Jihad

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Professor: Kylie Olean
RPW 110
Spring 2011
Response essay
The misinterpretation of Jihad, as a form of violence.

Words: 2000

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 mosques and had a lot of audience hence the impact it had on Muslims was much more. His concept of jihad as warfare and fight against non-Muslims originated thus and slowly gained favor amidst other Muslim leaders as well. Jihad today is practiced in many countries all over the world. However, as stated earlier Jihad’s true meaning was lost in the course of human history .What we have and practice today is a corroded or corrupted version of a noble virtue. Jihad its actual meaning is to struggle, striving in the way of Allah (al-jihad fi sabil Allah). Jihad primarily refers to the inner struggle of being a person of virtue and submission to God in all aspects of life. The Quran permits violence only at the event of war as a means of self defense. “To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to defend themselves), because they are wronged - and verily, Allah is Most Powerful to give them victory - (they are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right - (for no cause) except that they say 'Our Lord is Allah'... (The Holy Quran, 22:39-40)” This quote from the Quran gives permission to Muslims to fight if they are wronged first or if war is declared against Muslims first. This is misinterpreted by extremists. They think that the western heritage has declared a war against their way of life and their religion. However this has been misinterpreted by the demagogues for their selfish ends. Today, the misinterpretation of Jihad is gaining grounds and becoming more prevalent than ever. The children are calculatedly taught that their religion is being threatened, their spirituality and devotion in God is manipulated and transformed into an aggression. They are taught how to use guns and are taught to fight against non-believers. “These Hammas entities engage in the incitement and radicalize society and undertake recruitment efforts to socialize even the youngest children to aspire to die as martyrs” Hammas is a terrorist group and use entities like orphanages and schools to recruit children Thus, it is a compulsion but a camouflaged one. These terrorist organizations do not follow the standards set in the Quran by Allah and Mohamed they make their own variety of the religion and spread this to young minds, who can’t think for themselves at that gullible stage of life. This makes it easier for terrorist organizations as these children can’t think they believe everything to be true and as generations are...
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