Essay On Jihadism

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In order to understand the how global jihadism becomes a threat to the present world structure, one must grasp both its traditional and theological underpinnings. The doctrine of jihad, derived from the Arabic word “jahada,” which means “struggle to live in the way of Allah,” is an important concept in Islam religion. Though not officially part of the Five Pillars of Islam—the basic acts of Muslim life, believers consider jihad as a vital religious duty and a major part of their spiritual commitment.

The “struggle” being advocated by jihad has two essential components: the major jihad, which pertains to inner struggle or confrontation against oneself to have a godly life, and the minor jihad, which concerns the outer struggle or war against the enemies of Islam. As described by Etim Okon (2013) , the major jihad includes acts for internal spiritual cleansing, self-denial, mortification, suppression and psychic annihilation of man’s lower nature and sinful instinct. These are personal battles that all Muslims have to go through in order to fully submit themselves to Allah. Meanwhile, the minor jihad calls for acts against those who do not believe in Allah, the infidels and the hypocrites. This facet of jihad calls for Muslim unification to defend the Muslim community against the forces of the enemy (Okon, 2013).

Minor jihad can take a violent form or a non-violent form, depending on the branch of Islam being discussed. A clear understanding on the ideological difference between the traditional and political Islam is an important step towards understanding the psyche of jihadist movements.

Traditional spiritual Islam treats the major jihad to be more relevant than the minor jihad. They put premium in the internal struggle of ea...

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...2007) , “there have been significant debates over whether the so-called ‘greater jihad’ of non-violent, often internal, struggle or the ‘lesser jihad’ of violent, typically external, struggle is more in accord with the teachings of the Koran, Hadith, and other revelation.” The internal versus the outer struggle controversy is a perennial area of contention among Muslim scholars. Traditional spiritual Muslims believe that the inner jihad and following the godly life of Allah is the ultimate form of struggle. However, this ideal has been highly contested by the radical Islamists who subscribe to the proposition that the outer-based struggle is more favorable to God. For them, jihad is the way to defeat the “evils” of the society— the Western ideologies, disbelieving leaders and other government forms—and Islam is the ultimate solution to all the ills of the world.
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