It is true that jihad is one of the most important teachings of Islam. But jihad is not synonymous with war. In Islam another word is used for war and fighting. This word is ‘qital.’ When the Qur’an refers to war or fighting, it uses the word qital and not jihad.
Jihad literally means to strive or to struggle. So jihad actually means peaceful struggle, especially for da‘wah work. The Qur’an says:
Do great jihad with the help of the Qur’an. (25:52)
The Qur’an is simply a book, and not a sword, so “do great jihad with the Qur’an” means do great jihad with the ideological power of the Qur’an. In fact, jihad is only another name for peaceful activism. And peaceful activism is the only weapon by which Islam wants to achieve all its aims and objectives.
The Qur’an has this to say of the mission of the Prophet Muhammad:
We have not sent you forth but as a mercy to mankind. (21:107)
“It is no exaggeration to say that Islam and violence are contradictory to each other. The concept of Islamic violence is so obviously unfounded that prima facie it stands rejected. The fact that violence is not sustainable in the present world is sufficient indication that violence as a principle is quite alien to the scheme of things in Islam. Islam claims to be an eternal religion and, as such, could never afford to uphold any principle, which could not stand up to the test of time. Any attempt to bracket violence with Islam amounts, therefore, to casting doubt upon the very eternity of the Islamic religion. Islamic terrorism is a contradiction in terms, much like ‘pacifist’ terrorism. And the truth of the matter is that, all the teachings of Islam are based directly or indirectly on the principle of peace.”
The Story of Jesus and his Mission as in the Glorious Quran
Truly Allah chose Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham and of 'Imran above all mankind, (as His Messengers) - a people alike and the seed of one another. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (3:33-34) [Note: 'Imran was the father of Moses and Aaron, and has been mentioned in the Bible as Amram. ]
(Allah also heard) when a woman of 'Imran said:
'O Lord! Behold, unto You do I vow that the child in my womb is to be devoted to Your exclusive service. Accept it, then, from me. Surely You alone are All-Hearing, All-Knowing.' (3:35)
[Note: In this verse, if the 'woman of 'Imran' is interpreted as the wife of 'Imran, this 'Imran must be different from the 'Imran just mentioned (see the preceding verse). In the Christian tradition the name of the father of Mary is mentioned as Joachim. If this expression, however, is interpreted to mean 'a woman of the house of 'Imran', it would mean that the mother of Mary belonged to that tribe. There is, unfortunately, no definite source of information that would lead us to prefer one interpretation to the other, as there is no historical record either about who the parents of Mary were, or to which tribes they belonged. Were we to accept the tradition that the mother of John (Yahya) and the mother of Jesus were cousins, then it would be valid to interpret the expression as meaning 'a woman of the tribe of 'Imran' for, according to the Gospel of Luke, the mother of John was one of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). ]