“What is the meaning of the word Jihad in Islam? How has this concept been interpreted by Muslims and what role does it have within their worldview, especially in modern times?”

Topics: Jihad, Islam, Al-Qaeda Pages: 5 (686 words) Published: April 30, 2014
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Introduction
The literal meaning of the word jihad is to strive for anything good in the way of Allah. Defining the word jihad in this way changes the entire concept of Jihad being conceived by not only the Muslims but the entire world in the modern times. Therefore undertaking Jihad would include doing things like striving for peace and the welfare of humanity! And hence Mujahids would be the ones helping the humanity in different ways e.g. by promoting a clean, non- corrupt, tranquil and charitable society. Discussion

Types of Jihad
The word jihad is being interpreted in various ways by various segments of society. The Sufis interpret it as a means to conquer ones desires in other words “jihad-e-nafs”, the political class interpret is as a conquest to expand the Islamic rule and the theological class interprets it as a means to enforce Shariah law and hudood ordinance. Unfortunately groups like the Al Qaeda and Taliban have completly changed the meaning of Jihad and have instead turned it into “terrorism”, i.e. The illegal or unlawful use of violence and coercion for political aims, using jihad and enforcement of Shariah as an umbrella. (Pipes) This one-sided interpretation of the word has led the western world to falsely believe that Islam stands for war and acts of terrorism. In fact, the word Islam literally translates to peace; Islam is the religion of peace and harmony.

Jihad as a holy war
It is true that during the early Islamic times jihad was considered as a means of war, this is because during those times Islam wasn’t well established and Muslims were facing immense amount of oppression from the non- believers therefore it was necessary for them to fight against the non-believers to spread Islam and free themselves from oppression and evil. (BBC, 2009) Another important thing to be noted is that during the early Islamic times the holy wars were waged by the rulers of the Islamic territory on the other hand terrorist leaders claiming to wage jihad like Osama bin laden are not rulers of any territory. Evidence

Here are some of the quotes from Quran proving wrong the meaning of jihad as interpreted by the al-Qaida and the Taliban; "Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not begin aggression, for God loves not aggressors." [Noble Quran 2:190] "If they seek peace, then seek you peace and trust in God for He is the Hearer, the Knower." [Noble Quran 8:61] According to the Sunnah, Prophet PBUH strictly prohibits Muslim soldiers from killing of women, children, and the elderly. Moreover he deems killing as the second major sin. Hence whatever statements these terrorist groups claim as doing jihad are completely wrong. Allah tells us to use our brains hence we should do jihad in ways which are more applicable to today’s world e.g. saving the environment, giving charity to the poor, getting rid of corruption, freeing our country from ethnic violence and terrorism and so on and so forth. (KNAPP, 2003)

Conclusion
In conclusion jihad has to be both on an individual and collective basis. Individually we should struggle against our greed, stop needless consumption, protect the environment, stay away from illegal activities, give alms to the poor and etc. Collectively we should open NGOs and welfare societies to make available educational and medical facilities to the poor, fight global warming, preserving the environment, getting rid of corrupt activities like batha system and much more.

References
BBC. (2009, 8 3). Religons. Retrieved 4 13, 2014, from BBC UK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/beliefs/jihad_1.shtml KNAPP, M. G. (2003). The Concept and Practice. Retrieved April 4,...

References: BBC. (2009, 8 3). Religons. Retrieved 4 13, 2014, from BBC UK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/beliefs/jihad_1.shtml
KNAPP, M. G. (2003). The Concept and Practice. Retrieved April 4, 2014, from Strategic Studies Institute: http://strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/parameters/articles/03spring/knapp.pdf
Pipes, D. (n.d.). Jihad: How Academics Have Camouflaged Its Real Meaning. Retrieved April 2, 2014, from History news network: http://hnn.us/article/1136
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