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Jihad of the Self

The hardhearted and the ill-intended individual is primed to transgress upon others and therefore non-violence in his conduct is not p ossible without purifying his heart and maintaining that s tatus. For this reason, Islam devoted considerable attention to planting in the heart of the faithful Muslim all the various virtues, among which are non-transgression upon others' rights and refraining from any kind of violence in the treatment of others. Such qualities require such determined self-training and practice that are no less difficult than the hardships and dangers of the battlefields. Imam al-Saadiq (A) states:

"The Messenger of Allah (S) despatched a squadron and when they returned, he (S) said 'welcome to those who have accomplished the minor jihad and have to achieve the major jihad.' He was asked 'What is the major jihad?' The Prophet (S) said 'It is the jihad of the self.'"

In this respect Imam Ali (A) is reported as saying:

"Jihad of the self is the quality of the nobles." Relating the jihad of the self to social affairs, as well as emphasising its role in this domain, the Messenger of Allah (S) states:

"The best of the jihad is to ensure that one does not even consider transgressing against others." On another o ccasion, and along the same line, the Messenger of Allah (S) states: "Through jihad one can overcome one's bad habits." And also:

"Wage jihad against the desires of your selves, (and as a result) your hearts will be occupied by wisdom." Since the resident contents of the hearts are reflected in the appearances of the faces, the Messenger of Allah (S) used to warn of the fate and destiny of he who hurts other even by the gesture of a single look:

"He who, by a single look at a believer, causes him anxiety, will be apprehended by Allah on a day when there is no protection except His. (i.e. on the Day of Judgement.)

Adapted from the book: "War, Peace & Non-Violence" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq Shirazi"