The last two decades have seen much use of and multiple references to the expression "Jihad in Islam", and for the most part, in its meaning of extremism and "holy war." The reason for this is that some of Islam's political movements, which originally broke away from the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere, used the term as a title, as a name of the organizations and as a slogan for ideological and practical activities. In this sense, for them Jihad was perceived as a strategy.
In the middle of the seventies, groups, active in Egypt, included Al-Hijra W'al-Takfeer,1 the Jihad,2 and a group that was set up and led by Salah Saraya.3 In the second half of the seventies, Usrat Al-Jihad4 came on the Israeli Arab scene, while at the same time the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement5 was founded in the territories.
This trend of Jihad continued to strengthen in the Islamic Movement under the influence of the Iranian Revolution, which for its part reinforced the concept of the Islamic Jihad in the sense of "extremism", both in ideology and in practice. The tendency was accentuated under the influence of the social, political and economic situation present in the region.

What does Jihad mean?
In the literal sense of the expression, its primary significance is investing effort (in the sense of energy) in order to achieve a particular aim, or to endure an.effort (in the sense of a difficulty) caused by carrying out an action or putting a message into practice. This expression is referred to in the Koran and the Hadith in two senses: the more general meaning of Jihad, which is its mental, subjective and moral one, is the ability to suffer and endure harm and hardships (caused by the foe), to struggle with mental cravings and passing temptations, to behave virtuously (morally) in Islamic terms, to follow the commandments of Allah and his prophets, and to preach (which we shall call Da'wa below) in order to further the cause of Allah and Islam, the religion of Allah. The Prophet (Messenger) called this Jihad "the Greater Jihad" (AI-Jihad AI-Akbar) in order to stress its significance and how difficult it is.
The second is the material meaning which is a willingness to make financial and mental sacrifices in order to further the cause of Allah and his religion on this earth, to heed God and His Prophet, in the sense of fighting and war, and this the Prophet called "The Lesser Jihad" (ai-Jihad ai-Asghar).
The sense of the expression has developed over time and it has acquired two meanings in Islamic thought: the original religious meaning on the one hand and the politico-historic meaning on the other hand.

The meaning of Jihad in religious texts
While Muslim religious philosophers are in complete agreement about the development in the meaning of Jihad, as described above in the religious texts, they fail to consider the historical context of time and location so decisive to the meaning of the text.
As-Sayeed 'Abdl Hafiz 'Abd Rabu, one of the leading contemporary philosophers of AI-Azhar, points out that verses of the Koran make a distinction between the use of the expression Jihad in the sense of fighting, and its wider and more comprehensive use, but he too like many other thinkers, makes no effort to bring out the relationship between the expression Jihad in one of its two meanings and the historical context of the verses.6
, Abd Rabu notes that the four main schools in Islam and most of those learned in Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) have used Jihad in its sense of fighting, something which has led to the suppression of Jihad in its moral, subjective and epistemological senses, but he emphasizes that the jurisprudential (Fiqhi) meaning of Jihad, i.e (fighting), is dictated by the constraints and the conditions confronting Muslims. He adds that it is unacceptable to confuse this meaning of Jihad with its use to achieve forcible conversion to Islam, thereby imposing the religion by compulsion. If that is the case, in the opinion of this commentator, the meaning of Jihad, first and foremost, is making an effort and struggling peacefully, and it is this which takes priority.
Al-Sayyed Sabak, the author of the book The Jurisprudence of the Sunna (Fiqh AI-Sunaf refers to two stages in the development of the meaning of Jihad and stresses this by proof taken from Koran and Hadith texts. Initially, Allah commanded his Prophet to engage in Jihad against the infidels of Mecca by means of the Koran, answers to difficult questions, proof, tolerance, and refraining from repaying evil with evil. During this period, Jihad was a struggle for the soul and for education in tolerance, belief and enduring hardships in order to spread the religion (AI-Da'wa, the Call). But when the Prophet's enemies stepped up the siege against him and his followers in Mecca and Medina, Allah allowed the Muslims to fight in order to protect themselves and to undertake the Da'wa, so that a year after the Hijra, fighting became a commandment and a duty (Surat AI-Baqara, verse 216).
After Muslims were forced to abandon Mecca and to migrate to Medina, Islam's new center, Jihad aquired a different meaning, one other than the personal, moral sense. It was a material meaning referring to sacrificing money (property) and self to Allah. But the Prophet, says 'Ashmawi, a renowed Egyptian jurist and scholar, noticed that the material meaning of Jihad was overshadowing its moral meaning during this period, and he emphasized that the Greater Jihad was the moral-personal Jihad and that this was the primary form. Following the victory of the Muslims in the battle of Badr in 624 for example, the Prophet addressed his faithful, stressing the fact that the more violent and the greater the import of war against the foe, the more it is condemned to remain in the realms of the Lesser Jihad: its dimensions will not reach the level of the Greater Jihad, which involves mental struggle and exaltation on the level of ethics and conscience.
Jihad, in its militant sense according to 'Ashmawi, is not an unconditional and absolute holy war. He concludes that the primary meaning of Jihad is in its moral sense, i.e the Greater Jihad which is eternal and enduring, and in the end this is what will be victorious. In contrast, the Lesser Jihad i.e war and fighting, is transitory, temporary, and dependent on certain circumstances. The time for this Jihad is during situations of external aggression, and it is limited to reacting to this aggression. In' Ashmawi's view, "politics, together with the Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), have displaced the Greater Jihad and in its stead have raised the standard of the Lesser Jihad, because it is that Jihad which will serve their aims and will realize their objectives; they have turned something which is meant to be temporary only into something enduring, at the expense of religion and humaneness".8

The Ideological sources of the "Islamic Jihad" today
Dr. Ziad Abu' Amru writes in his book The Islamic Movement in the Territories and the Gaza Strip9 that "the Islamic Jihad has no international organization, it is not a single central organization throughout the Muslim world, despite the intellectual affinities and despite the forms of cooperation and coordination between its various organizations. 10 From Dr. Ziad Abu 'Amru's words it can be deduced that the Islamic Jihad movement came into being and was shaped as a result of the ideological divisions evolving in the Muslim Brotherhood before and after the war of 1967. In the 1970's, the Jihad Movement gave birth to a number of organizations in various states. It was set up against the background of the military defeat suffered by Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1967, and against the background of those countries' helplessness in dealing with the consequences of that defeat and the challenge posed by the continuation of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The Islamic Jihad Movement derives its ideas, first and foremost, from the Islamic tradition which is rich in writings, stories, and teachings extolling Jihad. These teachings inculcate the spirit of Jihad, impart its teachings to the heart of the Muslim faithful, and teach that God will ensure that the Mujahidin (the Jihad warriors) will, through divine intervention, gain a place in Paradise or will return with either reward or booty. Either victory and booty in this world or the status of martyr (Shahada) ensure eternal pleasantness, soaring palaces, flowing rivers, and beauties in the world to come.
Second, the movement derives its inspiration from the ideology of the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood movement who represent the fundamental, classical and mainstream approach of contemporary political Islam grounded in the Islamic tradition described above. This provides the basis for the Movement's ideology, which rests on the following principles: authority rests with Allah alone; Islam is the religion and therefore Islam is the solution; all peoples, including the Muslims, are living today in the stage of second jahiliya (ignorance), to be distinguished from the initial jahiliya, which was prevalent when Allah sent his Messenger Mohammad in order to bring people out of error to truth; the first and enduring task of believer Muslims is to use all means to restore the glory of Islam and establish an Islamic state, at first each in one's own country, and subsequently, in the entire world; and finally, Islam is religion and state, religious jurisprudence and politics, ideology and a way of life. Only Islam can ensure that humanity makes the transition to a society able to enjoy a life of genuine happiness and ease, justice and peace .

The meaning of Jihad for the Muslim Brotherhood:
Hassan AI-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in Egypt, defined the Movement's concept of Islam, clarified the working methods and goals, and determined the Movement's position in respect to the authorities. At the Brotherhood's Fifth Congress, held in Cairo in 1938, he made an explicit, clearly worded statement:
It is our belief that the laws and rules of Islam are generally valid, that they govern the affairs of human beings in this world as in the next... Islam is ideology and the worship of God, native country and nationality, religion and state, spirituality and action ... Islam is the complete and comprehensive meaning, and it must have hegemony over all aspects of life, which will receive an Islamic character ... and its principles and rules must be introduced as long as the people wish to be genuinely Islamic. II
AI-Banna also gave the following definition of the Brotherhood's aims: first, to liberate the Islamic homeland from all foreign rule, and second, to establish the Islamic state in the liberated homeland which will be governed in accordance with the laws of Islam and will impliment its social systems .... 12
While the Muslim Brothers conceive of Islam in these terms, and this defines their attitude to government and their goal, Jihad is one of the three basic pillars on which the Muslim Brotherhood's Da'wa (the Call) rests, the other two being knowledge and education.
By the Muslim Brotherhood's Third Congress, Jihad was already an integral part of the movement's ideology. In his "Letter on Jihad", AI-Banna was extremely forthright in the messages he broadcast to his supporters ... "This religion [Islam] was founded by the Jihad of those who preceded us, who steadfastly drew their strength from belief in Allah, temperance in the face of life's fleeting temptations, a preference for eternal life and a willingness to sacrifice their blood, their life and their possessions for the sake of support for the truth, and a love of death for the sake of the Almighty."13
There is no doubt that this is an explicit call to Jihad, with its glorification of the status of martyrs and its urging of solidarity, and thus we see how the movement's founder, Al- Banna is striving to mentally prepare his supporters so as to confer total legitimation on Jihad, which requires the Muslim to fight anyone who tries to foil the Da'wa.
However, the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, led by Hassan AI-Banna until his assassination, changed its position on Jihad and violence. The change came about for tactical reasons, but it is possible that with time, it became a qualitative one. The movement began to adopt an equivocal attitude to the term, in accord with the original view of the expression, an attitude which was based on education and understanding, not on violence. Because of this, at the time the Movement ignored the call after the 1948 war to take part in the armed struggle "to liberate Palestine". Indeed, Dr. Ziad Abu 'Amru writes that it is the Palestinian problem and the very absence of satisfactory answers among the Muslim Brotherhood, who had not participated actively in the armed struggle against the Israeli occupation, which impelled Gaza youths who were close to the Muslim Brothers in Egypt to leave this movement.14 Whereas Ziad Abu Jinima, while confirming the lack of involvement of the movement in the armed struggle, provides an apologetic explanation: "it was not of their own free will that the Muslim Brothers were absent from the theaters of Jihad: they were kept away under duress, for they were imprisoned and detained in prisons in Egypt and in Syria, and they were therefore prevented from taking part in the struggle against the Israeli occupation." 15
Be that as it may, the new compromise direction was rejected by the movement's main thinker and one of its principal leaders, Sa'id Kuttab. In his book Ma'lam fil-Tariq (Milestones) he stressed that "there is an acute contradiction between two ideas, two ideologies, two societies, two conflicting forms of government and truth ... no one side can exist unless it destroys the other, and there is no possibility of compromise or of mediation between them." Change can come about only by overthrowing the government, liquidating the leading infidels and replacing them with religious leaders, and the process offers no place for a staggered or gradual approach. Ziad Abu 'Amru sees in Kuttab's book an ideological revolution "embodying a forhtright call to follow a new path radically different from that adopted by the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, and thus "Kuttab has become the ideologue of the Jihad movement, as well as the guide of the movement's leader - Syria's Sa'id Hawa."16

Sheikh Sa'id Hawa: the five varieties of Jihad
Sa'id Hawa 17 has enriched the Muslim Brotherhood ideology in Syria as well as elsewhere through a collection of Islamic political and jurisprudential essays and studies. His writings have made a contribution to the understanding of Jihad and the Brotherhood's attitude to the subject, particularly in Syria. He summarizes his ideas in a book entitled (Junud Allah, Thaqafaten Wa-Akhlakan (The Warriors of God: Education and Ethics), where he distinguishes five varieties of Jihad, all of which are mentioned in the Koran and the Hadith: Jihad through language, Jihad through learning, Jihad through body and mind, political Jihad, and financial Jihad. 18 Hawa distinguishes between Jihad on Muslim soil and elsewhere; in the former case it is called preaching for the support of the pious and refraining from evil, while in non-Muslim locations it is called Jihad.
In the context of the present article, what is particularly relevant is Hawa's analysis of what he calls political Jihad. His concept is based on the approach that "it is the duty of Muslims to ensure that the world submits to the rule of Allah," and everything that is needed for this process of the world's submission is, essentially, the duty of the people," and this can only be done by means of a Jihad through the mind, on Islamic soil first of all.
The submission of the entire world to the rule of Allah is expressed in the establishment of an Islamic state in every single country where Muslims live, and setting up such a state is a religious precept incumbent on every Muslim in every state. 19
Hawa also draws a distinction between three kinds of states in the world today. The first is the genuine Muslim state, support for which he is .preaching. The second is the wayward Muslim state, which he calls upon to take steps to mend its ways, first of all in men's hearts and language, and by action where such improvement of the situation does not corne about. He does not rule out of the idea that an Islamic state in which an Islamic justice prevails should interfere in a deviant one in order to support justice there, to amend the situation and to wipe out the aberration. The third is the infidel state in which Muslims live. In this context Hawa makes the following comment:
When Muslims are subjected to a situation where they are ruled by infidels who are both corrupt and imperialist, the only option available to them is to fight these infidels in order to extirpate the infidel government; if they cannot fight, they must prepare themselves (for war) with all the implications arising, and if they are not, they are committing sin upon sin.20

It will by now be clear that Jihad has a variety of meanings and that the meaning of the word is of major importance and influence in Islamic thought. It has developed in the period of the Prophet and subsequently throughout Islamic history up to our modem era, in such a way as to acquire two meanings: a religious one which is the original one, and a politico-historic one.
In its religious and political sense, Jihad has become a strategy of the political movements in Islam today. These movements add a religious hue to the political conflicts and base themselves on the saying that Islam is both religion and state, religious jurisprudence and politics. Thus whether intentionally or not, a confusion has set in between religion and politics, between what is religious and what is social, between the religious and the national, so that defense of the homeland and mental sacrifices for its defense have turned into defending the religion and acquiring the title of martyr through Allah's path.
The addition of the religious nuance to political conflicts gives rise to extremism both in ideological positions and in practice. The tendency to political extremism grows under crisis conditions, and in the absence of any obvious way out of such crises. It is obvious that the orthodox fundamental Islamic movements are trying to impart this meaning of the expression to Muslim minds, so as to prepare them mentally and spiritually to carry out the mission that they will be given. In this way, death becomes more elevated than life because it is a sure and certain way to Paradise.
When these movements make use of religious texts (the Koran and the Hadith) they use generalizations, treating the text in isolation from its historical setting and taking it out of its chronological and geographical context. It thus becomes available for use at any time or in any place, and it can neither be critiqued nor debated.