“Jihad” is an Arabic word meaning struggle or effort. The human struggle to promote what is right and avoid what is wrong. It is however erroneously translated as “Holy war”.
The use of the term ‘Jihad’ is one of the most misunderstood aspects of Islam. In a religious sense, as described by the Qur’an and the teachings of the prophet Mohammed, Jihad means striving for the benefit of the community or the restraint of personal sins. It refers to internal as well as external efforts to be a good Muslim or believer. Efforts to improve oneself. The Islamic concept of Jihad is usually not one of violence.
The word ‘Jihad’ has many meanings, however, Al- Shabaab’s sinister meaning of jihad doesn’t accord with what most Muslims believe. They spread violence and fear and call themselves jihadists. They justify their acts by addressing themselves as jihadists, this is wrong and immoral.
The reality of the Qur’an is that it actually forbids this. Only a part of the entire concept is limited to self-defense. And even then, according to the principles of Islam, war has to be conducted according to just war principles. This means never attacking non-combatants as we have seen in the horrible attacks on innocent civilians carried out by the Al-Shabaab insurgents over the years.
“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress. Indeed Allah does not like transgressors (Surah 2:19)’’. Allah does not like transgressors it says so in the Qur’an. So it is unfortunate that this misguided few members of the Al-Shabaab, lace their hands with massive bloodshed, and smear it onto the name of Islam.
Like any religion, from Christianity to Judaism, to Islam, there are people who become fanatics and misinterpret the religion and take it to extents that were never envisioned.
When the term ‘Jihad’ is used in association to terrorism, it offends the True and honest Muslims who know its true meaning. Islamic leaders around the world have stated clearly that attacking civilians is completely against Islam, and against all teachings that can be connected to Islam. They strongly condemn the use of ‘Jihad’ in terrorism, and completely distance themselves from those misinformed murderers that misinterpret Islamic teachings to fulfill or push their personal interests and agendas.
Islam is about peace, and it promotes Co-existence and peaceful living amongst all.