01 October 2014
The word “jihad” is once again in the media, as a result of the actions of the radical group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its violent deeds in the Syria- Iraq region.
But before any further confusion is added to the already complex situation, we ought to remind ourselves of the fact that the word has a number of contested meanings, and has always been a complex idea.
There are in fact millions of ordinary Muslims who have a completely different understanding of what “jihad” means, which is understood by them as a struggle in a more comprehensive sense.
For millions of lay members of the Tablighi Jama’at pietist movement, for instance, their “jihad” or struggle has been of a more existential nature: a constant struggle against egoism and the temptations of the world – though their quiet pious work has seldom, if ever, been taken notice of by the media.
…The writer is an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
GPO / RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 01/10/2014