nigeria is in the news because of the kidnapping of nigerian school children by a muslim group that professed “jihad” in the name of allah as the reason for the act, but what really is jihad all about?
jihad is a religious duty for muslims whether we like it or not, and In arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning struggle.
particularly in the shiahs beliefs, it refers to struggle against those who do not believe in the abrahamic god or allah. however, the word has even wider implications.
a person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is mujahideen.
a minority among the sunni scholars sometimes refer to this duty as the sixth pillar of islam; there are two commonly accepted meanings of jihad: an inner spiritual struggle and an outer physical struggle.
the greater jihad is the inner struggle by a believer to fulfill his religious duties. the non-violent meaning is being emphasized by both muslim and non-muslim authors.
however, there is consensus among islamic scholars that the concept of jihad will always include armed struggle against persecution and oppression.
The lesser jihad is the physical struggle against the enemies of Islam. this physical struggle can take a violent form or a non-violent form.
the proponents of the violent form translate jihad as holy war, although some islamic studies scholars disagree.
some scholars maintain non-violent ways to struggle against the enemies of islam as in jihad of the pen.
today, some muslim authors only recognize wars with the aim of territorial defense as well as the defense of religious freedom as legitimate.
n ahmadiyya islam, jihad is primarily one’s personal inner struggle and should not be used violently for political motives.
Violence is the last option only to be used to protect religion and one’s own life in extreme situations of persecution. quranists do not believe that the word jihad means holy war.
for them it means to struggle, or to strive, and they believe it can incorporate both military and non-military aspects; it is understood primarily as defensive warfare in military aspects.
for the sunni, jihad has been classified either as the greater jihad, the struggle against one’s ego or self, or the lesser jihad, the external physical effort, often implying fighting, similar to the shia view of jihad as well.
while the sufic view classifies jihad into two parts: the greater and the lesser. muhammad put the emphasis on the greater jihad by saying, holy is the warrior who is at war with himself.
in this sense external wars and strife are seen as but a satanic counterfeit of the true jihad, which can only be fought and won within.
in this sense it is the western view of the holy grail which comes closest to the sufic ideal, for to the sufis, perfection is the grail, and the holy grail is for those who, after they become perfect by giving all they have to the poor then go on to become aabdal or changed ones like enoch.
for hebrews, Enoch in the generations of adam is the son of Jared, the father of Methuselah, and the great-grandfather of Noah.
This enoch is supposedly not to be confused with cain and abel. cain’s son, enoch whose lineage also contains the name lamech, the same name of noah’s father but not referring to the same man.
two years after the death of the islamic prophet muhammad in 632, muslims under the leadership of caliph umar began military campaigns against the byzantine empire and the sassanian empire.
in the battle of yarmuk in 636, muslims defeated the byzantine army, forcing the empire to withdraw from syria.
the byzantines surrendered near cairo in 641, while the conquest of alexandria, then capital of egypt, took longer.
in 642, muslims defeated the persians at the battle of nahāvand, opening up the plateau to muslim conquest. within 15 years iran had been conquered, and muslims later pushed into central asia.
the roots of jjhad and the origins of bin laden’s concept of jihad was traced back to two early 20th-century figures, who started powerful islamic revivalist movements in response to colonialism and its aftermath.
the muslim world widely accepted their ideology after the arabs’ defeat in the 1967 war, but the muslim brotherhood’s papers detailed a plan to seize the u.s.
the group’s takeover plot emerged when a handful of classified evidence was revealed detailing islamist extremists’ ambitious plans for the said takeover.
indeed, the muslim brotherhood is engaged in a long-standing war on the west, and since 1948 until the 1970s, it engaged in assassinations and terrorism in egypt and has indoctrinated many who went on to commit acts of terror.
muslim brotherhood’s supreme guide issued the statement – al qaeda’s bin laden is a jihad fighter.
the americans used its own ad hoc definitions of jihad in indictments of individuals involved in terrorist activities:” jihad is the arabic word meaning holy war with the use of violence, including paramilitary action against persons, governments deemed to be enemies of the fundamentalist version of slam.
probably in the similar context of or parallel to the muslim jihad, the early christians were reasoning out of love of god their wars against the muslims, thus making us all victims of their faith and religious beliefs.