Monday, June 30, 2014

Understand The Jihad Concept, Advice For Muslims

An Islamic scholar says Muslims should understand the concept of 'jihad' so as not to be easily influenced and deceived in their eagerness to struggle for Islam to obtain 'pahala' (God's reward).

Datuk Mohamad Shukri Mohamad, who is the mufti of Kelantan, said many understood the meaning of jihad from the orientalist viewpoint that associated it with 'holy war', meaning opposing non-Muslim adversaries.

"That is why it is not suitable to use jihad in the context of the issue in Syria because it is between Muslims, and it is unfair for us to declare the opponents as non-Muslims.

"If the war prolongs, it will bring greater harm to the people there, particularly the women, children and the elderly," he said .
 The dean of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC), International Islamic University, Malaysia, Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Mahmood Zuhdi Abdul Majid, said misunderstanding of the jihad concept could lead to Muslims getting involved in extremist activitie.

"Muslims in the country should enhance their understanding of jihad to avoid confusion that could result in them applying the jihad concept inappropriately," he added.

On the involvement of several Malaysians in the Syrian conflict, Mahmood Zuhdi, who is also chairman of the Council of the Deans of Islamic Studies in the Public Institutes of Higher Learning, said there were other ways for Muslims in Malaysia to undertake the jihad.

He said jihad had a broad meaning and encompassed various aspects, including thought, energy, property and education.

"One can also undertake the jihad in Malaysia, although in a different way from the people's understanding of that in Syria. For example, Muslims here can undertake the jihad for the economy because our economy is still lagging.

"They can also undertake the jihad for greater unity of the people because there is still room for building a strong and united Muslim community," he added.

The former mufti of Perlis, Dr Asri Zainul Abidin, said there was no need for Muslims to undertake the jihad to the extent of them going to Syria if they did not have a clear picture of the situation there.

"They may encounter problems, such as language barrier and may have to rely on an interpreter, and if that person lies to gain sympathy, they will be deceived,' he added.

He said that even the ulama (Islamic scholars) in Syria had advised Muslims against supporting the militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) because the war was between Muslims and hence not in line with the jihad concept.

"Our religion says we can criticise, oppose or have different opinions among Muslims, but we cannot kill one another, and there are other ways to resolve disputes," he added.

He said if Muslims truly wanted to undertake the jihad, they could do so in matters that were much clearer, like the Palestinian cause.

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