The word Jihaad sends shivers down the spines of many Westerners. They readily equate this term with violence and oppression. However, it must be said that the meaning of Jihaad, as "holy war" is something which is totally foreign and not from Islaam. If anything, such description belongs more so to Christianity and its adherents. It was terms like this which were used to justify the slaughter and pillage of towns and cities during the crusades by the Christians. By simply looking into the sources of Islaam, one is able to know the true meaning of Jihaad is to strive or make effort in the way of Allaah. Thus, striving in the way of Allaah can be both peaceful and physical. The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) said: "The best Jihaad is (by) the one who strives against his own self for Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic".
In the Qur'aan, Allaah also says (which means): "So obey not the disbelievers, but make a great Jihaad (effort) against them (by preaching) with it (the Qur'aan)" (Al-Furqaan 25:52).
By controlling and fighting against one's desires, the Muslims can then also physically exert themselves in the path of Allaah. It is this physical or combative Jihaad which receives so much criticism. Because of the sheer ignorance of this type of Jihaad, Islaam is regarded as terror, Muslim are regarded as terrorist. However, the very purpose of this physical Jihaad is to raise the Word of Allaah uppermost. By doing this, it liberates and emancipates all those who are crying out for freedom all over the world. If the likes of the pacifist of this world had their way, then the world would indeed be full of anarchy and mischief. The combative Jihaad seeks to correct this as Allaah says in the Qur'aan (which means): "And if Allaah did not rectify one set of people by means of another, the Earth would be full of mischief. But Allaah is full of favors for the worlds." (Al-Baqarah 2:251)
Such would be the corruption on this Earth if there had never been a combative Jihaad, than Allaah says (which means): "For had it not been that Allaah rectifies one set of people by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allaah is mentioned much, would surely have been torn down. Indeed Allaah will help those who help His (cause). Truly Allaah is All-Powerfull, All-Mighty." (Al-Hajj 22:40).
This combative Jihaad being both defensive and offensive, is something which Allaah commanded the Muslims. Through this command the oppressed and weak are rescued from the tyranny of the world. Allaah says (which means): "And what is the matter with you that you do not fight in the cause of Allaah and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women and children whose only cry is; "Our Lord, rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors, and raise for us, from you one who will protect, and raise for us, from you one who will help.'" (An-Nisaa' 4:75)
Anyone who knows the early history of Islaam, will know that all those nations and empires which came under the fold of Islaam were indeed previously oppressed. When the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) went out for the offensive Jihaad against the Egyptians, the Persians and the Romans, we find that the people did not resist against them at all. Rather, they accepted Islaam on such a scale, that it is inconceivable that the Jihaad of Islaam could be anything other then a liberation for these people; a liberation from centuries of tyranny. In fact, with the Byzantine Egyptians and the people of Spain, the Muslims were even beckoned to come and liberate these lands from the oppression of their kings. This is the glorious track record of the Muslim Jihaad.
Compare this with the brutal track record of warfare in the Western world over the centuries. From the crusades against the Muslims to the days of colonial warfare, the Western world has killed, destroyed and plundered everything which has come in its way. Even today this merciless killing goes on by the Western nations. While claming to be about world peace and security. Western nations are ready to bomb innocent civilians at the drop of a hat. The classic example of this is the recent bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan. Whilst claiming that Sudan and Afghanistan were havens for the Islaamic terrorist, the bombings of these two nations could not have come at a better time for the American president Bill Clinton. The destruction of innocent lives which were a result of these bombings clearly seem to have been an attempt by Clinton ot avert attention away from his sexual misdemeanors; something which he so often gets caught up in. Without doubt this was the reason for such terror from the American Military upon innocent people. This is the same American military which claims to enter the world trouble spots under the disguise of being peace keepers. But Allaah says (which means): "...When it is said to them; 'Make not mischief on the Earth', they say: ' We are only peace makers'. Indeed they are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive it not." (Al-Baqarah 2:11-12)
Not transgressing the limits means not to kill women and children, for the Messenger of (s.a.s) Allaah "forbade the killing of women and children."
Not transgressing the limits means that the elderly, the sick, monks, worshippers, and hired laborers are not attacked. Not transgressing the limits means not killing animals wantonly, burning crops and vegetation, polluting waters and destroying homes, monasteries, churches and synagogues. Allaah said (which means): "Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion, nor dove you out of your homes. Indeed, Allaah loves those who deal with equity." (Al-Mumtahinah 60:8)
After reading such passages from the Qur'aan and knowing about what Islaam commands and prohibits in Jihaad, the rules of warfare are given a new meaning; a meaning of justice. How sad it is then, that while Islaam is condemned for striking terror into the hearts of the people, the likes of the Serbs, the Indian army in Kashmire and the Israeli soldiers in Palestine are left untarnished for the atrocities they have committed in the name of warfare.
So what about suicide bombing, is this too a part of Jihaad in Allaah's path? From what has already been stated above, it can be deduced that this is not part of the religion. However, unfortunately many Muslims have taken suicide bombing as being a virtuous act by which one receives reward. This could not be further from the truth. The Prophet (s.a.s) said: " Those who go to extremes are destroyed"
Suicide bombing is undoubtedly an extremity which has infiltrated the ranks of the Muslims. In the rules of warfare, we find no sanction for such an act from the behavior and utterances of the Prophet Muhammad or his blessed companions. Unfortunately, today some of the less-knowledgeable Muslims believe that such acts are paving the way for an Islaamic revival and a return to the rule of Islaam's glorious law. However, we fail to bear in mind that the Prophet (s.a.s) said: "Do not be delighted by the actions of anyone, until see how he ends up."
So, for example what is the end of a suicide bomber in Palestine? A leg here, an arm there. Massive retaliation by the Israeli's in the West Bank and Gaza. More Muslims killed and persecuted. How can we be delighted with such an end? What really hammers the final nail in the coffin of this act, is that it is suicide; something which is clearly forbidden in Islaam. The Messenger of Allaah (s.a.s) said: "He who kills himself with anything, Allaah will torment him with that in the fire of Hell"
Some are under the misconception that by killing oneself for an Islaamic cause, one commits an act which deserves Paradise. Once when a man killed himself, the Prophet (s.a.s) said: "He is a dweller of the fire". When the people were suprised at this, the Prophet (s.a.s) said: "A person performs the deeds which to the people appears to be the deeds befitting the dweller of Paradise, but he is in fact one of the dweller of the fire."
The taking of one's life, which Allaah has given as a trust to the human, is a great sin. Likewise, the unwarranted taking of other lives (which is so often the case with suicide bombing) is also forbidden, as human life is indeed precious. Allaah clarifies (which means): "..If anyone killed a person not in retaliation for murder or for his spreading evil in the land, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind. And (likewise) if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole mankind." (Al-Maa'idah 5:32)
Thus, all other types of extremities such as hostage taking, hijacking and bombs in public places, are clearly forbidden in Islaam.
By going through the teachings of Islaam, it is clear that such a religion has only come to benefit mankind not to destroy it. So why is there so much hatred for this nobel religion in the West? The answer is simple, the media. It is the media of the West which has portrayed Islaam to be something that is not. During the 70's and 80's when the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) carried out daring high jacks on the world's airways, the media in the West portrayed it as being Islaamic. When the Shi'ite (a deviated group who is far from Islaam) suicide bombers of the 80's were causing so much havoc in the Lebanon and in the Gulf region, the media in the West portrayed it as a part of Islaam. However, it is known by the heads of the media, that the likes of the PLO were not an Islaamic organization, and that Shi'ites do not represent Islaam. Yet such facts are never portrayed by a media which seeks to cover the truth of this religion. A number of years ago, when the Oklahoma City bomb went off, a headline in one of the British newspapers, 'The Today' , summed up this attitude. With a picture of a fire fighter holding a dead child in his arms, the headline read: "In The Name Of Islaam", Time has often proven that this bigoted assumption was incorrect, as Timothy Mcveigh, a right-wing radical now faces death penalty for the crime. Likewise, the bombs which went off in the Paris metro in 1995, were also blamed on Muslim fanatics. It has now emerged that the Algerian secret-service who having routinely bribed many European journalist and MPs, were actually behind it. The desire of such people to throw a veil over Islaam is immense. Allaah says (which means): "They intend to put out the light of Allaah with their mouths, but Allaah will complete His light even though the disbelievers hate (it) (AS-Saff 61:8).
Whilst trying to destroy Islaam through this instrument of the media, they clearly try to portray an image of themselves as being the oppressed people. Every year, we are reminded as to how many Jews perished under the Nazis in World War II. We are made to feel sorry for these same people who have gone on to commit so many crimes upon the Palestinian people. Why are Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, two former Israeli prime ministers, considered terrorist? Anyone who knows about the history of the Palestinian occupation, will tell you that these two men were members of the Tem Gang and Irgun, two notorious Jewish terror groups, who killed many innocent people. If this media was truly impartial, then why does it not tell about the extent of the Israeli bombardment and illegal occupation of Southern Lebanon and its people?. And if this media really had nothing against the religion of Allaah, then why does it not inform the people that everyday hundreds are entering the religion of Islaam? Such things will never be highlighted in the Western media, simply because to do so would be against their interest.
With such immense pressure against it, it is indeed a blessing from Allaah that Islaam goes from strength to strength. It continues to grow faster then any other religion in the Western world, embracing the heart and minds of thousands. All of this should not suprise us, for Allaah has promised us that this religion will prevail: "It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, so that He may make it victorious over all other religion, even though the disbelievers detest it." (AS-Saff 61:9)
It is a must that humanity embrace religion of Islaam. Without it, we will continue to slip down the road of inequity and darkness. With it we can establish a society of justice and peace. Religion of terror?.. NO. The way forward?.. YES. Allaah says (which means): "There is no compulsion in religion. The right path has indeed become distinct from the wrong. So whoever rejects the falsely worshipped and believes in Allaah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that will never break. And Allaah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing." (Al-Baqarah 2:256)