Every adult Muslim, who is not sick and has no other feasible disability is required to fight against those who attack Islam. Jeh’ad, should be exclusively in the way of God and never for any territorial ambition.
The Holy Prophet himself never started any war unless it thrust upon him by the enemies. When the Prophet took refuge in Medina, the Meccan pagans made repeated attacks on him. The battle-places of three important wars will tell us the story. The first war “Badr” was fought at “Badr” in the second year after Hejrah, Badr is 30 miles from Medina and 220 miles form Mecca. Is there any doubt that the Meccans were the aggressors?. The second war was fought next year at “Uhad”. Uhad is only three miles form Medina and 247 miles from Mecca. Three years after Uhad-war, Medina was surrounded by Meccans and Jew for about one month. They had come 250 miles from Mecca to attack Muhammad at Medina. Is there any one who can say that the Prophet should not have fought in self-Defence.
Besides Jehad, the striving can be of various kind and in different ways such as; Jehad bel-mal, spending or sacrifying one’s own wealth for the lord.
Jehad bel-Elm, i.e. spreading knowledge to benefit those who need it, without any worldly gain or fame in return for the service.
Jehad Maa’annafs’, i.e. Fight with one’s own rebellious self which is the greatest Jehad called Jehadul Akbar. There are many Qur’anic injunctions about Jehad, which explain every things about it in detail. The following are only a few of them.
“Go ye forth(with) light and heavy equipment and strive in the way of God with your property and yourselves. This is better for you if you knew.”
“O ye who believe ! shall I show you a merchandise, which will deliver you from a painful chastisement ? Ye should believe in God and His apostle and strive in the way of God with your possessions and yourselves. That is better for you, if ye knew.”
Islam prohibited all wars save the one fought in the way of God; to avert cruelty and injustice to Muslim. The Holy Qur’an declared:
“Fight in the way of God those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities, Surely God loves not Aggressors”
The message of Islam thus becomes a message of peace which none can dare ignore;
“There is no compulsion in religion”
That there are even today Christians and Jews in the Muslim world who follow their respective religions unchecked bears testimony to the irrefutable fact that Islam does not approve of using force in converting men to its own viewpoint. If people accept Islam and agree to follow the truth, the hostilities between them and Muslims cease forthwith. They become part of the Muslim community and are not to be put to subjection or humiliation. They enjoy right similar to those enjoyed by other Muslim, for no distinction is permissible between one Muslim and the other, nor had any Arab any superiority over a non Arab, nor any race over the other except due to his piety. In the case of a people who refused to adopt Islam as their religion but were desirous to live under its protection with their own religion, Islam did not compel them to adopt its creed.