JIHAD: A Misinterpretation

Jihad - a word that supposedly satisfies the conscious of all the terrorists before killing people mercilessly; a word which in itself has the power to destroy the lives of millions. Amidst this chaos, the layman only wants the answer to this one simple question, ‘Why?’ Even we as a layman know that no God would be pleased to see one human kill another. But the existence of terrorism propels the need to curb it, to destroy terrorism from its very roots. To achieve this goal, a ridiculous thing that the masses did was bring religion into consideration. The root cause of the hatred existing in this society lies in the fact that religion has been involved in this whole agenda of terrorism. Blaming a whole religion is no justification for the radicalized behavior of a certain group of people. How much do we know about Islam before we start castigating it? This appeasement of mankind to little knowledge is leading us to our own downfall. So let me begin by some major clarifications regarding this topic.

Jihad, by definition, is a struggle or fight against the enemies of Islam. It is the spiritual struggle within oneself against sin. The only use of jihad is to maintain peace within the Muslim societies and to protect their people and lands. Many individuals, laymen as well as experts, have tried to link 9/11 to the concept of jihad in Islam, even though many were Muslims among the people who were killed. This is against the basic principles of jihad and Islam which all Muslims abide by. Radicalized people take advantage of this misinformation and misunderstanding of the Islamic faith. They alter the interpretations of Islam to their own convenience and radicalize other people to achieve their objectives. What we need to understand is religion directs us to a way of life so that humanity prevails. It doesn’t teach us to take sadistic pleasures from others misery. Regarding Islam, Islam itself is a religion of peace. Not only that, it does not preach terrorism and it has been mentioned in the holy Quran.
“Whosoever kills a person without any reason (of murder or mischief in the world), it is as though he has killed all the people. And whosoever saves a single life, it is as though he has saved all the people” (Surah al-Maaida, 5:32).

Another misconception that people have is regarding Muslims being easy subjects to radicalization due to Islam. The Ahmedabad terror attacks were committed by a Hindu radical organization. Did they read the Quran too or our conception is flawed from the very beginning? There are a number of Hindu, North-Eastern radical organizations that exist and are still active. Haven’t Muslims become soft targets? People are bullying Muslims for following Islam leading to consequences as heinous as murders. Is this what we want? Are we not helping the terrorist in their very motive to spread hatred? And why don’t we look at the other side of the coin. The biggest issue in secular countries like ours is that the majority of the Muslims now live in fear. The fear that perhaps they might be beaten up for having eaten beef. The fact that the other religious fanatics can go berserk and the government in our country doesn’t bat an eye. The difficulty of Muslims to adjust according to the principles of the religion of the majority is what scares them. The fact that they have to prove their patriotism is shameful for us. The secularism as stated in our constitution needs to be reinstated. People should have their religious freedom without being called unpatriotic and it should be carried out without any hindrance. Instead of thinking of them as a liability, why don’t we appreciate their contribution to our glorious country? Not only do the pioneers like APJ Abdul Kalam, Shahrukh Khan, A.R Rahman continue to inspire billions of lives around the world but they also showcase our country in good light.

What can be a reason to such blatant ignorance of people? What can attribute to such a humongous hatred that consumes our society? Are people as stupid as the leader who thinks global warming is a Chinese conspiracy, or just ignorant? Many questions are still left unanswered. It is ironical how the educated people, instead of stopping this madness, adding fuel to the fire. One of the prime reasons can be our cultural taboo to frankly discuss issues concerning other religions. People are uneducated about the fundamental principles of the other religions which lead to such misinformation. Maybe among our forefathers, orthodoxy still prevails. Our education system, too, has failed in maintaining the secularism of our country. The curriculum instead celebrates the very religion it propagates. There is nothing wrong in that as long as other religions are also appreciated. If our education system incorporates the fundamental principles of all religions, perhaps people would not be so vocal and aggressive in their approach towards other religion. The likeminded class would also stop the uneducated from causing such massive resentment against other religions, mainly Islam.

Let us pledge to stop this hatred from spreading before it consumes us. Pointing fingers at each other won’t do us any good and would in fact stagnate our progress. Why don’t we take Manchester as an example? Even after the futile attempts of the terrorists to break their integration, the city as well as the country is more united than ever. Infringing upon the rights of the people to follow the religion of their choice would ultimately result in a chaotic and disastrous situation. It would be similar to conceding defeat to terrorism. The only way we can defeat it is by standing united, by reinstating the principles of humanity that has somehow declined in this modern era. It might be just a dream, but if Manchester can do it, then so can all of the world!

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