The literal translation of the Arabic word jihad is to “struggle in the way of Allah.” However, jihad has become a controversial religious term, because its meaning has been altered to justify the use of violence against Muslims and non-Muslims. Jihad in mainstream Islam has two different interpretations, distinguished as lesser and greater jihad. Greater jihad is defined as fighting against inner forces that detract morally and spiritually from submitting to Allah. Lesser jihad is defined as the right to defend Muslims who are under attack from non-Muslims. The concept of jihad as it applies to extremists and terrorists elevates the concept of lesser jihad above greater jihad into a sixth pillar of Islam. Requiring jihad as a sixth pillar of Islam makes it equal ...

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