Jihad Against Nafs in Islam
The word “Jihad” shakes the minds and hearts of Islamophobic people. They tell you “Jihad” is something like a holy war Islamic people unleash on non-Muslims. They run their mouths so much about Jihad that even the word itself must be laughing at their understanding of its meaning. They use every medium possible to defame this scared word.
Don’t get trapped by their understanding and explanations they put forward when prompted to talk about Jihad. Anyway, they won’t change their behaviour even if you hammer down to their throats the true meaning of the term Jihad. It is because Allah has sealed their hearts, and eyes from finding the truth for their actions.
The word Jihad is an Arabic word that means when someone struggles and strives to fight against evil in order to make Allah happy. Jihad isn’t something Christian missionaries describe like a holy war of Muslims. Jihad definitely includes fighting against non-believers who have waged war on Muslims in the battlefield. That is a part of your wide spectrum of Jihad. But Jihad always begins within your own self. Call it self or ego that contains countless desires is something all Muslims need to fight in order to live a life that pleases Allah.
People have desires for many materialistic things – cars, house, money, etc. These desires of people aren’t few but countless. Keeping all of these desires in control for the sake of Allah is called Jihad against NAFS translated self in English. Nafs is a system of different desires.
You will be doing jihad bin nafs when you strive and struggle to keep them in check. Allah tests all people with different desires. There is nothing wrong in getting your desires fulfilled but when you start to give more preference to these desires over Allah, you loose all chances of getting to the Paradise for sure. When you give more preference to the Creator translated Allah in Arabic over your worldly desires, you become his friend. Allah loves you back and rewards you with a peaceful life.
You will be entitled for doing Jihad-al-Nafs when you strive to keep away yourself from sins, and try to be on the straight path of Allah. You will have evil ideas, lust, anger, etc. When you combat them strongly while practicing Allah’s commands, you are doing Jihad against Self. Since our life is a test, Allah wants to know who passes it. If you pass the test, He won’t let your good deeds go in vein.
Jihad is a lovely word that covers your struggle against sins to achieve happiness of Allah. Jihad empowers you to defeat your desires so that you get close to your lord Allah. When Islamophobic people say you that Jihad is about killing and slaughtering non-Muslims, ask them for references. They won’t be able to provide you basis for it because their intentions are different. Their intentions are to stop Islam from spreading because it makes people equal, gives them freedom of acquiring knowledge, makes them educated, encourages them to learn about all that exists in our universe, etc.
Islamophobic people are afraid of Islam’s progress because it tells mankind to abandon evil – don’t drink alcohol, don’t smoke, don’t eat swine, etc. They know Islam would stop them from disrespecting women because they consider women as sinners from the time of eve and Adam. Islam would end their evil ways of earning money like they earn interest. Islam is a death for their shops they have been running from the past and they don’t like their shops be closed. They won’t be anymore ruling people with their iron fists.