Occam's razor for the last time in answer to "who is beyond help"
Submitted by Michel (United States), Mar 6, 2007 at 14:09
Hallelujah, Dhimmi - you finally prove my point.
Allow me, dear readers to explain my deep sigh of relief, when reading Dhimmi's post, as it delivers strongest evidence for my position to be the correct one.
I stated that within Christianity for instance ( Poll your direct immediate neighborhood) we find various shades and levels of intensity in terms of practicing our Religion.
On one end of the spectre, we find those most fundamental believers in the Bible who spend every free minute on Bible study, never miss a Sunday Sermon and always are willing to quote from this book, whenever the possibility arises.
We find on the other the people who every once in a while go to church, but otherwise do not know much about the letter of the book.
All of the above and all in between call themselves "Christians", even those who have no idea whatsoever about specific paragraphs of the Bible.
Neither being an expert on Islam nor on Christianity, I dared to venture that the very same (with specific focus on domestic Muslims) applies to Islam. That there as well you will find people calling themselves Muslims, yet have the same limited knowledge of the Quran, as so many amongst us have about the Bible.
I dared to venture that, as with our own people, there are many individual interpretations of the religion, teachings and /or expressions.
That notion was utterly dismissed by our fanatic Islamophobes in absolute defiance of fact of life logic.
I then went ahead and mentioned, what I found during my desk research, that Jihad evidently was by some Muslims interpreted as "internal Struggle" and not so much as aggressive, violent, terrorist Holy War against all infidels, including non-combatants.
Dhimmi in his typical patronizing all-knowing attitude responded:
"How many times do I have to tell you that there is a big difference between the following stems of the Arabic root JHD 1. In the first stem we have the words: Ijtihad, Mujtahid, Yajtahid or striving to improve, he who strives to impove, he strives to improve and notice that this "improving" is about secular learning.
2. In the second stem we have the words: Jihad, Mujahid, Yujahid or and you guessed it: Holy war, holy warrior, he fights holy war….
and that I was beyond help, if I did not get it this time.
Now you will get proof for my hypothesis in black and white.
Even though these at times directly contradict, what Dhimmi in his all –encompassing wisdom and knowledge states,
Because right there and then, he proves me right that even Muslim scholars seem to not precisely understand and evidently debate, what Jihad means - just exactly like our own Bible study guys, who can debate the meaning of the Book and specific paragraphs for hours and hours.
When will it finally penetrate into these bone heads, that it does not matter, if Dhimmi or anyone has the absolute correct translation or interpretation of the true letter of the book, but that the average John Doe Mohammed desperately tries to make sense of it and in the end, precisely as it is the case in our own environment, must for himself find a meaning, which does make sense to him and him alone.
Do you really think that this guy, let's take a black converted Muslim out of the Bronx, gives a hoot about Ijtihad, Mujtahid, Yajtahid?
I have no idea about any of the Psalms or prophets. I do know however, that I am not supposed to kill or indulge or engage in any common sense type of sins. Have to fight my inner urges as you all do.
So – does it really matter what the ultimate meaning of the letter in the Koran is? Or does it matter, how a majority of Muslims find sense and meaning?
I say it again with conviction: stop hammering the Muslims on the Koran, a book which evidently is being debated as ardently within the Muslim world, as we too have millions of specialists doing nothing but discussing, studying, debating the meaning of the Bible.
Start looking at our silent majority of Muslim compatriots who do not engage in violence, but simply try to lead a peaceful life and try to make sense of all this confusion. These normal, boring, average people know as little about Ijtihad, Mujtahid, Yajtahid, as I know about Christian Theology.
Dhimmi certainly did not intend to do that, but he nailed it and proved my point. He definitely knows ten times more about the Koran than the average Muslim.
And you now what? That's just great.
Here my references to the topic, evidencing the variety of interpretations from within the Muslim World:
It is an Arabic word the root of which is Jahada, which means to strive for a better way of life.
!!!!!!!The nouns are Juhd, Mujahid, Jihad, and Ijtihad. !!!!!!!!
Who is right? Dhimmi, a Westerner, or these Muslim Scholars? I do not know and I frankly don't give a dam.
The other meanings are: endeavor, strain, exertion, effort, diligence, fighting to defend one's life, land, and religion.
Jihad should not be confused with Holy War; the latter does not exist in Islam nor will Islam allow its followers to be involved in a Holy War. The latter refers to the Holy War of the Crusaders.
Jihad is not a war to force the faith on others, as many people think of it. It should never be interpreted as a way of compulsion of the belief on others, since there is an explicit verse in the Qur'an that says:"There is no compulsion in religion" Al-Qur'an: Al-Baqarah (2:256).
Jihad is not a defensive war only, but a war against any unjust regime. If such a regime exists, a war is to be waged against the leaders, but not against the people of that country. People should be freed from the unjust regimes and influences so that they can freely choose to believe in Allah.
Not only in peace but also in war Islam prohibits terrorism, kidnapping, and hijacking, when carried against civilians. Whoever commits such violations is considered a murderer in Islam, and is to be punished by the Islamic state. during wars, Islam prohibits Muslim soldiers from harming civilians, women, children, elderly, and the religious men like priests and rabies. It also prohibits cutting down trees and destroying civilian constructions.
Let's hear from a leading religious scholar to the topic:
There lies the question," said Anis Ahmad, dean of social sciences at Islamabad's International Islamic University and a leading religious scholar.
"Probably no other Islamic idea is both so widely misunderstood in the Western world and so regularly abused in the Islamic world," he said. "Jihad lies at the heart of Islam, yet is perverted by Muslims who use teachings of the prophet to justify monstrous deeds."
But Ahmad added that jihad's meaning was also perverted by Westerners "wanting to portray Islam as a religion of fanatics and suicide bombers. Non-Muslims seem even more obsessed than our own fanatics with this idea of holy war. It is so easy to twist meanings to make Islam seem inherently violent."
In Ahmad's view, jihad is an inspirational idea, a word signifying the struggle of good against evil. Modern Muslims, he said, take it to mean that an individual should constantly strive to be a better person, struggle to follow the peaceful precepts of Islam, or deeply commit oneself to worthy social causes, campaigning for better schools or immunization programs, for example.
"Jihad is not about blowing up buildings or causing airplanes to crash from the sky. And just because some violent Muslim calls his campaign 'jihad,' that does not make it so," he said.
Still, non-Muslims might be forgiven their confusion.
The prophet Mohammed himself was as much a warrior as mystic, and in 629 A.D., his forces conquered the arrogant lords of Mecca, the America of its day.
Today, if the cry for jihad is used cynically by propagators of terror, most notoriously in recent years the fugitive militant Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mohammed Omar, the spiritual leader of Afghanistan's Taliban regime, it is also a cry that seems to find resonance across the Muslim world.
One hears the word constantly; it seems to spill from every lip, invariably as a sort of combative warning.
Such bellicose talk is mostly rhetoric, even when delivered by protesters shaking fists, waving photographs of bin Laden and setting torch to Old Glory. Dangerous as they may look on CNN, such demonstrations are often staged events by political parties rather than spontaneous eruptions of public anger.
But there is no denying that people across the Islamic world feel pushed around by the United States and are at least somewhat sympathetic to Muslim radicals crying "jihad." The calls for holy war only became louder when President Bush - in a move barely noticed in the West but causing a huge furor in Muslim lands - called for a "crusade" against terrorism, conjuring images of modern-day Christian knights marching unto war against Islam.
"Muslims, like Americans, are not immune to war hysteria," said Ahmad. "There is an emotional response when people are angry, and many Muslims are very angry about U.S. policies, especially support for Israel. So people react to calls for jihad on this emotional level."
As for Islamic teachings on jihad, "terrorism cannot be justified anywhere in the Qur'an," he said. "Killing innocent civilians has no place even in a justified war. The holy book is very specific on this. It tells warriors to never harm someone who is not an opposing fighter, do not harm the crops even of an enemy, do not wantonly destroy cities or houses of people."
According to Ahmad, jihad for the modern Muslim signifies struggle against temptation or evil, the inner quest for spiritual peace, or the battle against social wrongs.
"The person who strives to become a better person - honest in daily life, charitable, genuinely striving to be compassionate to all humans - is engaged in jihad, struggling against human imperfection," he said.
"The person who goes to Mongolia and spends a lifetime teaching poor people or giving them medicine - that person is engaged in jihad, a struggle against ignorance or suffering.
"And politically, there can also be a true jihad. I would say a Muslim who went to South Africa and took a stand on apartheid, that person participated in a jihad."
If some liberal Islamic thinkers see jihad as a metaphor for spiritual struggle, moral self-improvement or just energetic participation in do-gooder causes, the more conservative thinkers say it's not that simple.
"Ours is a militant faith," said Anwar ul-Haque, chief pathologist at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences and a noted Koranic scholar. "Islam is not a religion that allows passivity. Muslims do not believe in turning the other cheek.
"A true Muslim should not be afraid of bloodshed in the cause of good. We believe in the use of force - violence, the hoisted rifle - to correct wrongs and exact punishment on those who harm Islam."
Although he expressed scorn for the Taliban, with its medieval interpretations of Islamic law and willingness to provide sanctuary to ultra-violent radicals like bin Laden, ul-Haque said that if innocent civilians die in a U.S. attack on Afghanistan, "the cry for jihad will certainly rise from every corner of the Muslim world. There may be a real jihad, not the false jihad of terrorists."
The peace-loving physician stressed that he was just describing what he believes to be the political reality, not uttering threats.
"My personal jihad is against disease," he said. "But many Muslims will want to turn guns against a superpower. I don't think Americans grasp danger, that by carelessly attacking those engaged in false jihad, they might cast the spark that ignites a true jihad."
Does that sound like a modern, progressive, civilized Muslim? Evidently such persons exist, hence another bit of evidence for MM, so easily dismissed by our Goebbels.
Can you still grosso modo deny moderate voices originating from the Islamic world?
Word Jihad stems from the Arabic root word J-H-D, which means "strive." Other words derived from this root include "effort," "labor," and "fatigue." Essentially Jihad is an effort to practice religion in the face of oppression and persecution. The effort may come in fighting the evil in your own heart, or in standing up to a dictator. Military effort is included as an option, but as a last resort and not "to spread Islam by the sword" as the stereotype would have one believe.
A. The Qur'an describes Jihad as a system of checks and balances, as a way that Allah set up to "check one people by means of another." When one person or group transgresses their limits and violates the rights of others, Muslims have the right and the duty to "check" them and bring them back into line.
Islam never tolerates unprovoked aggression from its own side; Muslims are commanded in the Qur'an not to begin hostilities, embark on any act of aggression, violate the rights of others, or harm the innocent.
Even hurting or destroying animals or trees is forbidden. War is waged only to defend the religious community against oppression and persecution, because the Qur'an says that "persecution is worse than slaughter" and "let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression" (Qur'an 2:190-193). Therefore, if non-Muslims are peaceful or indifferent to Islam, there is no justified reason to declare war on them.
Note that the verse specifically commands the protection of all houses of worship. Finally, the Qur'an also says, "Let there be no compulsion in religion" (2:256). Forcing someone at the point of a sword to choose death or Islam is an idea that is foreign to Islam in spirit and in historical practice. There is absolutely no question of waging a "holy war" to "spread the faith" and compel people to embrace Islam; that would be an unholy war and the people's forced conversions would not be sincere.
Now - dear Dhimmi, Noah, Susan,
Go ahead and deny a variety of interpretations including peaceful, moderate meanings.
Continue to proclaim that all of the above read and interprete the very same Koran in the very same ( aggressive, militant, terrorist, subversive, infiltrating, expansionist violent ) way.
Occam's razor for the last time:
They are us, they are like us, they are driven by the same motivators, Fanatics on both ends of the spectre and a big chunk of ignoramusses like me in between.
To circle back to the beginning: I do not have the slightest idea about Juhd, Mujahid, Jihad, and Ijtihad, but I joined the club of millions of people who do not either and that's just fine by me.
Thanks again for proving me right.
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".
Reader comments (2108) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes