The word Jihad is a word that a lot of people in the western world have heard about, but few actually know the meaning of. The plasticity of the word, especially in regard to its context, has made it a source for a lot of debates. In the West, however, it has become a synonym for the terms “holy war” and “terrorism.” By putting these two terms in a booth limiting the terms’ actual range and meanings often leads to the misunderstanding of Islamic behavior.
Jihad, “to strive or struggle” in the way of God, is sometimes referred to as the sixth pillar of Islam, although it has no such official status.1 The importance of jihad is rooted in the Quran’s command to struggle in the path of God and in the example of the prophet Muhammad and his early companions. In its most general meaning, jihad refers to the obligation incumbent on all Muslims, individuals and community, to follow and realize God’s will; “to lead a virtuous life and to spread Islam through preaching, education, example, and writing.”2
Jihad also includes the right, as a matter of fact the obligation, to defend Islam and the Muslim community from aggression. Throughout history, the call to jihad has rallied Muslims to the defense of Islam. In order to engage in jihad, one must be defending oneself and attempt to restore equality in an unjust action.3 They both address two of the criteria for just war, the first is the criterion of right intention, and the second is the criteria of proportionality. They indicate that one can only act in order to right a wrong, and in defense. It is important to know that these verses were written in a time when Islam was persecuted and violence was not only necessary for defense of the Muslim community, but also unavoidable.4 However, in the modern day society we have seen many examples of terrorist attacks from different extremist groups, justifying their deeds through jihad. These two broad meanings of jihad, nonviolent and violent, are contrasted in an...
Struggle. The word itself does not sound pleasant and then reading the definition it makes it sound worse than it looks. When you are struggling it is usually at a time in your life when you are having a hard time and obstacles are in your way with other things that are giving you trouble. A lot of times I use the word struggle to explain how I got something done. I would probably say something like, “ I struggled through my history paper.” When I looked up the definition of struggle on dictionary.com there were multiple definitions. One was: “to contend with an adversary or opposing force,” another one said: ”to contend resolutely with a task, problem, etc.; strive,” and the last one: “to advance with violent effort.” I think those definitions explain the word struggle very well. In the arabic language, struggle translates into jihad. Jihad is defined as “holy war, a divine institution of warfare to extend islam into the abode of struggle, or to defend islam from danger,” according to the Concise Encyclopedia of Islam. Ian Netton defines it as “holy war” in his book A Popular Dictionary of Islam and he also writes:
“The word derives from an arabic root meaning basically to strive...all muslims are obliged to wage a spiritual jihad in the sense of striving against sin and sinful inclinations within themselves; this is the other major sense of Jihad.”
Both of those definitions...
...Although the term Jihad is as old as the koran itself it was now being used by the media and government officials on a daily basis when referring to the war that was declared on the United States when two commercial airliners were used to successfully topple the twin towers of the World Trade Center. It became a common word in the public’s vocabulary when speaking of Muslim fanaticism and has been associated almost exclusively with terrorism. The meaning ofJihad seemed pretty clear cut. Jihad is a “holy war.” A war waged specifically on all those who do not worship Allah. But is the true meaning? Is it it possible that the meaning has changed over time or that there is actually more than one definition. The Koran, much like the Bible, is blessed and cursed by its antiquity. On one hand the mere fact that it age gives it great relevance and adds to its magic. On the other hand the complex ideas and terms with multiple meanings are up to interpretation with no right or wrong answer.
In David Cook’s booked titled Understanding Jihad he explains that in Arabic, the word’s literal meaning is “striving” or “exerting oneself,” with the implication, on the basis of its usage in the Koran, “with regard to one’s religion.”(1) But this is obviously not the meaning used by radical Muslims like Bin Laden when he speaking of the war on the Western world. The Encyclopedia of Islam states “In law, according to general...
...STM-150: INTRO TO RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Dr. Walter T. Richardson
JihadJIHAD! What is its real definition? Throughout my research I was amazed to find several different connotation of Jihad. There are the American, European, Religious, & Muslim Connotation. Also there are different types of Jihad. This is not surprising due to the fact that Muslims has had fourteen centuries to find a standard definition. “Warfare with spiritual significant,” is the meaning that is given by Muslims, Jurists, and legal scholars. This definition is also given in the encyclopedia of Islam.
In religious readings of long ago, Jihad was said to mean, “holy war”. This definition though is not accepted by Muslims of modern time. “Striving or exerting one self,” is the Arabic meaning of its usage in the Qur’an. In European languages, Jihad has mean negative connotations; yet some Europeans continue to say Jihad meaning is nothing more than “striving”. In order to really understand the meaning of the word, one must look at how it is used in Muslim literature, mostly in Arabic but also in other Muslim language.
Jihad has been used most openly in the United States of America after the tragedy of 9/11; this is especially true for politicians. They have forged the ideas of foreigners wanting to destroy America. Jihad has become a part of the daily language of...
...misinterpretation of Jihad, as a form of violence.
Our society today faces the greatest challenge in the form of terrorism threatening countless lives and shattering those very ideals that sustain humanity. The misinterpretation of jihad is the primary cause behind many terrorist activities in the recent times.
The misinterpretation of this word was first started by Ali ibn Tahir al-Sulami, He was a Damascene jurist and a pious Muslim who was the first to preach jihad against the crusaders in the aftermath of the First Crusade. He was one of the first to misconstrue jihad and preach the misinterpretation of jihad .He wrote the book Kitab Al- Jihad which means “book of the holy war”. In this book he proposes for the first time Jihad as a means of warfare against non-believers. “If he did not undertake the sending of enough troops to fight, those who are absent (must) go out, and consider as an obligation that which God (who is praised) said.”
The above excerpts explicitly prove the aggressive nature of his ideology and the eventual misinterpretation of Jihad. The above statement suggests to Muslims if god didn’t send enough men to war against non-Muslims then it is the obligation of every Muslim to fight this war against non-believers. This concept was shouted through speakers in...
JihadJihad is a term that the West has come to know and fear. The Arabic word, Jihad, means struggling or striving and applies to any effort exerted by anyone. Jihad is really a struggle in life. Extremists misinterpret the religion into believing the religion implies that they should fight with anyone that is against Islam. Extremists use their religion as a scapegoat. Those who are involved with Jihad are a very small percentage of Muslims who are from the extreme, radical, and violent wing of Islamic Fundamentalism.
They are very passionate, religious, and anti Western. They tend to interpret Jihad in terms of personal struggle towards purity. What many people don’t know is that Jihad is not a declaration of war against other religions. The Quran specifically refers to Jews and Christians as "people of the book" who should be protected and respected. All three faiths worship
the same God. Allah is just the Arabic word for God, and is used by Christian Arabs as well as Muslims.
Jihad means struggle and that means any struggle, personal struggles, spiritual struggle, or more popular term for these days a political struggle. In Islam we have no right to fight anyone for any reason except for self-defense. The media plays a large role in the Middle East. It portrays hate back and forth by religious leaders who call death to Americans. Not only...
...The beauty of Jihad is hidden behind the supposed meaning which is “holy war” in actuality there is so much more to jihad, it is a way in which Muslims can struggle and strive for our creator Allah (swt). What makes me sad is the misinterpretation of the word; the media has made it look like a militaristic concept when in reality it is to struggle in the name of Allah (swt) and Islam. Hopefully reading this will help us better understand the wordJihad.
The types of Jihad maybe the key to actually understanding what Jihad is, there are four types of Jihads. The first type of Jihad is to struggle against one’s self and desire, the second is to struggle against the temptations of Shaitan (Satan), the third is to struggle against the disbelievers and the fourth is to struggle against the hypocrites. Struggling against one's self desires means forcing yourself to follow the orders of God (Allah) and to stay away from what God (Allah) has ordered to stay away from. This includes performing the obligatory and the voluntary, and to abandon all acts that are Haram (unlawful) or Makrooh (disliked). This type of jihad also includes forcing oneself to behave with the best manners, the best morals, and to stay away from bad behavior at a time when our desires tell us the opposite. Struggling against Satan means to defend you from his evil whisperings, his doubtful matters,...
...Islam, Terrorism, Jihad and Media
A bomb goes off in a marketplace in Tel Aviv. A suicide bomber launches himself in a bus full of people in the street of Baghdad. Foreign tourists get massacred at a holiday resort in Nairobi, Kenya. This can go on and on. We all have heard this kind of pathetic news in the media. These kinds of incidents are widely known as Islamic terrorism according to the western media. All such incidents have come to be identified with the religion of Islam. Such incidents from past and present have undoubtedly affected Muslims worldwide and more so in the West. Any Muslim, who wants to practice his/her religion and expresses the pious desire to live under the umbrella of Islam, is labeled a fundamentalist or extremist. However, are such beliefs and opinions about Islam really justified?
A couple of things we all have to remember: Islam is not an Arab religion, it's a religion of 1.2 billions of people worldwide. Not all of them are involved with terrorism. One of the many shortcomings that have arisen in the West is judging Islam by the conduct of a minority of its people. By doing this, segments of western society have deliberately portrays the desperate actions of many Muslims, and have given it the
name of Islam. Such behavior is clearly not objective and seeks to distort the reality of Islam. For if such a thing was done - judge a religion by the conduct of its people - then Muslim too could say that all Christianity is about...
...The Message of Jihad in the Koran
6 December 2002
Contemporary events, such as the New York Trade Center attacks, have brought the issue of Islam’s true message about violence and war to the forefront of philosophic debate. We will review some radical interpretations of the message of Jihad, review Islamic scholarly exegesis on these texts and look at the complete Koranic message on the subject. We will find that the text of the Koran itself, even through historic interpretations, can be used to support violence in Jihad. However, the broader goal of peace and conversion of mankind to Islam allows Jihad to be used only in special circumstances, most of which are not usualy consistent with terrorism.
Characterizations of Islam as a religion of violence.
Huston Smith, in his work The Worlds Religions speaks of Western perceptions of Islam,
Muslims report that the standard Western stereotype that they encounter is that of a man marching with sword outstretched, followed by along train of wives. Not surprisingly, inasmuch as from the beginning (a historian reports) Christians have believed that “the two most important aspects of Muhammad's life ... are his sexual licence and his use of force to establish rehgion." Muslims feel that both Muhammad and the Koran have been maligned on these counts.1...