Written by Theresa Corbin
Jihad! Yes, I said it *looks over shoulder to see if the FBI is going to pounce*.
Jihad is a source of fear and loathing the world over. It is embedded in popular culture as something crazed Muslims do in the name of their religion. But what does it really mean? Should we rely on the media to learn our religion or to learn about other’s religions?
Nah, prolly not a good idea. Unless you like being ignorant and led down the path of bigotry. Is there a place we can go to find out the truth about such things? Is there a source? Somehow? Somewhere? Yes, and in the case of jihad it is the Quran. The source is the Quran. Not those who take Quranic verses and explain them out of context.
Jihad does not mean to blow oneself up and kill innocent people in the process. This is NOT allowed in Islam. Period! Jihad does not mean holy war –the Arabic term for holy war is harbun muqaddasatu. Jihad is not even pronounce GEE-had.
Jihad [jee HOD] n.- 1. As a Quranic concept, involves resisting the base desires and struggling against all that would take one away from good. 2. It is to resist, to defend oneself if attacked. 3. As an Arabic term, it can mean to struggle in any way. It can be a jihad to study hard and make good grades.
Struggling and fighting are two separate but often related terms. The word most people mean when they use jihad is “qital”, which means to fight. One may have to struggle (jihad) against their desire to run and hide when they should fight (qital) an armed aggressor who first fights them.
It’s semantics. The problem is not with struggling or fighting, but with those who twist the Quran.
Yes, qital or fighting is prescribed in Islam when it is against armed aggressors:
Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they have been wronged -truly Allah has the power to come to their support- those who were expelled from their homes without any right, merely for saying, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ […]. (Quran, 22:39-40)
Those who twist the meaning of the command to fight often quote the Quran as stating, “slay them wherever you catch them”. (Quran 2:191) But these same people leave out the most important part. Who is the them? The rest of the passage states:
Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than death. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah. But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors. (Quran 2:190-193). [emphasis added]
Another trick of detractors is to quote part of chapter 5 verse 9 of the Quran:
Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war).
But it somehow slips their mind to mention the context in which this was revealed.
This verse is referring to the early Muslims who had entered into treaties with neighboring tribes (Jewish, Christian, and pagan), Some Jewish and pagan tribes violated the terms of their treaty. They secretly aided an attacks against the Muslim community.
The proceeding verse instructs the Muslims to continue to honor treaties with those who did not betrayed them. The verse continues to say that those who violated this treaty have declared war, so fight them. Islam does not advocate pacifism in the face of injustice. Without justice, peace IS an illusion.
So, who is to blame for propagating this “jihad” misinterpretation/ misunderstanding?
First and foremost, ignorant Muslims are to blame for giving Islam a bad name because they themselves do not understand their religion.
This is very important to note- the actions of Muslims DO NOT define Islam. Islam is complete, does not change (Shariah), and can be traced to its source. Muslims are imperfect human beings, who sometimes do not practice jihad against their own desires.
Why and how is this misconception propagated?
The Muslims: Muslims see their brothers and sisters in Islam being insulted, degraded, oppressed, raped, and murdered all over the world. As anyone with a heart will do when they see their loved ones hurt, they get emotional. When you mix emotion with uneducated minds, you get irrational and often violent behavior.
These ignorant Muslims will twist the Islamic right (and human right) to fight in self-defense defense of as permission to commit suicide bombings and other atrocities. They blatantly ignore the strict Islamic rules in defensive fighting that forbids harming civilians, their property, and even forbids destroying crops, trees, or livestock.
They search for an “Islamic” ruling to meet their desires, and when they find something in their culture or find someone who has distorted the Quran, they run with it. But the Ummah (the Muslim community worldwide) does not benefit from this. If you think this is OK, there are better and actual halal ways to help your brothers and sisters in faith!
The Ummah needs to take a good look at itself. We need more personal jihad and less fighting:
Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. (Quran 13:11)
It is obligatory on every Muslims to learn his/her religion for a reason. If we do not understand our religion, who will? If we don’t fix ourselves, how will Allah change our condition?
The non-Muslims: There are those who portray Islam as a religion that condones the use of “jihad” to kill innocent people. And these same people will claim that all Muslims are terrorist.
This is not so. The acts of a few do not define the many.
Can we call Christianity a religion of brutality because of The Crusades and The Inquisition? Certainly not. Can we call all American men wack jobs because of the Oklahoma city bombing, the numerous school shootings, the Batman movie theater shooting, and so on? No, because the actions of a few, deranged people do not define the motivations and actions of everyone in that group.
Those who propagate stereotypes of all Muslims as terrorists do so for many reasons, some of which include fear, ignorance, and hatred. But those who do it to control the masses are usually after power and/or wealth.
Whatever the ends, the dissemination of false information about an entire group is the means. So anti-Muslim propaganda is disseminated in the media, in popular culture, and all over the internet. It is easy to view a group as evil if it is the popular thing to do.
Those who twist the Quran and spread lies about Islam and the Muslims, you are creating injustice which will make peace impossible. It would be more prudent to make alliances with the 99.9% of Muslims who also believe the actions of these few, fringe, deranged Muslims are wrong instead of demonizing all Muslims.
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