Root cause of Jihadist mentality and notion

By Mehnab Khan
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By Mehnab Khan

11/6/2010 9:35:36 AM -

Jihadist mentality and the ongoing trend of spread of Jihad within Muslim and non-Muslim nations has already turned into a major issue of greatest concern of the international community. It was already revealed by anti-Jihadist and counter-terrorism experts in the world that, basically Jihadist notion is planted in the minds of innocent Muslims mostly inside Islamic school, which are known as madrassas as well as Tablighi Jamaat and Friday prayers in various mosques. In most of the Muslim nations, Jihad is taken as a noble task or rather a holy cause by the Muslims, as Qur’an also categorically puts emphasis on every Muslim on having Jihad in their daily lives.

The very meaning of Jihad has already been given wrong interpretation by various fanatic Muslim groups or Wahabbis. In reality, Jihad stands for ‘self striving’ against all forms of wrongdoings and evil deeds in human life. Qur’an gives instructions to Muslim in refraining from committing any evil deeds as well to stay aloof from wrongdoings. But, such decent meaning of the Qur’anic code is misinterpreted by the radical Muslim leaders, where they show Jihad as Holy War against non-Muslims. Some even claim that, meaning of Jihad has been misinterpreted by the Western societies with the ulterior motive of defaming Islam as this religion has turned into one of the fastest growing religions in the West.

Jihad, an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates into English as struggle. Jihad appears frequently in the Qur'an and common usage as the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of Allah (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid [Jihadist]; the plural is mujehideen. Jihad is an important religious duty for Muslims. A minority among the Sunni scholars sometimes refer to this duty as the sixth pillar of Islam, though it occupies no such official status. In Twelver Shi’a Islam, however, Jihad is one of the 10 Practices of the Religion.

Muslims use the word in a religious context to refer to three types of struggles: an internal struggle to maintain faith, the struggle to improve the Muslim society, or the struggle in a holy war. The prominent orientalist Bernard Lewis argues that in the Qur'an and the ahadith jihad implies warfare in the large majority of cases. In a commentary of the hadith Sahih Muslim, entitled al-Minhaj, the medieval Islamic scholar Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi stated that "one of the collective duties of the community as a whole (fard kifaya) is to lodge a valid protest, to solve problems of religion, to have knowledge of Divine Law, to command what is right and forbid wrong conduct".

In western societies the term jihad is often translated as "holy war". Scholars of Islamic studies often stress that these words are not synonymous. Muslim authors, in particular, tend to reject such an approach, stressing non-militant connotations of the word.

Within classical Islamic jurisprudence—the development of which is to be dated into the first few centuries after the prophet’s death—jihad is the only form of warfare permissible under Islamic law, and may consist in wars against unbelievers, apostates, rebels, highway robbers and dissenters renouncing the authority of Islam. The primary aim of jihad as warfare is not the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam by force, but rather the expansion and defense of the Islamic state. In later centuries, especially in the course of the colonization of large parts of the Muslim world, emphasis has been put on non-militant aspects of the jihad. Today, Muslim authors only recognize wars with the aim of territorial defense as well as the defense of religious freedom as legitimate.

Whether the Qur'an sanctions defensive warfare only or commands an all out war against non-Muslims depends on the interpretation of the relevant passages. This is because it does not explicitly state the aims of the war Muslims are obliged to wage; the passages concerning jihad rather aim at promoting fighters for the Islamic cause and do not discuss military ethics.

In the classical manuals of Islamic jurisprudence, the rules associated with armed warfare are covered at great length. Such rules include not killing women, children and non-combatants, as well as not damaging cultivated or residential areas. More recently, modern Muslims have tried to re-interpret the Islamic sources, stressing that Jihad is essentially defensive warfare aimed at protecting Muslims and Islam. Although some Islamic scholars have differed on the implementation of Jihad, there is consensus amongst them that the concept of jihad will always include armed struggle against persecution and oppression.

Controversy has arisen over whether the usage of the term jihad without further explanation refers to military combat, and whether some have used confusion over the definition of the term to their advantage.[27]

Middle East historian Bernard Lewis argues that "the overwhelming majority of classical theologians, jurists, and traditionalists (specialists in the hadith) understood the obligation of jihad in a military sense." Furthermore, Lewis maintains that for most of the recorded history of Islam, from the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad onward, the word jihad was used in a primarily military sense.

Bernard Lewis' interpretation on Jihad is partially correct according to Fiqh Made Easy: A Basic Textbook of Islamic Law which describes Jihad as being "divided into four types:

Jihad against the soul: Struggling against the soul to yearn for the Religion, act upon those teachings, and call others to them. (Paraphrased)

Jihad against Shaytan: Struggling against Satan without doubts or desires.

Jihad against the disbelievers and hypocrites: this is done with the tongue, hand, heart and wealth.

Jihad against heretics, liars, and evilfolk: This is best done with the hand, if not the hand then the tongue, if that's not possible then the heart."

Jihad has been classified either as al-jihād al-akbar (the greater jihad), the struggle against one's soul, or al-jihād al-asghar (the lesser jihad), the external, physical effort, often implying fighting (this is similar to the shiite view of jihad as well).

Gabril Haddad has analyzed the basis for the belief that internal jihad is the "greater jihad", Jihad al-akbar. Haddad identifies the primary historical basis for this belief in a pair of similarly wordedhadith, in which Mohammed is reported to have told warriors returning home that they had returned from the lesser jihad of struggle against non-Muslims to a greater jihad of struggle against lust. Although Haddad notes that the authenticity of both hadeeth is questionable, he nevertheless concludes that the underlying principle of superiority internal jihad does have a reliable basis in the Qur'an and other writings.

In contrast, the Hanbali scholar Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawaziyya did believe that "internal Jihad" is important but he suggests those hadiths as weak which consider "Jihad of the heart/soul" to be more important than "Jihad by the sword". Contemporary Islamic scholarAbdullah Yusuf Azzam has argued the hadith is not just weak but "is in fact a false, fabricated hadith which has no basis. It is only a saying of Ibrahim Ibn Abi `Abalah, one of the Successors, and it contradicts textual evidence and reality."

Muslim jurists explained there are four kinds of jihad fi sabilillah (struggle in the cause of God):

Jihad of the heart (jihad bil qalb/nafs) is concerned with combatting the devil and in the attempt to escape his persuasion to evil. This type of Jihad was regarded as the greater jihad (al-jihad al-akbar).

Jihad by the tongue (jihad bil lisan) is concerned with speaking the truth and spreading the word of Islam with one's tongue.

Jihad by the hand (jihad bil yad) refers to choosing to do what is right and to combat injustice and what is wrong with action.

Jihad by the sword (jihad bis saif) refers to qital fi sabilillah (armed fighting in the way of God, or holy war), the most common usage by Salafi Muslims and offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Some contemporary Islamists have succeeded in replacing the greater jihad, the fight against desires, with the lesser jihad, the holy war to establish, defend and extend the Islamic state.

Some of the critics of Islam and several Muslim reformers continue to term Jihad as an ‘evil act’ and they even say question the very insertion of this term in Qur’an by subsequent Caliphs of the prophet of Islam. According to their own connotation, Jihad is an unholy task, which basically aims at murder of non-Muslims (who are treated by Muslims and unbelievers).

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