Jihad, of course, means “struggle,” not “holy war.” Nonetheless, the traditional understanding of the term, based firmly on the Qur’an and Sunnah, and echoed by every school of Islamic jurisprudence, does call for holy war. If Badawi really wants to challenge that, he will have to mount a worldwide educational effort, which will probably involve him receiving death threats. He could even be actually killed. I expect that rather than mounting such an effort, Badawi will accomplish what he wants to accomplish with this proposal — the gulling of a few more Westerners — and then he will allow it to fall quietly by the wayside.
From AFP, with thanks to DFS:
KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Thursday appealed for the concept of “jihad” to lose its warlike connotations and be used instead to fight the problems facing the world.
Although commonly thought to mean “holy war”, the term which has taken on negative associations particularly since the September 11 attacks on the United States, actually means to struggle towards a goal.
Abdullah, who promotes a moderate form of Islam in multicultural Malaysia, called on people from all races and religions to forget their differences and focus on addressing contemporary global problems.
Let’s take a closer look at moderate, multicultural Malaysia, shall we?
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s minorities are banding together to put up a united front against what they fear is a steady encroachment of Sharia (Islamic law) into their lives.
Two from Badawi himself, just so you know where he’s coming from:
Malaysia’s prime minister wants enforcement of Islamic morality laws to continue despite a public outcry over a raid early this year on a disco by religious department officials, a news report said Saturday.
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) — The Malaysian government has decided that the public celebration of Christmas on December 25 in the presence of King Syed Sirajuddin and Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi will be done without any reference to Jesus in order to “protect Muslim sensibilities”: no biblical reference will be allowed, nor will any representation of the Nativity scene.
The great moderate Badawi continues:
“The concept of jihad must be given a broader interpretation, covering all aspects of life including the pursuit of knowledge, the mastery of science and technology, and economic activity,” he said according to Bernama news agency….
Come on, Badawi. It already has that, all over the Islamic world. Every Muslim schoolchild knows that jihad in Arabic has applications virtually as broad as struggle in English. The Islamic Republic of Iran has a Department of Agricultural Jihad. Traditional Islamic theology distinguishes five kinds of jihad: besides jihad bis seyf (jihad of the sword), there is jihad bil yad (jihad of the hand, which can apply to virtually any activity that strengthens Islam, including most of the ones Badawi mentions); jihad bil qalam (jihad of the pen, that is, apologetic work defending Islam); jihad bil lisan (jihad of the tongue, also apologetic work defending Islam, this time verbally); and jihad bin nafs, or jihad of the heart, the spiritual struggle within the believer’s soul.
Badawi goes on:
And he called on all communities to reject any extremism that emphasises differences and preaches the politics of fear and hate.
“It must be addressed because peace and stability of the world is at stake, as Christians and Muslims make up more than half of the world’s population,” he said.
“The West should treat Islam the way it wants Islam to treat the West. Both sides should accept each other as equals. Respect, reciprocity and equality – these are the essential prerequisites for a harmonious relationship.”
Yes, of course, it is all the fault of the West. But what will he do to compel Muslims to reject the jihad ideology of Islamic supremacism? Nothing, of course.