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The Lesser Jihad

Reader comment on item: The Evil Isn't Islam
in response to reader comment: Jihad in Islam

Submitted by Schills (United States), Jun 25, 2012 at 14:27

Jihad in Arabic means "struggle." Muslims believe Jihad takes two forms, physical struggle, and spiritual struggle. The spiritual struggle against one's base self is considered to be the "greater struggle." This greater Jihad does not concern us. The physical struggle, or the "lesser Jihad," takes a variety of forms from spending on the poor, to engaging in warfare. We are only concerned with Jihad as warfare.

Muhammad set out a variety of restrictions on how warfare should be conducted. He forbade the killing of civilians, non-combatants, indiscriminate killing, the destruction of public works, and a variety of other restrictions which resemble western restrictions on how warfare should be conducted. Anyone informed on these matters can see that the actions of bin Laden, Hamas, Hisbullah, et al. are not legitimate even from an intra-Islamic perspective.

Mr. Pipes has observed Islamists are generally made up of individuals who are not schooled in the tradition of Islam. They know enough to clothe themselves in that tradition and are able to tap into the general discontent in the Muslim world. As long as they are allowed to retain an air of Islamic legitimacy, violent Islamists will continue to draw support from the masses of Muslims. Knowledge of what Muhammad forbade in the conduct of warfare allows the educated individual to strip violent Islamists of their legitimacy and expose them as frauds.

As for Muslims trying to convert non-Muslims, it should really be of no concern to anyone so long as they do so in a non-violent manner.

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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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