Bassam Darwich / May 03, 2013

Arabic and western news agencies are reporting a new campaign by U.S. Muslim activists to redefine the word “jihad,” which, they say, “has been distorted at the hands of radical Islamists and groups hostile to Islam.”

The campaign aims to “educate the world” in the true sense of the word, says CNN, in a story that also quotes Nihad Awad, director of the Council on American Muslims. According to Awad, the word jihad means “resistance for a noble cause!”

The campaign will use 25 buses departing from Chicago and going perhaps as far as San Francisco, says Awad.

At face value, this campaign might be taken as a hopeful step toward moderating Muslim extremism. Americans, as well as people of good will around the world, would applaud such an effort, of course.  But closer examination of the venue and the words reveals something less than a genuine effort toward peaceful relations with non-Muslims. Had they really been sincere, the 25 buses would be touring Islamic countries, not the U.S.. They would be cruising the streets of Mecca, Tehran, and Bagdad teaching Muslims the true meaning of jihad. That’s where the message—that jihad is a struggle for self improvement, peace and love—is more clearly needed.  

In fact, the vast majority of the American people had never heard of jihad 12 years ago. They knew nothing about the term until some followers of Islam demonstrated its real meaning by killing more than three thousand people on September 11, 2001. Since that day of horror, America—and indeed, the world—has been watching the true meaning of jihad: beheading innocent people on camera, burning churches, killing worshippers, hijacking and bombing planes, schools, hotel, resorts, train stations, marathons. True jihad has been on display for all the world.

No, any sincere effort to bring peace would have the buses touring the Muslim world, speaking to the scholars, teachers, educators and the media in Islamic nations, calling them to a new meaning of jihad. This is where the culture needs to change.

Mr. Awad’s redefinition of jihad shows his dishonesty, and that of his associates in this campaign. No Muslim terrorist would reject a definition of jihad as “resistance for a noble cause.” For them, no cause is more noble than what the Quran teaches: fighting the infidels until they convert to Islam or submit to its rules while paying the jizya with humiliation:

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, [Jews and Christians] until they pay the Jizya [the tax imposed on unbelievers living in Islamic regimes] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” 9:29  (See more testimonies below)

When Mr. Awad and his associates go to an Islamic country to convince the people of a new, peaceful, unbloody concept of jihad, and return to the U.S. with their heads on their shoulders, then we may deem their campaign successful. Then we will know they were sincere.  


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For further reading, consider the following texts from the Quran and the Hadith (the second holiest book after the Quran)

Jihad is the duty of every Muslim:

Go ye forth, (whether equipped) lightly or heavily, and strive and struggle (in Arabic: Go for jihad), with your goods and your persons, in the Cause of Allah. That is best for you, if ye (but) knew. 9:41

O Prophet! Strive [In Arabic: go for jihad] hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination. (9:73)

Fighting is on order from Allah:

“Fighting is prescribed upon you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”  (Quran 2:216)

Kill Them wherever You Find Them:

“But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”  9:5 At-tawba

Amputation and crucifying is the way to punish the enemies of Islam:

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter” (Quran 5:33)

Trade this life with the life after through fighting

Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world's life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward. (4:74)

Smite the unbelievers’ Necks:

"Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.” Quran 47:4) 

Active mujahidin are NOT Equal with with the sitting mujahidin before Allah:

Not equal are those Believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight [in Arabic: mujahidin] with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) hath Allah promised good: but those who strive and fight [in Arabic: the mujahidin] hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward.  (Quran 4: 95)

Muhammad came to slaughter the unbelievers:

Muhammad said: By him who holds my life in His hand, I bring you slaughter" (Hadith: Sahih Bin Hayyan)

Bring the unbelievers to Islam with chains around their necks:

Muhammad said: “You (the Muslims) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind, you bring them (the unbelievers) in the chains are around their necks until they enter Islam.” (Hadith: Sahih Bukhari)

The only way to save your life is follow Muhammad:

Muhammad said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: La ilaha illallah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and whoever said La ilaha illahllah, Allah will save his property and his life from me…!” (Hadith: Bukhari)

Muhammad was made victorious by terror

The spoils of wars were made lawful to me and Allah made me victorious by terror so that the enemy will be frightened even if he was a month distant of me. (Masnad Ahmad)

Muhammad was made victorious by terror

The spoils of wars were made lawful to me and Allah made me victorious by terror so that the enemy will be frightened even if he was a month distant of me. (Masnad Ahmad)

Allah purchased the souls of the Believers

“Allah hath purchased of the Believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the Garden (of Paradise): they fight in His Cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in Truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur-an: and who is more faithful to his Covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” (Quran 9:111)

[Note how Muhammad claims that the Gospel also includes instructions from God to fight for him, which has no truth whatsover]

Strike terror in their hearts!

Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly. (8:60)

Muhammad urges his followers to fight:

O Prophet! rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding. (8:65)

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