1. What is jihad?

Jihad is a global “struggle,” by all necessary means—physical violence included—against the non-Muslim world. Its origins can be found in the foundational texts of Islam, namely the Qur’an, the Hadith (the oral traditions preserving Muhammad’s sayings and actions), and the Sirah (Muhammad’s sacred biography). Relevant Qur’an verses include 2:216, 2:244, 3:151, 4:56, 4:74, 4:76, 4:89, 8:12, 8:39, 8:57, 8:60, 9:33, 47:4, 48:28, and 61:9.

2. Was jihad how Islam spread?

Islam did not generally spread peacefully. Between Muhammad’s death in 632 and the year 750 C.E., Muslim armies conquered (colonized) much of the known world, from Spain in the west to the borders of China in the east. North Africa, the Middle East, and northwestern India—now Afghanistan and Pakistan—became Islamic through brutal military campaigns. By 1683, the Muslim Ottoman Empire had come to rule all of southeastern Europe, with its expansion reversed only at a besieged Vienna’s gates.

3. Is the Islamist war against Israel an example of jihad?

Islamist inability to accept Jewish sovereignty over the Jewish people’s ancient homeland has nothing to do with “land” and everything to do with the doctrine of jihad. By tradition, non-Muslims who have wrested land Islam has conquered from its colonizers must be fought via jihad, a jihad for Islam’s honor and political supremacy.

4. Was the massacre of October 7, 2023, an example of jihad?

Hamas terrorists’ murder, rape, and abduction of Jews is modeled upon the example of Muhammad during the Battle of Khaibar (628 C.E.), in which a Jewish tribe was besieged, slaughtered, and enslaved, with its women carried off as sexual trophies of war.

5. Is Israel jihad’s main target? 

Jihad is a war against non-Muslims worldwide, including (especially) in America and Europe. Qur’an 9:33 says that the “religion of truth [Islam]” should “prevail over all others,” meaning that all the world must accept Islam. Or, as the Ayatollah Khomeini famously said, Israel is the “Little Satan,” but America is the “Great Satan.”