My interpretation of the meaning of 'Jihad'.
|When I was home, not long time ago, and while sorting through my old things, I came upon the hard-earned medals, proof of my scholastic achievement in school. Tenderly stroking each one was one nostalgic moment. A gold medal for the ‘Best Catechist of the Year’ in high school seemed a distant past. It jolted me back to the present for not many years after that, I willfully embraced Islam.
Days ago, a high school friend asked,” Is there a possibility that you may come back to Christianity? You see, my thought of you is always that of a saintly Helen. Were you under compulsion to convert?” “I answered,” I have found my way”, to the first. “There is no compulsion in religion”, to the second.
There is no compulsion in religion. It teaches us the same fundamental values of goodness, righteousness, freedom and justice. To achieve justice is a continuous struggle. How we approach goodness is what freedom is all about. Freedom does not come easy and so is goodness. So is righteousness.
Jihad is all about goodness. In the Koran, it is best translated as a struggle or striving. It is an inner, spiritual struggle to be good, to triumph over evil, to live in submission to God and service to humanity. Today, due to a few and a powerful media which is misguided by ignorance, jihad is equaled to a Holy War and terrorism. Terrorism will never justify the end.As war is destructive,and so there is never a holy war. It can only be accepted for a just cause, in defense of one’s self, of one’s nation, of one’s faith; when it becomes inevitable .
I equate jihad to a revolution for a radical change- a change for better living, for respecting human rights; a revolution brought about by non-violence, peaceful negotiations, of understanding between peoples.
To speak the word of truth in front of an oppressor is a constant and dangerous battle against the odds. To use a pen instead of a sword to fight for our rights is time-consuming. To teach and spread knowledge to the ignorant is gigantic. Service of good to the needy is expensive. Nursing the sick is tiresome. In my own way, they are the best forms of jihad I know and do. In the name of justice. In the name of Allah.
I have found my way. The journey was a soulful and inner struggle. But perseverance is a great virtue. At the end of a dark tunnel, there is a bright light which shines to pave the way for a clearer and smoother path towards that journey.