Derived from the root j-h-d, Jihad means using all one’s strength, as well as moving toward an objective with all one’s power and strength and resisting every difficulty.
Jihad gained a special characteristic with the advent of Islam: striving in the path of God. This is the meaning that usually comes to mind today. This striving occurs on two fronts: the internal and external. The internal one can be described as the process of enabling someone else to attain one’s essence; the external one as the process of enabling someone else to attain his or her essence. The first is the greater jihad; the second is the lesser jihad. The first is the based on overcoming obstacles between oneself and his or her essence, and the soul’s reaching knowledge and eventually divine knowledge, divine love, and spiritual bliss. The second is based on removing obstacles between people and faith so that people can have a free choice to addpt a way.