Levels of Jihad
The eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Muhammad `Ali Al-Hanooti, member of the North American Fiqh Council, states:
“Jihad in the Qur’aan is a term that signifies striving and endeavoring. The root of that word in Arabic is Jahd, which means spending energy and potential for a certain cause. It covers up practically four areas in the Islamic cause:
1) Teaching people the message of Islam: Any plans or steps of making Da`wah is a kind of Jihad. Allah, Most High, says: “O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey’s end.” (At-Tawbah: 73)
We know that addressing the hypocrites in this verse never means combating, but means Da`wah because a hypocrite is still a Muslim and a Muslim cannot combat another Muslim.
2) Disciplining one’s soul: Any disciplinary work for improving one’s faith and behavior is Jihad. Refraining from wrongdoing and following stannic ways is Jihad.
3) Spending money in the cause of Islam: Jihad with money is mentioned in many verses of the Glorious Qur’aan. Sometimes, it comes before Jihad with the soul. This type of Jihad is strategic in any plan for working in the cause of Islam.
4) Combating the enemy: The Qur’aan uses another term for combating. In Arabic, the term is Qital. So Qital in the Qur’an (combating) is the fourth implementation of Jihad.
This conception of Jihad is based on Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah’s Zad al-Ma`ad [Provision of the Hereafter].”