Lahore attacks (Pakistan): Is Jihad Justified
Staff Writer, March 8, 2009

Jihad is mistakenly perceived as an expression of Islam's hostile attitude towards non-Muslims.

The word "Jihad" means exerting effort to achieve a desired thing or prevent an undesired one. In other words, it is an effort that aims at bringing about benefit or preventing harm.

One hadith indicates that "the best form of jihad is to tell a word of truth to a tyrannical ruler." (Abu Dawood)

Jihad can take different forms such as struggle against one's desires, poverty, illiteracy, disease, and Jihad is not a war always although it can take the form of war.

Allah says very clearly: "Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not do aggression, for Allah loves not the aggressors." (Quran 2: 190)

The war is permissible in Islam, but only when other peaceful means such as dialogue, negotiations and treaties fail. It is a last resort and should be avoided as much as possible. Its purpose is not to convert people by force, or to colonize people or to acquire land or wealth or for self-glory. Its purpose is basically: defense of life, property, land, honor and freedom for oneself as well as defense of others from injustice and oppression.

Terrorism is not Jihad, it is Fasad (mischief). It is against the teachings of Islam. There are some people who use their twisted arguments to justify terrorism for their causes, but it has no justification in Islam.

Terrorism intends to create fear and it deliberately targets the civilians. Nowadays, the act of terrorism is used as a tool by certain groups just to gain media attention to show who is in charge especially in the recent Lahore attacks in Pakistan where the gunmen targeted the Sri Lankan cricket players. It is worth mentioning here that there is nothing in the history that suggests Pakistan and Sri Lanka were ever engaged in war but still this untoward incident did happen.

Unless Muslims declare Jihad against terrorism, it is more likely that Islam will be hijacked by the extremists.