“Everything is a jihad “” pursuit of education, earning a living and fighting your egos. But, now, it is the most misunderstood concept of Islam.” This recalls Hamas-linked CAIR’s cynical and deceptive ad campaign saying that jihad was taking the kids to school and getting in one’s exercise. This was widely taken as evidence of “reform” and “moderation,” and Pamela Geller and I were excoriated for criticizing the campaign.
However, the central fallacy is this: the fact that jihad can be “pursuit of education, earning a living and fighting your egos” doesn’t mean that it is not also what a manual of Islamic law certified by the foremost authority in Sunni Islam, al-Azhar, as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy said it is: “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims” (‘Umdat al-Salik o9.0).
“Jihad most misunderstood concept of Islam: Historian,” from TNN, January 4:
CHENNAI: Jihad normally evokes images of bearded men shaking their fists, smoke bellowing from two towers and hooded men wielding grenade launchers. “So ingrained is the fear of the word that my lecture in Chennai almost got cancelled after some people raised concerns over jihad being the topic,” historian S Irfan Habib said on Friday.
In the city to deliver a lecture organised by the Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought, Habib, a historian of science and political history who holds the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad chair at Delhi’s National University of Educational Planning and Administration, questioned the stereotypes and the propaganda shrouding Islam.
“Believers have started taking religion so seriously that it has become an obsession,” said Habib.
Islamic jihadists would certainly be well-advised to stop taking their religion so seriously.
The 60-year-old who has authored several books on the history of science quoted from the Quran, saying the text primarily promoted independent thinking. “Ijtihad “” independent thinking and reasoning “” was given priority, but over the years radicals have conveniently buried this term and pushed for collective thinking, which continues to be the way of life for many who follow the religion.”
Ruing that Islam had moved from being a religion to a ritual of sorts for many, he blamed leaders who interpreted the scriptures based on their convenience. “It is sad that many Muslims in the country don’t know Arabic and hence the real meaning of the texts eludes them. The Quran must be translated into local languages, that way the scriptures won’t be an enclave of the select few,” said Habib.
“The problem is people are too scared to question. That should not be the case. By not questioning negativity shrouds Islam,” he said.
Why are people too scared to question? Maybe because it is forbidden in the Qur’an: “O you who have believed, do not ask about things which, if they are shown to you, will distress you. But if you ask about them while the Qur’an is being revealed, they will be shown to you. Allah has pardoned that which is past; and Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing. A people asked such [questions] before you; then they became thereby disbelievers.” (5:101-102)
“Everything is a jihad “” pursuit of education, earning a living and fighting your egos. But, now, it is the most misunderstood concept of Islam,” Habib said.
If everything is a jihad, that would include warfare against unbelievers as taught in the Qur’an and Sunnah, as well as by all the Islamic schools of jurisprudence.