What does the Qur’an say about jihad? Jihad, or holy war, has been a feature of Islam since its beginning in the 600s AD. The following portions of the Qur’an discuss jihad: what it means, how it should be done, and under what circumstances it should be used to spread and defend Islam. Read these passages from Islam’s holy book and draw your own conclusions.
Note: A verse or passage in the Qur’an is referenced in much the same way as a passage in the Judeo-Christian Bible: chapter : verse (sura : ai’ia). The following portions of the Qur’an are taken from the respected translation of Abdullah Yusuf Ali. The entire translation of the Qur’an may be accessed at the following website: www.islam101.com/quran/yusufAli/. It is always a good idea to examine a passage in its entire context, whether from the Qur’an or any other scriptural tradition.
Jihad Passages from the Qur’an
2:190-192. Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
2:218. Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of Allah, they have the hope of the Mercy of Allah. And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
5:33. The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.
9:5. But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
9:29. Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
22:39-40. To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid; (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause); for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).
47:4. Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah: He will never let their deeds be lost.
Yusuf Ali, A. (1938). The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary. Lahore, Pakistan: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers.