Haroon Siddiqui

A Quote by Haroon Siddiqui on jihad, islam, and terrorism

Chapter 5

Jihad and Terrorism

Every Muslim must do jihad (struggle).  Must do.  In the literal meaning of the word, they strive in the path of God by observing the five essentials of Islam and trying to be good human beings.

            The Prophet Muhammed, upon returning from one war, said, “We have come from the smaller jihad to the greater jihad.”  Asked what he meant, he replied, “the jihad against oneself.”

            The word jihad strikes fear in the West, where it is understood soley in terms of war, but it is a more benign word for most Muslims.  To them, the first jihad is the struggle against the ego. Then there’s the jihad against the devil.  There’s also the jihad of the tongue to spread the word of Islam.  There’s the jihad of charity.  There’s the jihad of the pen to spread knowledge.  These are all individual jihads.

            Muslims are also sometimes urged to undertake similarly peaceful but collective jihads for the most mundane matters, such as the jihad for cleanliness, once declared by the Egyptian government; the jihad for literacy, initiated by the Tunisian government; the jihad against corruption in government, periodically proclaimed in Pakistan with little or no success; the jihad for water conservation, and so on.

            “Nowadays, jihad is often used without any religious connotation, more or less equivalent to the English word, crusade – ‘a crusade against drugs,’” writes Rudolph Peters, professor at the University of Amsterdam.  “If used in the religious context, the adjective ‘Islamic’ or ‘holy’ is added to the jihad.”

            But in the West where jihad is a highly charged term, especially since 9/11, we have two parallel discourses.  Those looking to discredit Islam insist that it is an inherently violent religion.  “Look, it says right here in the Qur’an,” they say.  Osama bin Laden and other terrorists quote these same Qur’anic passages to justify terrorism.  But most Muslims and many non-Muslims say Islam is a religion of peace, and they resent that both Islamophobes and militant Muslims are twisting it’s meaning to suit their disparate agendas.

            Falling somewhere in the middle is the Western media narrative on holy war.  The American media, in particular, have played hot and cold on the issue.  They were highly critical when Iranians rallied under the Islamic banner for the 1979 revolution that toppled the pro-American dictator, the Shah.  But during the US-backed 1980-89 holy war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the media glorified the 35,000 Mujahideen (those waging jihad) who had been recruited from forty-three Muslim countries and paid for by the Central Intelligence Agency, and whom President Ronald Reagan called the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers.  Dan Rather, CBS-TV news anchor, proudly posed on the Afghan frontier wearing the local costume of long shirt and pantaloons, as if he had joined the jihad himself.

            The media adopted a more neutral tone during Saddam Hussein’s 1980-88 war on Iran, which he called a jihad and which the United States supported.  The media became hostile when Israel and America were targeted – by the Hezbollah during the 1982-2000 Israeli occupation of Lebanon, by some Palestinians during the second intifadah, by Al Qaeda on 9/11 and by various groups since in occupied Iraq and elsewhere.

            Holy war is good when it suits the West but evil when it doesn’t.

Haroon Siddiqui

Source: Being Muslim (Groundwork Guides)

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Haroon Siddiqui on muslim


The tendency to see all Muslims as one prompts the media and even government to demand, Who speaks for the Muslims?  The answer is that, as with other religions, many groups and organizations do, depending on religious, social or political requirements.  The range of Muslim views is, arguably, wider.  Muslims come from different regions, races, nations, ethnicities and cultures, speak different languages, follow strict or liberal interpretations of Islam, or don’t follow any at all, though they consider themselves Muslim.  While a diversity of voices in other religious communities is considered normal, In Muslims it is seen as exasperating proof of divisiveness and disarray.

Haroon Siddiqui

Source: Being Muslim (Groundwork Guides), Pages: 22

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Haroon Siddiqui on muslim, quran, misquotes, context, and osama bin laden

The Qur’an is being studied for clues to the militant Muslim mind.  There was no such rush to buy the Bible or the Torah when some Afrikaners or Serbs or Jewish settlers were justifying their actions in the name of fulfilling their God’s mission.  Even more instructive of our troubled times is the anti-Islamists are quoting the Qur’an, selectively and out of context, exactly as Osama Bin Laden does – they to “prove” that Islam is a militant faith and he to justify his murders.  What are we to make of this axis of evil?

Haroon Siddiqui

Source: Being Muslim (Groundwork Guides), Pages: 24

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Haroon Siddiqui on muhammed, moderate, and muslim

          For all the emphasis that today’s clerics put on the Prophet’s war record, he spent a total of less than a week in actual battle in the twenty-three years of his prophethood.  He advised his followers to “be moderate in religious matters, for excess caused the destruction of earlier communities.”  A moderate himself, he smiled often, spoke softly and delivered brief sermons.

            “The prophet disliked ranting and raving,” wrote Imam Bukhari, the ninth-century Islamic scholar of the Prophet’s sayings.  Ayesha, the Prophet’s wife, reported that “he spoke so few words that you could count them.”  His most famous speech, during the Haj pilgrimage in AD 632, which laid down an entire covenant, was less than 2,800 words (see The Sermon that Changed the World).

            Muhammed was respectful of Christians and Jews.  Hearing the news that the King of Ethiopia had died, he told his followers, “A righteous man has died today; so stand up and pray for your brother.”  When a Christian delegation came to Medina, he invited them to conduct their service in the mosque, saying, “This place is consecrated to God.”  When Saffiyah, one of his wives, complained that she was taunted for her Jewish origins, he told her, “Say unto them, ‘my father is Aaron, and my uncle is Moses.’”

            Yet angry Muslims, not unlike African Americans not to long ago, pay little heed to voices of moderation.  This is partly a reflection of the fact that there is no central religious authority in Islam.  Only the minority Shiites have a religious hierarchy of ayatollahs, who instruct followers on religious and sometimes political matters.  The majority Sunnis do not have the equivalent of the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury.  A central tenet of their faith is that there is no intermediary between the believer and God.  This makes for great democracy – everyone is free to issue a fatwa (religious ruling) and everyone else is free to ignore it. But the “fatwa chaos” does create confusion – among non-Muslims, who are spooked by the red-hot rhetoric, and also among Muslims, who are left wondering about the “right answers” to some of the most pressing issues of the day.

Haroon Siddiqui

Source: Being Muslim (Groundwork Guides), Pages: 35

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Haroon Siddiqui on be the change, quran, muhammed, and change

Allah never changes a people’s state unless they change what’s in themselves (13:11)

Haroon Siddiqui

Source: Being Muslim (Groundwork Guides), Pages: 37

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Haroon Siddiqui on hijab, head covering, and muslim

Regarding the Hijab debate.

A head covering on a Muslim is a political statement but it is not when on a Christian nun’s head.  – Riem Spielhaus, Humbolt University

Haroon Siddiqui

Source: Being Muslim (Groundwork Guides), Pages: 52

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Haroon Siddiqui on praying, prayers, muslim, and balance

Prayers are designed to raise God-consciousness five times a day, throughout one’s life.  Prayers also provide regular exercise – like yoga or Tai Chi or Qigong built into the day – and serve as a calming retreat from the daily demands of life.  Muslims thus learn to balance deeni wa dunyavi  (the spiritual and the worldly).  They can’t abandon one for the other; that’s the essence of their faith.

Haroon Siddiqui

Source: Being Muslim (Groundwork Guides), Pages: 59

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Haroon Siddiqui on womans rights and rights

Amy Gutman of Princeton University

“Oppressed women typically want their rights as individuals to be secured within their own culture, not at the expense of exile from their culture or the destruction of what they and others take to be valuable about their culture.”

Haroon Siddiqui

Source: Being Muslim (Groundwork Guides), Pages: 121

Contributed by: HeyOK

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