in a war. Making efforts in such areas as science, ethics, politics, and research is also a form of jihad. Making efforts to foster the right culture and thought in society is also a form of jihad. This is because the enemy might deceive us and lead us astray.
Every person who makes an effort to enlighten people, to curb corruption, or to prevent misunderstanding has carried out jihad. This is because such efforts are aimed at opposing the enemies. They are all a form of jihad in the way of Allah. This kind of jihad is aimed at opposing the enemies, arrogant powers, and those who are against Islam, Iran, the Islamic Republic, and Islamic identity and characteristics.
According to the Holy Quran, Muslims should be harsh on infidels. Who are these infidels? Muslims should not be harsh on anyone who does not believe in Islam. They should behave kindly towards those who are not opposed to them, who do not plot against them, and who do not seek to wipe out their nations – even if they follow other faiths.
Muslims should be harsh on those who fight against Islam and their identity, nationality, country, independence, honor, dignity, traditions, culture, and values. But there should be a sense of tolerance among Muslims themselves. This is a culture which should be fostered in our society.
The culture of jihad and struggle is one of the prominent aspects of the Islamic culture, whose manifestations were more obvious during the early stages of Islam and became less so in the course of time. Jihad does not necessarily signify presence in a war because every effort to oppose the enemies can be considered as a form of jihad.
There are some people who might do something or make an effort and interpret it as a form of jihad. Yet, such interpretations are not correct. This is because one of the prerequisites for jihad is that one’s efforts should be aimed at confronting the enemies. Such confrontation can sometimes be in the form of an armed confrontation. This is what is described as "armed jihad". Other times, it can take place on other fronts such as politics. This is what we describe as "political jihad". It can also take place on the cultural front which is known as "cultural jihad". Jihad can also be carried out with the aim of construction. This is what is referred to as "jihad for construction".
Of course, jihad can be carried out in other arenas and under different names as well. Therefore, the criterion for jihad is not limited to presence in a war or holding a sword. The criterion is engaging in a struggle, and such struggle has two prerequisites. First, it should be accompanied by serious efforts. And secondly, it should be aimed at opposing the enemies.
In jihad, violating or infringing on others’ rights is not allowed. Killing other people under baseless pretexts is not part of jihad. Neither is killing those who are not Muslims. Such acts are not allowed in jihad. Not all those who believe in religions other than Islam should be treated with harshness. Rather, only those who are opposed to Islam, your independence and territorial integrity, and Islamic culture, identity, and values should be treated with harshness. If carried out under these conditions, jihad is considered as a divine order and will bring about glory to nations.
The culture of jihad was one of the blessings of the Islamic Revolution for our people. The culture of jihad can be useful on various fronts. Ever since the Islamic Revolution, the spirit and culture of jihad has had its manifestations in such fundamental areas as agriculture and animal husbandry. This is due to the fact that the Islamic Republic prepared the ground for the establishment of organizations in which dynamism, revolutionary enthusiasm, and jihad were prevalent.