Religious and spiritual (r/s) struggles entail tension and conflict regarding religious and spiritual aspects of life. R/s struggles relate to distress, but may also relate to growth. Growth from struggles is prominent in Islamic spirituality and is sometimes referred to as spiritual jihad. This work’s main hypothesis was that in the context of moral struggles, incorporating a spiritual jihad mindset would relate to well-being, spiritual growth, and virtue. The project included two samples of U.S. Muslims: an online sample from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) worker database website (N
= 280) and a community sample (N
= 74). Preliminary evidence of reliability and validity emerged for a new measure of a spiritual jihad mindset. Results revealed that Islamic religiousness and daily spiritual experiences with God predicted greater endorsement of a spiritual jihad mindset among participants from both samples. A spiritual jihad mindset predicted greater levels of positive religious coping (both samples), spiritual and post-traumatic growth (both samples), and virtuous behaviors (MTurk sample), and less depression and anxiety (MTurk sample). Results suggest that some Muslims incorporate a spiritual jihad mindset in the face of moral struggles. Muslims who endorse greater religiousness and spirituality may specifically benefit from implementing a spiritual jihad mindset in coping with religious and spiritual struggles.
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