With so many world events going on right now, it’s easy to forget that bin Laden was killed a short two weeks ago. I don’t wish to dwell on the details of his life or death because there’s so much information about that. But I do want to spend some time speaking about something which always intrigued me, and that was his call to Jihad, or Holy War.
As an interesting side note, just before I heard about his death, I was reading Deepak Chopra’s novel “Muhammad”. Although it was fiction, much of the information was based on truth, and I found it to be an interesting insight into the Prophet’s life and the message he was trying to convey. So I had the ideas of Islam top of mind at the time.
As most of you know, I am Lebanese and have some basic grasp of the language – beyond ordering hummus and tabbouli. I began to look for the root of the word Jihad, to understand where it came from, and learned that it comes from the word “Jhd” which means to strive, to struggle, to put forth one’s best effort.
To me, that intuitively signaled an inner effort; and I wondered if Jihad was meant to be an inner struggle after all. I’m sure some of my Muslim friends reading this will say that I’m oversimplifying the concept, and will point to texts to support the going to war; but like all holy books, you can always find the parts that most support your point of view.
In the end, I guess it all depends on the eyes through which we choose to see the world.
And if I choose to see the world as a magnificent manifestation of LOVE, even with what appears to be evil or ugly, and that all is happening to bring us closer to that Love, then I will also find texts to support that point of view.
I’ve been on an inner Jihad for a while now, although had never called it by that name. I called it personal growth, confronting my fears, raising my consciousness – but in the end, we’re all talking about the same thing. Changing within so that we can change what is without.
One man saw the world as a place of evil and injustice, acted in consequence, and called that a holy war. He’s not the first. How many of us see the world in a similar way? We may not act in the same manner, but how many small concessions to fear do we make every day? How often do we justify certain behaviours simply because “that’s just how the world is”?
In one of my recent meditations on Jihad, some words came into my mind which I wrote down so I wouldn’t forget. They’re more inspiration than reflection. I hope you enjoy them. With them, I close off this entry.
Arm yourself with courage, with faith and certitude, and direct them towards your inner tyrants, your inner dictator. Declare jihad on the ignorance within you. Declare holy war on the abuser within you. Raze them to the ground, for after their destruction, they need to be fed with what is truly holy, the only force that can rebuild the holy in you - LOVE.
God’s Love. God’s Mercy. Allah.
Allah is great for the love He births inside the heart of each of His children. And that love can only flourish when the inner battle has been won. Your heart is grand enough to accept such a love, and Allah only seeks to manifest His greatness, His love, through that heart. Open it and embrace your Divine birthright. Open it and be free.