Yusuf Khan

Engineer, Eskom Holdinds Limited

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Jihad, is it a holy battle to cause fighting in this world or to bring about peace?

Jihad is a widely discussed subject, since it deals with a major part of the worlds religious population, Islam. People have misconceptions on Jihad and feel like they should make it safe for the rest of the world by softening its meaning. For a Muslim, Jihad is the most difficult, and rewarding of activities during our lifetime.
Peoples view can only be clarified with proper evidence and talking about it. Id appreciate knowing what you guys think and if you are prepared to learn more about the reality of things.

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    Apr 4 2013: I am very irreligious but respect belief systems that enrich humanity. Growing in a country and a state with a huge muslim population, listening to 'La ilaha illa-Allah' as part of Azan my whole life, I had the privilege of watching the people of Islamic faith.
    I'd say Islam has moved quite far from the saying of Hadith "the ink of a scholar is more holy than the blood of a martyr" these days. Sadly, Jihad, the lower and physical struggle, has come to be identified as the only meaning and Jihad, the higher and spiritual struggle has almost ceased to make impact on people.
    I do not believe religion is going to determine our lives in 100 years from now but I think the cultural traditions that religions created will continue to work on societies. It will be a shame if the violent and fundamentalist fractions of Muslims (they are a minority) can hijack the benign, intellectual and deeply spiritual essence of Islam that flourished in the 8th Century.
    I'd place my hope and trust on you brother Yusuf.
  • Apr 4 2013: Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    I think that the peaceful intentions of the vast majority of the community of Islam are obvious to see, provided one is open to the obvious.

    It is sad that the people who believe in violence have been so successful in spreading their propaganda regarding Islam and jihad.

    There are real and potentially conflicting differences between Islam and the concepts of freedom, particularly the separation of religion and state. These differences need not lead to war or any form of violence.

    The real conflict is between those who seek peace and those who prefer violence.
  • Apr 4 2013: so jihad can be summarized as "doing your best in the way of Alah". thats a good way to go about life whatever ones belief. after reading all your comments it made me think of how hitler took a Buddhist symbol(correct me if im wrong) and put bad connotations on it, though a mixture of media perpetuating one side had a lot to do with the negative look on jihad. if there were muslims speaking against the extreme form, and im sure there were, they wouldnt get much media play.
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      Apr 4 2013: Thanks Nathan for the summary. In essence, i live in South Africa, and we have Muslim communities who do their best to keep clean, pray often, not look at females without respect, and also help the community among many other things. I haven't grown up to find Muslims fighting a holy war to impose their views on people. This is wrong not only Islamically but for anyone that claims humanity as well.

      I know that people can relate to doing good deeds like those mentioned above as well, and see that these are the same things we strive for as well.
      • Apr 4 2013: i appreciate you making the clarification. you did change my view on the word and any misconceptions were my own fault for takin the medias word for it and not researching myself. one thing i didnt think was that all muslims were represented by what the media showed. currents a real good channel for showing another side. theres a lotta cold blooded stuff that goes down that would never see CBS NBC and any other american news feed unless it was amy goodman reporting. once again , thank u for raisin the awareness.
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    Apr 13 2013: Yes I agree.
    I do find it sad how many do not truly understand Islam, and it upsets me grealtly.
    For ever since watching "Lesley Hazleton: On reading the Koran", it made me realize I was wrong.
    And I view that the concept of an "internal Jihad" is a very admirable one! Which I admire greatly for it shows "willpower and motivational skills" and a desire to become a more "empathetic person", and "get in touch with Allah!" ;) (If I understand it correctly)
    It an interesting question though, because in my opinion they are the same thing, to make peace you must cause fighting. It is just the way you choose to frame it.
    However, as a Strong agnostic, I do find spiritual beliefs amazing, and have never truly understood them!
    While I must ask you :
    What does a Jihad achieve for you? :-) (Inner peace?)
    EDIT :
    (On this topic I recommend to you the debate I started : "Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?"
    Link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/17451/can_we_ever_design_an_experime.html) I won't go on about this, because this is a completely separate issue!

    P.S I hope I have not offended you at all! This was not my intention! :P
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    Apr 5 2013: G'day Yusuf

    This has come up before but maybe not on this site not sure on that one.........Present day Jihad is related to violence & warring but that of course wasn't always the case like with any group rising up to voice their own misgivings.

    If we take a look at the Spanish inquisition, the inquisition was originally intended in large part to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam (Wikipedia) however it escalated into a bloody war with the Moors. The point is Christianity wasn’t about dominance or warring in God’s name in the first place but loving thy neighbour but a certain group of Christians got together & turned it into something else for which it was never intended to be. Jihad can be & is similar to the Spanish inquisition but it doesn’t have to be.

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      Apr 5 2013: Hi Matthew.

      Thank you for your view and I respect it. I feel that as the human race on the whole, we are getting closer to appreciate a peaceful way of living. The ideas that we all want to do good show us that we do have goodness in us as a built-in trait. Though we seem to misjudge others quite often and sometimes too easily. I wouldn't say that we as individuals have all the answers, but our attitude towards people who do not share our beliefs are quite lacking.
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        Apr 5 2013: G'day Yusf

        Don't get me wrong Yusuf I don't blame easterners for retaliating because the west have been using & abusing the east from day dot however fighting fire with fire has very little to do with our own religious beliefs, no true religious belief tells you to go out & kill in the name of God unless one wishes to manipulate religious teachings for one's own desire.

        I would love the east to show the way through true spiritual teachings without forcing one's beliefs onto another that is where the real power lies not in violence, by retaliating all one is doing is showing how they can be like the people they are retaliating against, show the way please.

  • Apr 5 2013: So the Jihad is the struggle against injustice, with both injustices one see's in the world and inside oneself. This is hardly a new concept to those of us who are not Muslim so and I believe we can all relate. Of coarse it is taken out of context by those without a cultural understanding of the practice, we know only what we have seen. Far too many times have the only things I've heard about Islamic Jihad been about the physical violence done in the name of the Muslim faith despite its real purpose. Each of us struggle with our own inner demons, our temptations, our emotions; From what I read, and correct me if I am wrong, this inner struggle is as important a part of Jihad as standing up the evil we see outside of ourselves. I agree that one should stand up against violence, tyranny, oppression, hatred and abuse in the world and if that is the Muslim term for this struggle than I agree that it is a concept shared by many though perhaps without the specific traits of the Muslim faith. Good people are not so different in this regard. Also, those who wish to cause evil are similar to each other; they seek justification for their hatred and violence and so champion a cause seen by many to be rightious that those they are attacking did not understand the true meaning of, hence the misconception. I like the example of Hitler using the Buddhist symbol for his swastika, another one that might hit home is the KKK championing christianity to persecute people of all different faiths, ethnicities, and political views among other things. We can not control who takes our principles and twists them into an excuse to hurt and to hate, but we can try to look deeper than only those who use these causes in spite of the true intent of what they teach, and not consider all with related yet peaceful views as exactly the same as the ones of violence. Thank you for sharing part of your culture and clarifying. It seems a noble cause when practiced nonviolently.
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      Apr 5 2013: Hi Chris! I appreciate your feedback and understanding. Please read my reply comment to ZX Style just below and see what I explained to him about Muslims and violence in this world in our context and what we as Muslims are actually thought about this. Thank you.
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      Apr 5 2013: Thank you for your feedback and understanding. The fighting that you hear about across the world is being done by Muslims who claim that it is in the name of Allah. Please note that none of these 'wars' that are fought are being done as a conquest or to force somebody to do things. Most of the time the it is as a reaction of defense to people attacking their rights, families and beliefs. If somebody is attacked, then surely they are allowed to defend themselves. What we see on the media are mostly propaganda driven stories I feel.
      There are places such as Nigeria where there are Muslim vigilantes 'Boko haram' who go around killing people in their country who they believe are propagating unislamic practices such as prostitution, drinking alcohol and others. Although they may feel that they are doing something noble, it is infact unislamic. Our prophet Mohammed (may peace be upon him) thought us how to live with people who aren't Muslim as he did so in his lifetime.
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          Apr 5 2013: As a Muslim my job is to practice my faith and be the best I can be. My commitment to my community and family in terms of Islam is of respect,loyalty and support.

          The fighting that you elude to across the world which involves Muslims can be many things, but the people who know best of their pains are those that are in it themselves. In Islam we are taught not to judge people to evil or good since we do not know what is truly in their hearts. I cannot objectionably do anything about the fighting in those countries unless I can appreciate what is truly happening there. If the Muslims are in the wrong,it'll be my duty to try and help them find their way. If they are justified it'll be my duty to support them.

          In essence what I'm saying is,if one wants to judge the conflict that is happening,they'll will need a detailed assessment of what is truly happening there. This can apply to any conflict. With half truths and propaganda driven views, we cannot say who is right and who is wrong except what answers our minds have been moulded to view.

          I hope that this is adequate.

          Thank you,
      • Apr 7 2013: "The fighting that you hear about across the world is being done by Muslims who claim that it is in the name of Allah."

        It is unfortunate that the world seems to believe terrorists who claim that their religion is Muslim. Personally, I believe that the religion of every terrorist is terrorism. Terrorists in a Muslim land would naturally claim to be motivated by Islam. Terrorists in a Christian land would claim to be motivated by the Bible. The words of people who advocate violence should not be believed.
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          Apr 8 2013: Goodmorning!

          No, i am saying that i cannot classify what they are doing into Jihad or anything if i don't understand their problems. Its like someone being judgmental about another person without knowing what they have really been through.

          Just a question then, how would you classify as being violent? Would people carrying out terrorism only be doing the wrong thing or is wars carried out by super powers with military strength the ones that are justified in what they do? Who really knows the truth behind the reasons made to fight against people?

          I certainly don't acknowledge that any sort of physical fighting is good, but at the same time i wouldn't want a person to be helpless in a situation when they are being attacked. We live in a harsh world and i know this as a reality to have to live with everyday living in South Africa. People are sometimes killed just because they drive nice cars or are ladies who cannot walk alone or even just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

          Violence would not stop irrespective of religion, what i am rather trying to get across, is the wrong interpretation of what Jihad is to Muslims and hence media mostly use it as a medium to lever hate towards Muslims.
    • Apr 5 2013: Violence can occur regardless of the culture surrounding it. Violence is the most expedient way a frustrated person will try to end their frustration. When a person gives up on peaceful and respectful means to solve an issue they simply want to eliminate the percieved source of their frustration. No matter who you are, what you believe, or where you are from, this is a failure to find a true solution to a conflict. Though while retaliation is also wrong, self defense should never be considered as anything other than the natural reaction to violence.

      "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
      Isaac Asimov
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        Apr 5 2013: That's a good explanation on violence Chris. Resolution by peaceful means makes the most sense in this day and age where we also appreciate how valuable yet fragile a human life is.
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    Apr 4 2013: Jihad is a holy war meant to propagate Islam by force; and the victims of this war or the opponents are those who do not believe in Allah as sovereign and Mohammed as his prophet.

    I dont think any war has anything to do with peace.
    Not even a holy war.
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      Apr 4 2013: You are indeed correct. a physical conflict between people is not a way to create peace. Though, my point is that Jihad for which Islam was founded on was based on wars and battles which had their reasons and rulings, as i mentioned previously.
      However the Jihad in Islamic terms is wider than just a physical conflict!

      According to Islamic Law, Islam is not to be forced onto anyone. So you point about Jihad being a war to propagate Islam is a wrong perception and not the reality of things. If you believe otherwise, please share with me your sources at least and we can discuss further.
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      Apr 4 2013: Also note that Jihad also has a side to it which is for Muslims to "fight" with the things in life we see as evil and detrimental. Things such as drinking of alcohol, taking on intoxicants, drugs, fighting with people, treating people with disrespect and many more.

      Taken out of the context of Jihad, we find that we all want to combat similar such things in life to lead a healthy and beneficial life. This is the same desired outcome of what Muslims refer to as being part of Islamic Jihad.
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    Apr 4 2013: In the Qur'an, the conditions for conducting a Jihad war was to defend and establish the Islamic state and war in a place where there was an aggressive opponent. This was done in many battles which ranged from groups as small as two people to a war with people that numbered to around 12000 in the finals years of the life of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him).

    The reasons for these battles was not to spread evil and discourse throughout the world. The reason for these battles varied from the rights of women to the protection of the laws that govern a way for people to live. The idea that the reason for taking part in Jihad was "for the sake of Allah" as referred to above.

    "Contrary to the common belief that is embodied in the misinterpretation of “jihad” as “holy war,” Islamic jihad does not refer solely to fighting in the way of Allah. This, in fact, is a special case of jihad. The Qur’anic concept of jihad refers to exerting efforts, in the form of struggle against or resistance to something, for the sake of Allah. This effort can be fighting back armed aggression, but can also be resisting evil drives and desires in one’s self."

    From the above paragraph (extracted from the same website referred to above) we can see that Jihad does not mean fighting and causing discord in the world as we know it.
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    Apr 4 2013: To truly understand a concept you need to know from where it is derived. It is the same for most things that we deal with. Jihad is no exception to this since it indeed has a history behind I feel that many people do not know this to be able to appreciate it.

    Sadly, in the modern world as we know it and the way we are exposed to the concept of Jihad, is through Muslims who are making waves on the international scene. Whether it is a minority, or a majority of people who have this misconception, the understanding will never really be appreciated.

    Let me begin with the meaning of the word "Jihad". Please see the link:
    From the attached site in summary, Jihad is an Arabic word which can be taken literally as “exerting the best efforts”.

    The origin of the concept of "Jihad" in Islam came about at a point in history where the Prophet Mohammed (may peace be upon him) had declared his prophet-hood (his age of 40) and made Hijra (moved away from Mecca to Medina). When he went to the city of Medina, he set out to accomplish the first Islamic state in the world. To start this state, the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) had a few goals in mind. Part of the goals of any successful government as we know is for defense, and being no exception to this, the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) made an effort to build up an army for this Islamic state. The intention of this army was to be as a defense to Islam.

    Armies, now and then were always aligned with taxes and high costs. These were things the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) did not have, though it was revealed to him in the Qur'an that the Islamic army should operate under Islamic Jihad, "fi sabili Allah“, which means “in the way of Allah” or “for the sake of Allah“. The people who formed part of this Army was the followers and companions in Islam to the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him).
  • Apr 4 2013: I am willing to hear your case and respect your opinion.
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      Apr 4 2013: I appreciate your effort to listen and respect my opinion. Its means a lot to me as well as your opinion on the matter as well.
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    Apr 3 2013: Unless I'm terribly mistaken, Jihad is a war of intolerance against everyone that does not share the views of those making war.
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      Apr 4 2013: Perceptions are what some people use to base their views. These perception don't really display the true meaning of things and usually are distorted and take away bits of information which suit their means.

      In my opinion, i feel that you are indeed mistaken, since to comprehend what Jihad is and how is relates to Islam is important to understand this. It is quite sad to realize that quite a few people, even some Muslims have a misunderstanding of this and its meaning in Islam. I shall explain more above. Please read what i say with an objective mind and logically make your own conclusions. Thanks