The meaning of Jihad

When people hear the word Jihad these days they still tend to think of men with long beards sitting in caves with rocket launchers resting on their shoulders. Or men strapped with explosives around their chests trying to walk into buildings or busy market places.

So when the historian S Irfan Habib visited Chennai, India to give a speech on the subject of Jihad it was almost cancelled by people worried about the nature of the speech.

He was in the city to delivery a lecture organised by the Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought. Mr Habib is a historian of science and political history at Delhi’s National University of Educational Planning and Administration.

So ingrained is the fear of the word that my lecture in Chennai almost got cancelled after some people raised concerns over jihad being the topic. S Irfan Habib

However people did not need to worry as the 60-year-old who has authored several books on the history of science quoted from the Quran, gave the Lahore-Ahmadiyya interpretation of Jihad and Ijtihad saying;

..the text primarily promoted independent thinking. “Ijtihad — independent thinking and reasoning — was given priority, but over the years radicals have conveniently buried this term and pushed for collective thinking, which continues to be the way of life for many who follow the religion.

Everything is a jihad — pursuit of education, earning a living and fighting your egos. But, now, it is the most misunderstood concept of Islam

Muslims are now realising that they have to adopt the Lahori-Ahmadi interpretation of Islam for it to survive in the modern age as a viable force.

This brings to mind a prophecy of the Promised Messiah where he said that after three generations have passed away people will begin to accept his interpretation of Islam whether they accept his claim to being the Promised Messiah or not.

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