In 2008 I have written the article analysing if the religion can be a cause of terrorism. Over 10 years after it sounds now a bit basic, and still relevant.
Can Islam be a cause of terrorism?
In war it is essential to know the opponent, to understand the strategy their uses and their motivation. The global situation, which we have right now, might be called war as well — for example “war on terror” which the United States leads against Islamic terrorism, or “holy war” — the term which is often used as a synonym for jihad. In order to understand the problem we need to analyze what kind of role Islam plays in modern terrorism, what is the definition of jihad, and what is the perception of this term in the eyes of Muslims. In this paper I will analyze whether we are have a ground to talk about Islamic terrorism, if Islam and Islamic law are legitimate uses of power, if we can say that Islam is the reason of terrorism or if there are same others.
First, to analyze the connection between Islam and its’ role in terrorism we have to understand the term “jihad”. The word itself comes from Arabic and means “the struggle” or “striving” (in the way of God). Usually people translate word “jihad” as a “holy war” and based on this they make assumptions that Islam is the religion of violence. They very often associate jihad with fanaticism, cruelty, and intolerance. In fact, jihad is about being closer to God. It requires Muslims to strengthen the belief through moral, physical and intellectual.
According to the Muslim doctrine there are four ways of implementing jihad: by heart, by language, by hand, and in the end by sword. Jihad of the heart is spiritual and moral. For example, it might be by fighting with the one’s desires. There are the personal actions which lad to eliminate evil from life and improvement as a person. Jihad of the language it is simply promoting religion and the main ideas by talking about them and through giving the good example to nonbelievers. In jihad of the hand the main aim is to improve the Muslim community and combat injustice; it might be done even by making a good business. The most popular example of jihad by hand is zakat — one of the five pillars of Islam. Zakat is the obligation for all Muslims to give some percentage of their annual income to charity, those money are distributed among the poor. Finally there is jihad of the sword. This gets a bit more complicated, and here we can try to find out…