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Jihad: A Misunderstood Concept from Islam – What Jihad is, and is not

By: Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani (Chairman, Islamic Supreme Council of America), Shaykh Seraj Hendricks



  • The Arabic word “jihad” is often translated as “holy war,” but in a purely linguistic sense, the word ” jihad” means struggling or striving.
  • The arabic word for war is: “al-harb”.
  • In a religious sense, as described by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (s), “jihad” has many meanings. It can refer to internal as well as external efforts to be a good Muslims or believer, as well as working to inform people about the faith of Islam.
  • If military jihad is required to protect the faith against others, it can be performed using anything from legal, diplomatic and economic to political means. If there is no peaceful alternative, Islam also allows the use of force, but there are strict rules of engagement. Innocents – such as women, children, or invalids – must never be harmed, and any peaceful overtures from the enemy must be accepted.
  • Military action is therefore only one means of jihad, and is very rare. To highlight this point, the Prophet Mohammed told his followers returning from a military campaign: “This day we have returned from the minor jihad to the major jihad,” which he said meant returning from armed battle to the peaceful battle for self-control and betterment.
  • In case military action appears necessary, not everyone can declare jihad. The religious military campaign has to be declared by a proper authority, advised by scholars, who say the religion and people are under threat and violence is imperative to defend them. The concept of “just war” is very important.
  • The concept of jihad has been hijacked by many political and religious groups over the ages in a bid to justify various forms of violence. In most cases, Islamic splinter groups invoked jihad to fight against the established Islamic order. Scholars say this misuse of jihad contradicts Islam.
  • Examples of sanctioned military jihad include the Muslims’ defensive battles against the Crusaders in medieval times, and before that some responses by Muslims against Byzantine and Persian attacks during the period of the early Islamic conquests.


  • Jihad is not a violent concept.
  • Jihad is not a declaration of war against other religions. It is worth noting that the Koran specifically refers to Jews and Christians as “people of the book” who should be protected and respected. All three faiths worship the same God. Allah is just the Arabic word for God, and is used by Christian Arabs as well as Muslims.
  • Military action in the name of Islam has not been common in the history of Islam. Scholars says most calls for violent jihad are not sanctioned by Islam.
  • Warfare in the name of God is not unique to Islam. Other faiths throughout the world have waged wars with religious justifications

Will Marriage Solve My Problems?


By: Ubah


After engaging more with the Muslim community through activities like da`wah (calling to Islam), conferences, and halaqat (study circles), I have observed something intriguing: there seems to be a fascination—even obsession—with the topic of marriage. Regardless of whether a particular lecture is dedicated to something other than gender relations, the topic of marriage somehow always creeps up.

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Muslim Uyghurs, one of the misunderstood people of China


info-pictogram1 Uyghur (United) people, an ancient Turkish people accepted Islam in the Tenth century and have made great contributions to Islamic civilization. They have been wrongly portrayed as violent extremists. In actuality, they are seeking justice, independence and peace! Only Allah knows their patience under the suffering inflicted upon them in the last few centuries. May Almighty Allah empower them and return them to their former dignity and respect. Look at the unique design of the minarets in the Masjid of Turpan in Xinjiang province. Surely Allah has power over all affairs and will hear the prayers of the oppressed!!!

Written by Abdullah Hakim Quick

SUHAIB WEBB: Spirituality & Society (Video)

info-pictogram1 In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty swears that whoever purifies his soul is successful and those who corrupt it are losers (Ash-Shams 91:9-10). These verses are often misunderstood. Spirituality, in fact, is not about spending isolated times with God in order to experience  transcendence. This is, indeed, a lowermaqam (level) in the life of a committed believer. No doubt these moments with Allah are important. Allah Almighty told His Prophet:

{Stand (to prayer) by night, but not all night,-

Half of it,- or a little less,} (Al-Muzzamil 73:2 -3)

But true spirituality is to be able to move from those moments of solitude with Allah to begin to find spiritual  peace and tranquility within the creation and when dealing with others. Allah Almighty says about the prophets that they used to walk in the markets; that they used to deal with people.

Often we fail to understand this; we think that spirituality is to work on the heart only. Sheikh Osama Sayed Al-Azhari, My Sheikh in Hadith, said something beautiful about Surat Ash-Shams. He said that the word Nafs [translated as soul] in its origin means the entire life of a person. It is not restricted to the internal, spiritual development. [The plural form of the word nafs] is mentioned in the verse {And do not kill yourselves (anfusakum)…} (Al-Baqarah 4:29) That does not mean killing the internal reality of people but the entire body; the entire existence.

So Sheik Osama said that [the purification of the] soul here (Ash-Shams 91:9) is made up of the following:

1. The internal purification of the heart.

2. Having good akhlaq, that is, good external character with Allah and with His creation. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about what takes people to Jannah, he said, “Being mindful of Allah (taqwa) and having good character” (At-Tirmidhi and ranked Hasan by Al-Albani)

Allah brings both aspects together when he says:

{Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.} (Al-Baqarah 2:222)
More lectures…

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