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Jihad in Islam
Ever since the Renaissance, Muslims have been subjected to difficulties. From the Inquisition in Spain and Andalucia to the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Chechnya, the Muslim people have endured colonial regime and economic and military oppression.
By the means of media, Islam (Submission)
has been given a sinister image in the eye of the public opinion, this notorious image is mainly due to the ignorance and misunderstanding of the media and public. A word which is often heard and associated with the acts of certain individuals, claiming to act in the name of Islam, is the Arabic word: Jihad. Its significance plays an extremely crucial role in the image of Islam.
But what does this so widely known word mean?
Jihad has a great significance in the lives of Muslims (Submitters in English). Like any language, Arabic has unique words which have a particular meaning which cannot be translated precisely. The best translation known for such a word is the following: a sincere and noticeable effort (for good); an all true and unselfish striving for spiritual good.
Jihad as presented in the Quran and any of the other scriptures implies the striving of spiritual good. This Jihad particularly involves change in one's self and mentality. It may concern the sacrifice of material property, social class and even emotional comfort solely for the salvation and worship of God ALONE. As a result, one who practises Jihad will gain tremendously in the Hereafter*.
"The Hereafter is far better for you than this first (life.)"(93:4)
"Say, "O my people, do your best, and so will I. You will surely find out who the ultimate victors are." Certainly, the wicked will never succeed."(6:135).
The Jihad involves noticeable effort for righteousness. This means that the effort concentrated in the Jihad is a step in the true and ultimate path of Islam (submission); the effort imposed on one's self. Thus Jihad is solely individual, self-centered and self-interested. This effort is only the doing of good for salvation and pardon of God. The Quran points this out in the following verse:
"The day will come when every soul will serve as its own advocate, and every soul will be paid fully for whatever it had done, without the least injustice." (16:111).
" The day will come when each soul will find all the good works it had done brought forth. As for the evil works, it will wish that they were far, far removed. GOD alerts you that you shall reverence Him alone. GOD is Compassionate towards the people. " (3:30).
In respect to the above Quranic verses, God tells the believers that all acts will reflect the soul of their authors. Examples of this Jihad would be to exceed in the sincere act of good deeds (to frequent the mosques that worship God alone more often; to study the scripture in detail, to help the poor and the orphans, to stand for people's right for freedom, be equitable, never bear witness false testimony, frequent and stay in good terms with friends and neighbors, etc.) and the restraining of the doing of sins (to commit adultery, to steel, to lie, to cheat, to insult people, to gossip, etc.);
"As for those who lead a righteous life, male or female, while believing, they enter Paradise; without the slightest injustice." (4:124).
The previous Quranic verse highlights the meaning of Jihad and its role. It has also mentioned the importance of the sincerity when it is practised.
Jihad emphasizes on the individual.
Say, "O my people, do your best, and so will I. You will surely find out who the ultimate victors are." Certainly, the wicked will never succeed."(6:135).
Jihad also includes the striving and establishing of justice. Before one can strive for justice in his/her community, justice must be one of his/her main religious and moral principles.
Jihad may also reflect the war aspects in Islam (Submission). The fighting of a war in the name of justice or Islam, to deter an aggressor , for self defense, and/or to establish justice and freedom to practice religion , would also be considered a Jihad .
"You shall strive for the cause of GOD as you should strive for His cause. " (22:78).
The previous Quranic verse incites man to strive , in the cause of God. The cause of God is justice and freedom for all, keeping the Quranic principle, "NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION" (2:256) on top of the list.
"As for those who lead a righteous life, male or female, while believing, they enter Paradise; without the slightest injustice.(4:124).
"Never indeed, by your Lord; they are not believers unless they come to you to judge in their disputes, then find no hesitation in their hearts whatsoever in accepting your judgment. They must submit a total submission."(4:65).
"O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is rich or poor, GOD takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment), then GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do." (4:135).
Since this verse shows that God accepts only justice, fighting in the name of God is fighting in the name of justice. But, contrary to many people's interpretation, Jihad is anything but a holy war; the media and public misunderstand this.
In the light and essence of Islam (Submission) and the Quran, there is no war which is holy; this, under any circumstances whatsoever. In fact the whole text of the Quran and the religion of Islam (Submission) revolves around the concept of peace, not war.
To many people's ignorance, Islam (Submission) is also a word that share the same root of the Arabic word Salaam meaning peace. To Islam (Submission), war is unholy, Jihad must mean anything but holy war.
However, there are times, in certain circumstances, when Islam (Submission) tolerates, permits and sometimes even accepts the practise of war. Islam strongly emphasizes the ideas of justice, freedom and opposition to oppression. There is another condition: fighting for self-defense. War is tolerated in these conditions, but if there is a possibility to avoid war, then this alternative, as long as it is reasonable, must be taken.
"You shall prepare for them all the power you can muster, and all the equipment you can mobilize, that you may frighten the enemies of GOD, your enemies, as well as others who are not known to you; GOD knows them. Whatever you spend in the cause of GOD will be repaid to you generously, without the least injustice.If they resort to peace, so shall you, and put your trust in GOD. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient." (8:60-61)
Self-defense involves oppression, aggression and tyranny; Islam tolerates the use of war in these cases.
"Permission (to fight) is granted to those who are being persecuted, since injustice has befallen them, and GOD is certainly able to support them. They were evicted from their homes unjustly, for no reason other than saying, "Our Lord is GOD." If it were not for GOD's supporting of some people against others, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and masjids - where the name of GOD is commemorated frequently - would have been destroyed. Absolutely, GOD supports those who support Him. GOD is Powerful, Almighty."(22:39-40).
The other condition and perhaps the most important and often confused as a holy war, is the war in the name of God which actually means in the cause of God as God does not encourage war but rather encourages peace whenever possible. Fighting an oppressor or aggressor is fighting against oppression or aggression, thus it is fighting for justice and therefore in the name (cause) of God. See (2:244), (22:78) and ;
"Those who readily fight in the cause of GOD are those who forsake this world in favor of the Hereafter. Whoever fights in the cause of GOD, then gets killed, or attains victory, we will surely grant him a great recompense. Why should you not fight in the cause of GOD when weak men, women, and children are imploring: "Our Lord, deliver us from this community whose people are oppressive, and be You our Lord and Master."(4:74-75).
Even as an enemy, the Muslim (Submitter in English) must respect his adversaries. Mere, brutal and barbaric fighting is condemned in Islam (Submission). Islam condemns barbaric killing of any human being. During military activities, the killing must not include civilians, provided they do not attack or provoke or share directly in the war. . The enemies, even when at war, must be treated justly. If victory is achieved in any war for justice, then there is to be no oppression, enslavement or injustice to the enemy or people. Nor must there be control over source of wealth of the nation or people or colonial regimes. The division of people, putting them one against the other is also forbidden.
Justice and freedom must be established. The cooperation and acceptance of other cultures and peoples is compulsory too.
" GOD advocates justice, charity, and regarding the relatives. And He forbids evil, vice, and transgression. He enlightens you, that you may take heed.(16:90)
"O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant."(49:13)
In Brief; the meaning the media gives to this word (Jihad) is false. This word does not mean a holy war, for there is nothing holy about a war in Islam (submission). There are times when war is tolerated, permitted and even, in some case, to a point accepted, but never considered holy. Islam (Submission) is a religion of peace, no matter what certain media or deranged individuals say or claim. Islam (Submission) revolves around the concept of peace.
"If they resort to peace, so shall you, and put your trust in GOD. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient."(8:61).
About the Author: www.the-islam-way.com