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April 06, 2003


Does anyone know much about Jihad?

I have to write an paper on "What is Jihad?" this week and am interested to hear and see a variety of perspectives if any of you have thought about it or done any investigation and research on the topic.

The more I read the more I realise how many perspectives there are and also how far away from the original meaning many interpretations floating around in the media are. I'm finding it very difficult to sort through the agendas of the authors of the articles I'm reading to get to the heart of the topic.

Leave your comments and ideas here or email me if you have any constructive personal thoughts or articles that you have found.

Posted by Darren at April 6, 2003 12:07 PM

Interpretations of Jihad are as diverse as the many streams of Islam itself. Jihad is arabic for struggle or battle. As far as i understand, there seems to be three definitions of Jihad, one is to protect by conflict or self-defence the 'umma' or community of Isalm from outside attack. The second i understand seems to be the struggle of every muslim against sin and evil in life. And the third as heard mostly these days in both muslim and non-muslim media seems to be a holy war against infidels or infidel regimes. Sunni's as far as i think are more open to an attacking Jihad, where Shia's have to have a Jihad declared by the Iman eg Iran - Iraq war. Hope my limited understanding helps ;-)

Posted by: mark at April 6, 2003 06:53 PM

Jihad: "strive, effort, struggle" to follow Islam; can include defense of faith, armed struggle, holy war.

Muslims throughout the ages have discussed and debated and disagreed about the meaning of jihad, it's defensive and expansionist, legitimate and illegitimate forms.

--Taken from Unholy War- Terror in the name of Islam, by John L. Esposito.

I recommend reading Esposito as he is said to be really on target. From my reading I've understood jihad to range anywhere from more commonly, a personal struggle to be holy and faithful to God, to all out holy wars that are seen as defensive, not offensive. This author stresses time and time again that the jihad we see as holy wars and terrorism has to be understood in the context of political and economic conditions in the middle east.

Posted by: Laura at April 7, 2003 02:37 AM

Hey, you should post your essay here after you write it - I'd be interested!

Posted by: Beth at April 7, 2003 09:01 AM

Not sure if this will be relevant, but you might want to check out http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/archives/000304.html

Posted by: irene at April 7, 2003 02:03 PM

Darren, Have you read Mission to Islam and Beyond by Jens Christensen, who was a Lutheran Bishop in Pakistan for very many years. Now republished by New Creation Teaching Ministries (Geoff Bingham in Adelaide) About $15

Excellent theolgy on missions and particularly discusses Islam. Really useful reference work so long as you bear in mind that English was not his first language and that his Lutheran expression of some concepts is a bit different to what you might expect.

You may be able to buy it from their website. New Creation

Posted by: Jan at April 7, 2003 04:15 PM
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