I saw this image on social media, so I decided to look up the definition of jihad. I found an article on National Geographic and learned that it is basically about a struggle to improve oneself. When I looked back at the image and found it quite ironic. (sidenote: I am going to focus on jihad in this post)
Jihad has a range of meanings to Muslims. “Maher Hathout, author of Jihad vs. Terrorism, believed there was a twofold need to set the record straight about jihad. ‘Number one was the discovery that everyone is defining us except us, everyone is explaining jihad except for Muslims,’ he said. ‘Second, I noticed that some Muslims needed to brush up, to review the issue on their own for clarity and understanding of their own religion.’”
If jihad is about striving to improve, struggle, and persevere, is that not what the first immigrants to the US wanted? They wanted a better life, a free life, and wanted to make a better future for their families. Is that not what all people want? Christianity says to love your neighbor...not, love your Christian neighbors who agree with you.
The author wrote of jihad of the soul:
"Something widely quoted by the Muslim 'man on the street' is that the most difficult jihad is the one of the soul," she said. "The biggest trouble is not with your enemy but with yourself." If this is a common Muslim explanation of jihad, why is this not the understanding of most people? Why does society highlight the extreme?
I am Catholic and while there are things in the Catholic religion I do not agree with, I still am Catholic. I assume that as I don’t subscribe to ev.er.y.thing the Catholic church says (no birth control, pro-life, etc.) that people in other religions are the same way. It’s a spectrum, like most things in life are. Why don’t we always look for the grey area?
It comes back to getting to know people individually and building relationships. How unfair is it to assume that all Muslims are terrorists? What does that do to that group of people? What is the impact on the rest of the world? I have many Muslim students and to know that this is what people think about them is heartbreaking. It’s not like they don’t know that this is the stereotype. Seek to understand. There is strength in tenderness. Love fiercely, friends.
(Also, who is trying to replace the constitution with Sharia Law? Leave a comment with your thoughts on the rest of the ridiculous claims in this image.)
The National Geographic article can be found at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/10/1023_031023_jihad.html it’s really good, you should read it.