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“Jahad” (Jihad) Is One Of The Most Misunderstood Words In Islam. “Jahad” Means “Struggle.”

Jahad (Jihad) comes from “Jahd,” which means, struggle to achieve something.  It is said in the writings of Prophet Muhammad that the greatest struggle (Jahad) is the struggle of the human within.

So Jahad means going from imperfection to perfection.  It resembles the word “sadhana” in Sanskrit, which means, “struggle” (“sadhana” also refers to meditation).

Jahad also means external struggle in order to establish the truth over wrongdoings – the Kingdom Of Heaven On Earth (Daharma).  That is why Prophet Muhammad used this word for the Holy Wars with the Arab tribes in order to destroy their pagan beliefs and establish his monistic teaching in that land.

This external Jahad was necessary at that time because of all the opposition by those people whose main source of income was threatened by the Islamic ideology.

The businessmen of Mecca told Prophet Muhammad that he could preach his religion if he did not oppose the images in Mecca.  This would enable the merchants from all around the world to come and worship their images in Mecca (and spend their money).  But he did not accept their proposal, and the light of enmity began between those rich businessmen and the Prophet.

This became so strong that Prophet Muhammad had to leave Mecca and go to Medina.  Later on the fight between Mecca and Medina kindled, and the concept of Jahad was revealed to Muhammad as “Holy War.”  However, its true meaning is internal and external struggle.


In the course of time Jahad lost its more important meaning as internal struggle and was used only to mean the duty of each Moslem to take up a weapon and fight the enemy that had attacked Moslems or to be used to destroy disbelievers.  Many leaders in Islam lost the truth that external struggle is an impossibility without internal struggle.


This is the same as Christ taught the Pharisees, that they should clean the inside and outside of the cup if they want to have a clean cup.  Again we can see that with misunderstanding beautiful concepts such as this, great disasters take place.  It is not religions that are the source of suffering, but the way they have been interpreted by humanity.


Because of their ignorance and because they do not search for the truth themselves, the people believe whatever is told them.  They become narrow-minded and this brings suffering to humanity.  In short, suffering comes from ignorance.


In fact only those who internally and externally struggle all their lives are the ones who can declare a holy war.  Otherwise, holy wars can be misused by those who have narrow interests, and they will manipulate the emotions of the people toward their religions for their own selfish ends.


Actually, Prophet Muhammad discouraged his followers from fighting, and even arguing, with Jews and Christians.  However, later in history there was a great fight between them (the Crusades).  So it is the people who create these fights and inflict suffering on humanity by following dogmatic beliefs and bringing superstitions between people.


Life is a struggle (jahad) within and without.  The struggle within is the fight between the higher and lower natures.  This battle involves warding off the power of the tama guna (the force bending the Soul toward the external world) to establish the Kingdom Of Heaven within ( KOHW).  The external struggle is to overcome excess attraction of Maya (illusion of life) and establish the Kingdom Of Heaven On Earth ( ).

All these struggles are to create an environment that allows each individual to grow to his fullest potential.

Those who say life is an illusion are greatly mistaken.  Life and the manifested universe are not illusions, but excess attraction to this manifested universe is illusion.


How is the Kingdom Of Heaven On Earth going to come?  It comes through the society, through individual and social purifications.  Individual purification is the progress of the consciousness physically, mentally, and spiritually.

But at the same time there is a social aspect in the human.  The society also has to purify itself. 


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