Jihad is one of the most misunderstood topics in the world today. Much of the West believes that the word means Holy war and that it is fundamental to Islam and its ultimate goal of world domination. The Muslim world, of course, knows better what Jihad means, but even among Muslims there exists a fraction that believe that Jihad means roughly what the West thinks it does, which does nothing but perpetuate the myth. The theological reality of what Jihad means is found essentially, and simply in the root of the word and its traditional meaning in relation to the faith. The mistakes of the radicals or militant Muslims in theological interpretations lead to tragic and destructive results, not only in a physical sense, but also in the sense that it takes away from the credibility of the religion as a whole.
[...] This issue is yet another indicator that Islam as a whole is approaching a crossroads where decisions will have to be made on certain issues once and for all, and the majority must speak up clearly and loudly and make it known that the kind of violent jihad that is being promoted by the fundamentalists is unacceptable. This kind of response is necessary if Muslims expect the West to understand that Islam is not a religion of violence (or at least it does not have to be). [...]
[...] They put forward the idea of greater jihad as proof that jihad was not originally intended for outward violence and that the current ideas held by militant Muslim groups are illegitimate. The problem with this is that it “Leads to confusion among Westerners who know nothing about Islam and who logically ask: why, if it has no validity, is the doctrine of militant jihad so influential in the Muslim world? Maintaining that the internal jihad is a major doctrine in Islam makes this entirely reasonable question unanswerable” (Cook, 41) This is not to say that this idea of jihad being an internal struggle does not exist, but merely to point out that simply because it exists does not make it correct, common or make the other views of jihad less real. [...]
[...] The problem with the whole Israel situation and the militants response lies with how the militants read the verses and quotes concerning jihad and war from the Qur'an and the Hadiths, combined with the other goals and methods of these groups. They claim to be justified by the holy books, but the support for some things, suicide martyrdom for example. Islam strictly prohibits suicide, however it has become acceptable and justifiable if Muslims lack either the manpower or the advanced technology of their foes” (Cook 142) and therefore are left with only one viable option for significantly minimizing or demoralizing the enemy. [...]
[...] At its core the thinking of Muslim militants regarding jihad is very self-centered and often creates a mindset that allows the individual to blame all of the wrongs of his personal life and of the society on an external force, usually the West. This is unfortunate because, as much as it is true that the West did create many problems for the Middle East and other areas, it will do nothing constructive to further destroy what has already been destroyed. [...]
[...] Israel is actually a very interesting point when considering the theory and application of jihad. The existence of the state of Israel is at the least an annoyance to the Arab public, and at worst an issue around which they organize in the name of jihad. The militant Muslim groups declare violent jihad is necessary against Israel because of its treatment of Muslims living in Palestine as well as a general feeling of anti Semitism that most of these militant groups possess. [...]
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