In Ahmadiyya Islam, jihad is primarily one's personal inner struggle. Armed struggle or military exertion is the last option only to be used in defense, to protect religion and one's own life in extreme situations of persecution, whilst not being able to follow one's fundamental religious beliefs; and even then it can only be carried out under the direct instruction of the Caliph. It is not permissible that jihad be used to spread Islam violently or for political motives, or that it be waged against a government that maintains religious freedom.
Ahmadiyya claims its objective to be the revival and peaceful propagation of Islam with special emphasis on defending and extending Islam 'by the pen' and by argumentation. Ahmadis point out that as per prophecy, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (whom they believe to be the promised messiah) rendered Jihad in its military form as inapplicable in the present age as Islam, as a religion, is not being attacked militarily but through literature and other media, therefore the response should be likewise. They believe that the answer of hate should be given by love. As their khalifas said that 'if anyone attacks us we must not attack him and should treat them with love and kindness' this is called “Jihad-ul-Akbar” (The Greater Jihad).
Spread of faith
Ahmadis denounce the usage of a sword or any other form of coercion as a method of the propagation of the Islamic faith. In contrast to some of the commonly held views that historically Islam was spread by force, Ahmadis maintain that early Muslims did not take up the sword in order to spread their faith, but rather for the preservation of life. In particular, the founder of the movement, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad stated that when Islam began gaining converts upon its birth, there was an ever increasing tension against the new converts by the pagans of Mecca, which resulted in them being severely persecuted for many years. After many years of patience, the Muslim converts migrated to the neighbouring city of Medina. This did not stop persecuting the Muslims. They were pursued by the Pagans and it was only then that the Muslims first took up the sword in order to defend their lives.
Ahmadis denounce the usage of a sword as an Islamic concept with support from the Qur'an which according to them categorically rejects any form of coercion in religion. The Qur'an states:
The fourth Caliph, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Tahir Ahmad states:
|| As far as Islam is concerned, it categorically rejects and condemns every form of terrorism. It does not provide any cover or justification for any act of violence, be it committed by an individual, a group or a government..... I most strongly condemn all acts and forms of terrorism because it is my deeply rooted belief that not only Islam but also no true religion, whatever its name, can sanction violence and bloodshed of innocent men, women and children in the name of God
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—Murder in the Name of Allah - Mirza Tahir Ahmad