From Umdat al-Salik, Englished as Reliance of the Traveller, which carries the endorsement of Al-Azhar University in Cairo as conforming "to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community":
Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion. And it is the lesser jihad. As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self (nafs), which is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said as he was returning from jihad.
``We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.''
The scriptural basis for jihad, prior to scholarly consensus (def: b7) is such Koranic verses as:
-1- ``Fighting is prescribed for you'' (Koran 2:216);
-2- ``Slay them wherever you find them'' (Koran 4:89);
-3- ``Fight the idolators utterly'' (Koran 9:36);
and such hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
``I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah'';
and the hadith reported by Muslim,
``To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it.''Details concerning jihad are found in the accounts of the military expeditions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), including his own martial forays and those on which he dispatched others. The former consist of the ones he personally attended, some twenty-seven (others say twenty-nine) of them. He fought in eight of them, and killed only one person with his noble hand, Ubayy ibn Khalaf, at the battle of Uhud. On the latter expeditions he sent others to fight, himself remaining at Medina, and these were forty-seven in number.) [...]
The caliph (o25) makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians (N: provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya, def: o11.4) -which is the significance of their paying it, not the money itself-while remaining in their ancestral religions) (O: and the war continues) until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High,
"Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden-who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book-until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled" (Koran 9.29)
President Barack Obama's embattled counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, delivered an emphatic defense Saturday of the Obama administration's rhetorical approach to terrorism -- and also slipped in a few criticisms of Bush administration policies he suggested alienated Muslims at home and abroad.
In a speech at New York University's law school, Brennan gave no nod to the calls for his resignation last week from the top Republicans on the House and Senate Intelligence committees. [Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also joined that bandwagon Sunday.]
Brennan seemed at ease speaking to the largely Muslim audience, which included Islamic law students. In fact, he broke out his Arabic at some length, drawing a warm reaction from the crowd. (Scroll to 5:43 in the first video below for that chunk. I think I hear the words youth and student in there.) [...]
While figures like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani have accused Obama of being soft on terrorism because he avoids terms like "war on terror" and "jihadist," Brennan strongly endorsed the president's approach.
"They are not jihadists, for jihad is a holy struggle, an effort to purify for a legitimate purpose, and there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- holy or pure or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children," Brennan said. "We are not waging a war against terrorism because terrorism is but a tactic that will never be defeated, any more than a tactics of war will. Rather, such thinking is a recipe for endless conflict. ... We are at war with Al Qaeda and its extremist allies, and any comment to the contrary is just inaccurate. We will destroy that organization."
Brennan also charged that some actions by the U.S. government, presumably the Bush administration, underscored perceptions that the U.S. was in conflict with Islam. He cited as examples of overreach: "Violations of the Patriot Act. Surveillance that has been excessive. Policies perceived as profiling. Overinclusive no-fly lists subjecting law-abiding individuals to unnecessary searches and inconvenience. Creating an unhelpful atmosphere around many Muslim charities that made many Muslims hesitant to fulfill their sacred obligation of Zakat."
Brennan's statement that some individuals, presumably Muslims, were subjected to "excessive" surveillance is one I have not heard before from government officials and one that will hearten civil liberties advocates who have claimed that mosques were subjected to unwarranted scrutiny.
Brennan, who mentioned that he is Catholic, blamed religious leaders for spreading myths about Islam's being a religion of violence. "Those who purport to be religious are frequently the most egregious purveyors of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination -- and it must stop," he said. He did not single out any particular denominations or faith leaders.
Brennan disappointed some in the audience by saying that Obama has no plans to back away from support for Israel. "It's tough, but we're not going to separate ourselves from Israel," Brennan said, according to Fox News.
At times, Brennan suggested that the entirety of the American Muslim community has always stood 100 percent behind U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. "America has rarely noticed that American Muslims, such as yourself, have always denounced violent extremism," Brennan said, citing the head of the NYU center.
That blanket statement may overstate the case somewhat, since some prominent Muslims have been unwilling to endorse U.S. designations of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorists....