Jihad

All you need to know about this notion

What is Jihad?

Jihad is an Arabic word that translates to “holy war” however; the true definition of the word is to struggle. The purpose of Jihad is to be a good Muslim, and display to the world what this faith is all about. The meaning of Jihad has been misconducted in society, giving it a negative connotation.

Radical Interperations of Jihad

The concept of Jihad is looked at negatively is because of terrorism using it as an excuse to act unethically. Jihad is not intended to be a violent concept, but peaceful. There is a common stereotype that portrays Muslims as intolerant to those who do not follow the same faith. This is because of many terrorist groups using Jihad to justify their violence, which makes society believe that all Muslims are terrorist because they believe this concept. Unless one looks deeper, they are conditioned to believe Islam is a violent religion, thus resulting in discrimination.

Those who misuse(d) the concept of JIhad

Peaceful Jihad

What Jihad really is, is allowing hostile behavior when there is NO other alternative. This behavior has strict rules as well, and no innocent beings must ever be harmed. (E.g. Women, babies, children, etc.) This hostile behavior ranges from legal, economic and political means. Any offering of peace from the enemy whom one is encountering conflict with has to be accepted as well. One is not able to declare Jihad; it has to be declared by a higher authority in power. It must be decided whether or not it is appropriate to turn to such means to defend oneself.

Another meaning of Jihad is that one should be the best person they could be, by following the way of Allah. The inner struggle within oneself.

Malcolm X

After learning about what Jihad is, and how it is truly intended to be peaceful as opposed to violent, applying it in the context of Malcolm X's life can allow one to understand this concept easier. Initially, Malcolm X had started his political movement by using acts of violence, contradicting Martin Luther King Jr's peaceful beliefs. While Malcolm X was in jail, he had a spiritual awakening and when he was released, he had travelled to the Kaaba. This is known as Hajj, one of the 5 pillars of Islam. While travelling, Malcolm X had gained a new perspective on things and decided to renew his movement with different morals and values. He decided that when he went back to the USA, he would peacefully try to fight for peace instead of using means of violence. This goes to show how true Jihad has to do with peace as Malcolm X had initially believed in the "lesser Jihad," but eventually realized that it wasn't the way to go. After that method didn't work, he turned to the "greater Jihad" to lead his movement. This shows that in the Islamic faith, while Jihad as portrayed as an excuse for terrorism in society, Jihad in it's true form is all about peace and non-violence. Malcolm X's conversion to Islam is an example of that.

In Modern Day Society

As mentioned earlier, radical interpretations of Jihad take place today due to terrorist groups such as the Taliban and ISIS. Them claiming Jihad on each other happened in April 2015, so to this day Jihad is still used as an excuse for violence. This results in a lot of people being racists towards Muslims these days. Jokes about terrorism and what not are directed towards those who believe in the Islamic faith. Especially on social media, individuals target others based on their faith as a joke, even though terrorism is not something to be joked about.


Peaceful Jihad in modern day society applies to any person who believes in Islam. Non-violence and peace are still Islamic teachings. A good example of an individual who practices peaceful Jihad by following the ways of Allah to be the best individual they can be is Mesut Özil. Özil is a world champion footballer that makes it clear that Allah has a big place in his heart. Praying before every football game, fasting during Ramadan even when he has to play football for 90 minutes, and donating all of his $427,000 world cup bonus to charity to help out those who are less fortunate show him following some of the 5 pillars of Islam, the ways of Allah. Özil is looked at as one of the best footballers in the world, and him demonstrating what it means to be a Muslim to the world allows people to understand that this faith is not about terrorism, but about peace and giving.

In Other Religions

Buddhism:

The Buddhist religion is all about peace and spiritual awakening. This applies to Jihad since Jihad is all about peace and kind-hearted actions. In Buddhism, one of the teachings is that there is struggle, and that struggle is a part of everyday life. The true definition of Jihad is struggle as well, which is synonymous to Buddhist beliefs. Both of these concepts deal with peace and the struggle of life.


Christianity/Judaism:

In both of these religions, similar to peaceful Jihad but this time referring to being allowed to use violence when absolutely necessary, and as the last resort, an individual has the right to fight under certain circumstances.


Hinduism:

One of the biggest Hindu beliefs is Karma. The belief that what goes around comes around; so one must try to be a kind person to reciprocate good karma. Applying Jihad in this context would mean that an individual would have to be the best version of themselves they can be (to be kind and mindful of others), so they appear peaceful and have a peaceful mindset. This would allow them to have good karma, as they would receive what they are dishing out to others.

How to Incoorporate Jihad in Your Daily Life

The way you can incorporate Jihad into your daily life is by being a good and peaceful person. Try to be yourself 100%, and never anyone else. Show everyone what your morals, values and beliefs are and don’t be a fake person. Try to spread happiness and never try to intentionally hurt anyone. Try to use violence as the absolute last resort for anything, and keep it very minimal.


Being the best person you can be and spreading around your faith doesn’t seem like a bad thing at all. It’s a shame that people misuse Jihad and it is looked at so negatively. Overall, the concept of Jihad appears to be very peaceful and positive.

Works Cited

"The 5 Deadliest Terrorist Groups on the Planet." The National Interest. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 June 2015.


"ISCA." Jihad: A Misunderstood Concept from Islam. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 June 2015.


"Israeli-Palestinian Conflict." Peace with Realism. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 June 2015.


"Jihad: Interpretation vs. Meaning :: Reader Comments at Daniel Pipes."Daniel Pipes. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 June 2015.