Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jihad Striving for Peace by Sadia Dehlvi

Ole Folks, Pals, Comrades, Friends...

How has been the weekends?

Everytime time there is a bomb blast in the Arab world or South Asia or the 1st world West or Europe,  so-called xenophiilic eviedence is directed towards the suspect of such acts being Muslims, this is the case more especially after the 9/11 terror strikes at the Twin towers and the Pentagon of the United  states. The world has been witness to either a self-styled so - called Islamic miltant faction being levelled the charges of such a strike or either that faction, that outfit, that cult, that ideologically militant oriented organisation accepting the charges of murder, Extortion, kidnapping, Maiming, Mutiliation, Hijackings, Suicide bombings the bottomline being holding the very essence of Humanity at stake.

If we broaden our perspective, psyche, mindset and thought processes that we use or seem to use so much in other developments, issues we will come to a natural conclusion that no faith in this world propagates terror, mayhem, chaos and a state of anarchy.

Amidst such blurring of lines and natural xenophobic attitude from the world over directed against Islam, a lst of the faiths originating from the contuning Jewish traditions which Muslim's immediate neighbour the Christians have recieved via Jesus Christ whom Muslims refer to as a great Prophet, just before Prophet Mohammad, much needs to be said and done.

One of the greatest controversises created, artificial or out of the intellectual ignorance of masses and non-muslims the world over is of the term Jihad. It is amusing to see that how media reports and uses the term.They refer to people self-styled champions of Islam waging irrelevant, insane, mindless Holy War( known as Crusades in Christianity) against their perpetrators. Such a word is Jihadi or Jihadist wheraeas in Islamic connotation such a word is not to be found anywhere. Jihad has been mentioned 41 times in the Holy Quran ( all the three semitic faith Judaism, christainity and Islam are called children of the book with the leaders, messiahs, messengers and the Prophets Of God the Almighty being endowed with one of them) but no other connotation is there in this sacred book of Muslims that says of jihad as a military offensive confrontation or waging a war that is directed aginst disbelievers for that matter.

Jihad came into existence in the faithe in the following way and for that one has to have a deeper study of terms, phrases, coined in that particular era the Socio-historic-economic background of that term's origin and then intellectualise, disseminate views-labelled to be opinionated, biased or liberal or simply a result of comparative study of different faiths tenets, edicts and doctrines.

Jihad's meaning is struggle and one now will be faced with question as to struggle aginst whom-struggle against oneself, one's inner evils, one's shortcomings pat comes the reply.

In Christinaity there are the seven sins which are dreaded to be the manifestation of satan or belonging to the wrong path, these include gluttony, pride, envy, jealousy, greed, lust and adultery etc.  These are referred to as nafs in Islam and one who has come near to controlling that nafs or has also overcome the nafs is a follower of God and an exemplary, ideal human being whom Allah( the term used for the Almighty in Islam) also likes and showers his blessings on to.

just to clarify things, wrong notions regarding the essence of Islam i am presenting to you folks a write up on this Sunday's ( April 18th) special supllement the Speaking Tree which disseminates information, sources, matter relating to various faiths and religions of the world and the present feature is on Jihad and its relevant connotation by Sadia Delhvi, a columnist and writer in the Times of India and convenor of Sufi gatherings( a branch and part of Islam which brought to the world the dedication and connectedness towards God in the form of music, arts, culture, poetry etc and giving to the South Asian region a unique identity of saints coming over from far off lands of central asia, borders of Iran and Afghanistan, Iraq as well as directly from these nations themselves with the most unique thing about thse saints being the preachings, teachings and championing of compassion, universal brotherhood, peace, tolerance and other values which in turn is evident from the thousands and thousands of Muslims as well as non-muslims thronging their shrines either at Ajmer, India of Sulltan-ul-Hind, Hazrath khwaja gareeb Nawaaz Moinudeen Chisti).

Here goes the feature...

The Greater Calling

The Quran embraces all aspects of life, setting the guiding principles of family, civil and criminal law, writes...Sadia Dehlvi

I often encounter people holding biased views on passages relating to Jihad in the quran. It is not surprising. The understanding of spirtual narratives has been deeply injured by militants distorting scriptures to perpetrate heinous crimes .

Islamic tradition believes that Jesus recieved pure love, Moses the law and Prophet Mohammad, a combination of both in the final message in the form of the Quran. Similar to world constitutions that aim for justice, equality and freedom, the Quran embraces all aspects of life, setting the guiding principles of family, civil and criminal law.

One meaning of Islam is peace, a permanently desired state with all that exists. Islam classifies jihad which means "to strive" into Jihad-e-asghar, the less important otward battle against injustices, and Jihad-e-akbar, the larger battle aginst the nafs, the worst impulses in the self. This internal Jihad is changing one's own resistance to Truth, and the other is confronting forces in the world that are resisting Truth.

Religion is about creating a balance in our lives. When people submit to evil and it becomes the principle they live by, their internal imbalance becomes a source of danger.

To ensure peace and security, such forces have to be isolated or destroyed. The verses sanctioning a miltary Jihad were revealed to the Prophet after 13 years of passive resistance to the injustices and oppression of muslims in Makkah. War was allowed only between armies on battlefields. The prophet stressed that as an armed struggle, jihad could not be pursued for economic gain, personal honour or the propagation of narrow nationalism.

Laying down battle rules, The Prophet said: " do not kill women, children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people." The Prophet specifically mentioned priests, nuns, and rabbis who serve God in seclusion. He forbade the mutilating the bodies, the cutting down of trees and the poisdoning of wells of enemies. He prohibited the burning of houses and cornfields, and the killing of livestock-except when compelled to eat them. The Prophet established an exemplary code of conduct for prisoners of war. Prophet Mohammad said " Mercy is not taken out of anyone but the damned." The quran urges not to let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just.

While returning from the battle of Badr, the first armed conflict, Prophet Mohammad defined the two faces of Jihad: " We are returning from the lesser holy war to the greater holy war against ourselves ." On another occasion, he said: " The most excellent Jihad is to speak up for the truth, ( for what is right and just) in the face of a tyrannical authority."

The message of Islam is essentially the message of compassion, the greater Jihad being to become activators and ambassadors of the Divine Message, adorning ourselves with Allah's primary attributes of mercy and compassion. It is the common platform on which humanity should stand. This needs egotism out of the way and requires knowledge of oneself. Stressing upon the importance of this elf-realisation, Prophet Mohammad said, " One who knows himself knows God."

Islam holds individuals responsible for all of God's bounties, especially the gift of human life. Robbing another of the gift of life is a grave sin, the killing of one compared to the killing of entire humanity. Allah ordains: " If anyone kills a person-unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land-it would be as if he kills the whole people:and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people." (5:32). The root of true Jihad is not selfish desire, but ways of bringing about goodness around you. Prophet Mohammad said, " Die before you die," signifyingan emptying of the self for the sake of God, for in the presence of the Lord, there is no room for more than one "I", that is the "I" of Divinity. The lovers of God live for Him and die for Him.

The writer convenes Sufi gatherings,   



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