by Fatima Arshad

Jihad Has Been Hijacked

6 years ago | Posted in: Articles | 4078 Views

Jihad is a term of great and positive significance in Islam. It is commonly defined as striving or struggle, and can mean an internal or external struggle for faith. But that’s not how they see it as in the West.
As a society they have warped the meaning of the term away from its Qur’anic roots, accepting a definition of the practice put forth by the terror groups they seek to combat. Instead of resisting the extremist ideology, they have embraced it. And by ignoring the complexities and the obligations of jihad — and, by extension, Islam — they are doing nothing more than validating a perverted religious interpretation, echoing it throughout their society, and accepting it as the truth.

It concludes with the formulation of a society that has institutionalized Islamophobia in its culture and politics, normalizing hate crimes such as the 2010 destruction of a Nashville mosque, which took place in the wake of a startling local news broadcast that indicated without any real evidence that the Muslim community of Dover, Tennessee was a breeding ground for Al-Qaeda.

How exactly does their misuse of the word ‘jihad’ validate terrorist ideology and lead to hate crimes?

The term “jihad,” which translates to “strive” or “struggle,” is used in the Qur’an 41 times. For the most part, these verses call on Muslims to engage in what is known as the “greater jihad,” a constant inner struggle to better oneself and live in the manner prescribed by the Almighty.

Jihad has an external element as well. This is the where fear-mongering pundits like to define jihad in its entirety. Either way, their message is clear — Islam is out to get you, Westerners, so you better watch out.

In the Qur’an proscription against aggression is repeated throughout, sanctioning self-defense but stopping way short of condoning any sort of antagonistic behavior. Therefore, we see a jihad that requires a defense of Islam but emphatically forbids belligerence of any kind.

Of course, this is not the interpretation that everyone chooses to accept. The Qur’an can be interpreted in radically different ways and manipulated to suit the preordained desires of the reader.

Despite this, the image of both Islam and jihad that is transmitted to the Western public focuses exclusively on the most extreme interpretations of the religion. It ignores complexities and encourages  ignorance and paranoia. It comes as no surprise then that shoe companies would produce shoes with the name of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) engraved upon them or that New York City subways would advertise ads that connected Jihad to violence and terror.
Across the world Muslims have to “reclaim Islam” from the grips of the terrorists who have hijacked the Western public’s perception of the religion.

The consequences of such misinterpretations are dire. Not only has the media legitimized these extremist ideas as accurate interpretations of the Qur’an, it has associated Al-Qaeda with jihad and the Taliban with Islam. In other words, through this distortion Americans have come to see the “enemy” as Islam just as much as they see it as any specific terrorist organization, creating a culture of Islamophobia that harms Muslims in the West and threatens Western values at their very core. They must know that Al Qaeda and its allies are not jihadists but renegades.

Rectifying this is essential. A positive image of Islam is not somehow going soft on terrorism. Nor is it overblown political correctness. For most who practice the religion, it is simply the truth. It’s time to awaken the Sleeping Beauties in the Western leaderships and media and make them see the truth which to them will be inevitable since it presents their self-made foe as a friend.

 

By: Fatima Arshad

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46 Responses to “Jihad Has Been Hijacked”

  • Maheen A Khan says:

    I think this is the real problem that we don’t portray the true spirit and meanings of Jihad and our enemies exploit this and create misconception for the global masses using modern media tolls

  • madiha says:

    Defination of Jihad is simple but some Black sheeps which exist in every coumunity has made it very complexed.

  • salma maqsood says:

    just like the way they changed the meaning of the word Jihad, the american community has also done similar actions with other Islamic terms thus creating an atmosphere of “Islamophobia” just like you mentioned. Good Job! 😀

  • Ali Sabri says:

    Fatima is wonderful and courageous writer. She has touched a very sensitive topic. It is time to speak up and invite world to understand Islam and its teaching in true spirit.Keep moving with sense of responsibility

  • Rashid says:

    Excellent article!!
    As a side note, common people in west are definitely intoxicated by the media. But folks running the media as well as political leadership is well aware of the facts stated in the article. They wouldn’t want to pay political price by confessing or confronting the propaganda in the media.

    It all starts from our own home (country) where we need to bring the socioeconomic change driven by the divine ideology.

  • Isabella Ahmed says:

    I agree. They just don’t have the guts to stand up and face the truth

  • Dorothy Brooks Awvery says:

    To Isabella Ahmed:
    u have no right 2 say that! We Americans r proud for who we are! And as to the bloggist who wrote this……I hope Americans find her and punish her for portryaing so inhumane!

    • Fatima Arshad says:

      @Dorothy, my country has numerous flaws, our leaders make decisions that we feel ashamed of yet when it comes to facing the truth we do so happily. Maybe you should try that too. I am not portraying America as inhumane, I don’t steep so low. I am merely stating facts. Can you deny anything I’ve written?

      I do not say that all Americans are bad, every community has its dark sides. Though the American “extremist” community has taken it a step too far. It’s not just America that does so though, it’s other countries in the West too.

      Dear Americans, take a leaf out of our book and talk only with facts.
      To change the ugly truth you shall first confront it.

      • Mubashir says:

        An eye opener!! Salute to the young bloggist! Oh and when the Americans come to punish you i wanna come over and enjoy the party! srsly @Dorothy u’ve got to grow up!

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