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Real Definition of Jihad

Reader comment on item: What is Jihad?
in response to reader comment: You misunderstood what is Jihad?

Submitted by Wayne (United States), Aug 1, 2006 at 01:09

Regarding the comment by Dr. Fahad, it sounds like he is giving a political viewpoint, not a theological one. One of the clearest writers and thinkers of modern jihad is Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi, the founder of Pakistan's fundamentalist movement. Perhaps Dr. Fahad has even heard of him? Mawdudi wrote, and I quote him, "Islam is not a normal religion like the other religions in the world, and Muslim nations are not like normal nations. Muslim nations are very special because they have a command from Allah to rule the entire world and to be over every nation in the world."

There are three stages of Jihad, the "weakened stage"; the "preparation stage" and the "jihad stage." When the Muslims are a weak small minority living in a non-Islamic society, that is the "weakened stage" and they will submit to the law of the land, yet will also work to increase their numbers, but not by Jihad. As such, they follow the word given to Muhammad in Mecca: "There is no compulsion in religion" (Surah 2:256), The Noble Quran).

Another stage is when the Muslims are a reasonably influential minority (perhaps like they are now in Great Britain) and this would be the "preparation stage". Since their future goal is direct confrontation with the enemy, preparations are made in every possible area; financial, physical, military, mental and any other area. Again the Quran: "Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the godly); they will never frustrate (them). Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides whom you may not know, but whom Allah knows." (Surah 8:59-60, Ali Translation). There are also some interesting comments by "The Noble Quran" – note the words in parentheses: "And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery) to threaten the enemy of Allah. . . Surah 8:60.

Then comes the "Jihad Stage" in which the Muslims are a minority with strength, influence and power. It appears that at this stage every Muslim's duty is to actively fight the enemy, overturning the system of the non-Muslim country and thereby establishing Islamic authority. Where does this come from? Surah 9:5 seems quite clear: "Fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)… Ali Translation. Since the verse says "wherever you find them", then there are no geographical limits and anyone who chooses not to convert to Islam the Muslims are commanded to kill.

Let's face the facts, these three stages are exactly what the prophet Muhammad lived out. Didn't he at first show no animosity to his enemies (Phase 1)? Then after he left Mecca, did he not spend his first year in Medina preparing his army (Phase 2)? After this he declared jihad and went back to fight his enemies and by doing so, completely conquered Mecca bringing it under his authority (Phase 3).

So I hope the above clears up what Jihad really means to the informed Muslim and tells the rest of us what this term "jihad" is leading up to.

Submitting....

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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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