It is true that jihad is one of the most important teachings of Islam. But jihad is not synonymous with war. In Islam another word is used for war and fighting. This word is ‘qital.’ When the Qur’an refers to war or fighting, it uses the word qital and not jihad.
…Jihad literally means to strive or to struggle. So jihad actually means peaceful struggle, especially for da‘wah work. The Qur’an says:
Do great jihad with the help of the Qur’an. (25:52)
The Qur’an is simply a book, and not a sword, so “do great jihad with the Qur’an” means do great jihad with the ideological power of the Qur’an. In fact, jihad is only another name for peaceful activism. And peaceful activism is the only weapon by which Islam wants to achieve all its aims and objectives.
The Qur’an has this to say of the mission of the Prophet Muhammad:
We have not sent you forth but as a mercy to mankind. (21:107)
In the Qur’an and the Hadith, there are many such references that go to prove that Islam is a religion of peace, love and human brotherhood. However, it is also a fact that in later times the image of Islam has altered drastically. Now Islam has come to be regarded as a religion of violence rather than as a religion of peace. It is not the media that has produced this transformation in the image of Islam. The responsibility for this falls on latter-day Muslims, who have failed to maintain the original image of Islam.
And if any strive ( with might and main), they do so for their own souls: for Allah is free of all needs from all creation (al-Ankabut: 6)
Nowadays, the meaning of jihad is identical with qital. It is a long with the issue that face by Islamic world especially conflict in Middle East. It’s point of view, emphasize jihad to fight people or nation whose doesn’t suitable with Islamic teaching. It cause them framed in horrible meaning of jihad, where jihad means “execution’s project” toward government suspected thaghut, included the official of military, police etc. Later on, their attitude become sectarian’s attitude and it triggers a new war between nation and kind of Islamic sect, that cause many victim from civilian.
It’s the new face of jihad, but however Islam refuse it and even it’s not suitable with the actor’s imagine. For that reason, we have to back the real meaning of jihad and qital.
Meaning of Jihad
Jihad is debatable and interpretable terminology. Generally there are two ways in seeing the meaning of jihad namely exoterically and esoterically. Exoterically means the holy war while esoterically means the real effort to get close to Allah SWT. Terminology of Ijtihad derived from j-h-d, means the ability to analyze and conclude the teaching’s law.
Some experts see, the meaning of jihad as holy war influenced by Christian concept. Based on Al Quran and Hadist jihad and war have different meaning. Where Allah SWT permit war to defend our self from the infidel’s disturbance. As stated in holy Quran al-Baqarah: 190-194, and an-Nisa: 75-78.
Based on Hadist there are some ethics in war. First, war in the path of Allah has to invite the rival to pious toward Allah SWT. Second, don’t kill the children. Third, before attack the rival, we have to use diplomatic ways and ask them proves into Islam. Fourth, if they refuse to prove Islam asks their tax for security and life guarantee, and they are in Islamic protection. Muslim has to keep and respect their right.
The same spirit-avoid physic’s confrontation- can be seen from hijrah command to Muslim in Mecca that fill tyranny from the infidel. (see an-Nisa’: 97-100). Dealing with the verse the Prophet Muhammad SAW saying, “ there is no hijrah after Fath Mecca, but jihad and commitment only. When you asked to do jihad, please go a head”. (HR. Bukhari)
When war couldn’t be avoided, it is better for you to do diplomatic rather than military approach. The prophet saying, “ war is trick/strategy/diplomatic. Dealing with the Hadist, Ibnu Hajar al-‘Asqalany explain “war” with diplomacy is better than physical war. it is better to be implemented at recent time since many people suspect physical war is better than diplomacy.
Generalizing Jihad and Qital is a Mistake
There is a mistake in generalizing jihad and qital. According to Gamal Al-Banna (Jihad, 2006) the mistake caused by: First, people who talk about jihad use the verse of holy Quran without seeing the background of the verse sent down. Actually we couldn’t learn al Quran partially, since Al Quran sometime talking about a theme in certain verse. So collaborate all verses that dealing with qital is a must and decide a law based on conclusion from it collaboration.
Second, they suspect that jihad and qital have the same meaning, without seeing the real meaning of jihad and qital. Finally they conclude that “sacrifice our self” is the highest position in jihad.
Third, they don’t understand that qital in Islam is not purposed to get loot of war, sectarianism, racism or to get world’s happiness. Fourth, they use qital as too in spreading the teaching and invite people become Muslim by introducing the God’s kingdom. It is a danger paradigm that threats the freedom of faith, and plunge us into radicalism.
Fifth, they tend to use Hadist rather than holy Quran, since Hadist explains more about jihad and qital. Sixth, there is a role of Ulama that generalize qital with jihad, where it followed by their dare that jihad is similar with qital.
Jihad Solution Problem of Ummah
Jihad and qital is not the same. Jihad means the serious effort to get Allah’s pleasure. Jihad is contrary with violence even terrorism. In holy Quran stated qital used in certain condition. In holy Quran, war license is always followed by the saying wa la ta’tadu (do not over limit and law of Allah SWT).
Degradation the meaning of jihad would bring the decline of Islam. So, jihad is not a holy war, but jihad means the optimal effort to answer the problem of Ummah go to rahmatan lil alamin. Wallahu’alambishawab
(Find on Facebook / 26.03.2011)