There are various verses in the Qurʾan which apparently lead to the meaning of war. With regard to its intepretation of its related verses, there are mainly two different views. The first view argues that war in Islam will not happen but in a defensive manner. In other words, a war among Muslims would not happen unless they have been attacked and their reaction is in the form of counter attack in order to protect their dignity and life. The second view sees war in offensive manner. It is considered as a holy war (jihād) which is under the category of striving in the cause of Allah, and recommended to gain the status of martyrdom (syahīd).
These different views create variant intepretations of the word jihād and war. The existance of certain groups related to terrorism such as Islamic State of Iraq and al-Syam (isis), al-Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyyah and others, abusing the name of Islam and using hostile approaches in order to achieve their aims, have clearly a negative impact on Islam.
This article reviews the meaning of jihād and war in accordance to the Qurʾanic perspective in order to address this issue fairly. Relevant data have been taken from selected authoritative Qurʾanic exegesis pertaining to verses of jihād and war. It uses content analysis to analyse those related data.The article concludes that jihad in Islam is subject to sincere intention and a clear objective: it does not simply mean fighting. A war should be viewed from different aspects whether defensive or offensive because different backgounds will lead to the both. Both jihad and war are clearly different from terrorism, and both of them are associated with the meaning of fī sabīllah as commonly understood.
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