Jihad is NOT holy war. Qitaal is.
In other words, Qitaal is a type of Jihad. Because Jihad means: utmost struggle for the cause of Allah.
Jihad is much appreciated in Islam. Actually, it is what’s required of a believer. About Qitaal, the Hadith will tell us.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, “The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah’s cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostles, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise (if he is killed in the battle as a martyr). Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not remain behind any sariya going for Jihad and I would have loved to be martyred in Allah’s cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His cause.”
I will not discuss more on the misconceptions about Jihad in today’s world. Fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism are mere words. And the Fiqh of Qitaal is beyond me. Argue with someone else. =)
This Hadith talks about a believer fighting for Allah’s cause, against His enemies. What a beautiful reward Allah has promised him! And both ways. If he survives, he gets war booty. If he’s martyred, he’s admitted into Paradise.
Moreover, the Prophet (SAW) wished to be a martyr. Not once. Again and again and again. Must be an awesome feeling, right? But only for the ease of his followers – us – he didn’t go forward in all the battles fought in his time. If he had done, it could’ve become compulsory for the followers.
Anyway, the way I choose to act upon this sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) is to develop the love of Jihad. To struggle for Allah’s sake. To serve my Deen.
May Allah choose us for His service. Ameen.