By Sultan Ahmad
(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam)
4 August 2021
Spiritual Jihad Can Improve the Image of Islam
1. Jihad does not only indicate fighting in a battle but also a daily struggle. Becoming a good Muslim is also a form of jihad.
2. Initially jihad [by fighting) was allowed because Islam was in danger due to the unbearable atrocities of non-believers but today's times are very different
3. Those who claim to be real Mujahidin for the protection of Islam have been violating human rights for years
4. Jihadists don't have any religious justification to force any Muslim to join extremist groups, take up arms and kill innocent people in the name of religion
5. Ensuring peace and harmony will improve the image of Islam
“For man are angels of alternating duties, in front and behind him, who guard him by Allah’s command; indeed Allah does not change His favour upon any nation until they change their own condition; and when Allah wills misfortune for a nation, it cannot be repelled; and they do not have any supporter besides Him.” (13:11).
Spiritual jihad is defined as the struggle for ensuring peace and security, upholding moral values, helping the poor, quitting alcohol, smoking, abstaining from corruption, violence, and serving the needy. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) initially allowed jihad [by fighting) because at that time Islam was in danger due to the unbearable atrocities of non-believers. But today's times are very different because all countries are headed by rulers and political leaders who have made their laws and orders according to the local needs. Jihad (as it is supposed to be) is not practicable at the moment, as some extremist and radical groups and organizations are luring innocent youth to take up arms; which is completely immoral and false. The aforementioned Qur'anic verse emphasizes that people should change their condition, understand and adopt logical steps; only then Allah will help them.
Jihad is also used to mean "striving and fighting in the way of Allah". Jihad does not only indicate fighting in defense in a battle but also a daily spiritual struggle. Becoming a good Muslim is also a form of jihad. The word jihad is misunderstood and claimed differently, which is often misinterpreted as jihad to fight for the protection of Islam and to wage violent battles. However, they fail to understand that jihad does not mean killing innocent people and destroying their homes without any reason or justification. Now is the time to focus on spiritual jihad to brighten the future, provide adequate food and clothing for one's family and relatives, and educate children about the importance of life and patriotism.
Some people run their own businesses, make money and donate money to build educational institutions and welfare organizations that benefit millions of people in need. This type of activity is one of the best forms of jihad encouraged in Islam. A Muslim can adopt other methods to join the 'better jihad', such as learning the Qur'an by heart or engaging in other religious studies. Overcoming anger, greed, hatred, arrogance, or immorality, quitting alcohol and smoking, cleaning the floor of the mosque, participating in the activities of the nation, working for social justice, forgiving people, etc are also the forms of Jihad.
Spiritual jihad is more important than holy war. Jihad should be for eradicating wrongs from society and creating an ideal society where everyone can live happily and with dignity. Jihad should be for protecting the people's lives, providing food to the starving and needy people, and not for depriving them of happiness and peace, or destroying their homes. Murder, revenge, violence, distortion, snatching, and lynching are strictly prohibited in Jihad.
In fact, those who claim to be real jihadists for the protection of Islam have been violating human rights for years. These mean and arrogant jihadists don't have any religious justification to force any Muslim to join extremist groups and organizations and take up arms and kill innocent people in the name of race and religion. Spiritual Jihad is more important than joining such violent groups.
Allah Almighty says, “O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy” (2:208).
This verse urges all Muslims to understand Islam wholeheartedly, which means following the teachings and instructions of the Prophet. Most importantly, the Qur'an and the hadith never allow violence and corruption. All Muslims need to understand that spiritual jihad provides a life of happiness and tranquillity. Taking up arms only brings suffering and destruction to the people, and not peace and harmony. Ensuring peace and harmony in a hateful world will not only improve the image of Islam but also spread the true meaning of jihad among the people.
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