April 22, 2019 | 56° F

JAWED: True meaning of Jihad lost in news coverage

Opinions Column: If Not Our Own, Then Someone's


The bigotry that fosters a false sense of self-empowerment is actually rooted in ignorance. And if knowledge is power, then should not the ignorant be deemed impotent? The actions of those among us and those in the positions above us speak volumes about the corruptibility of human nature as the elected president of this country is empowered enough to impose upon us bigotry in the form of a Muslim ban. 

Whatever happened to standing united, one nation under God? 

The unfortunate truth is that whereas President Donald J. Trump's presidency has only helped tighten its grip, Islamophobia's hold on the American nation had barely loosened since 9/11. Vandalism, violent destruction of mosques, bullying, cyberbullying and KK publications of the presidency's fight against the spread of Islam in America barely scratches the surface of the hate fostered against Muslims. 

Ironically enough, whereas phobia refers to “an irrational fear or dislike,” Islam translates to “peace and purity,” deeming the literal meaning of the word as fear of peace. 

The proximate cause of this eruption of bigotry is a fear of the terrorism associated with Islamic fundamentalists. Extremist Muslims actually represent only approximately 7 percent of the Muslim population, but the effect of their acts is very dramatic and widespread, which results in a wider range of Muslims wrongly labeled with infamy. The economic anxiety accompanying the country's growing diversity does little to ease the irrationality. 

A common misconception spread especially because of ISIS ideology is the belief that Islam and the Qur’an promote fighting, killing, war and terrorism, especially against people of different faiths in order to establish Muslim rule. 

Explained on justislam.co.uk “Many of the Quranic verses are being quoted out of context to wrongly justify terrorist actions. Yet, most of those verses are only referring to a particular situation; such as Battle of Badr or Battle of Uhud.” 

Like followers of any religion, Muslims also experience sectarian issues and misunderstandings. It is essential to understand that Islamic fundamentalist ideology is not only a problem for non-Muslims but for the believers as well because a lot of extremist targets are actually people belonging to different Islamic sects. 

The reality of the Qur'an is that it actually forbids accusing other people of misguided faith, and it reads, “O you who believe, if you go forth in the cause of God, you shall investigate carefully. And do not say to those who greet you with peace: ‘You are not a believer!’ You are seeking the vanity of this world, but with God are many riches. (Surah 4:94)”

The idea that in Islam and “with God, are many riches,” certainly indicates a level of ethnocentrism, but forcing the concept onto others has clearly been prohibited. ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other fundamentalist groups do indeed promote fighting, killing, war and terrorism, but the usage of violence to force a caliphate where only Muslims exist is clearly not an idea derived from the Qur’an. 

The concept of jihad is another extremely wrong misconception, lacking the emotional context of Islam. 

The term is a requirement of all Muslims but it has been fed into the minds of people in the context of ISIS through the media. 

Jihad, a common Arabic word meaning to “strife or struggle,” is referred to in the Qur’an to indicate that Muslims must be willing to exert effort in the cause of God, using their wealth and themselves. It refers to the internal struggle to be a better Muslim, the struggle between good and evil. It is the struggle to protect Islam in the hearts of people. 

Jihad by the sword, only a part of the entire concept, is limited to self-defense. Mentioned in the Qur’an, “Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors. (Surah 2:190)" 

Allah likes not the transgressors, it says exactly so in the Qur'an so it is painful that Muslims have to defend themselves as the 7 percent lace their hands with massive bloodshed and smear it onto the name of Islam. 

It is the of lack of attention to the context in which Qur'anic phrases are perceived by extremists that pave the path of ignorance, especially when it is the media guiding the people. 

Talk to a Muslim. Or whyislam.com is a great website to dab around on. The growing tide of Islamophobia can only be stopped by a wall of one nation "indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." 

Malaika Jawed is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year. Her column, "If Not Our Own, Then Someone's," runs on alternate Fridays. 


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Malaika Jawed

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