Friday, 8 March 2013

The real meaning of "Jihad"

The paper of record -- the "Grey Lady" -- New York Times, has finally got around to reporting on the debate over the meaning of the word "Jihad".
For those not au fait with the issue: The Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is saying that it just means "struggle", as in an inner struggle for self-improvement, say, to go the gym more often, to get fit.  While those in the counter-jihad community say that its primary meaning is "holy struggle in the way of Islam".
The real meaning of Jihad?  Both, but with the strong weight to the latter.
This is clear from Islamic texts and Islamic jurisprudence:
For example:
In the Hadith of Sahih Bukhari (reliable sayings of Muhammad), "Jihad" appears 58 times, 51 meaning "holy war".
In the standard Islamic Manual of Islamic jurisprudence, The Umdat al-Salik the definition is straightforward:
"Jihad means to war against non-Muslims and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion." (o6.90).  
In simple summary: CAIR is duplicitous (or, at the most charitable, very very economical with the truth).  The counter-jihad bloggosphere is correct.