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Jihad in Islamic discourse tied with self control, peace Terrorists distorting image of Islam

In traditional Islamic interpretation, the concept of “Jihad,” for the most part, refers to self control and achieving spiritual tranquility. A Muslim individual is recommended and advised to practice Jihad against evil hum intentions, evil acts and to increase his/ her self control in the face of daily challenges. A real Jihadist is a peaceful person who has acquired the necessary skills in adjusting positively to the challenges of immorality, fighting poverty, assisting other Muslims to live a peaceful and secure life. In fact, the word Jihad originates in the idea of coping, withstanding daily pressures, and confronting evil thoughts and exchanging them with good thoughts.

However, due to its constant use in contemporary media, linking it with terrorism has led to “Jihad” being almost always linked with terror, torturing innocent people, car bombs, and igniting sectarian conflicts in the Middle East. Yet, Jihad continues to be a cornerstone in Islamic thinking and it has always been linked with achieving self control, and certainly not with committing criminal acts or massacring innocent Muslims and non- Muslims.

For example, a Muslim individual is supposed to endure the hardships of life by practicing psychological Jihad. For instance, battling poverty through hard work and abiding by the moral rules which govern peaceful Islamic behavior is a Jihad.

Moreover, resisting the temptation to steal, destroy property, or murder innocent people is also a form of Jihad. However, Jihadism, a fabricated concept linking typical Islamic self control with terrorism has distorted the image of peaceful Islam. If Jihad has always been associated with fighting the supposed enemies of Muslims, other non- Muslim minorities would not have survived hundreds of years of Muslim rule.

There is to my knowledge no evidence that the concept of Jihad has been applied to fighting non-Muslim minorities in the Middle East. ISIS, al-Qaeda, and all other terrorist groups manipulate the typical Islamic discourse of Jihad and use it for their own benefit. In other words, terrorists use whatever is necessary to justify their criminal activities. What seems to drive these terrorists to Hijack Islam, assume their fabricated roles of defenders of Muslims is their outright criminality.

There is no courage in destroying innocent lives, and definitely there is no courage in terrorizing innocent communities in the Middle East or in other parts of the world. Original Jihad signifies achieving full self control in the face of evil intentions. A Muslim individual is supposed to practice Jihad against the devil, against evil intentions and certainly Jihad has always been linked with resisting terrorism


By: Khaled Aljenfawi

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