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The Evolution of the Term “Jihad”

7 Pages 1672 Words June 2019

The word ‘Jihad’ has now become one of the most mentioned words in the space of international political and media discourse. Unfortunately, the term “Jihad” has been misunderstood; it has lost its meaning. According to the Living Religion, the definition of “Jihad” is “the Muslim’s [believers] struggle against the inner forces that prevent God-realization, or the outer barriers to the establishment of the order” (Fisher, 431). In fact, the word “Jihad” is used to describe three different kinds of struggles that Muslims may encounter- the internal struggle of their faith, the struggle that if they can build up a good Muslim society, and “Holy war” which means a struggle to defend their religion, Islam, according to the description on the website BBC (“Jihad”). The first use of the term “Jihad” can trace back to the Meccan period (622–632). At this point, “Jihad” emphasized more on the internal struggle, which is then commonly described as “Sabr”. However, as time goes by, the meaning of the Jihad had been shifted from “an internal struggle” to the “Holy war”, which is also known as “Qital”. Despite the fact that the original meaning of jihad is about “to struggle”, people often misunderstand the term “Jihad” due to misappropriate use by social media; nowadays the popular perception is that “Jihad” is a violence word, in which the original meaning “internal jihad” has been largely ignored. In fact, terrorism and media are the causative agents who have misled people that the term “Jihad” is a violence word and is related to war. In this case of “Jihad”, a standard feature of language and signifiers invariably lose the roots as it is translated from “to struggle” or “to expend effort” to “the use of violence for war”.
The word “Jihad” started in the Quran. Any word or action from Muhammad could also entitle different meaning to the term “Jiha...

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