The meaning and Concepts of Jihad

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The Holy of Holy Wars: Jihad In light of recent events in the global community, one word that is used frequently but rarely truly understood is the Islamic word Jihad. Jihad has become a very volatile word, so it is necessary that those who use it should understand exactly what it means, what it entails, and what significance it has in current global events. There are many interpretations of the word Jihad, but the most common literal translation from Arabic to English is "struggle." Many interpret the idea of a Jihad as a holy war. While holy war may be part of the struggle of Muslims, it is not the entirety of Jihad. In its primary sense, Jihad is an internal struggle to rid oneself of debased actions or inclinations and devote oneself to achieving a higher moral standard through prayer, study, and spreading the Islamic Faith, since it is of universal validity (Peace 2). With the use of the word Jihad by men such as Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden, many people believe that Jihad highlights the violent nature of Muslim people. However, in its pure form, Islam is not at all violent. Muslims are taught to fulfill Jihad through four methods: the heart, the tongue, the hand, and the sword (Jihad 2). The first is the internal struggle to cleanse oneself of internal evil. Fulfilling Jihad through heart and hand are directed more toward supporting what is right and correcting which is wrong. Raising the sword in defense of Islam is only prescribed when all other methods have failed and Muslims have come under attack. A passage in the Quran, the holy book of Islam, states, "Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. God does not love the aggressors"(Van Voorst 311). However, there ... ... middle of paper ... true for all people in all areas of life, so expanding the Nation of Islam is a very important goal for all Muslims. To avoid being stopped or pushed back, Jihad can oftentimes become necessary, and despite what popular media may have people believe, Jihad is not evil, it is as pure as Christians saying Grace before eating or Jews wearing yarmulkes. Works Consulted and Cited Jihad. Peace Encyclopedia. Jihad. Last updated March 14 2003 Sherif, Faruq. A Guide to the Contents of the Qur'an. 166-68 Torop, Jonathan. Commentary Magazine. Arafat and the uses of Terror. May 1997. 63-65 VanVoorst, Robert E. Anthology of World Scriptures. Fourth Ed. 2003 Wadsworth Publishing .

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