In the hands of political Islamists, on the other hand, the same signifier may refer to a political struggle to win control of the state apparatus. In the hands of others, it may refer to holy war.
Exploring the Concept of Jihad and Qital in Islam
Note that all of them are using the same signifier—jihad—to communicate things that are rather different. Not according to some philosophers of language, such as Wittgenstein. This is simply due to the fact that all terms—be they religious or non-religious—are subject to the rules of signification and language use and, as such, cannot escape the conditions of signification that imply change over time and according to context.
Scholars who seek precise and final meanings for terms may be frustrated by this, but it is not necessarily a bad thing. For what it shows is that Muslim discourse and debate are ongoing, alive, and dynamic as Muslim society is constantly changing as well.
In the process, more research is being done on Islam and Muslims, and the world understands by now that Muslim society is not as simple and monolithic as some make it out to be. And, surely, that cannot be a bad thing. Because war is disliked in Islam, killing is disliked and environmental destruction is disliked.
- Sermon + Bible Study Notes: Five Mothers Who Changed the World (Matthew 1:1-17).
- Child from Home: Memories of a North Country Evacuee.
- Muslim activists aim to reclaim the word 'jihad' with ad campaign;
- Get updates Every Sunday.
To go to war, is a struggle. To pick yourself up, leave your family and potentially travel for months to go and kill people or be killed is not easy — its jihad — i.
Do you raise children? Guess what?
Data Protection Choices
Yes, Muslims consider this to be jihad. Raising your kids to become decent people, to work to feed and clothe them, to wake with them at 2am to clean a wet bed or keep them safe is all a struggle in the way of God — jihad. Feeding the hungry, the homeless, the orphans and the needy — you guessed it — jihad. Anyone doing this will know of the sacrifice in time, energy, money, etc.
Hopefully you get the idea.
It can mean something as personal as struggling to get through a rough workday or striving to seek justice for all people. However, the word continues to be misused and misunderstood by both Muslim extremists and people seeking to fuel hatred against Muslims. This discussion around jihad is not a new conversation.
In fact, it's one that Muslim activists and organizations have been having since the September 11 attacks in Rowaida Abdelaziz, a social media editor at The Huffington Post, said that she rarely heard the word jihad being heavily discussed at the Islamic school that she attended as a child. The focus at the school was more on teaching the essentials of her faith -- establishing prayer five times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan and feeling empathy for the less fortunate.
She started hearing about jihad when it showed up on television, where it was often used in connection with violent images. Abdelaziz said the word has now become so politicized for her that it no longer holds the spiritual meaning it is supposed to have.