“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.
means going from imperfection to perfection. It resembles the
word “sadhana” in Sanskrit, which means, “struggle” (“sadhana” also
refers to meditation).
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.
Jahad was necessary at that time because of all the opposition by
those people whose main source of income was threatened by 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.
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
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
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
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
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 (
The external struggle is to overcome excess attraction of Maya
(illusion of life) and establish the Kingdom Of Heaven On Earth (
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.