New Islamic Directions

By Imam Zaid Shakir

The Menace of So-called “Jihad”

Posted in notes by Imam Zaid Shakir on 2014-09-16

Those of us who have been speaking out against the menace of so-called “Jihad” must redouble our efforts. “Jihad” is far more than a threat to the lives of unsuspecting innocent people, both here in the West and in Muslim countries. It is a threat to our religion, in terms of how Islam is being represented by the advocates of “Jihad” and how it is being perceived by others. Muslim scholars cannot remain silent and allow this misrepresentation to go unaddressed.

As for those youth who have been alienated by the systematic “othering” of Muslims in the post-9/11 anti-Muslim climate that is deepening here in the West, they would do well to consider a different set of religious teachings when studying Islam. True religion is not to be found in emotional and sensational reactions to current events and mind-numbing atrocities. True religion is not to be found in a self-glorying end brought on by a hail of bullets or a murderous act of suicide.

Rather, true religion provides the spiritual direction needed to find one’s self-worth and human value in ones relationship with God. True religion provides the solace and succor needed to find inner peace even when outer realities are crushing. True religion provides nobility that empowers its possessor to fearlessly challenge oppressors while mercifully protecting innocent life, regardless of the race, religion, color or creed of the blameless. True religion provides a path to heaven that is paved with devotion, lofty morals and patient, dignified struggle against the schemes of one’s ego, the vicissitudes of the world and the vagaries of both power and powerlessness.

As for those who are deceived into believing that wanton murder, mayhem, destruction, suicide and inviting war and hatred against one’s coreligionists represent an express road to paradise, they should think deeply before embarking on that path. Religion teaches and history demonstrates that such a path is a sinister, nefarious route that winds steadily, oftentimes irreversibly, into a deep, dark cold abyss.

“When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.”
Friedrich Nietzsche


Comments

By Omer on October 2, 2014 at 6:43pm

Thank you for your beautiful wisdom. It is so sad what the so called Islamic State are doing. They have taken thousands of Yazidi women as slaves first to satisfy the men's desires and also to make them do slave work for them at home. Please see http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/u-s-wanted-help-free-thousands-enslaved-yazidi-women-single-day/ The Yazidis are totally innocent....they did not attack Muslims....for over a thousand years, the Muslims caliphs did not do this to them. Please make dua that these women are freed and that they can be united with their mourning families.

By Bryan on November 6, 2014 at 6:26pm

Well said. It is no wonder that there seems to exist such a gaping cultural rift between Muslims and non-Muslims when all that one sees on the television is violence and hatred from both extremes.

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By Yuda on November 10, 2015 at 11:50pm

when one converts to islam..are they not alalmatictuoy muslim? so if you dont adhere to islam then are you not a better person:) how can a person be a muslim once there against islam.. which in less your a devout your a moderate and to me islam is islam.. no luke warm as even moderate knows there place and calling right? quran has loud and clear vs as to a muslims jihad.. as if a God made so many mistakes .. FGM FGC none believers and ex whatever you are after you leave islam. are to be murdered.. and property murder.. how many mistakes does this God make and yet there arent more speaking out against it.

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