Monday, April 15, 2013

Fasting in the month of Ramadan requires the examination of all aspects of the Qur'an. One of those aspects is the area of the martyr who makes the ultimate sacrifice in jihad. It's extremely important to properly define what jihad truly is. The word in Arabic literally means struggle. Yet, many are afraid to discuss the subject. We as students and believers of the Qur'an know that Allah placed mankind on earth partly to prove our worth as successful members of His creation that can adequately maintain, and protect that which He has ordained as such. Due to this reason we are strongly encouraged to strive and struggle with all at our disposal to ensure that correct and just systems are instituted to maintain the harmony He details in the Qur'an. As a result, Allah details how those who achieve this standard while making the ultimate sacrifice should be remembered.

Think not of those as dead who are killed in the way of Allah. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision. They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty and rejoice for the sake of those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve. Qur'an 3:169 - 170

In this verse Allah is speaking specifically about those who have given their lives on the battlefield of Mount Uhud. He further explains that their battle was worthy of such praiseworthy language, acknowledgement and reward because they were fighting against people united in preventing those who chose to be Muslims from living as such. The opposition had chosen to make war simply because they hated any and all persons that worshipped Allah. However, such noteworthy language goes unmentioned by some Muslims today. The unwillingness to discuss jihad and the rewards of martyrdom are part of the reason why some find the subject matter so controversial while others have an increased their incorrect understanding of it. Controversy only exists when there is not uniform agreement. Since Muslims know and understand that the Qur'an is the word of Allah and His Prophet is the Qur'an in action, it is only logical that we turn to these complimentary sources in order to address this subject. Ironically, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) provided a method for understanding how to handle this that must especially be remembered during Ramadan.

The first thing he did when arriving in Medina was to establish a school geared to instruct the early Muslims about the accuracy and proper application of their faith. He made those who had proven themselves fully dedicated to the struggle among the first teachers in Al Islam. He understood that if the educational system currently available to them was the only system allowed that Al Islam would have been misunderstood. This would have resulted in Islamic malpractice even more. Using this strategy allowed the early Muslims to not only increase their faith, but shape the discussion on how to overcome the different forms of struggle in areas such as physical, spiritual, and ideological.

When Muslim leaders constantly address issues that more individuals regard as less controversial and refuse to address martyrdom and jihad, they subconsciously give more power to those who successfully distort, misinterpret and blatantly lie about these two concepts for their own perverted purposes. By doing this, the position of those with ill intent to manipulate and control in an ideological war increases because those with proper understanding have literally left the ideological battlefield. This is unacceptable.

What Muslims have to do is to speak more of how these great concepts are meant to be used. Stories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice must be conveyed to not only educate but instill a sense of pride and confidence among those who have inherited the legacy of Al Islam. Every nation in the history of man has a story of origin that is used to instill a sense of belonging and pride of ownership for its citizens. This is done to convey the message that a particular nation is worth the sacrifice its citizens make to ensure its protection, maintenance, and advancement.

These stories of origin consist of people, places and events that played key roles of the past in order to ensure progress for the future. Al Islam is no different in this regard. The origin stories of nations have heroes and villains that when told have the potential to produce greater heroes to stand up to greater enemies to make a better nation. Al Islam has the same potential and it must be remembered and conveyed often. To refrain from this at the expense of something "more favorable" because it may be "more comfortable" is insufficient. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the early Muslims did not have the luxury of only dealing with issues that gave them comfort, and they are considered the best generation. Why should Muslims today have it otherwise?

Amir Makin is an activist, speaker and author of the book A Worthy Muslim Quranic Tools Needed to Overcome Oppression and Imperialism in Order to Institute Justice


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