Love Jihad: A New Perspective ..(Maybe)

What can be a better time to address this issue if not today! Afterall it’s Valentines and all Anti-Romeo forces (cuz I can’t explicitly mention all the names) will be joining hands to stop the lovers from displaying affection in public and/or from propounding this idea called ‘Love’.

Islam, since its inception, has been the favorite child of controversy. And I think I am not wrong when I say that to a certain extent this is also the fault of people following the religion and the way they have been interpreting or relying on the interpretation the holy book of ‘Quran’ done by others.

The word ‘Jihad’ had been victimized due to such false and misleading interpretations. In this particular piece, I will try to explain the word Jihad in contemporaneous terms and will try to provide a new meaning to the word known as Love Jihad. This particular term came to light during the general election of 2009 and again the conspiracy theory started to float during 2014.

This brings us to the question, What is ‘Love Jihad’?

So, in simplest terms, it is defined as an act wherein Muslim men target non-muslim women and then convert them to Islam by shaming love.

Time and again this term got undue attention and then investigations were carried out, one after another, but all in vain. Kerala Police termed it as “campaign with no substance” followed by UP Police, who also did not find any conclusive proof with respect to the forced conversion. Some of mainstream media houses reported it to be an “election time invention” by the political parties to polarise votes.

But my point of contention is why only one specific community is being accused of such action. We must note the fact that words are not slaves of any particular religion or in any sense are bound by rules. Then why this particular thing was linked with a particular sect or religion.

Jihad is an Arabic word which literally means striving or struggling, especially with a praiseworthy aim. We see a good number of times (around 164 (can be corrected)) this particular word has been mentioned in Holy Quran.  First of all, let us understand the meaning of the term Jihad.

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What is Jihad?

It is an Arabic word which is often translated as “holy war,” but in a purely linguistic sense, the word means struggling or striving. Also, the Arabic word for war is: “al-harb”. According to Islam and as described by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), “jihad” can have multiple meanings. It refers to internal as well as external efforts to be a sincere Muslim or believer, as well as working to inform people about the faith of Islam. If military jihad is required to protect the faith against others, it can also be performed using anything from legal, diplomatic and economic to political means.

If there is no peaceful alternative, Islam also allows the use of force, but there are strict rules of engagement. Innocents – such as women, children, or invalids – must never be harmed, and any peaceful overtures from the enemy must be accepted.

Military action is therefore only one means of jihad, and is very rare. To highlight this point, the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) told his followers returning from a military campaign: “This day we have returned from the minor jihad to the major jihad,which he said meant returning from armed battle to the peaceful battle for self-control and betterment. In case military action appears necessary, not everyone can declare jihad. The religious military campaign has to be declared by a proper authority, advised by scholars, who say the religion and people are under threat and violence is imperative to defend them. The concept of “just war” is very important.

This concept has been hijacked by many political, religious and terror groups over the ages in a bid to justify various forms of violence. In most cases, Islamic splinter groups invoked jihad to fight against the established Islamic order. Scholars state that this misuse of jihad is the contravention of Islam and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

After all of this, we can say that jihad is not a violent concept in itself by the misuse of the same has made a false image in society with respect to its usage. Jihad is definitely not a declaration of war or a way to take revenge from other religions.

The Qur’an clearly states “There is no compulsion in religion, the path of guidance stands out clear from error” [2:256] and [60:8]. In this verse, the word “rushd” or “path of guidance” refers to the entire domain of human life, not just to the rites and theology of Islam.  Similarly, Allah addressed Sayiddina Muhammad r saying, “Remind them, for you are only one who reminds.” [88:21] Allah addresses the believers, urging them to obey the injunctions of Islam, “Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware (of evil): if you do turn back, then know that it is Our Messenger’s duty to proclaim (the message) in the clearest manner.” [5:92] However, this verse makes it clear that the Messenger’s duty is only to proclaim and preach the message and not to forcibly make people follow it; as it remains to each individual to accept and to follow.

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As far as the meaning of Love Jihad is concerned, I am of the opinion that the population should not relate this term specifically to a particular religion i.e. Islam. Furthermore, I don’t see anything fishy when we talk about love. Because upon correlating the terms and after interpreting their simple linguistic meaning, we will get to see it as an act of protecting love and not using love as a method to deceive someone and then to convert their religion and beliefs.

It’s high time to make politicians and population realize the fact that, such intellectual gymnastics are not appreciated before global fora and this will also lead to a fractured republic in a sense that it will be violative of many fundamental rights and freedoms as granted by The Constitution. One such incident was the annulment of the inter-religion marriage between Hindu girl and Muslim boy by Kerala High Court and then the NIA investigation of the matter by the apex court. As in a given case, if things like these continue to exist I am sure that people will stop trusting the judiciary as an institution. The simple reason being the judiciary must act in rationally and should not believe in any propaganda before it is proven. Instead of this, they must try to reduce the moral policing and vigilantism taking place in the name religion and also suggest a cure to illegal Anti-Romeo squads such as Bajrang Dal, Hindu Vahini etc.

 

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