Jihad for the sake of Almighty God, extension of the Islamic rule, propagation for Islam, defense of Islamic lands, combating against oppression and arrogance and defense of the deprived and the persecuted is considered as one of the great acts of worship that results in achieving self‑perfection and spiritual ascension towards Almighty God. Many Qur’anic verses and traditions have described the significance of Jihad. Almighty God says in the Holy Qur’an:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الْفَائِزُونَ. يُبَشِّرُهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ بِرَحْمَةٍ مِنْهُ وَرِضْوَانٍ وَجَنَّاتٍ لَهُمْ فِيهَا نَعِيمٌ مُقِيمٌ.

“Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah's way are of much greater worth in Allah's sight. These are they who are triumphant Their Lord giveth them good tidings of mercy from Him, and acceptance, and Gardens where enduring pleasure will be theirs. 9:20”

فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ الْمُجَاهِدِينَ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ عَلَى الْقَاعِدِينَ دَرَجَةً وَكُلًّا وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْحُسْنَى وَفَضَّلَ اللَّهُ الْمُجَاهِدِينَ عَلَى الْقَاعِدِينَ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا. دَرَجَاتٍ مِنْهُ وَمَغْفِرَةً وَرَحْمَةً وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا.

“Allah hath conferred on those who strive with their wealth and lives a rank above the sedentary. Unto each Allah hath promised good, but He hath bestowed on those who strive a great reward above the sedentary Degrees of rank from Him, and forgiveness and mercy. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. (4:95-96)

The Holy Prophet (a.s) said:

لِلجَنَّةِ بابٌ يُقالُ لهُ بابُ المُجاهِدِينَ، يَمْضونَ إلَيهِ فإذَا هُوَ مَفْتوحٌ وَهُم مُتَقَلّدونَ بِسُيوفِهِم وَالجَمْعُ فِي المَوقِفِ وَالمَلائِكَةُ تُرَحِّبُ بِهِم.

“In Paradise, there is a gate called ‘Gate of the Mujahidin’ towards which they will walk carrying their swords  (weapons) while others will be still halted from judgment and the angels will be welcoming them.” (asa’il al-Shi`ah, vol. 11, pp. 5)

فَوقَ كُلِّ ذِي بِرٍّ بِرٌّ حَتّى يُقتَلَ المَرْءُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ، فإذا قُتِلَ فِي سَبِيل اللهِ فَلَيْسَ فَوقَهُ بِرٌّ.

“For every virtue, there is an another higher one except when man sacrifices his life for the sake of Almighty God. In that case, there exists nothing superior than that.” (Wasa’il al-Shi`ah, vol. 11, pp. 10)

لِلشَّهِيدِ سَبْعُ خِصالٍ مِن اللهِ: أوَّلُ قَطرَةٍ مِن دَمِهِ مَغفُورٌ لَهُ كُلُّ ذَنبٍ، وَالثّانِيةُ يَقَعُ رأسُهُ فِي حِجرِ زَوجَتِهِ مِن الحُورِ العِينِ وَيَمْسَحانِ الغُبارَ عَن وَجْهِهِ فَيَقولانِ: مَرْحباً بِكَ. وَيَقولُ هو مِثْلَ ذِلِكَ لَهُما، وَالثّالثَةُ يُكْسى مِن كِساءِ الجَنَّةِ، وَالرّابِعَةُ يَبْتَدِرُهُ خَزَنَةُ الجَنَّةِ مِن كُلِّ ريحٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أيّهُم يأخُذُهُ مَعَهُم، وَالخامِسَةُ أنْ يَرى مَنْزِلَهُ، وَالسّادِسَةُ يُقال لِروحِِهِ: اسْرَحْ فِي الجَنَّةِ حَيثُ شِئْتِ، وَالسابِعَةُ أن يَنْظُرَ في وَجْهِ اللهِ وإنّها لَراحَةٌ لِكُلّ نَبِيٍّ وشَهيدٍ.

“Almighty God bestows upon a martyr seven blessings; (1) When the first drop of his blood comes out of his body, all his sins are pardoned; (2) After martyrdom, his head is placed upon the laps of two heavenly maids who clean off dust from his face and say, ‘Welcome,’ and he too responds; (3) they dress him in Heavenly clothes; (4) The storekeeper of Paradise presents him different kinds of perfumes and good smells so that he may select whatever he desires; (5) At the time of martyrdom, his place in Paradise is shown to him; (6) After martyrdom, his soul is addressed, ‘You are free to move in Paradise wherever you desire; (7) a martyr is allowed to witness God’s Beauty that brings a special sort of comfort for every Prophet and martyr.” (Wasa’il al-Shi`ah, vol., 11, pp. 9)

Almighty God says in the Holy Qur’an:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ بِأَنَّ لَهُمْ الْجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ مِنْ اللَّهِ فَاسْتَبْشِرُوا بِبَيْعِكُمْ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُمْ بِهِ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ.

“Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph. 9:111”

The abovementioned verse is one of the most beautiful and tender verses in which people have been encouraged to participate in struggle, with special delicacy and tenderners. In another place, the Holy Qur’an confirms the highest position for one martyred for God’s sake saying:

وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتًا بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ.

“Think not of those, who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision. 2:169”

The sentence ‘with their Lord’ describes the most supreme position assigned to a martyr. All souls remain alive after death, but the distinction of martyrs is that they are with their Lord. They will continue living at the most superior positions receiving their sustenance. Naturally, the sustenance received by them will not be similar to the sustenance received by others.

Jihad and martyrdom are the greatest and worthiest acts of worship. A martyr, through this distinguished means, may attain the most subtle spiritual positions. What distinguishes this worship from others is its two dimensions—the supreme goal of jihad, which is not to safeguard one’s own interests as well as the interests of his relatives for he is neither selfish nor shortsighted; rather he is dedicated to achieve the objectives and goals desired by Almighty God. The second dimension is the magnitude of sacrifice. A combatant, in order to undertake his spiritual journey and for the sake of achieving his cherished goal, invests his most valuable and dearest assets. If one offers some donation for a charity, it does not mean more than that he has overlooked a certain portion of his wealth. Similarly, if one does and act of worship, it does not mean more than that he has spent a certain time and energy. Yet, for a mujahid, he overlooks everything belonging to him—his life and surrenders his entire existence to Almighty God with absolute sincerity. He closes his eyes from wealth, power, position, wife, children and relatives and suddenly surrender his soul to Almighty God.

The work done by gnostics and the pious during their entire span of lives may be accomplished by a mujahid in a very short time. The matter and materialistic world is too much confined for the exalted and enlightened spirit of a mujahid who is like a formidable lion breaking his material cage, a lightwinged pigeon flying over the vast illuminated Upper Heavens and, from the most superior exalted positions, ascending towards their beloved—Almighty God.

If pious men, during the entire span of their lives, are able to attaine the most distinguished spiritual positions, a martyr covers the one hundred-year distance in one single night attaining the most distinguished spiritual position of God’s countenance.

If other pious men, by means of invocations, incarnations, sitting and standing, seek God’s Nearness, a mujahid, through tolerance of wounds, pains, hardships, bullets, fragments of mortar shell and ultimately by sacrificing his own soul, attains God’s Nearness though there is vast difference between the two.

The battlefield grants a special sort of purity, spirituality and illumination; it is a field of love, sacrifice, action and enthusiasm; a field of competition for getting sacrificed in the beloved’s path and becoming alive forever. The humming warm communications of the dwellers of trenchement with their beloved possess a special ferver of purity, illumination and attraction whose examples cannot be seen even inside mosques and temples.