These days whenever you turn on the news, or pick up a newspaper, just about every time, you will hear something about the Muslims. Which would normally be a plus, but unfortunately that is not the case here. Anytime you hear the word Islam or Muslims you also you hear terrorist and bombings along with it. Islam is receiving a bad name all around the world. Even before these recent attacks, Non-Muslims have tried to spread the notion that Islam is not only bad for the United States, but for the rest of the world as well. But we should also remember, such attacks have been occurring since the time of the Great Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him). The Kuffar (idol-worshippers) continually attempted to stop Prophet Muhammad (Salalahu Alayhi Wasalam) from proceeding on with his Daw’ah (spread of Islam) mission.
I remember one day turning on my television to a program entitled ‘Jihad: Holy War’. To my dismay it was full of lies and such things that were not only contradicting Islam’s basic teachings of peace, but also were sending images that caused fear and hate towards Islam to Non-Muslims. The program showed how Islam imposed obligations and unjust rules on women. In reality, Islam gives women the right to freedom, equality, inheritance, and work I know that today many young Muslims are confused as to what to believe. So why don’t we look at the word Jihad, and try to grasp a better understanding of it.
Jihad in Islam means struggle in the Way of Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’alah) . Its purpose is to support justice and the right cause. There are many forms of Jihad. Self restrain or controlling oneself from wrong acts is Jihad. Supporting the needy is also Jihad. A Muslim can do Jihad through all or any of its forms through out his or her life.
The Jihad that pertains to fighting the enemy is the duty of the Muslims whenever aggression comes from the enemy. This means that when the religion of Islam and the Muslim community (Ummah) is in danger, we are instructed to defend ourselves. The people who have been excommunicated from their homes or have been victimized by the enemy because of their belief in Allah, should struggle for their rights and security. Jihad does not include offensive wars to expand the empire or to convert people to Islam by way of constraint.
Allah (swt) revealed in the Holy Qur’an:
Fight in the Cause of Allah,
Those who fight you,
But do not transgress limits;
For Allah does not love transgressors.
Islam is a religion that allows utmost freedom to the people to practice their beliefs. Muslims are supposed to live peacefully with believers of other religions. Al-Qur’an has clearly stated that there is no compulsion in religion. It is the behavior of the Muslims that should be a model for humanity to follow, thus inviting the whole world to Islam