1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Mahabharata and Jihad

Reader comment on item: Islam vs. History
in response to reader comment: Singing praises of Saladin.

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Aug 20, 2012 at 01:40

Dear Dr Pipes,

The reader Amin Riaz, for all the continued squabbling between him and DNM, has shown that he is somewhat capable of intellectual inquiry into issues. Hence this message.

Amin Riaz compares Islamic Jihad with the 'dharma yuddha' (or just war) of Mahabharata. There are two meanings of Jihad as admitted by most Muslims. First is a muslim's internal struggle with himself to become a better human being. This meaning of jihad is good but unfortunately has become non-existent and extremely subservient to the second meaning. The second meaning of Jihad includes fight that a muslim must wage to defend Islam. It is this meaning in which Muslims mostly use the word Jihad. Comparing this meaning to the just war of the mahabharata is out of place. Let me explain. There are two important differences. First the war of Mahabharata was a war that was waged as the last resort after all other available options had been exhausted. Even more importantly it was a war of consensus about which, if the story is to be believed, the elders and kings of the entire nations had expressed an opinion and had chosen side with one of the other faction.

Unlike this war, JIhad requires each and every muslim to act on his own to defend Islam. And, following this requirement, every Muslim has indeed taken the law in his own hand. Both the Christian concept of just war and Hindu consent of 'dharma yuddha' require that the goal of the war should be selfless and should be to advance universal good (mind you, it is not to advance Hindu or Christian or Islamic good but to advance universal good). The purpose of the second meaning of Jihad is inherently selfish.

The goal of the Hindu concept of Yoga as described in the scriptures (and not as found in every strip mall in America), is to improve oneself as a human being. I do not know about the spiritual meaning of Jihad (first meaning) but I believe that this lost meaning may be similar to the Hindu Yoga. If Amin Riaz is interested he might like to investigate further.

Submitting....

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".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Mahabharata and Jihad by Prashant

Email me if someone replies to my comment

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".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)