What Is Jihad Fi Sabilillah?

Jihad means striving for some thing. In islam, Jihad is an act of effort for the sake of Allah. The highest of jihad is to fight for Allah. It has been spread by kuffar that jihad only means to kill non muslims. But it is not true. Jihad does not mean to kill at the first place. And jihad fisabilillah also does not only mean to kill. But it means to strive for Allah, in the way of Allah swt. And this includes the killing of only the enemies not every one. Islam does not permit to kill women, children and elderly even if they belong to the enemy camp. Thus, jihad is totally different from what is known to the world today.

Jihad starts from self. That is, the first stage of jihad is to kill the evil within. According to the learned, jihad bin nafas has four stages. It starts from learning the truth, seeking the knowledge of deen. The second stage is to practice upon the ways of islam. That is, whatever is learned and understood, it should be practiced as well. Otherwise such a knowledge will remain hollow. The third stage is to invite others to the way of Allah and telling others whatever one has learnt. And fourthly, the final thing is to be patient and be strong against the opposition. Every person who learns islam and spreads it will face resistance. Giving up because of the dislikes of people is the sign of weakness. So one should be strong and never give up dawah. Once these four stages are achieved, the jihad of nafas is done.

Jihad bil maal is the jihad with monetary help. It includes helping muslims in every possible way to ensure their independence and upper hand on kuffar. Unfortunately, today muslims are neither helping others nor are they trying to rise against kuffar. This is the weakness of iman of people. This is why today muslims are the persecuted, they are the lowest among all the nations only because of their cowardice. Allah swt say in the holy Quran about this state of muslims;
[9:24] Say: "If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allaah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allaah brings about His Decision. And Allaah guides not the people who are Al-Faasiquun" (the rebellious, disobedient to Allaah).
Allah swt has called these people, Fasiqoon i.e. the rebellious. Today, there are majority of muslims who fit this situation. About the fight in the way of Allah, it is s a must and it is valid for every time. Jihad is the need of hour today but only few have risen and realise that there duty. It is incumbent upon all muslims to strive for Allah, as it is the question of akhirah for all of us. Who can fight and who is exempted is told to us by Allah swt. When there are many people who would make excuses to not fight and stay at homes, for such people Allah swt has already said that they are fasiqoon.
[048:017] There is no blame upon the blind and the lame (those handicapped); nor upon those who are sick. (They may not heed the call to Jihad, all-out struggle for His sake). Allah will usher into the gardens of paradise _ right through which run the rivers _ all those who obey Him, and His messenger. He will punish with the painful torment anyone who turns his back.
Striving in the way of Allah has huge reward. It is mentioned in various sahih ahadith of prophet Muhammad pbuh. some of those traditions are mentioned below;

Bukhari,Volume 9, Book 93, Number 519:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Whoever believes in Allah and His Apostle offers prayers perfectly and fasts (the month of) Ramadan then it is incumbent upon Allah to admit him into Paradise, whether he emigrates for Allah's cause or stays in the land where he was born." They (the companions of the Prophet) said, "O Allah's Apostle! Should we not inform the people of that?" He said, "There are one-hundred degrees in Paradise which Allah has prepared for those who carry on Jihad in His Cause. The distance between every two degrees is like the distance between the sky and the Earth, so if you ask Allah for anything, ask Him for the Firdaus, for it is the last part of Paradise and the highest part of Paradise, and at its top there is the Throne of Beneficent, and from it gush forth the rivers of Paradise."
Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 3:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr:
A man said to the Prophet, "Shall I participate in Jihad?" The Prophet said, "Are your parents living?" The man said, "Yes." the Prophet said, "Do Jihad for their benefit."
Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 53, Number 352:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Allah guarantees him who strives in His Cause and whose motivation for going out is nothing but Jihad in His Cause and belief in His Word, that He will admit him into Paradise (if martyred) or bring him back to his dwelling place, whence he has come out, with what he gains of reward and booty."
Therefore, jihad is not only to show our loyalty to Allah swt but it also brings huge reward and likeness of Allah swt for us. 
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