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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Hirabah, not Jihad

The use of the Arabic term "jihad", by non-arabic speakers is more of a misuse. Below is a semi-decent definition of what Jihad is from yourdictionary.com.

ji·had also je·had (jĭ-häd')

The word jihad actually means "struggle, strive." The Arabic root of the word is jahada "to strive for." (The Arabic word for war is "harb.") Of the two types of jihad, the lesser type is the struggle against religious or political oppression, the second and greater is the soul's struggle with evil. Moderates think that while "jihad" might refer to an active war against an oppressive regime, such a war may be waged only against that regime, not innocent people. Radical Islamic fundamentalists assume that a jihad is a war without constraints.

On the PBS series "Frontline: Muslims", this subject as well as others are explored. The Center for Islamic Education has information and lesson plans reguarding this exploration. The plans contain appropriate clairification of the meaning of jihad vs. acts of terrorism. It provides the appropriate word for what terrorist acts are, and reiterates that Islam does not promote these acts, ignorance does.

The lesson plans they provide have been created with school-aged students in mind, however, the information can benefit ALL. Although most Muslims know the real meaning of Jihad, I am hoping that this activity can quell the misuse of the word by those who rely on uneducated and un-Islamic sources to understand it's meanings.

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