Jihad (Effort), Islam and Terrorism

The common image of Islam being spread by an Arab on the back of a camel in the desert with a Koran in one hand and a scimitar (a curved sword) in the other offering a choice to accept Islam or lose your head.

As mentioned earlier in the question of apostasy, forced conversion is prohibited in Islam. Religion did not spread by the sword. There were military confrontations between the Muslim state and the existing world powers in Rome and Persia. However, the conquered areas were placed under Muslim administration and the populations were free to maintain their own beliefs.

Muslims ruled Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon from the 8th century onwards and important Christian communities continued to exist for the past 13 centuries.

Muslims ruled Spain for 700 years and India for 1000 years, without the vast majority of the population converting to Islam.

The largest Muslim country in the world today is Indonesia, with more than 200 million citizens, never seen a Muslim soldier.

Islam spread there and in Malaysia and the Philippines through trade. This was also the case for the spread of Islam in West African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Chad and Niger.

In addition, Islam is the fastest growing religion in America today, with anywhere from 300 to 500 converts daily. This happens without soldiers or even missionaries.


Terrorism is defined by the American government as the threat or use of violence to advance a political cause by individuals or groups, acting for or in opposition to established government authority, when such actions are intended to shock, stun or intimidate a broader target group than than the immediate victims.

In fact, this general definition will include all wars of liberation from the American War of Independence to the French Revolution. The worst aspect and perhaps the most common feature of terrorism is the outbreak of violence against innocent civilians.

The State of Israel is the most recent example of the establishment of a state by terrorism. It was established by Jewish terrorist groups, of which the most famous was the Stern Gang.

The term “Muslim terrorist” is used to label Islam as a terrorist religion. However, it is a wrong name. When the IRA bombers hit, they were not labeled “Catholic terrorists”, although the struggle between Catholic Ireland and Protestant Northern Ireland is supported by Protestant England. Likewise, when Timothy McVeigh blew up the CIA headquarters in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people, he was not labeled a “Christian terrorist”, although he was a Christian and a terrorist.

In fact, the “Muslim terrorism” label was linked to the activities of the PLO, which were a mixture of Muslims, Christians and Communists. The PLO is not, and never has been, a Muslim organization. It is a nationalist organization that works to establish a secular Palestinian state.

The face of terrorism can be seen in the extremist movements in Egypt. Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Group) and Jihad Movements provided shock troops for a bitter fight with Egyptian security forces, which caused about 1,200 deaths from 1992 to 1997, but failed to overthrow the secular government by Husni Mubarak.

Gama’a claimed responsibility for the massacre of tourists from Luxor in November 1997. However, in March 1997, its exiled leaders declared a unilateral truce and renounced violence. The philosophy of these movements and their program of action have been condemned by leading international Muslim scholars at the international level, as well as by local Egyptian experts.

The case of Algeria is a little more complex. However, suffice it to say that the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) – which was prepared to win elections canceled by the Algerian military – renounced a violent struggle more than a year ago, but the slaughter of innocents continues.

Since the beginning of the civil killings, the FIS has denied them and identified the GIA as the main culprit. Recent reports indicate that the GIA was created by government secret service agents to discredit the FIS military struggle, alienating them from the masses through atrocities.

Islamism is opposed to any kind of indiscriminate violence. The Qur’an states:

“… Whoever kills a person, without having killed another person or sowed corruption in the land, will be as if he killed all men.” [Holy Quran 5:32]

There are strict rules that govern the conduct of war. Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon him) forbade the murder of women, children and the elderly and the destruction of churches and synagogues or farms. Of course, if women, children or the elderly carry weapons, they can be killed in self-defense.


Generally translated by the Western media as “holy war” is a very misunderstood principle in Islam. There is no term in Arabic, which means “holy war”. War is not “holy” in Islam.

The meaning of Jihad is “effort” or “struggle”. It is used in Islam to refer to a variety of different efforts directed at believers.

Striving to keep God and His Messenger more important than loved ones, wealth and ego are the most basic form of Jihad prescribed for every Muslim. The Prophet ﷺ said:

“No one really is a believer until Allah and His Messenger become more loved than anything for him.”

Doing the righteous actions prescribed by God is in itself a Jihad. The Prophet ﷺ would have said:


On another occasion, someone asked the Prophet ﷺ if he should join the Jihad. The Prophet ﷺ responded by asking if his parents were still alive and when he replied that they were, he said:


Defending Islam and the Muslim community is a primary aspect of physical Jihad, which involves raising arms against an enemy. God states in the Quran:

“Combat is allowed to those who are fought, because they have suffered injustice. – And, of course, Allah, regarding his help, is Omnipotent. ” [Holy Quran 22:39]

“And fight, in the path of Allah, those who fight you, and do not commit aggression. Certainly, Allah does not love aggressors. ” [Holy Quran 2: 190]

Muslims are also in charge of fighting tyranny. The Qur’an states:

“And why do you not fight in the way of Allah and for the salvation of the defenseless, among men and women and children, who say:“ Our Lord! Make us leave this city, whose inhabitants are unjust; ” [Holy Quran 4:75]

by Abdullah Sam
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