#184 The Ultimate Jihad

Winning the Battle with Ourselves

Continuing our theme of Sufi wisdom via the great 13th century Muslim poet Rumi, let’s talk about the ultimate jihad.

First, we need to understand what the word “jihad” actually means.

The root of jihad means “to strive” or “to exert oneself” and has two manifestations: one internal and one external.

Unfortunately, the word “jihad” has a very limited meaning in the Western world. We tend to think of it as a battle against external oppressors. But, battling things outside of ourselves is actually known as the LESSER jihad.

The GREATER jihad?

That has nothing to do with anyone or anything outside of us. It’s all about “striving” and “exerting” ourselves to win the battle between our higher and lower selves.

Rumi tells us: “The lion who breaks the enemy’s ranks is a minor hero compared to the lion who overcomes himself.”

And, after returning from a battle, Muhammed told his followers: “This day we have returned from the minor jihad to the major jihad.”

All the great wisdom teachers echo this truth.

The greatest battle?

It will ALWAYS be between our higher and lower selves.

Let’s focus on winning that battle.

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