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In this age of terrorism and extremism, certain words have been co-opted from mainstream Islam for use by the extremists, and that co-opting has led to misuse of the words by the mainstream media, political figures, bloggers, etc.  The most well known of these, and perhaps the most significant for Muslims, is the use of the word "jihad".

I believe it is time to start reclaiming this word in mainstream Islam.  Rather than allowing Western authorities and media to redefine jihad using the terrorists definition, we need to educate the American (and Western) public as to exactly what jihad is, and why it is not a threat to them.  This diary will attempt to do so.

More below the fold.

Lets get the controversy out in the open right away.  Most of you, undoubtedly, have heard much about Islam being a religion of peace, and if you are like most Western non-Muslims, you have a hard time squaring that statement with what you see in the world around you.  When terrorists commit an attack, they claim it is in the name of "jihad".  When a new terrorist group crops up somewhere, it is not uncommon for it to have the word "jihad" in its name (e.g. The Egyptian Islamic Jihad), or to hear the word uttered by the groups leaders and spokespeople.  You understand this word to have a particular meaning, based mostly on how it is used by politicians, media personalities, and "experts" in terrorism and such, along with the terrorists themselves.  Even the dictionary backs up your understanding.  From Merriam-Webster:

noun ji-ˈhäd, chiefly British -ˈhad\

1: a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty; also : a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline
2: a crusade for a principle or belief

Emphasis mine.  Most people see that bolded part; see that it obviously matches their personal idea of what jihad means, and look no further.  And why should they?  They found their answer, right?  I do not blame Westerners or other non-Muslims for this lack of curiosity.  We live busy lives.  I was lucky, in that I was an exception to the rule in the West.  When the horrific attacks of 9/11 occurred, I had already been studying Islam for close to a decade.  I understood, thanks to those studies, that what Muhammad Atta and those others did was not jihad.  It was a criminal act of mass murder.  

There are four types of jihad, and each type of jihad contains several areas.  In total, there are thirteen different areas of jihad.  There are also two levels of obligation in jihad: fard ayn, which means an individual obligation on all Muslims, and fard kafaayah, which is an obligation on the community as a whole.  With a fard kafaayah, if sufficient numbers of the community are engaged in this type of jihad, the rest of the community is relieved of the obligation.

The first type of jihad I will discuss is called jihad an-nafs, which means jihad against oneself.  jihad an-nafs is a fard ayn, obligatory on all accountable (all Muslims).  There are 4 areas within jihad an-nafs:

1. Striving to learn the teachings of Islam.  This jihad never ends, as only the blessed Prophet, may peace be upon him, could possibly know all there is to know of Islam.

2. Striving to make yourself act according to what you have learned.  It is not enough to simply learn something.  You must apply what you have learned in the way you live your life.  You must, so to speak, practice what you preach.

3. Striving to call others to Islam, and teaching those who do not know about it.  Having knowledge yet failing to share that knowledge is concealing the guidance and teachings of Allah (swt), and a person who does this will not benefit.  Indeed, he will face punishment from his Lord for such failings.

4. Striving to bear or tolerate the difficulties and insults which inevitably arise when trying to call people to Islam, or teach those who do not know.  This means, for one, keeping ones composure in the face of heated disagreement and insults thrown around when teaching Islam.  Another meaning is gladly bearing the risks incurred by calling people to Islam.  Such risks can include persecution, ostracization, and in extreme cases even violence or death.

Notice that word "striving".  In the Holy Qur'an, Allah (swt) tells us:

"And those who strive hard for Us, We shall certainly guide them in our ways, and Allah is surely with the doers of good." Qur'an 29:69

The word means the following:

1. Make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.
2. Struggle or fight vigorously: "scholars must strive against bias"

To make great effort.  To struggle vigorously.  It is not enough to satisfy jihad an-nafs if you are half-hearted about it.  You must try your hardest to complete all four areas of this type of jihad, and do so throughout your life (when there is opportunity present).  So, in summary, a good Muslim is to strive, throughout his life, to study Islam, act on what he learns, teach it to others, and be patient with the response of those taught, even when that response is hostile.

The second kind of jihad is jihad ash-Shaytan, which means struggle against Satan, and it too is fard ayn, or an individual obligation of all Muslims.  Jihad ash-Shaytan includes two areas:

1. Striving to fend off the doubts that Shaytan (or Satan) uses to undermine your faith.  For any Christian, this will be familiar and self-explanatory.  Shaytan uses lies and tricks to make you doubt your beliefs, and you must constantly strive to fight this evil.  This jihad is followed by maintaining certainty of faith.

2. Striving to fend off the corrupt desires Shaytan provokes.  Examples of this are striving to overcome lust, greed, the urge to gamble, the urge to drink alcohol, take drugs, etc.  This jihad is followed by patience.  Allah (swt) says:

“And We made from among them [Children of Israel], leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)” Qur'an 32:24 (emphasis mine)

Thus, in Islam, leadership in religion comes through patience and certainty of faith.  This is an extremely important jihad, and one which non-Muslims rarely if ever hear about.

The third kind of jihad is a twofer: jihad al-munafiqin, which means jihad against hypocrites; and the one most Westerners will recognize, jihad al-kuffar, or jihad against the unbelievers.  Collectively this is known as jihad bil saif, which means jihad by the sword, and it is fard kafaayah, an obligation of the community as a whole.  This type of jihad is followed in four ways:

1. With the heart.  This means offering dua, or supplication.  Supporting those away on jihad with your thoughts and prayers.

2. With the tongue.  Using speech for the purpose of jihad.  Speaking out against the hypocrites and unbelievers in your midst.

3. With ones wealth.  This can mean financing the jihad, but it can also mean taking care of the families of those Muslims who are away fighting jihad.

4. With oneself.  Fighting jihad yourself, and accepting the risks thereof.  Considered the highest form of jihad.

To understand the concept of jihad bil saif in its proper context, we must first look at the circumstances that led to the first Qur'anic permission to fight.  When the blessed Prophet (pbuh) began preaching the word of Allah (swt) in Makkah (Mecca) to the Quraysh (his tribe), he and those who believed...the first Muslims...were ostracized from their community and severely punished by such things as beatings and starvation.  Their own clans, a sort of extended family, disowned them.  After patiently bearing this treatment for thirteen years, the Muslims finally fled to Madina (Medina).  However, instead of satisfying the Quraysh by having forced the Muslims to flee, this only enraged them further.  Now that they were gone from Makkah, the Muslims were out of their reach.  Then, as now, bullies hate it when somebody gets away from them.  Since they could no longer individually persecute the Muslims, they determined to either annihilate the growing Muslim nation entirely, or force them to return to the idolatry practiced by the Quraysh.

It is against this backdrop that the Muslims were given the first permission to fight their attackers:

"Permission (to fight) is given to those on whom war is made, because they are oppressed. And surely Allah is able to assist them - Those who are driven from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is Allah. And if Allah did not repel some people by others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, in which Allah's name is much remembered, would have been pulled down. And surely Allah will help him who helps His cause".  Qur'an 22:39-40

This permission to fight was a direct result of the actions of the Quraysh.  Like some other verses that are abused by both terrorists and Islamophobes, it was a response to a situation that existed in real time in 7th century Arabia.  Because before this time the Muslims were enjoined from fighting, this represented a divine intervention on the behalf of the Muslims, allowing them to defend themselves.

The word "defense" is key here.  Remember, Allah (swt) said: "Permission (to fight) is given to those on whom war is made...".  This was not a permission to wage an offensive war.  Permission was not given for an unprovoked attack against the Quraysh.  But if war was forced upon them, the Muslims had permission to fight back and to defeat the Quraysh for the glory of Allah (swt) and the protection of His religion, Islam.  When considering jihad bil saif, all of the above must be kept in mind.  

To understand jihad al-munafiqin (jihad against hypocrites), lets consider what a hypocrite is.  From Merriam-Webster:

noun ˈhi-pə-ˌkrit\
1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

All of us who attend a church, synagogue, or mosque have seen this type of person.  One who pretends at piety during worship, and spends the rest of the week in sin and debauchery.  There are also forms of hypocrisy, perhaps even more common, that aren't so easy to see.  For example, a person who does not believe in his heart that which he professes with his mouth, though he seems to live his life according to that which he professes.  Only Allah (swt) can see what is in the heart of a man.   It is no less of a hypocrisy, though, for its invisibility to men.  This jihad is related to jihad an-nafs, in that it is a struggle to maintain certainty of faith.  In this case, though, it is the certainty of faith of the wider community, and also of other individual Muslims, that you must try to maintain.  It is followed, like that in jihad an-nafs, with certainty and patience.  You must maintain your own certainty of faith, and help others to achieve (and maintain) certainty of faith, being patient with their progress.

Hypocrisy is a tricky thing.  It can hide itself not only from others, but even from the hypocrite himself.  For this reason, it is permitted (though not taken lightly) to accuse another Muslim of being a munafiq.  This accusation, if taken to heart, may lead the Muslim to confront that in himself which is hypocritical that he didn't realize was there.

Jihad al-kuffar, or jihad against unbelievers, is the one cited by terrorists to excuse their criminal acts.  In Qur'an 2:256, which was revealed after the permission to fight, we are told "There is no compulsion in religion."  Because of this it is certain that there is no connection between religion and fighting.  Thus, there is no compulsion (or permission) to advance Islam through fighting.  Attempting to bring people to Islam through the use of war (or terrorism) is, therefore, not supported by the Qur'an.  In another verse, Allah (swt) said:

"And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, and be not aggressive; surely Allah loves not the aggressors" Qur'an 2:190

Aggressive war is never allowed in Islam.  Thus, such acts as those done by terrorists, which according to them are done for Islam, or in the name of jihad, are not valid in Islam, and thus do not comply with the duty of jihad.  Because of this command not to wage aggressive war, we can say with certainty that Islam is, indeed, a religion of peace.

Another thing which must be discussed here is the following verse:

"So when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolators wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush. But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful". Qur'an 9:5

Other translations have it simply as "...slay them wherever you find them...", and this verse, perhaps more than any other, has been taken out of context and used to stir up fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims.  This verse was revealed after the hijrah, or the migration of the Muslims from Makkah to Madina, and is referring to the idolaters such as the Quraysh, whom the Muslims were at the time waging defensive war against...a war forced upon them by the Quraysh.  The verse does not apply to Jews or Christians, despite the lies of the Islamophobes, for two reasons:  one, they are not considered idolaters, as they worship the same God that Muslims do; and two, this verse directly applied to an existing situation, and was not intended to apply to future situations.  It was a direct command relating to the historical situation in Arabia in the 7th century, and has no bearing on modern day jihad.  Treaties are to be honored in Islam, as long as the other side keeps the treaty.  Later in the same chapter, Allah (swt) says:

But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and attack you for your Faith,- fight ye the chiefs of Unfaith: for their oaths are nothing to them: that thus they may be restrained. Qur'an 9:12

Note the conditional here.  If they attack you "for your faith", then they must be fought.  They must be restrained.  Remember, the whole reason the Quraysh were attacking the Muslims is because they had accepted Islam over the pagan beliefs of the tribe.  The entire war was because of their faith.  The tribal leaders routinely made treaty with Muhammad (pbuh) and then broke it...thus these verses were revealed in direct response to the situation.  Attempting to apply this verse (Qur'an 9:5) as justification for an unprovoked attack on innocent people, of whatever religion or lack thereof, is criminal ignorance of the worst kind.

The last type of jihad is that against the leaders of oppression and innovation.  This jihad is fard kafaayah, obligatory on the community as a whole.  It has two areas:

1. Striving against injustice. Oppression is, of course, a major injustice meant here.  All other injustices are also to be addressed, though, wherever they are seen or known.  These injustices can include anything from occupation of Muslim lands to mistreatment of children.  In Islam, it is a sin to see an injustice, be able to correct it, and take no action.

2. Striving against innovation.  Note here that in Islam, the word innovation means making changes to the basic practices of the religion that are not supported by the Qur'an or the Sunnah.  An example would be adding an extra prayer on Friday, or changing the order in which things are done during prayers, or adding a hand gesture after offering a dua (a current controversy).

In Islam, we believe that our religion was delivered and perfected by Allah (swt) through his Messenger (pbuh).  Since one cannot improve on perfection, we do not believe in changing any aspect of the religion for any reason not clearly supported by the Qur'an and Sunnah.  We wish to worship in as close a manner as we can to the way in which our blessed Prophet (pbuh) himself worshiped, because there can be no better example for us.

In conclusion, jihad is not a "Holy War on behalf of Islam", as Webster and the majority Western opinion would have you believe.  It is a struggle, much of which is directed inward and intended to increase the iman (faith) of the Muslim, and help him to deal with serious issues like temptation and avarice.  While there is a component of armed jihad, it is intended for defensive purposes only, as aggressive war is prohibited in Islam.  In addition, using jihad to spread Islam, as espoused by some extremists and screamed about from the rooftops by Islamophobes, is not valid jihad, and not representative of Islam.  Jihad does not belong to the extremists.  It belongs to Islam, and it is time for Muslims to reclaim it.

Allahu 'alim, God knows best.

Originally posted to Street Prophets on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 09:49 PM PDT.

Also republished by Anglican Kossacks, Spiritual Organization of Unapologetic Liberals at Daily Kos, and Muslims at Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  quite early in the aftermath of 9-11 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg, downsouth, figleef, Terra Mystica

    I became frustrated with the Western MSM and even the secular press of the region in understanding the religious aspects of what had happened and the terms being used.  At that time, we were deeply involved in Iraq and were engaged in active conflict with al Sadr adherents.  In the news reports, I found Grand Ayatollah al Sistani frequently mentioned as a major Shi'a religious leader so I googled his name and discovered his site:
    There I found many answers to my questions in English as my study of Arabic has floundered several times.  While Islam is far from monolithic and different ayatollahs have different opinions but many do have a web presence and do have English versions of FAQs,  I have found these resources do help resolve my understanding of Islam's tenets.
    Juan Cole, Josh Landis, Helene Cobbana and other bloggers have done yeoman service in explaining ME events but these other primary sources provide background information that is invaluable.
    (yes I have been called a dupe and idiot for lending credence to sites set up by Muslim clerics)

  •  You think we can reclaim the word (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster

    Crusade from the Muslim world?  Doubtful.

    Preemptive war is like committing suicide for fear of death

    by thestructureguy on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 10:45:57 PM PDT

    •  not sure what you mean by this. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 11:39:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Crusade" to Muslims (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        figleef, downsouth, Terra Mystica

        Implies a pogrom by the West to subjugate the Muslim world. Unfortunately, jihad is likely to suffer a similar fate. The difference, however, is that jihad has basically only a religious context, while "crusade" can be used in secular contexts.

        •  But why reclaim it? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Terra Mystica, downsouth, JDsg

          I see the need for Muslims to reclaim the word jihad, since it is the word already used in the Qur'an for this struggle, and when us westerners misuse the word, we're actively misrepresenting devout Muslims.

          But why reclaim "Crusade"?  Does the Bible call anyone to Crusade?  Last I checked it was the Pope, not the Bible, who called the Crusades.

          And what were these Crusades called by those Popes in days of yore?  Arguably, they were pogroms by the West to subjugate the Muslim world, couched in the name of issues like "Reclaiming Jerusalem".

          When you have modern groups (eg. the Campus Crusade for Christ) using the word Crusade, they're not using trying to use a word that would be benign or neutral if only it weren't misunderstood.  They're deliberately drawing our minds back to when Christianity was violently attacking non-Christians, and using that association to encourage an aggressive (though hopefully non-violent) effort to spread their faith.

          Does anybody aside from corporate marketers want to use the word Crusade in a context that ignores the history of the Crusades?

          Gassho _/\_ — Thank you for reading...

          by figleef on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 06:41:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Its possible... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Terra Mystica, JDsg, sofia

      but, as you say, doubtful.  If you notice the definition I quoted of jihad, the second meaning was "a crusade for a principle or belief".  The difference between a crusade and a jihad, though, is that the Crusades were specifically intended to spread religion and/or kill unbelievers, while jihad is not, despite the wishes of the extremists.  The problem is that crusade has a secular meaning, and it is a perfectly legitimate meaning.  The number of English-speaking reverts to Islam is growing rapidly, and as that happens I think the word might begin to be reclaimed.  Among poor folk who speak only a language other than English, though, the word "crusade" will remain poisonous.

      Terror has no religion.

      by downsouth on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 06:33:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for a very (7+ / 0-)

    enlightening and interesting discourse on the Islamic term which is most misunderstood in the West (although, of late, Sharia seems to be making a hard charge to take over that place).  Many of our misconceptions are dispelled by putting these quotes from the Qu'ran in their full context.
    One difficulty in dispelling these misconceptions is that a tiny, but determined, minority within the faith seem to have  dedicated themselves towards the goal of reinforcing these misconceptions.  In effect, the faith must engage in a two-pronged jihad of its own -- an external struggle to dispel the misconceptions about it and educate the world on what this concepts mean and an internal struggle to seize back these terms and concepts from those who misuse them for criminal objectives.  

    One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision -- Bertrand Russell

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 11:03:10 PM PDT

    •  Thank you... (6+ / 0-)

      Shariah is also very misunderstood, and it doesn't help that there are many interpretations of exactly what it means and what it calls for in a given situation.  I did discuss Shariah in another diary, but I feel it was not the in-depth treatment that the subject deserves.

      Your comment about seeing things in context is exactly right.  The people who like to spread Islamophobia cherry pick verses and throw them out there with no context at all, and since most Westerners are not Muslim they have no idea of the history or the setting relating to that verse.  Qur'an 9:5 is their favorite, but they even cherry pick the translations to get the one which will paint Muslims in the worst light.  It is very damaging to Islam.  

      The struggle to reclaim not just these words but the very concept of Islam in Western minds from the extremists is ongoing, and your analysis of what needs to be done is dead on.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Terror has no religion.

      by downsouth on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 06:52:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I saw your diary on Sharia and recc'd (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        downsouth, JDsg, sofia

        it as it was an excellent discussion on the topic.  As you provide this context to the discussion of Islam in an attempt to fight Islamaphobia, I hope that you will consider dealing with one on dealing with another meme used to denigrate Islam -- polygamy and the denigration of women. As I understand i,, there is a verse in the Qu'ran which, while permitting a man to take 4 wives, says that one may only deal justly with one.   As I see it, the Prophet understood the milieu in which he was working in 6th centruy Arabia, and basically tried to bring the people into a system in which there would be less denigration of the status of women then existed prior to that time in that place.

        Context is always important, and never more so than in interpreting religious texts.  Reading through, for example, Numbers or Deuteronmy, and taking the commands out of the context of the time and place place both Judaism and Christianity into a very bad light vis a vis our modern view of  right and wrong.  Some practititioners of both religions continue to take a literal view of the injunctions, rather than understanding the context in which they were made.   The same appears to be true in Islam.  

        That is not to say that any of these religions is "wrong" per se.  But, rather that it is important for modern practitioners to understand the essential truths contained therein, rather than simply focusing on literal, non-contextual understandings.

        One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision -- Bertrand Russell

        by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 07:39:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is a big problem. (3+ / 0-)

          The question of the treatment of women in Islam, and the misconceptions about it, is something I do plan to cover, insha'allah,  in another diary.  As a progressive, it is a subject that is close to my heart and needs to be dealt with properly and accurately.  I'll say this much here though: the denigration of women that you bring up is not valid, and is based on what men want as opposed to what God wants.

          Another subject I am considering that will necessarily touch on women's rights in Islam is the equality of all people introduced by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and how it changed the world around him, and what it has meant for both Arabia and the larger world.  It was a revolutionary concept at the time.

          Terror has no religion.

          by downsouth on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 08:15:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Your God is my god. (5+ / 0-)

    Your diary is awesome. The Prophet, peace be upon Him, had a good understanding of peace and beauty. Your diary here that starts to educate non-Muslims about what Muslims believe and why is doubly good. Islam is a faith of peace, as is Judiasim and Christianity. When used in the correct way, these religions can work for peace and justice. As I said in my diary earlier today, Muslims, Jews and Christians live in the "Communal Apartment" of the same God. Call him Yahweh, God or Allah: it's the same loving, accepting, all-embracing God of LOVE.

    Thank you for your diary. I will re-publish it to Anglican Kossacks.

    I will be canvassing for marriage equality in Maine. Will you?

    by commonmass on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 11:06:17 PM PDT

    •  Thank you, commonmass (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Terra Mystica, JDsg

      For both the great comment, and the republish.  Your statement in your diary about the "Communal Apartment" struck me, as that is exactly what I have been trying to convey to all who will listen.  There is but one God, and whether we be Muslim, Christian, or Jew, we all love and worship Him in our particular way.  The more we realize that, the more there is the possibility of peace and understanding among us.  Our divisions and differences must give way to mutual respect and freedom to worship in our own way.  When that happens it will be a beautiful day indeed, and I believe Allah (swt) will be well pleased to see His children joined together in praise and worship.

      Terror has no religion.

      by downsouth on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 07:03:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Then you're saying when radical (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    figleef, JonathanInTelAviv

    islamists commit violent acts in the name of the religion and call it jihad, they are misinformed?

    •  No, the point is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angry marmot, downsouth, JDsg

      When terrorists commit violent acts and we call it Jihad, we are misinformed.  

      Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

      by Eiron on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 07:09:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. But... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to be clear, if the average Westerner is misinformed it is the fault of the extremists who misuse the word jihad, along with the media, politicians, and "experts" who spread the misinformation.  I don't blame the man on the street for believing what his government and his media have told him...I blame the extremists.  My job, so to speak, is to try to correct that misinformation wherever I can.

        Terror has no religion.

        by downsouth on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 07:22:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well... (5+ / 0-)

      I personally think the extremists fall into two groups: those who know the truth, but choose to distort it for personal fame or other reasons; and those who are ignorant of the truth and are taught a violent interpretation and told that it is the truth.  An example of this would be children sent to an extremist madrassa.

      So my answer would be that yes, some are misinformed, while others are simply twisting Islam to justify their hatred and violence.

      Terror has no religion.

      by downsouth on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 07:09:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "aggressive war is prohibited in Islam" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When did that become true?

  •  Excellent diary, downsouth! (5+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this explanation, especially the importance of context in interpreting Qur'anic verses.

    One of the things that bothers me is the use of jihad to mean any effort or action committed by a group of extremists, no matter what they're religion. For example, it's not uncommon to see something like "the Republican jihad (always pronounced jee-HOD) against women." It always makes me uncomfortable because it reinforces the misconceptions about the term.

    If the people one day wish to live / destiny cannot but respond / And the night cannot but disappear / and the bonds cannot but break. -- Abu'l-Qasim al-Shabbi

    by unspeakable on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 10:48:30 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely right. (5+ / 0-)

      I was watching television the other day (something I seldom do, due to the nature of American tv) and a commercial came on for a tv show.  In it, a character uttered "This is a left-wing jihad against me!", referring apparently to a political attack against his character.  That kind of thing bothers me immensely, too.  Good to know I'm not alone.

      Terror has no religion.

      by downsouth on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:12:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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