Jihad and Misconceptions

On the word “Jihad” and love of Jihad for the sake of Allah

Topics below

  1. Counterterror Adviser (John Brennan ) Defends Jihad as “Legitimate Tenet of Islam’ Published May 27, 2010
  2. USA prints textbooks to support Jihad in Afghanistan and Pakistan
  3. Jihad on Trial in North Carolina’s Triangle Terror Takedown:
  4. The word “Allah” in Arabic language in the phrase “for the sake of Allah”
  5. On meaning of Jihad in Islamic Scriptures and usage:
  6. “Mesirut-Nefesh” in Judaic traditions: the willingness to risk life – whether one’s own or that of another.


US Counterterror Adviser (John Brennan) Defends

Jihad as “Legitimate Tenet of Islam”

Published May 27, 2010

| FOXNews.com

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan speaks to reporters in the White House Jan. 7. (AP Photo)

The president’s top counterterrorism adviser on Wednesday called jihad a “legitimate tenet of Islam,” arguing that the term “jihadists” should not be used to describe America’s enemies.

During a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, John Brennan described violent extremists as victims of “political, economic and social forces,” but said that those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described in “religious terms.”

He repeated the administration argument that the enemy is not “terrorism,” because terrorism is a “tactic,” and not terror, because terror is a “state of mind” — though Brennan’s title, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, includes the word “terrorism” in it. But then Brennan said that the word “jihad” should not be applied either.

“Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children,” Brennan said.

The technical, broadest definition of jihad is a “struggle” in the name of Islam and the term does not connote “holy war” for all Muslims. However, jihad frequently connotes images of military combat or warfare, and some of the world’s most wanted terrorists including Usama bin Laden commonly use the word to call for war against the West.

Brennan defined the enemy as members of bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network and “its terrorist affiliates.”

But Brennan argued that it would be “counterproductive” for the United States to use the term, as it would “play into the false perception” that the “murderers” leading war against the West are doing so in the name of a “holy cause.”

“Moreover, describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie propagated by Al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism — that the United States is somehow at war against Islam,” he said.

The comment comes after Brennan, in a February speech in which he described his respect for the tolerance and devotion of Middle Eastern nations, referred to Jerusalem on first reference by its Arabic name, Al-Quds.

“In all my travels the city I have come to love most is al-Quds, Jerusalem, where three great faiths come together,” Brennan said at an event co-sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Islamic Center at New York University and the Islamic Law Students Association at NYU.


He said as in official white house transcript:

“…The President’s strategy is absolutely clear about the threat we face.  Our enemy is not “terrorism” because terrorism is but a tactic.  Our enemy is not “terror” because terror is a state of mind and as Americans we refuse to live in fear.  Nor do we describe our enemy as “jihadists” or “Islamists” because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenant of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.

Indeed, characterizing our adversaries this way would actually be counterproductive.  It would play into the false perception that they are religious leaders defending a holy cause, when in fact they are nothing more than murderers, including the murder of thousands upon thousands of Muslims.  This is why Muslim leaders around the world have spoken out—forcefully, and often at great risk to their own lives—to reject al Qaeda and violent extremism.  And frankly, their condemnations often do not get the recognition they deserve, including from the media….”



USA prints textbooks

to support Jihad in Afghanistan and Pakistan

(See it all for yourself: books, pamphlets, documents, etc )



Jihad on Trial in North Carolina’s Triangle Terror Takedown:

Since the Arabic word “Jihad” is being brandished about in sensationalist news items and the indictments, perhaps it is better to be intelligent and well informed, and not just follow what has been said and cherry picked by some for their negative shock appeal.   Intelligent analysis and reason is better than sheer emotion and the quick resultant knee jerk reflexive actions without correct knowledge.

Daniel Boyd has said, according to secret wiretaps presented in court: “I love Jihad. I love to stand there and fight for the sake of Allah.”

Secondly, many people say many things in the privacy of their own homes and cars and among family and friends, and even publicly, but lets be straightforward here and realize that to say “I love Jihad” is not a crime.  Daniel Boyd’s love of “Jihad” stems from teenage involvement fighting “evil empire” of the communist Soviets and their local communist war lord puppets. The training camps he attended were in the years when the US government officials were openly and repeatedly praising the “Mujahedeen” (from the word Jihad) as freedom fighters.

So what does this word “Jihad” mean?

What are the various contexts in which the word is used?

Please read below for a preliminary primer, and use your God-given reasoning power, without bias and presupposed assumptions.


[ http://www.afghan-web.com/gallery/%5D


SAS veteran TOM CAREW, who trained the mujahideen in their fight against the Russians in the 1980s, recalls…”For the Afghanis …  Every man is a fighter. There is little distinction between a mujahideen and a civilian.  War is a way of life.”


The word “Allah” in Arabic language in the phrase

“for the sake of Allah”

To begin with, let’s get a main point straight since some try to confuce English speakers and make that Allah is some god other than the One and Only God of the Universe.

The word “Allah” is the proper name of The One God. Literally it is made up of the letters “al” which is the definite article “the,” and “ilah” the word for god or God (according to context). Thus the word “Allah” is “al-ilah” and literally “The God,” as in the Arabic phonetic construction (ال + إله = اللَّهُ). Of course the meaning is the One and Only God and the One Lord and Creator and Sovereign of the creation.

In the other Semitic languages the word for God is closely related to what we have mentioned about Arabic. The Aramaic word for God is “alah.”   In Hebrew the word for God or god is (אל) (el) and “Elah,” (or Eloh) and the plural form is (אלוהים) (elohím).

El is mentioned in the New Testament when Jesus, peace be upon him and may he be cleansed of all falsehoods attributed to him, cried out as in the Gospel: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” [Matthew 27: 46]

It is instructive to note that the Arab Christians say as their Trinitarian creed dictates that their savior Jesus is “Ibn Allah” and this is how their scholars have translated the Bible into Arabic. This literally means the “son of Allah,” with Allah being God the “Father” of the trinity. Of course Muslims and Jews consider this statement and the Trinitarian creed erroneous and blasphemy. Even some Christians reject trinity. This is not our line of investigation since the point here is only to show that the word “Allah” means “The God” and not some idol or pagan deity as some have absurdly tried to propagate maliciously.  The Arabic translation of Bible uses the name “Allah” to refer to God in Genesis 1:1: “Fee al-badi’ khalaqa Allahu as-Samaawaat wa al-Ard…” In the Hebrew the word in Genesis 1:1 is “elohim.”


On meaning of Jihad in Islamic Scriptures and usage:

Jihad a maligned and misused word around which so many misconceptions swirl: often translated as “Holy War,” an enduring legacy of the crusades.

The Arabic word “Jihad” is from the three letter Arabic root (J-H-D) and the verb Jahada mean endeavor, exertion, and struggle. The addition of the vowel ‘alif’ as in Jaahada adds to the meaning that the endeavor, exertion, and struggle, is against another entity. This entity may be the enemy within – selfish desires from within the soul – or the enemy outside, those aggressive enemies that must be engaged justly and proactively by commanding the good, prohibiting the evil, and by struggle to defend against their attack.

Many acts of obedience wherein one struggles against himself and hardships are included in Jihad when done “fi sabeelillah” (for the sake of Allah).  As the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said when asked permission by a young man to go for Jihad:

“Are your parents alive?” He replied in the affirmative. The Prophet said to him, “Then exert yourself in their service (fa fi hima fa-Jaahid).” Reported by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.

And in another narration Abu Hurairah said, may Allah be pleased with him, said the following: “We were with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, when a young man came upon us from Thaniyyah and when we saw him we said: If only this young man would use his youth and energy and strength in the path of Allah (i.e. in Jihad).  The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, heard what we said and replied: “Whoever strives for his parents, is in the path of Allah, and whoever strives for his dependents, is in the path of Allah, and whoever strives for himself to sustain himself legally, is in the path of Allah, and whoever strives just to make more, is in the path of the Taaghoot. (Satan, idol, tyrant, sorcerer, etc)” And in another version “…the path of the Shaitan (Satan)”

[Reported by Abu Nuaim, Bazzar and others, and verified by al-Albani for combination of pathways and testifying information in as-Silsilah as-Sahihah no. 2232]

Here on can see that a Muslim may use this word Jihad in these every day peaceful contexts.

These are of course faithful Muslim parents who call him to Monotheism and good and not to disobey Allah, for Allah the Exalted said about disbelieving parents that their “Jihad” is calling to idolatry and polytheism:

“But if they (both) strive with you (Jaahadaaka) to make you join in worship with Me others of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them yet behave kindly with them in the world, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience.” [Qur`an: Surah Luqman (31:15)]  And Allah the Exalted said:

“And whoever strives (Jaahada) only strives for [the benefit of] himself. Indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.” [Qur`an: 29:6]

Another manner of peaceful Jihad is by conveying the meanings of the Qur`an as Allah said in a verse revealed in Makkah before the permission given to fight in the Madinah period:

“So do not obey the disbelievers and strive against them (Jaahid-hum) with it (the Quran) a great striving.”  [Qur`an: 25:52]

Many of the Qur`anic commentators mention that this is the Jihad by the Qur`an, inviting them to read the revelation from God.

And in the general comprehensive sense of Jihad Allah said:

“And those who strive (Jaahadu) for Us, We surely will guide them to Our ways, and indeed Allah is with the doers of good.”  [Qur`an:29:69]

To paraphrase the renowned Muslim jurist and scholar, Ibn Qayyim, in his famous categorization of Jihad in the Islamic usage, with some additions for further clarification, [Refer to Ibn Qayyim’s Zaad al-Ma’aad 3/10-13] we can say that according to the scriptural proofs of the Qur`an and the Sunnah, Jihad is of four kinds:

  1. Jihad an-Nafs (Jihad against one’s own self);
  2. Jihad ash-Shaitan (Jihad against the Satan);
  3. Jihad al-Kuffar wal-Munafiqeen (Jihad against the disbelievers and the   hypocrites);
  4. Jihad Ahl-al-Baghe wa Ahl-al-Bid’ah (Jihad against people of aggression and rebellion and against people of innovation).

Jihad an-Nafs (Jihad against one’s own self) is of four kinds as well:

1) Striving to learn the teachings of Islam;

2) Striving to make oneself act in accordance with what one has learned;

3) Striving to call others to Islam and teaching those who do not know about Islam;

4) Striving to bear patiently all the difficulties involved in calling people to Allah and all the insults and harm of people, bearing all this for the sake of Allah.

If a person achieves all these four levels, then he will be one of the “Rabbaniyyeen” (learned men of religion who practice what they know and patiently and expertly teach and preach to others).  The Salaf as-Salih (righteous predecessors) were agreed that the scholar does not deserve to be called ‘Rabbani’ unless he knows the truth, acts in accordance with it, teaches it to others, and bears hardships patiently and steadfastly. Whoever teaches, acts in accordance with his knowledge, and has knowledge will be deemed great in Allah’s Paradise.

The basis of this Jihad is found in many narrations for instance to cite just one in the words of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, when he said:

“Do you not want me to inform you who is the believer? The believer is the one who the people feel secure about in their properties and selves, and the Muslim is the one who the Muslims are safe from his tongue and hand, and the “Mujahid” is the one who struggles with himself for obeying Allah and the Muhajir is the one who leaves the mistakes and sins.”

[Reported by Imam Ahmad and declared authentic by Sheikh al-Albani in Silisilah as-Sahihah no 549.]

Jihad ash-Shaitan (Jihad against Satan) is of two types:

1) Warding off the doubts that the Satan whispers and instigates to undermine firm faith;

2) Striving against Satan to ward off the corrupt and evil desires that Satan provokes into the soul of man.

The first Jihad leads to certainty of faith, and the second is followed by patience: two traits necessary for leadership.  Allah the Exalted said:

“And We made from among them leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our signs.” [Qur`an: 32:24]

Allah tells us that leadership in religion is attained through patience and certainty of faith. Patience wards off desires and certainty wards off doubts. Allah the Exalted said:

“Verily the Satan is your enemy so take him as your enemy. He only calls his party to be of the inhabitants of the Blazing Hellfire.” [Qur`an: 35:6]

Jihad al-Kuffar wal-Munafiqeen (the disbelievers and the hypocrites) is of four kinds:

1) with the heart;

2) with the tongue;

3) with one’s wealth;

4) with oneself and body.

When this Jihad is against the disbelievers, it is primarily physical fighting and just warfare, according to strict rules of conduct and behavior since noncombatants may not be targeted, etc.  When Jihad is against the hypocrites who call themselves and feign to be Muslims, it is primarily commanding the good, forbidding the evil, words of reproach against their wickedness, and enforcing Allah’s just punishments upon criminals according to judicial procedures and principles of Islamic court producing protecting the innocent until proven guilty.

Jihad Ahl-al-Baghe wa Ahl-al-Bid’ah (Jihad against people of aggression and rebellion and against people of innovation) is of three kinds in terms of one’s ability:

1) If possible, to wage Jihad with one’s hand (physical Jihad by stopping them and fighting) if one is able to;

2) If that is not possible, then it should be with one’s tongue (i.e., by speaking out);

3) If that is not possible, then it should be with one’s heart (i.e., by hating the evil and feeling that it is wrong).

As Allah says about the Muslims who transgress and whom we must fight in order that they return to the ruling of Allah:

“And if two parties or groups among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both, but if one of them rebels against the other, then fight against the one which rebels until it complies with the Command of Allah; then if it complies, make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are equitable. The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion).  So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” [Qur`an: 49:12]

And this is according to abilities as in the famous narration:

“Whoever sees an evil act should change it with his hands, and if he is unable (to use his hand) then with his tongue, and if he is unable then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.” [Reported by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others]


“Mesirut-Nefesh in Judaic traditions:

the willingness to risk life –

whether one’s own or that of another.

A somewhat parallel idea to the violent form of  “Jihad” which is also a form of worship offered sincerely to  God Almighty and Majestic, is found in Judaic law and called

mesirut-nefesh, “physical martyrdom, selfless dedication, self- sacrifice, and the willingness to risk life – whether one’s own or that of another.”

This concept and related concepts are often cited in the defense of Israel and the protection of settler rights in settlements upon the Holy Land of Greater Israel.   The idea of mesirut-nefesh and related are outside our scope here, and a few quotes will be cited to introduce the idea and related concepts to encourage further investigation.

For instance, the famous Jewish scholar Yosef Eliyahu Henkin was “vigorously opposed Zionism, but once the State of Israel was established he declared the need to support its continued existence, and denounced those who tried to undermine it. In 1959 he wrote: I was shocked to read in Chomoteinu (Cheshvan 5719) the slanderous notion that we are required to give our lives to frustrate and resist the efforts of the State of Israel in its struggle against those who would rise up against them. This was stated as a psak din based on “Israel is restricted from rebelling against the nations.” (Ketubot 111a) […] but once done, though the admonition was ignored, we are required to support them with mesirut nefesh. […] Once the state was declared, anyone who plays into the hands of the nations of the world even where there is no imminent danger, is clearly an informer and pursuer (rodef). All the more when there is danger to destruction of life in so doing…”

[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yosef_Eliyahu_Henkin ]

The “rodef” reference above is significant since in Jewish law: “killing another person is permitted is the case of a rodef (aggressor), who may be killed in order to save the life of oneself or another. This permits self-defense and wartime killings in Judaism.”


Note that  “rabbis debated before the 1995 assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin whether he should be subjected to “din rodef” – the Jewish law of rodef, which literally means one who chases and refers to a license to kill someone who intends to kill someone else” ….


The assassin, Yigal Amir, subsequently justified his actions partly on the basis of din rodef, under the assumption that making concessions to the Palestinians would endanger Jewish lives.

See Stern, Jessica. “Talking with Jewish Extremists“. PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/israel/extreme/nameof.html. Retrieved on 21 August 2006. Excerpted from Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill, ISBN 0-06-050533-8.

Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodef

And in 30/06/2004 … a high ranking “rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem, Rabbi Avigdor Neventzal, stirred controversy when he said: “It should be known that anyone who wants to give away Israeli land is like a rodef, and certainly land should not be given to idol worshipers.”

A “rodef,” is the person who can be killed according to Jewish law.

Even more significantly “The Yesha rabbi’s committee chairman, Rabbi Dov Lior, said Tuesday that secular Zionism has reached the end of its way, and that the settlers are today’s Hasmonaens.  Lior said that religious Zionism educates its sons to serve in the army and obey orders, but when orders opposing the way of the Torah are given, like uprooting settlements and giving land to strangers, “the Knesset, government and even the High Court of Justice have no say.”


Food for thought and digestion.

Below: Panjshir Valley, Northern Afghanistan

Panjshir Valley, Northern Afghanistan-0


And lest we forget recent history of the “Reagan Doctrine”

when patriotism called for sacrifice against the “Evil Empire” of International Communism;

and lest we forget that President Reagan entertained some leaders of the Afghan Mujahideen

as below



reagan-afgan day


Below: Stinger – used  in Afghanistan by full  US supply and support:



Oh, and remember the so called:

Gulf War

or called the Persian Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), known also as the Gulf War, the First Gulf War[11][12], or often as the Second Gulf War [13][14] or more commonly Desert Storm, was a military conflict initiated by a coalition force from 34 nations, with United Nations authorization, between Iraq and the coalition with the purpose of expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait after Iraq’s occupation and annexation of Kuwait in August 1990.



not to mention Vietnam, etc.



Shocking Admission on Killing Civilians by Top US General Almost Completely Ignored by Corporate Media

“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat,” says Afghan commander McChrystal.

March 31, 2010 |


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“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat,” says top American commander.

President Obama’s sneak visit to Afghanistan this weekend, although shrouded in secrecy, still received lots of prime press coverage.

At the same time, an astonishing open admission of possible US war crimes by Obama’s man on the ground in Kabul, senior American and NATO commander in Afghanistan General Stanley A. McChrystal, was reported by Richard A. Oppel Jr. in the New York Times… and then promptly ignored by the rest of the mainstream media.

“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat,” McChrystal said during a recent video-conference to answer questions from troops in the field about civilian casualties.

According to the military’s own figures, American and NATO troops firing from passing convoys and military checkpoints have killed 30 Afghans and wounded 80 others since last summer, but as McChrystal noted, none of the victims proved to be a danger to the troops.

Despite new rules put in place by McChrystal, aimed at reducing the killing of innocents, such shootings have not dropped off. Although fewer in number than deaths from air strikes or Special Forces operations, their continuance, as the Times noted, “has led to growing resentment among Afghans fearful of Western troops and angry at what they see as the impunity with which the troops operate — a friction that has turned villages firmly against the occupation.”

These persistent “escalation of force” episodes have “emerged as a major frustration for military commanders who believe that civilian casualties deeply undermine the American and NATO campaign in Afghanistan.”

A case in point: the murder of Mohammed Yonus, a 36-year-old imam killed two months ago while commuting to a madrasa where he taught 150 students. As Oppel noted, “a military convoy raked his car with bullets, ripping open his chest as his two sons sat in the car. The shooting inflamed residents and turned his neighborhood against the occupation, elders there say.”

Although General McChrystal has reduced the number of civilians killed overall — deaths from aerial attacks, for example, fell by more than a third last year — shootings from convoys and checkpoints involving American, NATO and Afghan forces continue to plague the coalition. Shooting deaths caused by convoys guarded by private security contractors – not part of the calculation — make the total number of “escalation of force deaths” far higher than just those decried by McChrystal.

As noted by blogger Allison Kilkenny – one media observer who wrote about McChystal’s statement — what the general admitted to may be a war crime:

“Military brass and the warmongering elite usually skirt war crimes accusations by saying the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations aren’t conventional warfare. That is to say, the US is not at war with an official army, so anyone picked up on the battlefield (which is the entire world in the War on Terror) isn’t a POW. They’re an enemy combatant who does not have access to the protections afforded to enemy soldiers under the Geneva Convention.

This is a tricky way to circumvent accountability, but even this clever interpretation of international law can’t cover the stink of McChrystal’s admission. The US is occupying Afghanistan, and while there, they are killing innocent civilians, says the highest ranking military official in the country.

So, to recap: the President of the United States visits Afghanistan to deliver personally “pointed criticism to President Hamid Karzai in a face-to-face meeting,” after flying in “for an unannounced visit that reflected growing vexation with Mr. Karzai as America’s military commitment to defeat the Taliban insurgency has deepened.”

The president’s visit comes only days after his highest ranking military official confirms in the “Paper of Record” that his military forces have killed dozens of people, none of whom posed a threat — and other media doesn’t see fit even to mention that fact?

Filmmaker and journalist Rory O’Connor is the author of “Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio” (AlterNet Books, 2008). O’Connor also writes the Media Is A Plural blog.





and the new goes on and on (keep seeking truth)


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