Logic and Islam
Many Islamists regard Islam as a religion that promotes peace. However, recent events over the years have caused many people, especially those who are not familiar with Islam, to hold a different view. This is especially because of the terrorism acts and terrorism movements that have been experienced all over the world. A significant number of people are of the opinion that Islam encourages violence more than any other religion (Researcher Cq 159). In most cases, the terrorists mostly claim to profess the Islamic faith. They usually justify their actions by quoting the holy book, claiming to work for Allah and defending their faith (Researcher Cq 160). Islamic religious leaders have often opposed acts of violence and terrorism. However, it seems that not much has been done to create a more positive image of this religion. With radical Islamists and Islamic theologians citing the same source as their reason for supporting or opposing various acts of violence, it makes it difficult for us who profess the Islamic faith to speak out against those who spread violence.
One of the causes of dispute between the mainstream and radical Muslim scholars has been jihad. Theologians and scholars do not seem to agree on the exact meaning of jihad, where and how it ought to be applied. On one side, jihad means a “personal and spiritual struggle” and to others it “encompasses self-defense or conquest against non-believers” (Researcher Cq 159). The latter opinion is the main cause of misunderstanding. Other meanings of jihad include changing an unfavorable social condition by leading a good life and making the society moral and just. It also includes spreading the word of Islam and armed struggle. The duty to Islam can be fulfilled by heart, tongue, hands or by the sword (Aubrey 112).
Despite the differences in meaning, it is clear that jihad involves the protection and preservation of the Islamic faith. People will therefore interpret the meaning differently depending on how extreme they are in their faith. Those who feel that their faith is under attack will therefore be more protective. In the early years of Islam, many people in the Islamic community had no problem accommodating people of other faiths. They lived together with Jews and Christians and they all tried to maintain their peace. Divisions in the Islamic faith have changed the peace that existed. Radical Islamists consider it their task to defend their faith and to ensure that all those who are living in the same region practice the same faith.
Anyone who obstructs the vision of an Islamic state is considered an infidel and jihadists consider it their task to get rid of such people. The jihadists are considered Muslim extremists and they establish Muslim nations through violence (Palmer and Palmer 85). Indeed, some countries are still fighting for the right of freedom. This is in contrast with the teachings of Islam, which do not support the forceful conversion of people to their faith. Jihad also brings in the concept of martyrdom. Suicide is considered a sin in the Koran and many theologians and scholars agree on this issue. However, there are those who support it and this is seen in the increasing number of suicide bombers. Although it is clear that they are actually committing suicide, there are those who support them because they believe that in the end they are martyrs – people who died for the sake of their faith. Suicide bombers believe that they will be presented with rewards in the afterlife because of their brave action.
The meaning and application of jihad continues to be contentious and until everyone can agree, it will always remain a cause of disagreement within the Islamic community. The differences in meaning of various Islamic teachings can be attributed to the divisions in the Islamic faith. Unless all the scholars agree, many people will still consider Islam as a religion that encourages violence, instead of seeing it as a religion that promotes peace. Non-Muslims will blame terrorism activities on Islam and this will just cause many people to have a distorted view on the faith.
Aubrey Stefan. The New Dimension of International Terrorism. Germany: vdf Hochschulverlag AG, 2004. Print
Researcher Cq and CQ Researcher. Issues in Terrorism and Homeland Security: Selections From CQ Researcher. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2010. Print
Palmer Monte and Palmer Princess. At the Heart of Terror: Islam, Jihadists, and America’s War on Terrorism. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Print
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