But Jihad is an Internal Struggle
When you mention jihad, many people will say that "jihad means struggle." They say (or imply) that since Islam is a religion of peace, then jihad is the spiritual struggle to perfect oneself, and the terrorists are taking it out of context or twisting and distorting the perfectly peaceful Islamic teachings into something violent.
This objection is easily dispached. Bill Warner has done the footwork of counting every mention of jihad in Bukhari's hadith. Wikipedia says, "Most Muslims view this (Bukhari's) as their most trusted collection of hadith and it is considered the most authentic book after the Qur'an."
In reading Bukhari's collection of hadith, this is what Warner found:
- The Hadith of Bukhari gives all of the tactical details of jihad. A simple counting method shows that 3% of the hadiths are about the inner struggle, whereas, 97% of the hadiths are about jihad as war. So is jihad the inner struggle? Yes, 3%. Is jihad the war against kafirs? Yes, 97%.
That's a great answer. I have used it many times, and it completely answers the objection, removing it from consideration.
And it goes beyond answering the objection. It points to a fundamental misconception many people have about Islamic terrorists: That their interpretation is a fringe element. The truth is, relentless violence against (and subjugation of) non-Muslims is mainstream Islam. The terrorists have not "hijacked" a religion of peace. This kind of intolerance toward non-Muslims has been a cornerstone of mainstream Islam for 1400 years.
An objection like this is an opportunity. If you study the answers to objections, you should actually look forward to objections because they give you great opportunities to educate and awaken another potential ally in this fight.
 Further reading