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jihad verses

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God?
in response to reader comment: There Is A Question That Needs To Be Answered

Submitted by Abdul Rahman Reijerink (Australia), Jun 6, 2006 at 08:40

Dear Anne,

good question.

I believe that a lot of this comes down to translation issues. From memory Jihad in the Qur'an almost never refers to fighting if the verses are translated correctly (and not ideologically). This is because Jihad is to struggle in something pleasing to Allah, war does not please God as far as I believe, although it may sometime be considered necessary. When Allah talks about fighting it is with a different word that specificaly means just that.

you must remember at the time of the prophet there was violent opposition to the message, and like some of the earlier prophets Muhammad was permitted to lead armies and the muslims were eventually allowed to defend themselves against blatant aggression (policies of starvation etc..). this does not mean that war is pleasig to god, just a legitimate means of defence (who disputes our right to fight an openly aggressive enemy on the offensive, noone but pacifists)

Frequently he SAWS is called a bandit because of attacks on the caravans of the Quraysh, this was economic warfare on an open enemy who had started depreiving muslims of their lawful property, enslaving and torturing them and other acts of warfare. It was not out of a desire for wealth as for example he died making sure his last seven coins were given to the poor, his only inheritance was the religion.

The verses that call upon muslims to fight non-muslims were revealed in set contects, they must be read within those contexts. They are not unlimited permission to wage war on anyone on the basis of belief. They must be read also in context of the entireity of the Qur'an, people like Bin Laden want their followers to do exactly what many here do, google it to find some verse that seems to justify his actions. In proper context the verses do not. There is nothing comparable to say the verses in the Hebrew Bible ordering the Jews to kill all palestinians (Philistines) when they intially took possession of the lands in the covenant as recorded in their texts.

The overwhelming majority of messages are about finding common ground between us and then leaving our differences to Allah, ie we should not sort them out with weapons!

So Anne, I suggest that you start reading a good translation of the Qur'an, approach it with humility as all sacred text should be, look for answers, with an open mind as to what the message really is, the qur'an is full of clues about the love and mercy of God. Too many people pick it up to find something to criticse, and guess what they find it. I was an athiest when I started reading the Qur'an, and I have very strong pacifist leanings as well as strong views on equality between the sexes, I was not turned away from this religion. This is not an attempt to convert you, I just think that people should read the texts of different faiths sympathetically, in attempts to uncover what the text actually says, not just what people (believers and non alike) think they mean. An excellent example of this is the vast number of catholic kids in my theo classes who have no idea despite reading the bible sketchily and going to church what genesis says about the creation of Eve and the accepted (by scholars) meanings of many other bible stories.

As always it is a pleasure "talking" with you.

Abdul Rahman Reijerink

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