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Jihad, a Misinterpreted Misunderstood and Misused Idea

The word jihad simply means ‘to try’. A Beirut academic Yusuf Ibish explains two types of jihad based on the Qur’an: greater and lesser jihad. He explains,
The greater jihad is fighting one’s animal tendencies. It is internal than external: striving in the path of God to overcome one’s animal side. Man shares with animals certain characteristics which, if let lose, make him a very dangerous beast. To bring these passion under control, that is what jihad means. The lesser jihad- fighting on behalf of the community, in its defense – is a duty incumbent on a Muslim provided he is attacked [1]However, the Qur’anic explanation does not recognize inhuman, violent and offensive jihad. “Hadith makes clear that war is only for defensive purpose. Innocent civilians must not be targeted. But Extremists ignore the historical and social context of Hadith. They argue that the command of Haddith is not true sayings of Muhammad.” [2]
Suicide bombers use some fragmented verses of Qur’an that have led to believe they will inherit Paradise:
Those who believe, and who have forsaken the domain of evil and have striven [jihad] hard in God's cause with their possessions and their lives have the highest rank in the sight of God; and it is they, they who shall triumph in the end! Their Sustainer gives them glad tidings of the grace that flows from Him, and of His goodly acceptance, and of the gardens which await them, full of lasting bliss, therein to abide beyond the count of time. Verily, with God is a mighty reward! [Al-Quran 9:20-22]
The terrorists have ripped such verses out of context and failed to understand their true meaning, McAuliffe said. Passages on fighting refer to a particular war, when enemies of Islam tried to destroy the Prophet Muhammad and his followers. They do not give blanket permission to condemn or kill those who hold political or religious views other than your own.[3]

Famous Islamic scholar A.G. Noorani says,
Jihad signifies a physical moral, spiritual and intellectual effort (to create a just and decent society). There are plenty of Arabic words denoting armed combat…, which the Qur’an could easily have used if war had been the Muslim’s principle way of engaging in its effort. Instead it chose a vaguer, richer word with a wide range of connotation.[4]

Obviously the war which is fought against humanity is not a Holy war or jihad.

John L. Esposito sees jihad from four points of view-

Jihad is striving to lead a good Muslim life, praying and fasting regularly, being an attentive spouse and parent, another might identify jihad as working hard to spread the message of Islam. For the third, it might be supporting the struggle of the oppressed Muslim people in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya or Kosovo. And for the final speaker, as for Osama bin Laden, jihad could mean working to over through governments in the Muslim World and attacking America.[5]
Problem arises mainly for the final argument. Sometimes it generates the sense of phobia.

Jihador Terrorism
The Issue of Iran
Arab Spring

[1] A. G., Noorani, Islam and Jihad: Prejudices verses Reality (Dhaka: University Press Limited (UPL), 2002), .46-47.
[2] Ann Rodgers Melnick, ‘‘Jihad’ Misused, Misunderstood, Scholar Says Struggle to Be Good' Is Real Meaning of Term,” http://www.post-gazette.com/headlines/20010923jihad0923p5.asp  (accessed April 12, 2012).
[3] idid.
[4] Noorani, op.cit., .49.
[5]  Esposito, op cit.,.26.