In order properly to analyse these speeches, it is necessary, to have a basic understanding of Islam, its terminology and its tropes. It is also important to have an understanding of the historical context of the Qur’an (the Revelation) and the Sunna (the practice of the Prophet Muhammad) and the contemporaneous circumstances in which the Revelations were made to Muhammad (in particular, the need for Muhammad and his followers to defend themselves against physical persecution at the time). The Court heard detailed evidence from experts on Islam and read extensive materials, including the entire Qur’an and the monograph “Milestones” by the 20th Century ideologue, Sayyid Qutb.
It is common ground that Islam is a religion of peace. The Qur’an is a book of peace. The words Islam, Muslim and Salaam all share the same Arabic triconsonantal root, s-l-m, which denotes “peace”. Islam forbids extremism, including extremism in religion. Islam forbids terrorism.
The Arabic word jihad or jihad means literally “struggling” or “striving”. It has a wide variety of religious meanings in Islam including ‘spiritual struggle’. Unfortunately, the word jihad has now become synonymous in everyday language with ‘armed jihad’ or ‘holy war’.
In the case of Shakeel Begg vs the BBC, the judge read the whole Quran before deciding the case and came away with the Lahore Ahmadiyya interpretation.