Essays Essays II

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Tablet Thirteen


<1>"Jahad" is one of the most misunderstood words in Islam. Jahad comes from Jahd, which means struggle to achieve something. Therefore, jihad means "struggle." <2>It is said in the writings of Prophet Muhammad that the greatest struggle (jahad) is the struggle of the human within.

<3>So jahad means going from imperfection to perfection. It resembles the word "sadhana" in Sanskrit which means "struggle" ("sadhana" also refers to meditation).

<4>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 monastic teaching in that land.

<5>This external jihad was necessary at that time because of all the opposition by those people whose main source of income was threatened by the Islamic ideology. Mecca, the holy city, was a center of worship for many different beliefs. In that city countless images and statues were created so that each believer could feel at home when they came there. The very basic tenet of Muhammad's teaching that "there is no God but Allah" meant the rest of the gods in Mecca were no gods.

<6>However, the businessmen of Mecca told 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). <7>But he did not accept their proposal, and the light of enmity began between those rich businessmen and Prophet Muhammad.

<8>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 Wars" (the same as war in the Bhagavad-Gita). <9>However, its true meaning is internal and external struggle.

<10>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.

<11>So, jahad means internal and external struggle to perfection (to internally and externally become perfect). This is the same as Christ taught the Pharisees, that they should clean the inside and the 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. <12>It is not religions that are the source of suffering, but the way they have been interpreted by humanity.


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