Misinformation and misconception concerning Jihad are fueled again and again by the media. As a result, a prejudiced attitude has been nurtured, with the result that whenever any terrorism takes place, it is assumed that the ones to blame are Muslims. The damage done by such cowardly acts of literary terrorism by the media and the "experts" they employ (Steven Emerson, for example) creates a culture of hate.
This article is divided into three sections: i) Jihad and Islamic warfare; ii) Islam in history; iii) Peace and Islam,
i) Jihad and Islamic Warfare
The word Jihad translated into English does not mean "Holy War" as many in the media ignorantly claim. The words "Holy War" do not appear in the Quran or Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) sayings. These are invented words, invented by people who want to deliberately convey a certain image of Islam. Usually the people who use the term "Holy War" are quite ignorant of Islam. The word Jihad in Arabic means "Struggle" or "Strive". Jihad as the Quran makes clear, is struggle in the way of God with oneself, and one's possessions.
Islam only allows a war of defense and not an offense. In the case of war, the attack is "only" to be directed against those who are attack you and only to the extent of the initial aggression, not to exceed it. If the enemy kills your civilians even then you are not supposed to kill their civilians. Only those who attack you are to be attacked.
"Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Indeed God does not love transgressors (Quran 2:192-193)."
If the people you are fighting ask for peace, the Quran states that Muslims have an obligation to accept the peace and fight no more:
"..So if they hold aloof from you and wage not war against you and offer you peace. God allows you no way against them (QURAN 4:90)."
The Quran is very lenient even towards prisoners of war (i.e those who are fighting against you and get captured):
"And if any of the idolaters seeks of you protection, grant him (her) protection till he
hears the words of God, then convey him to his place of security. That is because they are a folk who know not..(QURAN 9:6-8)."
"How is it with you that you do not fight in God's way, when the feeble among the men,
women and children are saying, "Our lord, bring us forth from this place whose people are tyrants. O God give us from your presence some protector and helper.'(QURAN 4:75-76)."
If Hitler wasn't checked, we would have a much different and a more corrupt world. If Saddam Hussain wasn't checked, the Middle East would be in chaos similar to the current chaos in Iraq:
"..If God had not repelled some people by means of others, the earth would have been corrupted (QURAN 2:251)."
Sometimes, warfare is a necessity for the cause of justice and to remove oppression and as such it is very good and noble:
"Warfae is ordained for you though it is hateful for you. Yet it may happen that you will hate a thing even though it is good for you and love a thing that is bad for you. God knows, you don't know (QURAN 2:216)."
ii) Islam in History
The west has generally nurtured and propagated the idea that Islam spread at the point of the sword.
This reasoning led to the prejudice of Islam and Terrorism taking root in western society throughout Europe and America because of the random acts of a few misled, ill informed, Quranically uneducated people who called themselves Muslims.
What the self-proclaimed Christian Crusaders did with the sword to Muslim was surpassed only by the Mongols. However, history is deliberately perverted by those having vested interests, to portray a negative image of Islam.
The Quran is explicit on the freedom of conscience:
"There is no compulsion in religion. Truth is clear from falsehood (QURAN 2:256)
"Let him (her) who will believe, and let him (her) who will disbelieve."
"You are in no way a compellor over them; but warn by the Quran him who fears my threat
History gives a lie to the "fairy tale" that Islam spread by the sword:
1)Muslims ruled over Spain for 736 years. If the Muslims had used any force during those 736 years to convert the Christians to Islam there wouldn't have been a single Christian left to kick out the Muslims after 736 years of rule.
2)Over 100 million Muslims live in Indonesia, yet no Muslim army ever invaded any of its over 2000 islands. Same is the case with Malaysia, and the east coast of Africa.
Odd instances of "Muslims" not guided by the Quran, forcing people to accept their "Islam" may be found. Similar cases can be found in Christianity or any other religions group.
Charlemagne's conversion of the saxons to Christianity was not by preaching (THOMAS CARLYLE, HEROES AND HERO WORSHIP, PAGE 80)."
Bad Muslims don't condemn Islam, just like bad Christians don't condemn Christianity. Hitler was a self proclaimed Christian. Do his acts condemn Christianity?
"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.
-Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)
HISTORIANS OF ISLAM
1. "History makes it clear however that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians everrepeated (DE LACY O` LEARY, ISLAM AT THE CROSS ROADS, LONDON 1923)."
2. The greatest success of Muhammad's life was effected by sheer moral force without the stroke of a sword (EDWARD GIBBON, HISTORY OF THE SARACEAN EMPIRE, LONDON 1817).
iii)Peace and Islam
ROOTS OF ISLAM
The word Islam comes from the Arabic root word salaam,, which means peace. The universal greeting of Muslims is "As Salaam o Aleykum". It means:"peace be with you." The Quran, the only book of authority on Islam encourages peace making among humankind.
"There is no good in much of their secret conferences except, him who enjoins alms giving and kindness and PEACE MAKING among mankind. Whoever does that seeking the good pleasure of God. God will bestow on him (her) a vast reward (QURAN 4:114)."
The above verse has been in the Quran centuries before the United Nations was formed.
Islam gives a world view of a close relationship between all men & women based on a common essence of creation [Quran 4:1] and only one creator God.
" O Humankind! We have created you males and females, and have divided you into nations and tribes so that you may recognize each other. The best among you in the sight of God is the one most careful [of the truth] (QURAN 49:13)."