You are absolutely right here. Quite
unfortunately, Jihād has become one of the most misunderstood directives of
Islam. The following points about it may help in clarifying the stance of
First and foremost, only an Islamic state has the
authority to launch Jihād. No group or organization has been given the right
to start an armed struggle in a society in any way.
Secondly, apart from self-defence (which is an entirely
different matter) the only legitimate reason for an Islamic State to launch
Jihād is to curb oppression and persecution in any other country -- whether
Muslim or non-Muslim.
Thirdly, the Jihād carried out by the Prophet (sws) and
his companions after him was governed by a specific law meant only for the
Prophets of Allah and the nation towards which they are directly assigned. It
has nothing to do with us.