No Need to Sugar-Coat Jihad

If you want to explain jihad to non-Muslims, there are easy ways to do it that don’t involve distortion or sugar-coating.

American Muslims have been on a downward trajectory in their attempts to explain jihad. The first step was to take out the physicality by claiming that “true jihad is an internal struggle against one’s base urges for the sake of God.” A partial explanation at best.

The second step was to take out the focus on God such that now “true jihad is about struggling for self improvement.” Apparently struggling to sleep more and get more exercise are acts of jihad now according to some. And since jihad just means “to struggle,” even struggling to achieve impermissible things like “going out on more dates,” having more casual sex outside of marriage, etc., can also be a jihad.

In this way, jihad has been reduced to this completely secularized notion of self help so popular with the Western white bourgeois class.

Instead of repeating cliches about “internal struggles” and cheapening and distorting jihad as tony-robbins-esque positive psychology, simply point to common themes of self sacrifice so common in every culture and ethical system.

Do we not hear fellow Americans talking about the virtue of “dying for one’s country”? If they can understand that, they can understand jihad.

Do we not see Christians who base their entire religion on the sacrifice of Jesus? If they can understand that, they can understand jihad.

Do we not see liberal secularists praising the early revolutionaries in France and elsewhere, who risked their lives to fight for their idea of freedom? If they can understand that, they can understand jihad.

Self sacrifice and fighting for God and the highest truth at the risk of one’s physical body is a universal value. Unfortunately, Muslims think they are making themselves more relatable by hiding or denying that crucial part of Islam. In fact, they are doing the exact opposite.

And yes, there are those stupid Muslims who misuse the notion of jihad in committing criminal acts that have nothing to do with Islam. But we should not be cowed into abandoning a major component of our faith because of the few criminals.

The American military is constantly committing atrocities, but no one (not even American Muslims ironically) is abandoning the idea that “dying for one’s country” is virtuous. Some Christian groups have also committed atrocities, but the notion of self sacrifice has not waned in their theology and teachings. And liberal secularists have had the most bloody history and the worst tyrants within their folds, but they still proclaim such mantras as “Give me liberty or give me death.”

It’s only Muslims who have had to reduce their values to soft caricatures without meaning or significance.

If you want to know the meaning of jihad, all you have to do is read about Badr and how the enemies of Islam wanted to stamp out the light of God and what the believers had to say about that. I defy anyone to hear about this pivotal event and not recognize jihad as the pinnacle of righteousness and all that is good in this world.

Even those who don’t believe in Islam or might even hate Islam can recognize the importance of physical fight and physical struggle as the keystone of all ethics. Is that not the message of every superhero comic or film that we are showing our children and our families? Is this not the theme of every major movie blockbuster? Our secular world retains the form, the shell but abandons the core, the essence. This is our hollow modernity with no spiritual core. But some Muslims are somehow managing to lower the bar even from there.

 

If you want to explain jihad to non-Muslims, there are easy ways to do it that don't involve distortion or…

Posted by Daniel Haqiqatjou on Friday, October 7, 2016

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6 COMMENTS

  1. There’s a big difference between fighting to defend one’s country and offensively starting wars against nations of non-muslims that have never attacked you until they either convert to your religion or pay you jizya tax as tribute.
    Naughty naughty.
    You’ve told muslims not to sugar-coat jihad then gone on to sugar coat the fact that jihad since the time of muhammad, “the rightly guided caliphs” and the righteous predecessors has been offensive warmongering.

    And yes it is morally despicable that your religion says to wage unprovoked war against people simply for believing in a different religion from you.

    • The difference James between the two is:
      That if you just fight for your country, you’re just a chess piece and you’ll be dead without achieving anything.

      Also what about the inquisition?

      hmm?

    • It’s laughable that someone from the West would call out anyone for invading other countries unjustly. Fact of the matter is you “conveniently” leave out some critical aspects in your comment. There are actually 3 options a Muslim state would give a non-Muslim state: making a treaty of peace, jizya or jihad.

      Secondly, even if the treaty option is not given, Jizya is levied because if Muslims pay Zakat, it is only fair non-Muslims pay something as well. In return they need not fight in wars, as the Muslims are responsible for defending them. There are actual historical instances of the Muslims returning the jizya when they were unable to defend the non-Muslim population.

      Finally, “unprovoked” wars? The vast majority of wars in early Islamic times were fought in self-defense. The spread of the Islamic empire was done in the spirit that the world needs Islam because Islam is the truth. Unlike the Western colonists who considered other races sub-humans, the Muslims wanted to share Islam with the world to help guide them towards the truth. While colonists decimated local populations and used cowardly tactics such as divide and conquer, Muslims were very straight-forward in their approach. No civilians were harmed, and in many cases the local populations welcomed the Muslims to take over. The invaded lands thrived under Muslim rule as is evidenced by numerous cities outside the Arabian peninsula becoming centres of trade, learning and prosperity. So much so that cities like Baghdad became the capital of the Caliphate.

      Show me one Western colony that thrived like that. No their resources were looted and taken back, leaving little to nothing for the locals. Heck that continues to this day, with Western oil and gas companies making a killing off of Iraq’s natural resources while the locals live in poverty and war. And that war wasn’t done to “fight for your country”, it was done to steal Iraq’s resources under the pretext of finding “secret weapons” which never existed.

      Start by pointing the finger at your own civilisation’s imperialism and colonisation in the name of “progress”. Even if you try to claim that Muslims did the same, know that Muslims did it in the name of truth. The difference is our truth comes from God and we have the evidence to back it up. Your “progress” is your man-made idea, spurred forth from a superiority complex because you had materialistic success in fields like science and economics (because *gasp* your whole civilization became obsessed with capitalism and materialism). It cost you your ethics, morals and spirituality. So your “progress” left you with lots of materialistic success but an empty spiritual shell. Hence, even in this day, “civilized” Western “superior” nations have higher rates of suicide and depression, than war-torn “barbaric” “backwards” Muslim countries.

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