“IS jihadists claim Paris attacks that killed 128”
– 17 hours ago, Yahoo! News
“France is target of choice for jihadists”
– 6 hours ago, Yahoo! News
“UK Muslims seek own path in countering jihadism”
– 13 hours ago, Yahoo! Singapore
In the roughly short span of just 24 hours, and THANK YOU Yahoo! especially, the number of headlines with the word “jihad” has been thrown out more times than the number of eggs in my refrigerator, and frankly, none of them make any sense.
The Arabic term ‘Jihad’- unlike western languages’ convenient translations to refer to ‘holy war’, refers instead to every Muslim’s obligation in “striving as much as we can” to carrying out our own obligations to Allah. There are 5 different types of Jihad, and the greatest Jihad is that against our own self, our soul.
Jihad of the heart/soul (jihad bin nafs/qalb)
This is also known as “the greater Jihad”, which shows us just how important this jihad is over the other forms of jihad. Every muslim is obligated to do Jihad of their heart/souls, to struggle to remove evil ideas, desires, hatred, anger and so on from the depths of their soul and choose patience, tolerance and goodness in obedience to God’s commands. We believe that every test, every challenge in our lives is meant to be an opportunity for us to do jihad in order to make ourselves better people.
“Jihad is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it maybe that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.”
Jihad by the tongue (jihad bil lisan)
This refers to the defending and spreading the message of Islam through scholarly lectures and debates. This does not mean that we have to make the other person accept our viewpoint without exception. It just means passing on the message, and whether they accept it or not it is up to them.
There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut (idol worship) and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
Jihad by the pen/knowledge (jihad bil qalam/ilm)
This jihad also involves defending and spreading the message of Islam through writing articles which help to clear misconceptions and lies against Islam, for example, producing evidences of miracles from the Quran.
Jihad by the hand (jihad bil yad)
This jihad is done through actions and physical good deeds- giving charity to the poor and needy, helping others, saving people’s lives… and so on.
And lastly, Jihad by the sword (jihad bis saif)
Before you go, “ohhhhh there you go, see! Islam is violent,” You have to know that this jihad is also termed as “the lesser jihad“, meaning that all the prior forms of jihad come BEFORE the jihad by the sword. Also, there are only TWO situations where Jihad by the sword is allowed:
- For self-defence. When someone attacks you or when your nation has been attacked. Engaging into combat due to self defence.
- Fighting against evil and unjust. It is a sin if a Muslim sees injustice being done and he is capable of stopping it, yet he does not do anything about it.
There are also many rules when engaging in Jihad by the sword- civilians must not be harmed; trees are not to be cut down; surrendering enemy soldiers should be given shelter; etc. and, do not enforce Islam.
And before you say “But that’s not needed in the world today, therefore Islam is violent,” then take a closer look at the other countries which are engaging in warfare at the moment. Are they all muslims?
So if you take another look at the headlines above:
“France is target of choice for jihadists”
Yes, that’s true, but not just France, the WHOLE of humanity in need of ‘jihadists’.
Because with all that hate that is going on at the moment on both sides- from the perpetuators of terrorist acts worldwide as well as the people who hate on all muslims because of this – we, as muslims, need to continuously strive to exercise patience, love and tolerance in our souls and actions and speech. After all, the world is full of ‘jihadist’ muslims, everyday, trying to become better people.
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