Jihad(The holy war) and its interpretations

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Koran sharif the sacred scripture of islamic faith,a religion with many historical attributes recommends tolerance
plularism,pacific mysticism and gentleness.Christianity the earlier religion was known for intolerance,coersiveness,persecution of jews,the followers of judaism(the religion before christianity the holy scripture belonging to this faith is old testament of Bible).In fifteenth century jews were far better off in muslim Baghdad or Alexandria or Palestine of Arab muslims than in christian Paris or Madrid,Berlin(Hitler of Germany who was a christian had murdered 6 million jews)Russia before the Bolshevik revolution.During the killing spree of jews in Europe,they took refuge in one of the muslim localities in the east.’There must be no coercion in matters of religion’is an ayat from Koran,’you follow your raligion i follow my religion’is another line from Koran.

So when did a militant islamic purism as the concept of jihad,originate?There is a battle going on within islam itself.
The islam which is tolerant,gentle and not spread by the sword but by love and kindness,and the islam that is not only
spread by the sword but by a fetish of martyrdom and murder.In recent years this second islam has been sanctioned by the
rulings of fanatical religious scholars for whom islam is locked in a duel to death with the rest of the world and with the impure elements of the muslim world itself.The theological basis for this point of view goes back many hundreds of years to the concept that the ‘umma’the muslim community,sometimes becomes internally corrupted and humiliated by foreign conquest(in current situation this can be read as American and British conquest)and that under those circumstances muslims should be summoned to wage holy war.In this view islam itself needed to be purified,brought back to its fundamentals and the foreigners(America,Britain and Israel under their patronage)thrown out.One very influential figure who espoused this doctrine was the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran who upon taking power in 1979 popularised the slogan’Death to America’.

There were other figures more famous in the middle east,one of them an intense charismatic palestinian religious scholar
named Abdullah Azzam.Azzam set up a store front office in frontier city of Peshawar in north west Pakistan in 1979 during Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,aimed at recruiting volunteers for an islamic army that would win historic renewal and glory
of islam.He gave a call to muslims all over the world to join him in a new ‘jihad’ or holy war.Azzam talked of his ‘untold love to fight in the path of Allah’.’Jihad and the rifle alone’ and’no negotiations,no conferences and no dialogues’.

Abdullah Azzam was born in west bank which is now an occupied territory,and fleed to Jordan during jews invasion of palestine
arab territories with the help of America and Britain in the 6 day war of 1967.In Jordan he joined the jihad against the forced occupation of Palestine arab land.According to some Azzam was a founder of ‘Hamas’ which is now a ruling outfit in Palestine arab lands,and is fighting the Israeli army to form a palestine nation.Azzam turned to ‘Hamas’ out of disillusionment with the mainstream palestinian movement.Many palestinian arab muslims are disillusioned due to the fact that they allowed jews in their lands with affection,treated them like their brothers,not knowing that these very jews with the help of British and Americans will snatch their land declaring it their own promised land and naming it as their own nation “Israel”and not only that but making the palestinian muslims like slaves in their own land.Seems to be quite a strong reason for’jihad’the holy war.Mainstream palestinian movement under the leadership of Yasser Arafat was secular in nature,not religious,but the ‘jihad’ started by Azzam is religious in nature,which believes in sharia,in martyrdom and that is what lead him to break with the mainstream palestinian movement.

Azzam used to tell stories of how palestinian fighters spent their nights listening to music and playing cards and only few went to daily prayers in the mosque.For sometime Azzam taught at king Abdul Aziz university in Jeddah,a place where religious islamic movement was favoured over the secular nationalist.Osama bin laden was a student in this university.Later both Azzam and Osama founded the office of services for the mujahideen(means’ holy warriors’)in Peshawar,which became a global network recruiting muslims to do jihad against the Soviet Union.Azzam and Osama communicated to their followers and
to recruits the cause by making audio tapes of their lectures and sermons’jihad must not be abandoned until Allah alone is worshipped’which would be heard in mosques all over,’jihad continues until Allah’s word is raised high…jihad is the way of everlasting glory’.

Mosques and islamic centres around the world reverberated to Abdullah Azzam’s call to do jihad in Afghanistan and tens of thousands of volunteers heeded that call for jihad.Several jobless youth saw the employment opportunities in the calls.Except oil rich arab countries most of the muslim countries in Asia or Africa or far east are economically backward,so unemployment of the muslim youth is the biggest problem of the world which has to be addressed sincerely.

What is extraordinary is the large number of figures who came to Peshawar during the Soviet war or shortly after it,later participated in terrorist attacks against the united states and India.

There are two sides to religion:the exotic or outer teachings,the ones we have dealt with about islam in the paragraphs above,in which people of one religion fight with people of other religion as their potential enemies,calling the fight as jihad or holy war.The other is esoteric or inner teachings which deal with the jihad with our inner self and the enemies here are within ourselves named anger,lust,greed,attachment and ego(kaam,krodh,lobh,moh and ahankar)which are to be won over.In islam also this esoteric side of jihad is dealt with in the revelations by prophet Muhammed.The esoteric side deals with exploration of the beyond.Saints and founders of the various religions had themselves traveled to higher realms and taught the method of going within self to their followers,which is self realization or God realization.Throughout the ages,there have always been enlightened souls who revived and imparted the esoteric teachings.Each of them have described the inner journey,while the language in which they spoke differed,the experiences described are the same,

St John has said-
And the light shineth in darkness,and the darkness comprehendeth it not ;

In the old testament it is said-
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,and a light unto my path ;

Sant Kabir has said-
The tuneful trumpet of thy doorway,sounds in the middle of my forehead;

Prophet Muhammed has said-
The voice of God comes unto my ears as any other sounds ;

Guru Nanak has said-
Within the heavenly light and from it Bani or sound doth proceed,
and it doth attune the soul with the true lord ;

In Hansa Naad upanishad it is written-
Meditation or naad or the sound principle is the royal road to salvation ;

Buddha,in the ‘Tibetan book of the Dead’says
O nobly-born,when thy body and mind were separating,thou must have experienced a glimpse of pure truth,subtle,sparkling,bright,dazzling,glorious and radiantly awsome in appearance like a mirage moving across a landscape in springtime in one continuous stream of vibrations.Be not daunted thereby nor terrified nor awed.That is the radiance of thine own true nature,recognize it.From the midst of that radiance,the natural sound of reality reverberating like a thousand thunders simultaneously sounding welcome.That is the natural sound of thine own real self.

Coming back to jihad of Abdullah Azzam and Osama Bin Laden,for which western christian world is squarely responsible,be it its hatred for jews or later forced settlement of jews in palestine arab muslim land and naming it ‘Israel’,or gulf wars 1 &2.If at all America and Britain were so much sympathetic to the cause of persecuted and tortured jews by their own christian brothers,then they could have given them a piece of land in their own western territories,why to bring them all along in eastern arab muslim lands by the use of force.So the movement of Azzam and Osama in Peshawar was spreading like wildfire.

Two more men who seemd to have played the key roles in bringing jihad to the rest of the world were Ayman Zawahiri and Omer Abdel Rahman.Both had spent years in Egyptian prisons and when freed had made their way to Azzam’s house in Peshawar.Both believed in expanding the concept of jihad to include the causes of the palestinians and of the poor masses in muslim countries ruled over by what they ragarded as apostate Arab and muslim rulers.Zawahiri was a doctor from a distinguished family in Egypt who gave up the easy life to wage religious war-fare.Abdel Rehman was a simple preacher from rural Egypt a blind man who had an avid,loyal,worshipful following among muslims around the world.

‘Muslims are burning with anger at America’Osama Bin Laden said on august 23, 1996.In an interview with CNN he said ‘We declared jihad against the U.S because it is unjust,criminal and tyrannical.It has committed acts that are extremely criminal whether directly or through its support of Israeli occupation’.He announced the American government,military or any American individual would be his target wherever they could be struck.He formed a new international islamic front for jihad against the jews uniting his Al-qaeda with Ayman Zawahiri’s group ‘Egyptian jihad’.Osamas declaration was ,
The ruling to kill the americans and their allies,civilian and military,is an individual duty for every muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it in order to liberate the Al-Aqsa mosque(in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque(in Mecca)from their grip and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of islam,defeated and unable to threaten any muslims.
This declaration was called a’fatwa’by Osama Bin Laden.

‘From august 1998 Osama was Enemy no 1’said Sandy Berger,Bill clinton’s national security adviser.
But America could not do anything to Bin laden or his dangerous plans till sept 11 or 9/11 happened,the most horrific day in the history of modern terrorism.

Richard.c.Clarke,white house counter-terrorism chief,put the abovestated happenings this way ‘Democracies don’t prepare well
for things that have never happened before’.

So,these exotic or outer teachings of modern day jihad can bring nuclear holocaust also in near future,which had actually
happened before also in the name of religion,but still we do not seem to be prepared well to avoid it.The solution to avoid this for the entire humanity is to go for esoteric or jihad(holy war)of our inner self to combat the enemies within.We have to fight the five enemies within ourselves,and win over them.That is the real jihad,the holy war.

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