STM-150: INTRO TO RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Dr. Walter T. Richardson
JIHAD! 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 those residing in America. Most of these American’s define Jihad as, “total warfare” or “holy war”. Many Muslims seek to keep themselves and their religion from being associated in violence. They maintain that their usage of Jihad is only spiritual. Most Muslims in the United States maintain that Jihad is harmless and only exerts spiritual warfare against evil. Majority of Muslims see this as the chief definition, even though it is not the word’s primary meaning. To make matters worse, I have found different types of Jihad. Throughout fourteen centuries Muslims have worked on this. “In law according to...