Written by: M.DAUD HAKIM
This article explores the concept of jihad in Islam and clarifies its true meaning, which is about striving and making efforts rather than promoting violence. It emphasizes the significance of tolerance and independent reasoning (ijtihad) within Islam, while acknowledging the misinterpretation of these principles by radical individuals. The article also discusses the involvement of terrorist organizations, the biased portrayal of Islam in the media, and the underlying causes of terrorism in both developed and developing countries. It concludes by stressing the importance of comprehensive efforts to counter radicalism and foster a better understanding of Islam’s teachings and values.
Keywords: jihad, Islam, tolerance, ijtihad, terrorism, radicalism, misinterpretation, media bias, terrorist organizations, developing countries.
Misinterpretation of Islamic beliefs
The term “jihad” has multiple meanings within the Islamic context. It is an Arabic word derived from the root “jihad,” which means “to strive” or “to exert effort.”Jihad means to exert or to strive against the power trying to weaken your faith or believe. Jihad doesn’t means fighting against non-muslims without any reason or obligation. There are two types of jihad one is superior and second is inferior the superior jihad is jihad-e-Akbar which is to fight against yourself or in other words to make yourself pure and on true teachings of Islam,second type of jihad is jihad-e-Asghar which means to fight with sword or weapons against anyone trying to damage Islamic beliefs and values.
Jihad is sometimes called the sixth pillar of Islam however there is no such verse defending this school of thought, these people or mostly those who misuse the concept of jihad and use it against the Muslims.
Organizations like ISIS, Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and Daesh (also known as the Islamic State) manipulate and exploit individuals for their agendas. These groups often recruit vulnerable individuals and employ various tactics, including propaganda, indoctrination, and coercion, to influence and control them.
Their actions involve distorting Islamic teachings to justify violence and terrorism. They prey upon grievances, political instability, and social vulnerabilities within Muslim communities to recruit members. Their ultimate goal is to gain power, establish their extremist ideologies, and create chaos and fear. These organizational people work under some incentives and are portrayed as Muslims but they are not Muslims they are rebels of the religion who misinterpret the beliefs of Islam under their benefits and traditions.
Some MULAS AND MADRASSAS are not working how they have to they are the main reasons such organizations are being developed and young people are brainwashed in so-called teaching centers they call them Islamic teaching centers but no these places can be the home of Allah almighty because Allah never taught Muslims to create violence and terrorism.
The media’s portrayal of Islam has undeniably contributed to the perpetuation of stereotypes and negative narratives surrounding religion. While acts of violence committed by individuals of different religious backgrounds are often treated as isolated incidents, incidents associated with Islam are frequently used to generalize and stigmatize the entire faith. This biased representation in the media fuels misconceptions and reinforces prejudiced views. The selective attribution of violence to Islam, using terms such as ‘Islamic’ or ‘Muslim fundamentalist,’ has become all too common, overshadowing the diverse beliefs and practices within the Muslim community.
While researching I experimented in that I searched terroristson Google majority of the terrorist acts were connected to Muslims and Islam and also no other religious incident was shown on the search page that’s how mediawork to portray the incidentsand highlights a certain class to create biases.
There have been instances where certain individuals or groups have misinterpreted or selectively interpreted Islamic verses to justify their radical ideologies or violent actions. However, it is crucial to recognize that the vast majority of Muslims reject and condemn such interpretations. These individuals call themselves Muslims but they only misuse Islamic beliefs and values for their purpose. Some of the verses that are misinterpreted are as follows:
- Quranic Verse: “Fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them.” (Quran 9:5)
Misinterpretation: This verse is often cited without considering its historical context and the specific circumstances in which it was revealed. It is important to understand that this verse was revealed during a time of conflict with specific pagan tribes who had repeatedly violated peace treaties. It does not promote aggression against all non-Muslims indiscriminately.
- Quranic Verse: “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out.” (Quran 2:191)
Misinterpretation: This verse is often misused to justify violence against non-Muslims. However, the verse must be understood in its full context, which refers to self-defense in a specific historical context where Muslims were persecuted and expelled from their homes.
- Hadith: “I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah.” (Sahih Muslim)
Misinterpretation: This hadith is sometimes quoted without considering its broader context and the specific circumstances in which it was narrated. It refers to a specific military campaign during the time of Prophet Muhammad and should not be applied as a blanket command to engage in perpetual warfare against non-Muslims.
There have been instances of terrorism originating from certain countries considered “third world” or developing, it is crucial to consider several factors that contribute to this phenomenon:
Developing countries often face a range of socioeconomic challenges, such as poverty, unemployment, and lack of access to education and opportunities. These conditions can create grievances and frustrations that can be exploited by extremist groups.
Many developing countries experience political instability, armed conflicts, and internal strife. These environments provide fertile ground for radicalization and recruitment by extremist organizations seeking to exploit existing grievances.
The historical and geopolitical context of certain regions has played a role in breeding terrorism. Factors such as colonialism, foreign interventions, and geopolitical conflicts have contributed to the emergence of extremist ideologies and violent movements.
Radical ideologies and interpretations of religion can take hold in any country, regardless of its level of development. Extremist groups can manipulate religious or ideological beliefs to recruit individuals and promote violence.
In conclusion, the misinterpretation of jihad, the lack of tolerance, and the exploitation of Islamic teachings by terrorist organizations have led to the misrepresentation of Islam. It is important to understand that the true essence of Islam promotes peace, tolerance, and intellectual growth. The media plays a significant role in shaping public perception, and it is crucial to address biases and stereotypes in their portrayal of Islam. Recognizing that terrorism can emerge in both developed and developing countries is essential to combat radicalism effectively. Promoting education, interfaith dialogue, and addressing socio-economic and political challenges can contribute to countering radicalization and fostering a more accurate understanding of Islam’s teachings and values. It is only through comprehensive efforts and collaboration that we can strive for a more peaceful and harmonious world.