The Arabic word Jihad means to strive, i.e. in the way of Allah.
The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has described the striving against self as Jihad-e-Akbar.
In an ishtihar published on 28 May 1900, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) announced that the early Islamic wars were fought as a defensive measure, but in this era, there is no such need for Jihad by the sword. He stated that it has been recorded in Ahadith that the Messiah of the Latter Days will suspend the religious wars, so now the religious wars have been suspended, and whoever kills anyone in the name of Jihad, is disobedient to Allah and the Holy Prophet (sa).
At another instance, he stated:
“The second principle on which I have been established is the clarification of the doctrine of Jihad which has been misinterpreted by some ignorant Muslims. I have been made to understand by God Almighty that those practices that are currently regarded as Jihad are entirely opposed to the teachings of the Holy Quran […] At the time of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the basis of Islamic Jihad was that God’s wrath had been roused against the tyrants. But living under the rule of a benign government, as is the Government of our Queen and Empress, it is not Jihad to entertain rebellious designs against it but it is a barbaric idea which is born of ignorance. To entertain ill-will against a government under whom life is lived in freedom and there is complete security and religious obligations can be discharged to the full is a criminal step and not Jihad.” (Tohfah-e-Qaisariyyah, pp. 9-10)
The Promised Messiah (as) set forth the true Islamic teaching concerning Jihad. He states:
“Without a doubt, the causes of Jihad do not exist in this country [British India] in these days. Therefore, the Muslims of this country are today forbidden to fight in the name of religion and to slaughter those who reject the Islamic law. God Almighty has clearly forbidden Jihad by the sword in a time of peace and security. (Tohfah-e-Golarhviyyah, p. 82)
He stated in a letter to Hazrat Mir Nasir Nawab:
“The Jihad of this age is to strive in upholding the word of Islam, to refute the objections of the opponents, to propagate the excellences of the Islamic faith, and to proclaim the truth of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, throughout the world.”