“I am here not to respond to the West, I am here to challenge the Muslim here today”

                Those are the first words spoken by Tariq Ramadan in his speech. I am stunned for a second. These very short yet very impactful words are being played again and again in my mind. It made me realize again, that the RM50 ticket and the 1 hour journey to Universiti Malaya from Sunway Pyramid due to the jam would be worth it. It should be worth it. It’s Tariq Ramadan after all, a professor of Islamic Contemporary Studies in University of Oxford whom I even have a book of his (although I have not finished it yet). And I was right.


He first outlined on how the meaning of jihaad is often misunderstood and drew confusion among Muslim. The main reason is translation. The word jihaad is passed down from the Prophet A.S. and also in the Quran. To understand Quran, one needs to also understand Arabic. And even those who speak Arabic have to translate the Quran verses into a literature simple enough to be understood. And to those who are non Arabic speaker, they have to translate it again to their own language so that’s a double problem most Muslim who does not speak Arabic has in this world right now, especially pertaining the matter of Jihaad.



Starting point

Being a Muslim, we need to have a goal (or goals). What is our goal? To please Him? To be loved by Him? Whatever is our goal, there will be a path, and when there is a path, there will be struggle for us to experience to achieve the goal. Like Qiblat, why do we need to have Qiblat to pray? It is not because of the obsession with the direction, but for us to turn our heart, our mind and hence, to turn our life to follow the path. That is the starting point of Jihaad. To have a goal and to follow the path. When you are making a Jihaad, you are responsible to face the obstacle; to challenge and to face it. Never play the victim. You should not care what other people talk about you. Because your struggle is not to please the people, but to please Him and your first fight; your own ego.



To resist; to reform

The real meaning of Jihaad is making an effort to resist the bad and to reform the good. Eve in the Quran, there is a verse stating ‘amar makruf nahi mungkar’. That is why we need to pray. When we pray, we resist the bad in ourselves which are forgetfulness and ego, hence reforming ourselves towards the good. Human beings are always forgetting, that is why Allah sent Rasul to remind the people about Him, and He sent the last Messenger with Quran for the people not to forget about Him. That is why when you tell a non-Muslim about Islam, you are not revealing something new, you are unveiling something old.


Types of Jihaad

Intellectual Jihaad: When we read the Quran, we read its sentence. When we read its sentence, we understand what He told us. The text is always open for interpretation but some sentence is silent. The silence is not that Allah forgets about what our confusion would be but for us to be more involved intellectually. When we have confusion in some matters, we seek for Fatwas. And the Jihaad comes into place where we take an effort to take responsibility in seeking clarification and to follow it or not, based on our heart. That is Jihaad. Yet, there are things where we need to follow, or to surrender; things that we don’t understand are haram, and it’s better for us to surrender and to understand it is haram without understanding why. (Even with requoting, it sounds confusing right?) The no reason for that is (already) the reason for what you cannot get (Haramized things).


Spiritual Jihaad: While reading the Quran, we are not just reading with our eyes and mouth, but we are also reading with our heart. That is why when we read the Quran, we feel at peace. The Quran has a lot of secrets in it, and by reading it, we open our heart to let the secret in. Rasulullah SAW went to isolation in order to get the words from Allah, and this effort is Jihaad. The way you come to Him is how He will come to you. And that is why you are not to judge someone’s intention, because everyone has their own way to come to Him and to make the spiritual Jihaad.



Jihaad nafs: Nafs always lead to obsession, and that is the main problem with Muslims today. People are too busy in competing with other people to uphold their obsession that they fail and forget to link in all this obsessions.


Cultural Jihaad : A lot of things in Islam are adopted from culture. But we should not take eveything from the culture and put in Islam because not all things in the culture is good. We need to take what is good from the culture, and ignore the bad. We resist what is bad from the cultuee eventhough it is a tradition and we only take what is good, we reform the culture to be Islamic. Artistic Jihaad: Ever wonder why when the Imaam’s voice is beautiful, we feel peace and close to God? Bilal has a beautiful voice and when he reached the part ‘Haiya al-falaq’ (Let’s reach to success), many people cried because it was so beautiful. To get the beauty in worshipping, we need to struggle. That is Jihaad.


Political Jihaad: People assume in politics, we get the power. But they are wrong. Politics suppose to be serving the people, not seeking power. Jihaad comes in when you resist the power, and you reform for the betterment people.


Armed Jihaad : The most famous jihaad. And often, the most misunderstood. Not many people know that to reach the armed jihaad, one needs to have courage. Courage in armed jihaad is by following the Islam way in warfare (Not killing women, children and innocent lives as well as protecting the nature). But today, everyone thinks it’s easy to achieve this last jihaad. This jihaad is difficult as you put the commitment above your lives.


To be killed in the way of God is difficult, but to love in the way of God is much, much difficult