War, Retaliation, & Patience
Islam permits fighting only in self-defense. Islam lays down strict rules of combat that include prohibition against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees, livestock, and poisoning the wells of your enemies. In Islam, the only wars that are permitted are between armies and they should engage on battlefields and engage nobly. War is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law.
The often misunderstood and overused term Jihad literally means "struggle" and not "holy war". It refers to the inner struggle against evil within oneself. Prophet Muhammad said the greatest Jihad is the struggle of a man against his own evil influences. It also refers to what Christians call a "just war", which is fought against tyranny or oppression - but under a legitimate state authority. Prophet Muhammad told his companions when they were coming home after a battle,
"We are returning from the lesser Jihad [the battle] to the greater jihad," the far more urgent and momentous task of extirpating wrongdoing from one’s own heart and society.
God ordains in the Qur’an not to retaliate and if at all one retaliates, not to exceed the harm afflicted by the enemy, and that remaining patient earns bliss.
And if you take your turn, then retaliate with the like of that with which you were afflicted, but if you are patient, it will certainly be best for those who are patient. (Qur’an 16:126)
... restrain anger, ..God loves those who do good. (Qur’an: 3:134)
"The most hated to God is a person who is fiercely hostile and quarrelsome." (Prophet Muhammad)
Prophet Muhammad elaborated: "The strong person is not the one who physically defeats his adversary, but rather he who keeps control over his temper..."
"I have rewarded them this Day for their patience and constancy: they are indeed the ones who have achieved bliss..." (Qur’an 23:111) God’s Messenger, Muhammad said, "No one has swallowed back anything more excellent in the sight of God, Who is Great and Glorious, than the anger he restrains, seeking to please God most high."