Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ali Gomaa "on faith"


21 july 2007
Ali Gomaa

The Meaning of Jihad in Islam
Within Islam the term jihad refers to a large category of meanings। Today, however, there are attempts to isolate this term to only one form of jihad to the exclusion of all others. This includes a conception of jihad that at best refers only to armed struggle, and at worst to a barbaric form of warfare that seeks to destroy whatever peace may still remain in the world. This could not be farther from the concept of jihad as understood by Muslims throughout history and the world over. For Muslims, jihad is much more than armed struggle against an enemy from the outside for it includes constant struggles within both oneself and one’s own society. When jihad actually does take the form of armed struggle, Muslims are aware that it can only be done for the sake of a just cause.Once, upon returning from a battle, the Prophet Muhammad said to his companions, “We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad; the jihad of the soul.” Here the term jihad refers to the spiritual exercise of opposing the lower self. This is referred to as the greater jihad since people spend their entire lives struggling against the base desires within them that can harm both themselves and those around them.

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