Essay on September 11 and the Ethics of Jihad

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September 11 and the Ethics of Jihad The Western world has long been aware of the anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, and anti-American rhetoric taught by extremist Muslim groups. The concept of jihad existed as a vague notion: one of those Islamic things; something to do with the disputes in the Middle East. On September 11, 2001, the topic suddenly gained paramount importance in the mind of the common man. "I will shed my blood for you, Oh Palestine, take back the land that is ours." "I am not afraid of suicide, God will receive me for I will be a martyr." "Jihad is my destiny, my life." Chants taught in Palestinian elementary schools.1 Jihad came under additional scrutiny as word spread of…show more content…
When is the appropriate time to wage jihad? Who has the authority to declare one? How authoritative are boundaries and treaties? What is the ultimate purpose of jihad? The Qur'an itself dutifully provides enough vague wordings that the same text is interpretable in many different ways. Nevertheless, there is some consensus - and some dissent - in the post-colonial Muslim world. The Essence of Jihad The word jihad or djihad in the Arabic language can be translated in a number of different ways, a variety of definitions ranging from the traditional Western phrase "holy war," to the "efforts of Christian missionaries."4 Three of the possible practical interpretations are expounded by Rudolph Peters, a professor at the University of Amsterdam, Majid Khadduri, a native of Iraq and an emeritus member on the board of the Middle East Institute,5 and Emmanuel Sivan, professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Peters defines jihad as "any effort toward a subjectively praiseworthy aim, which need not necessarily have anything to do with religion... it does not always denote armed struggle."6 Khadduri stands in stark contrast to Peters, however, explaining the meaning of jihad this way: The term jihad is derived from the verb jahada (abstract noun, juhd) which means 'exerted'; its juridical-theological meaning is exertion of one's power in Allah's path, that is, the spread of the belief in Allah and in making His word

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