The Evolution of 'Jihad' in Islamist Political Discourse: How a Plastic Concept Became Harder

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Middle East Views: 8238

Islamist discourse, like any other political discourse, is full of plastic concepts and ideas that are meant to serve politically utilitarian and instrumental purposes. But what is important for us to remember is that the instrumental use of such plastic concepts (including 'democracy', 'human rights', 'justice', etc.) invariably leads to their contestation as well, as they come to serve as tools for political mobilization.

The word 'Jihad' has now entered the space of international political and media discourse, along with those other well-known favourites, 'Fatwa', 'Mullah' and 'Shariah'. Yet this entry has also been a disabling one that has robbed the word of some of its meaning while stretching the limits of its signification even further. 'Fatwa' for instance, has now come to mean 'death penalty' thanks to the fatwa against the British Muslim author Salman Rushdie. But those who have some knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence will tell you that 'Fatwa' really means 'judicial ruling'- and these rulings can range from grave matters like the death penalty to mundane everyday concerns like the proper price of sheep in the market. The latest casualty in the war over meaning is the word 'Jihad'.

That the term 'Jihad' has become such a plastic concept is hardly surprising. Plasticity is, after all, a normal feature of language and signifiers invariably lose their roots as they find themselves translated from one context to another.

But without falling into the trap of narrow essentialism, it is nonetheless useful for us to get to grips with the concept of Jihad itself and understand how it came into being - If only to see just how far the term has been abused of late.

'Jihad' can be loosely translated as 'to struggle' or 'to expend effort' towards a particular cause. The term was originally used to refer to one's personal struggle against one's own mortal failings and weaknesses, which would include battling against one's pride, fears, anxieties and prejudices. The Prophet Muhammad himself was reported to have described this personal existential struggle as the 'Jihad Akbar' (Greater Jihad). Alongside this notion of the Jihad Akbar was the concept of 'Jihad Asgar' or 'Lesser Jihad'. This refers to the struggle for self-preservation and self-defence - which has always been regulated by a host of ethical sanctions and prerogatives.    More >>>

The Quran does stipulate clearly that Muslims have to engage in a Jihad when they are under attack, but the conditions for such a jihad are clearly laid out and are strictly defined within certain ethical prerogatives. Muslims cannot engage in conflict for the sake of mere territorial expansion for instance (which brings into question the legal status of the early Arab conquests which were motivated mainly by considerations of realpolitik). Muslims also cannot engage in acts of terror and indiscriminate violence where civilians are targeted. (In fact, numerous Muslim leaders like the early Caliphs even warned their troops not to burn the fields of their enemies or kill their livestock). A proper Jihad for the sake of self-defence was therefore a complicated and highly regulated matter - and the rulers had to consult the jurists as well as their own populations before such an enterprise was undertaken.

But Islam, it must be remembered, also happens to be a faith that does not possess a clerical class or a supreme leader like the Pope. On the positive side this lends the creed an egalitarian outlook which puts all Muslims on par with each other. But on the negative side the absence of a centralised hierarchy also means that the Muslim world is full of self-proclaimed 'leaders of the faith' like the Taliban and their unwanted guest, Osama bin Laden.

It is this absence of a clerical order and the plasticity of religious discourse that allows concepts like 'Jihad' to be hijacked by such self-appointed defenders of orthodoxy. Coupled with this is the predicament of a Muslim world that feels itself increasingly threatened and marginalised by the forces of globalisation, leading to the defensive posture being adopted by many Muslim leaders themselves.

'Jihad' has now been taken - by Muslims and non-Muslims alike - to refer to an aggressive attitude that is rooted in a reactionary discourse of authenticity and purity, giving it a militant edge that it did not possess. While it is true that the international media has done some damage to the understanding of 'Jihad', it is also important for Muslims to realize that the term itself has been used and abused by the very same people who have resorted to the use of violence in their name.

The task that lies before the Muslim community today is to reclaim the concept of 'Jihad' and to invest it with other meanings different to those imposed by the Mullahs and militants. Cognisant of the painful realities that stand before the Muslim world at present, Muslim intellectuals must jump into the fray and regain control of the discourse of Islam which has for too long been regarded as the exclusive purview of the dogmatic Mullahs. We have to break down the rigid pedagogical structures that have kept Islamic discourse in such a static mode by by-passing traditional institutions of learning and indoctrination. Everything - from the universities to the media - will have to be used as the new sites of Islamic thought and education, in order for us to spread our message across to the wider public.

Muslim intellectuals need to show that our struggle in the present-day has more to do with striving for economic development, modernisation and the creation of civil society. Rather than thinking of 'Jihad' in exclusive and defensive terms, we need to redefine the concept in proactive terms that link it to the actual economic, social and cultural needs of the Muslims of today. 'Jihad', we need to show, is useless unless it brings us closer to a more prosperous, liberal and tolerant society where Muslims are at ease with themselves and the Other. For liberal and progressive Muslims at least, this Jihad has only just begun.


Dr. Farish A. Noor is a Malaysian political scientist and human rights activist. He has taught at the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya and the Institute for Islamic Studies, Frie University of Berlin. He is currently associate fellow at the Institute for Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia.

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  89 Comments   Comment

  1. mohamednur mohamed from U.S.

    interesting article. although the word jihad can be define in many different ways, but as a religion defination is what you do to spread or defend the religion of islam. whether it is fighting, speaking, or ecconomy.

  2. Fleming Burrell from United States

    I believe the concept of "Jihad" has indeed changed its contextual meaning throughout the generations since the prophet. I believe that in Contemporary Muslim society "Jihad's" context and its religious meaning has been used as a justification, subject to misinterpretation on many levels. But, I personally believe that if this is known in the Muslim community, we Muslims ourselves must make efforts in coducting ourselves in a meaningful way to propagate the correct theological implication of what "Jihad" really is.

    In the political aspect of it, again I reiterate what I said before, individuals struggling with emotions issues can indeed take Jihad out of its implied contextual form and twist it, undermining the true principles. I believe that Muslims must be able to understand Quranic concepts clearly and know the true rules of how Muslims must conduct themselves both on a physical and spiritual level.

  3. Md. Sabbir Yezdani from Bangladesh

    i am quite agree with the matter. we muslim should prove our supremecy not by threatening the world but by our imprudence and good qualities .if bring prosper and peace in our life by following the rules of quran, only then people get interested in islam . and i think we should do that first . but one thing really shameful that muslims cant get united in any event .i really think about it if we believe in one ethic then why is this separation ?

  4. Zahir Muhammad Bilal from USA

    I agree with the author of this article and I as a American Muslim under the leadership of Imam W.Deen Mohammed commend and applaud the Jihad Akbar of this author! We as muslims must raise ourselves economically and socially how can we invite others to Islam especially overseas and the state of Islamic affairs and social inequities are deplorable for the most part. Yes it is time to Glorify the Name of Allah through our actions and deed and be the Caliphs that Allah intended for us to be, filled with knowledge dignified yet humble and vicegarents of the Allahs creations! We must first respect one another put aside our tribalism and lets be honest there is tribalism still and that is not Islam! Phrophet Muhammad (May Allah be pleased and Bless him always)said seek knowledge even as far as China, and Allah (SWT)said in His Glorious Quran that he created us different people so that we may get to know one another. So why are we always among ourselves pulling away or belittling one another.....because this one is not from here or there or because one believe because he was born a Muslim he is better than or knows more the one who was brought into the faith by Allah because only Allah (SWT) can make a Muslim not birth nor semen. I pray that the Islamic world will begin to realize that a Jihad Akbar is needed and that Allah (SWT) requires that we do so before it is too late, for Allah says in His Quran that the he can replace us with people will do His work and do it well.....I thank Allah (SWT) for Muslims like the author of this article and for Imams like Imam W. Deen Mohammed. May Allah (SWT)be pleased with the dawah and continue to bless them both and bless all of us who stive in the cause of Allah....not the cause of men! Ma Salaam

  5. Mir Zahir from US

    I would like to read commentary by some muslim scholar on "Islam Unveiled" by Robert Spencer. The book is well known and came out in 2002. In my opinion, seem to be simplistic in its understanding of Islam. I am currently reading the book, and I have got it from a local public library. There is some objectivity, however, the understanding of Islam, inferences from Quranic verses and so forth seem to be misunderstood or understood out of context. Could some Islamic scholar take care of this important task and effectively communicate with the author as it would be a great service to Islam. JazakAllah!

  6. syma from uk

    With regards to what they claim is a hadith, or saying of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), We have returned from the lesser Jihad to the greater Jihad, that is the struggle against the evil of oneself. This is in fact a fabrication and is known as Mawdu (spurious/fabricated). Hafidh al Iraqi and Ibn Hajar al Asqalani, who were hadith masters and muhaditheen, who memorised one hundred thousand hadith by Isnad (chain) and were qualified to scrutinise hadith and their authenticity, stated that this was not a saying of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) but was in fact a statement that was made by someone in the later generation named Ibrahim ibn Abi Yabla. Hence, this is not considered an evidence in the Islamic Shariah.

    To read a very good article which clarifies the issue including Jihad An-Nafs, please read Jihad: The Highest Peak of Islam .

    secondly, i really disagree that we need a "clerical" structure. what i am conviced through reading the quran and sunnah, we as an entire ummah despritely need the return of a khaleef. this is an obligation. hedeeth on the authority of Naafi: whoever withdraws his allegience to the khaleef will meet allah on the day of ludgement with no excuse forhimself and whoever dies with no bay'ah on his neck dies the death of jahiliyyah. and this will deal with the poverty in our lands. haddeth "the khaleef in a sheild behind which the muslims fighht and behind which they r protected.

    thank you and may allah protect our ummah from the hell fire. in sha allah we meet in junah!

  7. Mohammed Noor Desmukh from india

    Its very ignorant of the author to still live in dreamland and wait for the enemy to wipe us off.

    It is his lack of understanding of the sunnah of Rasul saw which recommends pre emptive strikes, when the enemy intensions are clear.

    Is there still anymore left to prove that the enemies of islam [yahud, mushrikeen & nasara] are at war with us.

  8. Abu Rashid Ibrahim ibn Dawud from Allah's Dunya

    Apologeticism is not the Islamic way.

    as-Salaamu Alaykum.

    I found this article, not unlike countless others to be apologetic and not based on Islamic evidences.

    As Muslims, we should not "pander" to the requirements of the non-Islamic ideologies of this world, and re-define our own deen, according to ideas and constructs which we know will pelase them, and which will make us fit in better with their way of life.

    The term Jihad, lingsuitically, does, yes mean to struggle/strive, but when we look at it from the Shar'iah point of view, this term is overwhelmingly used to refer to physical struggle in the causeof Allah (swt), namely fighting/engaging in battle. There is no shame in this, as battle/war is a part of human nature, this is something which needs to occur sometimes, in order for humans to work their differences out. And like Allah (swt) addressed all of our actions in formulating the perfect system for us, he also laid down the commands and regulations and complete military system that the Islamic nation must implement.

    This article used one weak (some say fabricated) hadith, to promote the misguided idea that qatilu fi-sabi'lillah is somehow the "small" Jihad, and that simply struggling against your own inner desires (or non-violent jihad) is the greater Jihad. This is contrary to hundreds upon hundreds of Qatai Islamic evidences, ayaat from the Qur'aan and Mutawatir Hadith which clearly speak about Jihad as referring to battle, and which place the Mujahideen (those who engage in this battle) in the HIGHEST ranks in the hereafter.

    How can this article, which is already severely lacking in daleel, overlook the overwhelming majority of Islamic textual evidences relating to the topic, which it is proclaiming to explain? Imam al-Bukhari's book of Hadith for instance, which is the second most reliable textual evidence in Islam, has a complete book within it, which relates to Jihad, why isn't it used?

    Anyway, Just want to provoke

  9. Rukaiya from India

    It is Mr. Bob who needs to be educated in humanity. There can be security for everyone only when there is peace, not the other way around (war does not bring security - this is common sense). Peace will come only with justice. Justice means an end to the occupation of the Palestinian lands. Remember, it is Israel who is the occupier & the aggressor. End the occupation and you will have peace and security. It is the birthright of all people to resist occupation by all means.

  10. Talabi Omotola Abdul-hakeem from Nigeria

    I have been looking for the ways i could explain the concept of jihad to some of my muslim brothers.But since i'm not gifted in writing.I could'nt .I appreciate the work of Dr farish A.Noor on this beautiful topic.May Almighty Allah increase his wisdom and knowledge.

  11. Marwah Elimam from USA

    Alain Jean Mairet or whatever your name is you should be banned from this site, you don't have any supportive arguments and all you do is critize the articles on Islam and its teachings without truly comprehending the faith, you are a poor man I feel pity for you because of your ignorance and lack of knowledge. Thank you but no thank you the last thing muslims need today is an ignorant non muslim to teach them what 'Jihad' is really about or what our lovely Prophet Mohamed taught. You are just an irrelevant individual with high levels of stupidity, you should do something about it before it eats you up.

  12. Hanafi from USA

    Thank you. It is wonderfully encouraging to see intelligent explanations and interpretations of Islamic terms and practices.

  13. Uzma from UK


    it is refreshing to read this article!!

    I have often had non-muslims asking me "What is Jihad?" as they now, unfortunately due to the media slant and the action of a few muslims associate jihad and terrorism together. What is even scarier is that some muslims are even starting to believe this too!!

    I will keep this article and email it to the next person who asks.


  14. lizab from USA

    Succint expression of how the term and duty, 'jihad' has come to be corrupted. Time to reclaim jihad for what it truly is, especially the greater and the lesser. It's also time to review the LIMITS of war so we can learn to control our anger/aggression.

  15. Adam Adedimeji Abu-Nawaz from Nigera (Lagos)

    The article of Dr. Farish Noor, a fellow at ISIS, Malaysia on Jihad is excelent. We need more of his status to do more in using their knowledge and talent in enlightening muslims in diaspora to know more about their religion and its teachings. As a jounalist reporting on Islamic affairs, I never hesitated to use the article on my Friday page for Nigerian Muslim readers. Ever since I subscibed to the, I have never regreted doing so. Keep it up, Islam, the only religion acceptable to Allah shall triuph over any evil In Sha'a Llah. Wa Inna Jundana Umu Li Galibuna.

  16. BOB from USA


  17. Mir Saadat Ali from USA

    I am for it but differ in some aspects. Brother A.Noor has brought the basic concept of Self Struggle which the purest way of Jihad which is a part of our daily life. The western world has carried a miss-concept and messed up the entire issue. While Jihad is the self struggle with in ourselves but at the same time you need to take of Jihad for the protection of religion, self protection, protection of your property and land. Brother A.Noor is quite on this aspect and mixed up Terrorism with Jihad. The word Terrorism is not properly understood by the western world. I agree that there are some Terrorist activities going on with self-motivation but at the same time the self-defense is also classified as the Terrorism. If your enemy destroys your property, occupies your territory, seizes your lands and deny you the existence what are you supposed to do? This is one of the causes where you have to stand up for Jihad. The problem becomes more complicated when enemy is using all sophisticated weapons against you and you are denude of all such weaponry. I agree that you must be careful to avoid innocent casualties and control your anguish. One should ensure that the innocents do not become victims in the process. We must endeavor to give an example of good Muslims and show a good amount of mutual tolerance but should not bow down against injustice. The world Terrorism is self related and used against Muslims with out analyzing the basic cause. I also condemn the real Terrorists who are none but the enemy of Islam whose intention is to defame Muslims. Islam does not preach Terrorism in the real sense.

  18. jazzybb from India

    Dear Sir,

    I am from a different faith and today is the first time that I came to know Jihad doesnt mean voilence but it is the struggle with in,if it is so then I am impressed.It is for the persons like u who have to come forward and tell world about the true teachings of Islam.

    May God bless all.


  19. Hsbib suleiman from Kenya



    YA IKHWANUL MUSLIMIN am a muslim who hapens to be a kenyan meaning am not proud of being a kenyan or an african but am proud of being a muslim i have read youre atticle about jihad as you know as long as there is injustice war is a fact of life.Yes jihad is a single word but with alot of meaning but lets focu on jihad with the curent situations that are going on around the globe.

    1)our bros in philipine are fighting for there freedom and to establish sharia law coz only the law of Allah is the one that should rule the wourld 2)the philipines 3)the taaliban 4)the al-qaida etc all this groups are terorists infront of the kufars but Inshallah infront aoAllah thy are HIZBULLAH.some of as muslims may be coz of accepting this kufar we have lso been like them as S.A.W SAYS IN A HADITH (MANTA SHABAHA BIKAUMI FAHUA MINHU)that if you try to be like a certain generation youre also going to be like them.Today we have accepted that AMEERIL MUMINUN AL AKH SHEIKH USAMA BIN LADEN HIS TERORIST BUT NO HIS INAALAH AGOOD MUSLIM WHOM HAS SACRIFICED HIS LIFE OF FANTASY AND WORLD THINGS FORTHE CASE OF ALLAH REMEMBER ALLAH SAYS IN THE QURAN "THAT YOU MIGHT HATE SOMETHING THUS GOPOD FOR YOU AND LIKE SOMETHUING THUS BAD FOR YOU" SO MY DEAR BROTHER BECAUSE WE HAVE refused to follow the ways of the S.A.W. thus why today pple are against our bros the mujahids and the sunnah os S.A.W LETS FIGHT EVEN IF THE DISBILIVERS AND MUNAFIKS DONT LIKE IT

  20. Mohamed Faizal from Sri Lanka

    Assalamu alikum!

    Some muslims have become so weak in their conviction that islam is the only correct ideology revealed to man kind from Allah (swt). Therefore they lack the courage to stand up to an unbeliever who hates any concept like Jihad that are well explained in Quran and Sunnah. Therefore those of us who lack belief and courage are on a mission to interpret such islamic concepts as jihad in a way that is palatable to non believing states and people. Any ordinary guy that reads the translation of Surat at thouba (9th surah in holi quran) will know that this article has done gross injustice to this concept of Jihad.

    I wish to invite anyone who agrees with this article to read surat at thouba and tell me if they have still not changed their wrong opinion about jihad

  21. Mohammed from India


    though the article is good and reflect some of the term like "jihad", "Fatwa" ,"shariyah" are misinterpreted and misused some times.

    But the hadiths that the author was refering to is most of times misundestood...i might be wrong also, to me "Jihad Akber" mean the greater jihad for the inner struggle, greater here refers to time and not to Sawab. no doubt people who fight for cause of Allah has best reward that a muslim can expect...and it should be understood that people who do jihad-e-akber are the one who can really do the Jihad-e-asgher and vice versa...

    there is no point in doing just one of them and considering that to be the greater and neglecting other....if u do Jihad-e-asgher and later on become lineant and if u do jihad-e-akber and u dont defend when required ....thinking both of the ways hardly brings u any reward.

    so both of them has to be done and should be considered important.

    there are other issues in the article like the Absence of leader ship in islam is not correct

    who is "khalifa" then? its unfortunate that we dont have one now and this is one of the main reason for misfortune that muslim world is facing.

    May Allah give us all the taufeeq to better understand quraan and may Allah give us all toufeeq to understand and practice the sunnahs of Rasool allah(pbuh)

    jazak Allah

    K mohammed

  22. Deborah L Dorthick from United States

    I like things that lead to peace and prosperity. But not if it means giving up all things that are true and eternal. Jihad (or fight)is at times necessary. God the creator of all things calls "himself" a God of war. Meaning war is at times necessary for truth to succeed. Do we let the "father of lies" rule the day for the sake of peace? I pray not. God forbid, amen. And does not the Qur'aan tell its readers that al-fitnah is worse than killing? I am not encouraging death. I hate death. I am not encouraging war that is not God's will and that is not within God's limits. God's word also tells it's readers in the old testament, I desire mercy and not sacrifice. Many in this time have turned from those words and are looking to crucify all and everyone that they can who will not denounce their faith and swear loyalty to a leader, a flag, satan, patriotism, deceptions and many other things that promote a going astray from God. I have to pray for those who have to live in a land of evil and can do nothing but pray. And I pray and thank God for those Muslims who the devil can not bring down but who are willing to give this life up for God's sake. Satan may have the upper hand over our bodies (and blame it on the "terrorists") but never our faith and NEVER over God. And the time shall come that even Satan's hand is loosed and all power taken from "him". So when deciding on Jihad, do so as instructed by the Prophet Muhammad and as it is written in the Qur'aan, to all who read it. So what the American government and some of it's people's speculate, decieve, exagerate, until a person begins to think their ears shall fall off for the going on of useless words, words, words. God shall silence them. And their actions. Of the 3 choices given to submit this comment none of them are accurate for me. I am not educated enough to choose one. But to be able to submit this comment I had to choose one so I clicked on "I am indifferent".

  23. Tariq Parkar from India

    Jihad is more wider concept than what understood by us. Terrorism in the name of Jihad has tarnished our religion. I would rather asked those to fight with Israel Army to free Plastine instead of killing innocents... its sin & not a Jihad.

  24. Brother Salaam from Canada

    Assalaam, I agree with the article, yet I wouldlike to bring to the attention of my fellow muslim brothers and sisters that groups such as "al-Qaida" are nothing but government intelligence agents, not even muslims! As the Israeli intelligence service, the "Mossad" does this dirty business all of the time, and it is one of their main functions. This information can readily be found on the internet (i.e.,,,,, etc.).

    To all my brothers out there as members in the

    global market, please do not be apologists for muslims, as the ones who are not in American puppet governments in the world, yet who rely on the Higher and the Highest Power there is are patiently and quietly persevering through the brainwashing of non-muslims, and apparently some muslims in North America, so kindly do not support the wrong in reiterating the mantra of the mainstream media. If you study even this phenomenon of media even further still, one will find that many are themselves paid by CIA as well. This is an aid to help those brothers who write to editors and so on if they encounter attacks against this beautiful 'deen. Allah knows best.

    Assalaamu alikum-wa-Rahmatullahi-wa-Barakathuhu.

  25. Tugiman Bin Ahmad from Singapore

    In my view, "Jihad has always been a personal battle within myself. It is to help myself for the betterment of myself so that I may be able to help others who need my help. In my personal case, as a non-practising alcoholic, I need to win my personal battle with the addictive nature of alcohol. By the Grace of Allah and by workng my 12-Step programme I am recovering from alcohol addiction on a daily basis. That's what I have!!! So long as I do not take a drink today, I am useful to my fellowmen. I live a live full of gratitude because I know if I were to drink again, I will be no better than a beast. I thank Allah for today and that I am able to help my fellow sufferers. To those who are still suffering there is a way out!!! By the Grace of Allah, I've found it!!

  26. Shahis Abdulla Ahmad from USA

    My dear brother you have spoken most clearly, direct and to the point on an issue that stands to undermine the Muslim community and its growth throughout the world. We have too many people who

    embrace their culture and erroneously assign Islamic principles to justify their actions. If the radicals would place as much emphasis on the inner jihad as they now devote to the outer, I am convinced that Allah will enlighten them to a more practical means of fulfilling their avowed ended assuming their motives are just and pure.


  27. faiz from USA

    Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullaah,

    Clarification...first of all, this article doesn't hold much weight just because of the fact there are no sources stated, and then after the quoting of a FABRICATED HADEETH, which is:

    The Prophet Muhammad himself was reported to have described this personal existential struggle as the 'Jihad Akbar' (Greater Jihad). Alongside this notion of the Jihad Akbar was the concept of 'Jihad Asgar' or 'Lesser Jihad'. This refers to the struggle for self-preservation and self-defence - which has always been regulated by a host of ethical sanctions and prerogatives.

    There is no support for this to be found anywhere. Not only is the meaning incorrect of this 'hadeeth', but it has actually been linked to the statement of either a sahaabi or tabi'ei, and that too also being weak.

    The definition the writer of this article has provided was also stated by the presidnt, that's one sign that it is incorrect. It is not for unlearned people to raise the level of actions over another. If any one was to ask a proper qualified 'aalim regarding this issue, then the response they would get is definitely 'the inner struggle' doesn't come clsoe to the level of the 'real struggle in Allah's path.' Besides, there are too many aayaat in the Qur'aan stating the greatness of the 'real action.' 'The inner struggle' is something one should be involved with 24/7, so it is not possible for it to be close to the 'real action.'

    And lastly, the closing statement of the article:

    For liberal and progressive Muslims at least, this Jihad has only just begun.

    this is an absurd statement. This is forsaking our brothers dying out there in almost every other country except this shaytaans land. Who will protect them if we sit and ignore their pleas arguing we are doing 'a self struggle?' It is plain and clear what the truth of this matter is. May Allah guide us to it, and He knows best.

    Wassalaamu alaikum,


  28. C. Abdullah Hasan from USA

    I generally agree with the thoughts on the "hijcaking" of the term Islam. However, I am lukewarm to cool over the idea that the priority should be to "show that our struggle in the present-day has more to do with striving for economic development, modernisation and the creation of civil society".

    There is an old saying, "what you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you are saying". To my understanding, the best example of behavior would be exemplified in the early years transition of peoples to Islam between Damascus and the Pacific Ocean. As I understand it, it was the bahavior, social and economic value added to the societies that won these people to the active embrace of an Islamic appreciation and acceptance.

    Want for your brother what you want for yourself.

    Fear none but Allah.

    Remove fear of you from your neighbor and he may become your protector. Basic Islam, is better than political Islam.......

  29. negative from Syria

    Alsalam 3alaykum:

    the definition of Explosion is: expantions of gas in a confined space without any valve to decrease the pressure which causes the enclosure of this gas to break, mostly assosiated with a loud sound and the burning of the expanding materials itself.

    I'll tell what i really FEEL,

    when i read a similar article to yours:

    I feel an extreme one sided look -even if is true- I remember all the Friday preaches when the Imam had to attack one side of the story 'the muslims ofcoars' and he is not allowed even to mention the name of the otherside because it is a super power.

    This is a very critical point where a muslim feels PRESSURE reaching him after passing through layers from the super power to his country to the imam and finally his head that's the point when he may look for other references let it be taliban or their guest.

    i think the defensive attitude is also being taken by lot's of muslim intellects who started preaching muslims (who are getting all the missiles and bombs)about peace but the preaching was directed westwards just as an apology and sometimes -maybe- hypocricy

    I think the biggest thing missed in the article was that Jihad also is:"a word of truth in the face of(against) a cruel ruler" or maybe this mere word which has no explosives or bullets has become forbidden these days although it's the best safety valve against explosions.

    If i want ppl to listen to me I have to say the whole truth, saying the whole truth involves balancing the amount of time, research and words spoken about each side of the subject

    your essay did not tell how to look after science and economy while we are either under direct or indirect occupation, or under tyranny.

    (maybe I went one sided olso but i guess your article has covered the other)

  30. Paul J Thomas from USA

    Excellent! Wonderful article on the true dignity and motivation behind "jihad". I couldn't agree more. Let's bring intelligence back to Islam and indeed all faiths so we can engage one another in constructive discourse to further God's own purpose. The concept of jihad as our inner struggle has surely been hijacked by both media frenzy and misuse by self appointed "leaders" out for power. All power belongs to the Almighty, and we are fools when our humility in this regard is overshadowed by thirst for supremacy. I apppreciate being on your mailing list. Thank you and God bless. Salaam.

  31. javeria jamil from united states

    islamicity is a great website, and has helped me in so much. n this article has made the meaning of jihad clear to me 4 the first time. b4 this i alwayz thought jihad was done 2 spread muslim rule n land.

  32. from USA


    Although well written and shows thought, I believe this article could use some light to be shed. There're different elements to Jihad; and due to the character limits of this comment post, I urge you to reference "Jihad: Explained" as posted on

    under "Introduction to Islam"

    The article will shed light on:

    - The term Jihad, as was accurately represented in this article as well

    - Recognizing the Creator and loving Him most.

    - Resisting pressure of parents, peers and society

    - Staying on the straight path steadfastly

    - Striving for righteous deeds

    - Having courage and steadfastness to convey the message of Islam

    - Defending Islam and the community

    - Helping allied people who may not be Muslim

    - Removing treacherous people from power

    - Defending through preemptive strikes

    - Gaining freedom to inform, educate and convey the message of Islam in an open and free environment

    - Freeing people from tyranny

    - What should Muslims do when they are victorious?

    - Did Islam spread by force, swords or guns?

    Again, you can find this posted on

    under "Introduction to Islam" with the title "Jihad: Explained"

    Thank you,

  33. fkarim dar from United ingdom

    you ask the wrong questions! There are obviously islamic viewpoints, dr noor presents; no one can argue against 'hikma'.It is his own flirtation with 'liberal' and 'progressive' notions of the western intellect, (while decrying the 'mullahs' the 'millitants' and the 'fundamentalists')that worries me!

  34. sabila from Indonesia


    I thik for such a very important topic as 'jihad' the author should based his argument on quran and sunnah not on fabricated hadits. Please, look at the oppressed muslim al over the world how they should defend themselves? May Allah guide us to the right path and bless us with shahid


  35. abdul kader sahib from indian

    assalamu alaikum to you people,who had informed the message abut 'JIHAD',it's all ok and I agree,but I don't think about developing economy because ,the arab world is enough having with them and we have to gain only the powers from those rulers ,the arab rulers are having enjoying their life and the these rulers don't have the real faith in islam.In the early period of Prophet Mohammed(SAW),they also had some enough economy as compared opponents is very low but they had a very good iiman(faith)due to this only they got the victory and only then they got the powers allover the arab world and other nations during and after the period of prophet Mohammed(SAW).And now most we people don't have full faith in islam.The victory is depended on Allah's will ,as however u have full of money or economy.And we cannot tell about osama are any of such a person ,because we don't have enough power(unity) to fight against the enemies.Insha Allah we have to strive hard to get those powers first and make united islamic nation(THE ONE).

  36. kulamulla from citizenship in heaven

    i think that if the muslim world struggles for economic development, modernisation and creating a civil society they will lose their struggle to walk with God. Jesus said,"no one can serve two masters. either he will hate the one and love the other,or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. you cannot serve both God and mammon." luke 16:13

  37. sharon from u.s.a.

    assalamu-alaaikum.i feel that jihad is a some what outdated the days of prophet Muhammed(peace and blessings be upon him)jihad was a way of life.many things have changed since then.thank you and peace and may allah's blessings be upon you all.



  39. Adam from America

    The writer strived to teach us his understanding about some Islamic concepts... cool. What is important is to be a scholar on what he is advocating for and know the true islamic view point. It will be difficult to make judgement on others and pave the way for new interpretation while lacking the basic knowledge. The term Jihad in overshadowed by the media's henious designs and we should not advocate the same way they do.

  40. Jordan Robinson from USA

    Asalamu Alaikum,

    The author wrote very eloquently on the idea of jihad and the variables that constantly reshape the word. More discourse must be facilitated to expound upon the perfectness of Islamic ideals and its political and economic structure. Jihad in Palestine must be continued and it must be noted that the jihad could be one of non-violence as well. We must all continue our jihad on a daily basis struggling against the enemies of Islam and our own evil inclinations. Balance between carrying out the greater and lesser jihad must be had.

  41. Almu'min from MAN,CREATER & UNIVERSE(that is my country)

    Asalaama Alaykum WarahmatuAllah.

    Listen brother, please do not misinform the muslims especially those with insufficient knowledge about Islam. Jihad is the way Allah(sw) and prophet(pbuh)explained clearly, not the way anybody else want to hear it.

    Forgive me if I sound offensive.

    Wabilaahi Tawfiq

  42. Abdullah from Algeria

    For liberal and progressive Muslims(more Muslim grouping), this so called Jihad (striving for economic development, modernisation and the creation of civil society) is bound to fail.

    The writer is obviously a secularist whose main concern is this life and the satisfaction of his Western masters.

  43. ahmadfadil from Morocco

    Assalaamu 'alaa mani-ttaba'a-lhudaa

    Pls note and remember that Jihaad still and will always as it was meant for fighting with the sword against the unbelievers to make them either to accept Islaam, to give Jizjah or to fight, regrdless that from the arabs is nothing is accepted from them but Al.islaam or war.

    By these kind of articles, the Ummah is misled nad the Wahan incresases in our hearts; for the facts that we want or not, the kuffaar are fighting us day and night, and we are humulated by who ever habba nad dabba just because we left Aljihaad!

    The writers of such articles live in daaru alkufr, so they are affected by the kuffaar's doctrines!

    Might Allaah Almighty guide us to the perfection that lead us to lead the world and to win Alfidawsa Al.a'laa, wa salla-llaahu wa sallama wa baaraka 'alaa Muhammadin rasuuli-llaah wa aalihi

    wa-ssalaamu 'alaa mani-ttaba'a-lhudaa

  44. Saleh from Nigeria

    The author seems to concentrate on the linguistic meaning of Jihad. For the religious(Shariah) meaning,he needs to read the Quan very well and consult the opinions of great scholars of islam. None of them voice such defeatist and defensive tone about Jihad.

    Jihad in the Quran is is synonymous to Qitaal and it is undertaken to spread the message of Islam or ward off those who commit aggression against an Islamic land.

  45. Sheikha from united arab emirates

    Salam Aliakum sisters and brothers.

    This artical is very well written and i think if more non muslims read this artical they would know that Islam is not about war and terrorism. Islam is inspiration, peace, love, care and warmth, a family of people rich or poor in knowledge learning the Correct life.The Islamic Life.

    Allahu Akbar

  46. Nadeem Yusuf Chundrigar from England

    An excellent article, reminding us that Islam is, at its heart, a way of life that focusses upon inner and outer peace, together with respect for others, all based on constant God-consciousness (taqwa).

  47. Adewale

    The author has highlighted the next action for the muslims.

  48. Miqdad T. from NIGERIA

    It needs to be noted that Muslims should stand firm to the challenge both in defence of their faith and the economic development.

    While agreeing with the author that there is need to have a central leader who will be the Ameer -u-l muslim as it was done during the caliphates era (RTA), the author should not condemn those who took it upon themselves to defend the oppressed muslims. e.g David duke is not a muslim but he also acknowledges that muslims are being oppresed. There is one proverb in my tribe that says " if you pursue somebody to the wall, he/she will has no option than to turn back in defense.


  49. Dr Yunus Aidaroos from UAE

    Dear Editor....asak

    It is a balanced article...alhamdu'lil'Allah.

    However it should be clearly stated,without hesitation or latent fear, that the muslims'first PRIORITY these days is to ACHEIVE the lesser jihad FIRST by ending occupation,albeit not by targeting civilians, and then ,during the period of organisation/peaceful living,focus on the greater jijad.Or the two jihads can evolve in tandem if at all possible;its a tall order though !

    The authour knows that it is impossible to even think about greater jihad when your family is murdered BEFORE your eyes, your house demolished and your livlihood ,eg agriculture burnt/destroyed. I ASK the author: Has Allah commanded us to offer the other cheek? I am afraid ,and sorry, that the author for some reason did not spell out clearly that AT THE MOMENT THE SMALLER JIHAD IS VITAL.

    I note that afetr 9/11 and after the Iraq war,most

    clerics are speaking of ending the intifada on USA/Israeli terms under the banner of

    "Fear them and not ALLah" real terms!

    The author is also fearful to even mention how MOST of our RICH islamic countries have. IN SECRET , colluded with the enemies and DILUTED/emasculated the vigour of our nation by their chronic hypocrisy. Now they stoop so low that they perhaps hate their own shadows!

    So perhaps the author should inject some REALITY

    and expose the truth without fear !....insha'Allah

  50. L. A. H. KHAN from India

    The article is written very well. As a result of Jihad the Muslim community should come closer to prosperity etc as rightly pointed out by the author but not the other way.

  51. Salaheldin from not important

    When the Soul Becomes the Warrior,All Fear melts as a SnowFlake that Falls upon the Hand.Think upon this,Not with militant intent.But with the Spirit.

  52. sam from UK

    A very interesting article. I found it to be both elightening and true. Jazak'allahu khair

  53. kemal ibrahim from uk

    assalamu alaikum. abu bakr (ra) said in his first sermon after becoming khaliph, he made this comment immediately in the beginning of his address,

    "no group of people left the jihad, except that allah stamped humiliation upon them".

    i do not mean to be patronizing but it seems the writer of the article has given us the sugar coated version of jihad.the article did not talk about it islamically with resort to quran and sunnah and even used content from a fabricated hadith.allah will not elevate in rank and bless with his greatest favours those who struggle (jahadu) to establish modern and technological development for the muslims. i totally agree we need to do these things, but the muslims who do these things can never be compared even to a man who walks out to do jihad but dies before reaching it. indepth research and time needs to go into talking about such a subject that goes out to muslims on a large scale, and i think the article missed the target completely. we have become such intellectuals now that we feel completely satisfied when someone tells us the linguistic meaning of 'jihad', i feel sad that on reading through most peoples comments this has been the case. we have been so confused by jihad that instead of getting up and finding out from the real sources like bukhari and muslim and imam nawawi,ibn taymiyyah etc,we have sat down and let our hearts rest when we see such a 'lovely well set out,and linguistically rich' article settle our fears about what jihad is.i think we all need to look around and take heed of abu bakr (ra)'s words,as he is a man of greater status in the sight of allah than the whole ummah, as firmly stated by our prophet muhammed (saw).we need to get up and humble ourselves not to start shouting out that 'my islam is best,no my mine is', but to sit down and find out the truth from the truthful,i do not mean to disregard the author,but i think a bit more work needs to go into such a big topic.may allah make us all die as shaheeds.ame

  54. hassan from iran

    I am sorry.I dont wright and dont speak English.

    I am Iranian and speak on persion.

    tanks for you and I wish and hope does estabilshed Islam in world.

  55. zohair shikari from USA

    The real need of the present time that muslim world should have one plateform and universal leader who could unite the muslim community under one flag of kalima-e-la ilaha and to utilise international media to let the world know that we are not terrorists and fight for our rights and self defence.

  56. lukmon olanrewaju ojomu from nigeria

    The author of the article on 'Jihad' is very articulate and his views are acceptable to me.

    However, he should note that any discourse on Islam should be abundantly supported with quotations from the holy Quran or Hadiths in order that his views wuold not be taken as one lacking scriptural backing.

    In truth, it is up to every progressive islamic scholar to take up issues like this and expatiate on the correct position of things. Islam has been lacking this, and muslims in the western world need to be educated so that they can stand up and defend thier faith anytime anyday.

    Jihad is not all about physical battles and Islam does not support terrorism

  57. Irfan from U>S>A

    I read your article and i loved it. I cannot express my feelings about it. great and awsome meaning behind it. keep it up dudes.

  58. abdirahmaan from som

    To have degree in science or any other knowledge except islam that does not mean you can talk about, explain or translate the meaning of JIHAD. Secondly to convince a person, group or a nation is goal that will never be reached i mean if somebody dies because of the world of Jihad it is not your broblem so don't hide or mislead the fact

  59. Raheel Ahmed from Canada

    Overall,the content was truthful, but you should have included the references for the Hadiths you used. One of the reasons for the decline in Muslim scholarship, as described by Ibn Khaldun, was due to the lack of references made in published texts, and a consequent lack of verifying those references. In addition, I would like to point out that although you mentioned the plasticity of the word 'Jihad',you resorted to using the plastic and distorted meanings of the words Mullah and Muslim. Firstly,the word Mullah began as a word used to describe a cleric, especially of South Asian origin. Over time, with the breakdown of Muslim power and intellectual prowess, the Mullah became the Islamic counterpart of a priest. Meaning that the right to decree religious opinions became centred on a class of men who possessed,for the most part, insufficient training in Fiqh. Now one must be clear in understanding that the masses will be reliant on a class of educated men for religious and worldly opinion. We see this reliance when we visit a doctor, when we go to school, when we plan military strategies. The difference between now and the time of the Holy Prophet(PBUH) is that these men (and women)at that time were experts in both, religious and worldly affairs. And this is the standard. Secularism, being a product of the separation of church and state in Europe, advocates that there should be a separation- that some people should specialise in religious education and some in worldly. In fact, secularism goes as far as to say that religion is not needed. We as Muslims, as the caretakers of this Earth, know better. What we need is a return to the combination of Deen and Duniya, and a combination of high quality- and that is the essence of the Sunnah. We will not see our position improve unless we do so. Secondly, you used the term "progressive Muslim". A Muslim is progressive by defintion. It is like saying " a woody tree". There are Muslims, and then there are non-practicing Muslims

  60. miriam witherspoon-wheeler from US

    Peace to you. I do not wish to sound as if I am bringing the hammer down on Islam. However, why would one not think that certain factions of Islam are decidedly anti-American or anti-West when Americans are constantly barraged by media depictions, Muslim commentary and the like of Muslims in other parts of the world burning American flags or burning effigies of Tony Bair and George Bush? And I do not think that the sensationalism argument is a valid defense. One does not see images of Americans burning crescents in the streets. I find it ironic when I read commentary from an Islamic source being written from the US, or from the UK denouncing the "evil" and "corruption" that is found in the West. How can an individual with an ounce of integrity so roundly denounce a society from which he benefits so much? If Islam is such the perfected religion, then why are so many Muslims clamoring to move to the West? And while this emigration may be sparked by economic necessity or other factors, why is the West always to blame for the deplorable conditions in some Muslim countries? In many instances, it seems to me that the West is doing the job simply because the rest of the Muslim world won't step up to the plate. Can anyone, in good conscience, really assert that Saddam Hussein wasn't ripping Iraq apart from the roots up? Where was the Ummah when thousands of Iraqs were disappearing? I don't mean to sound as if I am Islam bashing, but please, ease up a bit. The West is not responsible for every evil in the world. Is it really logical at all to say that "we hate the West, but we're glad that Hussein has fallen?" If Islam wants to be seen as a religion of logic, peace and moderation, then the burden is on Muslims to communicate that. I do not believe that the West has a "built-in" prejudice toward Islam, but that it is what it is, and Muslims must police their own. Take care. Miriam Witherspoon-Wheeler.

  61. Khalid Rahim from Canada

    The agressive stance has been injected by the west into the concept of Jihad,by their negative

    attitude towards norms and values of Islam.Under

    present circumstances it is difficult to bring a

    change,unless the west shows positive attitude.

  62. P.G. Antioch from US

    Even though i WANT to agree with the author, and very much WANT the article to be the truth, the dictionary says otherwise. There really IS a difference between "jahada," "jahd" (pl. "juhuud"--using doubled letters to signify the long sound), "ijtihaad" and "jihaad." Only "jahada" means "to struggle," or "to endeavor," and even though the other words are related to this j-h-d root, "JIHAAD" REALLY DOES MEAN "HOLY WAR." There simply is no other way to translate it. If you don't believe me, PLEASE check the definitive source, the "Arabic-English Dictionary" by Hans Wehr. A "jihaad" is in fact a "holy war." Since Islaam is basically a peaceful religion, this may grate on our nerves, but it is the truth. Sorry.

  63. Amin from Canada

    The hadith mentioned about 'Jihad Akbar ... ' is a fabricated one. This fabrication is to fake out the spirit of Jihad from Muslims. There is no Jihad Akbar and Jihad Asgar. Jihad Fee Sabilillah is 'Fard' depends on situation.

    Allah knows best.

  64. Abdul Azee, from Pakistan

    Assalam-o-Alikum All Brother's for send me this email i want to more detal for Evolution of Jihad if u like to plz send me deatal i am waiting for ur reply plz send me email ur friend

    Jazaak Allah Khair

  65. Ayad from USA

    I am excited that someone from our community has spoken out about terrorism. Too often now we see the intellectual community trying to please the Muslim community by defending particular violent acts, but also they try to please the American community when speaking to the media and leave out completely other connotations of the word Jihad so as to seem weak and peaceful. The educated in our community have a special jihad to struggle for Islamic ideas whether or not public oppinion in either community is against them.

    You must keep writing articles like this one so we can educate the many Muslims who are ruled by their biases and hatreds instead of by the Qur'an.

  66. Abu Qutaybah from UK

    Assalamu 'alaykum,

    I have to say, being very upfront, that i disagree with nearly all the points that was made. Firstly, the 'hadith' about the 'greater Jihad' is in fact a clear outright fabrication according to ther expert traditionists. However, i realised that when i read this 'hadith' found in this article I knew what i was going to expect in terms of the theme of the article: A defeatist understanding of Jihad, and also a newly invented understanding of Jihad which negates offensive jihad (whereas the Fuqaha of islam have a consensus of the validity and obligation of offensive Jihad - as can been seen clearly in classical books of islamic jurisprudence).

    Anyhow, I would recommend the author of this article to read Syed Qutbs 'Milestones' and his chapter on Jihad..

  67. Umar Nazir from England

    Asalaam Aleikum brothers & sisters,

    This article on the concept of Jihad has been clearly set out in a very good manner, but unfortunatly it fails to highlight the current issues that are arising around the world which make certain individuals like Osama bin Laden declare 'Jihad' against the enemies.

    The question is asked, "Why is Jihad being mentioned so many times?", to answer this importnant question we must look around at the Ummah, Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan etc, either all these countries are being oppressed directly by the presence of oppressive kuffar soldiers or they are indirectly oppressed by the tyranny of the so-called Muslim leaders hired by the Kuffar to prevent the muslims from uniting.

    What are we doing whilst this is happening? We are doing nothing because the kuffar have trapped us, by twisting our religion to make it look like hate and terrorism. They have fooled nearly the whole world and the prinicipal of Jihad is heavily criticised.

    Whether we like it or not, Jihad is obligatory on us, and at this time it is must. While our land are being attacked isn't it our right to defend them, isn't it our right to fight back.

    Maybe 'some' muslims abuse the concept of Jihad and use it to their own accord, but isn't it time to show what Jihad is, both inner and outer.

    So I respectively ask one question to you, will we abandon AL-JIHAD? Or shall we maintain it and inshallah ALlah will grant us victory? Please answer this.


    Wasalaam ALeikum

    Umar Nazir

  68. Mohammed Kareemullah from India

    Yes! Muslims should concentrate on Jihad Akbar - We should evaluate and develop ourself to such an extent of Sahaba's period, in terms of identity(outer appearence ), true knowledge of The Holy Quran and Sunnah, Should depend non interest based banks or islamic institutions ( If not available in the country, try to rent a locker and put your assests and hard currency along with it instead of depositing in the accounts and confused about how to deal with the interest the banks offer ). Make gatherings of Quran and Sunnah studies within the family or with nearby neighbourhood atleast weekly.Finally guide our youngers to true islamic way of life in the light of The Holy Quran and Sunnah.


  69. kher from Qatar

    The article tries to put the view of jihad as either this or that. I think that in reality, we need the militant groups and also we need to rebuild a social order. We definitely shouldnt all go and fight for a group in the name of jihad, i mean each society needs its engineers, its lawyers, its doctors, etc... and its militants. And specifically fighting (physical form of jihad) is an order: Surat 4-75

    And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!"

    and this is occuring right now for sure

    if it wasnt for these so called terrorists, you think americans would have any resistive forces. Why would meetings between leaders such as aqaba meetings occur. when did the west care so much for the palestinian state. what do they want from it. Their aim is to disarm those "terorists". These groups are effective without us realizing it,

    As the quran mentions:4-104

    And slacken not in following up the enemy:

    {"If ye are suffering hardships, they are suffering similar hardships; but ye have Hope from Allah, while they have none. And Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom."}

    I dont talk about any specific group because the knowledge i have about each of them comes from various forms of the media and i therefore do not have a reliable source to judge any group whether they are good or bad.

  70. Adedeji Saheed from Nigeria

    We Need People like you to explain all this terms as contained in the Holy quran, for a better understanding of the rligion so that Islam will move forward. We need to move forward.

  71. N/A from USA

    You have a good thinking of writing but your writing is not very reliable because you have not used any primary sourse--Quran and Hadith--as a citation in your writing to define Jihad. That's why, writing most likely to be considered as your opinion, not theological.

  72. S A JAVEED from India

    The word Jihad what most of us understand today is a result of western media explaining the word. The true meaning of the word has to be understood from the Quran and Sunnah.

    It is alos not true that all the Jihadis are a result of mullahs. It is required that every muslim struggle to bring the word of Allah as the only one in the world as it is the only religion in the eyes of Allah. There is a concept of Quital also in Islam which has also to be understood before criticizing the people who are struggling for the cause of ummah and trying to enforce islamic rules and regulations in what ever way it is possible by them.

  73. ALI from USA





  74. Ahmad Masnor from Singapore

    Each individual Muslim have their part to play

    They have at least to strive/jihad - learn and practice the fardu ain

    Those who have the knowleadge strive/jihad - call those who need it and dissiminate the knowleadge they have

    They can start doing it to their family 1st thereafter their siblings 2nd, their neighbours 3rd & community etc

  75. Nemer H. N. Ramadan from Canada

    Here we have an analysis that need "plastic" surgery to get rid of many repititious concepts and wordings we find in Western discourse. The author can do himself, as well as others, a great deal of service by dropping the word Islam-"ist," because there is none. After that, I am sure we will read a more sound and useful analysis.

  76. Howard Jones from U.S.A.

    While I agree with many of the observations about the need for Islamic reform and the ability to adapt to changing conditions, I can also accept the viewpoint of the Palestinians who have had their land stolen from them by the Western powers.

    The Irgun Ben Leumi and the Stern Gang are today hailed as heros in Israel; yet these same groups were labelled terrorists under the British mandate, when they were killing peace-keeping troops. I hold no hope for the present peace initiative, since it starts from Sharon's premise that there will be no right of return for expatriate Palestinians. Similarly, the deliberate policy of intrusive Jewish settlements on the West Bank has been expressly set up to prevent the formation of any meaningful Palestinian state. The Intefada is the only meaningful way left for the Palestinian people to vent their natural resentment of the occupation. Until the world (United Nations) addresses this matter in a fashion that might well involve moving its headquarters from New York to Jerusalem this problem will never be resolved.

  77. ali abu umar from u.s.a

    assalaamu alaykum,

    i have to say that the main point of the article i am in disagreement. i do believe, also that the word jihad has been hijacked,but from both parties.(those who are known as miliant and also those who are known as modernate). First the hadith of the greater and lesser jihad is fabricated and was a saying from someone by the name ibrahim ibn abi yabla and this is from ibn hajar and hafidh al iraqi both great muhaditheen. so that hadith can not be used to define jihad. to say that jihad means struggle is incorrect within the shariah meaning. jihad in the shariah meaning means the removal of obstacles,by jihad if necessary,that stand between people and islam and to make the word of ALLAH the highest in the land. in bukhari and muslim it is reported that the prophet was asked"who is in the way of ALLAH". He explained,"

    whosoever fights to make ALLAH's word the highest,then he is in the way of ALLAH"

  78. Warren Kundis from United States

    As a Muslim new to the faith it was inspiring to read the words of an elder brother who possesses a similar point of view concerning the future of Islam. After having read the Executive Summary of the 2002 UN Arab Development Report, it was my presonal opinion that the concept Dar-al-Islam must become from than just a phrase. Greater participation in the political process, the empowerment of women, and education are the keys to strengthing Islamic society not so that they can acquire all of the outward trappings of Western Culture but so that it can have the skills, infrastructure, and vision to direct its own course. Let us clearly see all of the mistakes that the West has made so that we may build a new Islamic Empire, an empire of ideas.

    The Peace and Mercy of Allah be upon You!

    Warren Kundis

  79. abukhadijah from USA

    The portion only that I disagree is that of Jihad ul Akbar, The scholars of hadith has made it clear that this particular hadith that you are using is fabricated, therefore misleading to down play the need for Muslims to be warriors against aggressors, those whom drive men, women, children out of their homes, and those whom fight you only because you say that we are muslims. Again the other portion of your article is beautiful and thoughtful.

  80. Said S from USA

    Asalamu Alaikum,

    As always, our authors are fabulously wealthy in knowledge and expertise. I whole-heartedly concur that the word "Jihad" has been warped and hijacked in every way possible, not only by the non-Muslim world but the so called "Muslims" themselves. I am a Muslim and I feel utterly disgusted at those who have not done their research on Islam and the Prophet (SAW), and who keep claiming that our faith is one of extremism, radicalism, and perversion. Who is in his/her sensible and sound mind will do this kind of posturing? Any one who desires to attribute some feature or characteristic to Islam needs to, first and foremost, learn Arabic and do some analysis before taking on such an endeavor. It is like attempting to study the real Greek philosophy; one has to study Greek to get a real feel of its content. Nowadays, one cannot study the sciences without learning English. In the context of Islam and its language, not doing so must trivialize if not annul those acts of defilement and blasephemy which many have embarked upon. Take Michael Savage (based out of San Francisco) and the like who are bombarding the American radio and T.V. stations and channels with their propaganda against Islam. These claim themselves to be "very well educated," yet they have never tried to speak a word of Arabic. They have always studied Islam from the eyes of those who are blind and the ears of those who are deaf. These radio and T.V. hosts end up capitalizing on people's feelings in order to promote their financial greed, fame, and personal inner dissatisfaction with their short-comings and short-sightings in life. Stirring hate against 1.4 biilion Muslims, as they should be aware of, will be to no avail. They should bear in mind that Islam is part and parcel of mankind's very existence. After all, it is God's will to make it as such, for all things which happen are destined to do so with the will of the Almighty.

  81. Sandra from U.S.

    I totally agree that the term "jihad" must be reclaimed by Islam to its original, well-prescribed meaning. Muslims should also begin using the correct term for what bin Laden et al do--it is hirabah (war against society.) It has been watered down over time and in translation to meaning "spreading mischief in the land." Originally it referred to the kind of raids, like the Visigoths, Mongols, beserker Vikings, etc. in which a group of people would raid a village, kill all the inhabitants, after first raping the women and girls, kill the livestock, take what plunder they could carry, and burn down the town. Already Sheik al-Qaradwai of Qatar, Judge Tariq al-Bishri of Egypt, Dr. Haytham al-Khayyat of Syria, Dr. Ezzeddin Ibrahim of UAR, Prof. John Esposito, Dr. Robert Crane, and many others have agreed that hirabah is the correct term for bin Laden's style of terrorism. Under Islamic Law, it is considered the most abominable type of murder. Introducing the use of the correct term, hirabah, would help fight the terror that mascarades as "jihad" and return that term to its correct usage. insha'llah

  82. Marlene from usa

    This is an excellent article. It is thoughtful, well laid out, concise and logical.

  83. Shad Shahid from India

    This is something that I wished somebody had spoken about earlier. In the garb of secularism, the media has hijacked our concepts without attempting to understand them. We must make utmost efforts to clarify our position. It is natural to feel angry but we must first clarify our position at every forum and utilise every chance we get.

    However, Dr Noor appears somewhat contradictory, if I may excuse myself, when he says that the dogmatic mullahs have hijacked our terms. It is the western media that is portraying them as such-- true there is no smoke without fire, but we do not need any to offer apologies while following our religion-- we are not imposing it over others.

  84. King from UK

    Alain Jean-mairet aka "john norman" ... I see you're still trolling, and now are spouting the nonsense ... The slander against the Prophet is part and parcel of standard rhetoric and lies we've come to expect from .. you. Guess a leapord cant change its spots after all.

    You've twisted the article and its meaning which is of no surprise. Now we're going have the defender of jewish terrorism and fascism tell us which "jihad" to follow. Sorry but not all goyim are stupid.

  85. Muslim Brother from Singapore

    I agree totally with Dr Farish Noor.Dr Farish is well known throughout the South east asian region for his political science expertise.I would like to add that not only must muslims show the true meaning of Jihad but to educate our children whats what and for adults and the elderly the friday sermons are perfect to convey the message to them.However for non-muslims i do not care what they call muslis,terrorists fundamentalists women oppressor and etc. coz i know Islam and i'm practising the true Islam.I Know the prophet Muhammad S.A.W and they cannot lie about him,I know Allah and i'm worshipping him.Surely there's no use trying to explain Islam to them.Read surah Yaasin ayah 1 to 12 and you will know what i mean.

    So to all adult out juzto let u all know i'm 15 and i'm reminding u to read the Quran.


  86. Mohammed from Canada

    Sorry to say that the opinion is unrealistic. Many muslims are being oppressed, imprisoned, humiliated and tortured at the hands of evil doers. It is unbelievable that a muslim should be against any muslim in his or her words. Does the writer understand the onslaught on islam. Remember Iblis was rascist and prejudised to Adam{R.A} and so also many individuals do the same.

    Our Quran says: be mighty against the unbelievers and humble to believers. This in my mind means believers in the glorious Lord Allah {S.W.T.} my king, master and ruler of all. Let us follow our God Allah {S.W.T.} for he is the all knowing the wise and there is none like onto him.

    From the humble slave of Allah {S.W.T.}

    May peace, blessings and goodness be with believers-Anthony Ashmead Mohammed(B.Com,FCMA,FIPM,FIAB,FCEA,AICA,AIS)

  87. Alain Jean-Mairet from CH

    Excellent piece. I doubt that it will be possible to convince the majority of Muslims to practice the great jihad only, but it is worth the effort.

    What was the jihad for Muhammad? The man was trying to convert the world (the whole world indeed) with the pure strength of his faith and of his companions'. He was striving to win wars with no blood shed, by the mere showing of his greatness, his dignity, his inner power, that is the correctness of his faith, of his vision of god. And he actually was able to do that a couple of times. That is the real jihad.

    But, unfortunately, Muhammad had sometimes to accept the rules of his times too, and thus to fight bloody wars as well, and accept contradictions. His faith was not (always) strong enough for convincing his companions and his enemies. But he kept a few rules about war, that Muslims should still be respecting today, the first of which being to always offer the enemy a clear proposition to convert to Islam. Muhammad thus wrote a number of letters to leaders where he was trying, without expressing any threat, to convince them of the quality and genuine superiority of Islam. Well, he was not very good in rhetoric, but his faith was indeed impressive.

    I think he was a great man of faith and, yes, of peace, but he was not strong or blessed enough for countering the influence of the people around him over time. So that, today, I don't see any chance that Islam, without its prophet, can become a peaceful religion. Today, the core message of the Qur'an is diluted in the body of interpretation made of the tradition, which is the adaptation of Muhammad's message to the (political) will of his followers. And people live more with the tradition and the social interpretation of Islam than with its prophet's wishes.

    Yes, the original jihad was (is?) for peace, but that chance has been lost. Well, I may be wrong, or course.