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Muhammad's definition and practice of Jihad is the correct one.

Reader comment on item: "Jihad" on Trial

Submitted by Shareef Muhammad (United States), Jan 31, 2006 at 04:44

Mr. Pipes boldly asserts that Jihad is "unabashadly offensive" which is at variance with its original application over 1400 years ago.

The Prophet Muhammad was the first in history to define and practice jihad and if we are to be honest in assessing its original meaning then it is necessary to consult his practice. Without getting too detailed Muhammad began his message in his place of birth which was Mecca. He was persecuted and his followers tortured and killed. This went on for fourteen years and during this time he did not give permission to fight back---emphasis on BACK. Instead he fled the persecution to the neighboring city of Medina where he and his followers would establish the first Islamic state with Muhammad as its head. T

he Meccans who had so ruthlessly persecuted this small religious community had now gathered an army to invade Medina with the intention of vanquishing the newly created and fragile theocracy. It was then that the verses imploring Muslims to fight were first revealed. Even justified by the attack of invading armies Muhammad placed stringent conditions on his followers which are ignored today by both Muslims claiming to practice jihad and those orientalist such as Daniel Pipes writing about it. Muhammad said: "Fight in the way of Allah but not kill women, children, the elderly, the infirmed. Do not demolish homes or trees." We can conclude from the earliest practice of jihad the following: 1) For the first fourteen years of the Muslim community Muhammad and his followers were pacifists, 2) jihad originated as an act of self-defense, 3) it was declared by the head of state and 4) the ethics of war that Muhammad placed on his followers explicitly prohibited killing noncombatants. It is dishonest ...to assume that the practice within an institution is the same as its ideals. This kind of reckless conclusion drawing is to be expected from the media and laymen but such shallowness cannot be tolerated by academic professors. It is only by honoring the original meaning and practice of jihad can we undermine the religious veracity of terrorists who have found a convient avatar for their nationalism.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (2) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Muhammad's definition and practice of Jihad is the correct one. [358 words]Shareef MuhammadJan 31, 2006 04:4433221
Prophet's definition [52 words]car313Jun 12, 2010 12:3333221

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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