Thursday, January 17, 2008

Let's talk about "jihad"

WND reports:
An Islamic "jihad" is an effort by Muslims to convince "others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research," according to a middle school textbook used in California and other states.

And even at its most violent, "jihad" simply is Muslims fighting "to protect themselves from those who would do them harm," says the "History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond" book published by Teachers' Curriculum Institute.
...The textbook council, an independent national research group set up in 1989 to review history and social studies texts in public schools, quoted directly from the book to provide evidence of its bias.
The word jihad means "to strive." Jihad represents the human struggle to overcome difficulties and do things that would be pleasing to God. Muslims strive to respond positively to personal difficulties as well as worldly challenges. For instance, they might work to become better people, reform society, or correct injustice.

Jihad has always been an important Islamic concept. One hadith, or account of Muhammad, tells about the prophet's return from a battle. He declared that he and his men had carried out the "lesser jihad," the external struggle against oppression. The "greater jihad," he said, was the fight against evil within oneself. Examples of the greater jihad include working hard for a goal, giving up a bad habit, getting an education, or obeying your parents when you may not want to.

Another hadith says that Muslims should fulfill jihad with the heart, tongue, and hand. Muslims use the heart in their struggle to resist evil. The tongue may convince others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research. Hands may perform good works and correct wrongs.

Sometimes, however, jihad becomes a physical struggle. The Quran tells Muslims to fight to protect themselves from those who would do them harm or to right a terrible wrong. Early Muslims considered their efforts to protect their territory and extend their rule over other regions to be a form of jihad. However, the Quran forbade Muslims to force others to convert to Islam. So, non-Muslims who came under Muslim rule were allowed to practice their faiths.
Besides the falsehoods - especially the last sentence, which certainly doesn't apply to Hindus and any other non-dhimmis - this is consciously parroting Islamist talking points as opposed to how the word "jihad" is used, and understood, in daily Arabic. (The fact that there are a number of "Islamic Jihad" terror groups proves the point quite well.)

In addition, many - or most - Muslims themselves do not believe that the hadith that introduced the topics of "lesser Jihad" and "greater Jihad" are authentic. See this thread in a British Muslim message board, where the first poster sniffs:
I jus thought i would make this post and make it clear that a major hadith which has desperately slipped into mainstream society of the so-called "greater" and "lesser" jihad is fabricated.

The hadith that is used is:

"When the prophet was returning from battle he said 'we have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad'"

this hadith is used to say that the physical jihad is lesser than the actual jihad an nafs. [against oneself.]

sheikh ul islam ibn taymiyyah said that you will not find this hadith in any of the six books and that you can not trace the isnad. he also says that the killing of the mushrikeen in jihad is the greatest of actions. [Mushrikeen are polytheists - EoZ]

This is a corruption of jihad so people dont have to go and fight and would rather stay back and say "i am perfecting myself"

for now


For fun, I decided to look up old books in Google and see how "Jehad" was explained by the earliest English-language chroniclers of Islamic history. In these texts, consistently, "Jehad" is translated as "religious war", "holy war" or something similar.

The earliest mention I could find is from the 1708 book "The Conquest of Syria, Persia, and AEgypt, by the Saracens" where Jehad is translated as "Bellum Sacrum - Battles of the Lord."

By no means were all of these books biased against Islam, many are describing Muslim wars in India as factually as possible. It just means that the definition of Jihad as "inner struggle" is at worst a recent fiction and at best an obscure usage that is being trotted out to counter the consistent Islamic use of the word to describe violent actions and atrocities.