Did You Know That The Word “JIHAD” Is In The Bible?

mukhtarabba@knowislam.com.ng

 

It is quite clear that many know that the Holy Bible was not originally revealed in English or any other Language, Jesus Christ speak a language called Aramaic and that was how Jesus gave the scripture to the disciples. But with time , the scripture was later translated to many other languages including the Arabic Bible used by the Arab Christians.

 

 

 

Its quite disheartening to hear some Non-Muslims attributing negative translation of the word Jihad( which never mean to Fight or kill rather it means Struggle/ strive) , or the Arabic name of God “ALLAH”. So many Non-Muslims have the perception that Allah is the name of the God of the Muslims, while their own God is different according to some non Muslims. Which is totally wrong , keeping these in mind “ GOD IS ONE ” nothing like the God of the Muslims or the God of the Christians.(The lord our God is one God) Both the Muslims and the Christians are all descendants of Abraham .

 

 

This may be shocking to some readers, but the Bible has been translated into Arabic. In fact, if you open your Bible right now and peruse through all of the translations of John 3:16, “Allah” is the word used to refer to God in the Arabic version right at the top of your page. Therein lies the problem with the clash of civilizations that extremists of all sorts seek: There are many elements in the opposing civilization that are also part of yours. The hate machine however depends on making people and concepts as foreign as possible for the sake of demonizing them. This brings us to the discussion of the big scary J word. At a lecture at Tulane University a decade ago, The speaker asked the audience what they thought jihad means. One woman shouted out at the top of her lungs, “Death And Destruction!” Her answer might be what many Non-Muslims have been led to believe about this word.

 

 

 

Muslim often find themselves in an impossible place. Islamophobes define and impose their definitions of Islamic terms, such as jihad, in ways that are inauthentic and violent, and then demand that Muslims reject the terms and texts as they have portrayed them, or risk being deemed extremists for clarifying their meanings. It’s too late to rescue the true meaning of the word now, they insist. But if we’re going to ask Muslims to remove jihad from their dictionary, what about Arab Christians who read the Bible in Arabic?

 

 

In 1 Peter 4:18, the word jahada, the root of jihad, is used to describe one’s internal struggle. It reads, “If it is a jihad (struggle) for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

إِنْ كَانَ الْبَارُّ بِالْجَهْدِ يَخْلُصُ، فَالْفَاجِرُ وَالْخَاطِئُ أَيْنَ يَظْهَرَانِ؟” (رسالة بطرس الرسول الأولى 4: 18)

In both I Timothy and II Timothy, we find two references to jihad in the Arabic Bible: “I have fought the good jihad (fight), I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (II Timothy 4:7)

جَاهَدْتُ الْجِهَادَ الْحَسَنَ، أَكْمَلْتُ السَّعْيَ، حَفِظْتُ الإِيمَانَ، وَأَخِيرًا قَدْ وُضِعَ لِي إِكْلِيلُ الْبِرِّ، الَّذِي يَهَبُهُ لِي فِي ذلِكَ الْيَوْمِ، الرَّبُّ الدَّيَّانُ الْعَادِلُ، وَلَيْسَ لِي فَقَطْ، بَلْ لِجَمِيعِ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ ظُهُورَهُ أَيْضًا” (رسالة بولس الرسول الثانية إلى تيموثاوس 4: 7، 7)

“Fight the good jihad (fight) of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (I Timothy 6:12)

جَاهِدْ جِهَادَ الإِيمَانِ الْحَسَنَ، وَأَمْسِكْ بِالْحَيَاةِ الأَبَدِيَّةِ الَّتِي إِلَيْهَا دُعِيتَ أَيْضًا، وَاعْتَرَفْتَ الاعْتِرَافَ الْحَسَنَ أَمَامَ شُهُودٍ كَثِيرِينَ” (رسالة بولس الرسول الأولى إلى تيموثاوس 6: 12)

 

 

 

 

Crusade and Jihad

The fact of the matter is that Muslims use the term jihad similarly to how Christians use the term crusade. The Christian term can mean anything from a spiritual mission to evangelism to politics to military action, depending on context and the individual understanding of the person who uses it. Cru, or Campus Crusade for Christ, was founded in 1951 on the UCLA campus to “launch spiritual movements.” The evangelist Billy Graham led over 400 “crusades” throughout the world, by which he meant non-violent missionary activities. (Unlike his wayward son, Franklin, Billy Graham had a softer position vis-à-vis Muslims.) The late right-wing Congressman Alan Nunnelee characterized his political activities as “a crusade to save America.” And last but not least, President George W. Bush clearly used the term militarily when he referred to his war on Iraq.

 

 

 

Clear use of the word jihad in a political context as a call to violence would be as misleading as saying all Christian uses of the term crusade are about violence.

 

 

In normal everyday usage, a jihad doesn’t mean killing Christians and a crusade doesn’t mean killing Muslims, even though extremists in our respective traditions may twist those terms that way for their own selfish ends.

 

 

Do terrorists and war mongers have scriptural justification for their actions in the Quran or the Bible? Either book could be read and interpreted in a way that justifies violence, but that’s true for pretty much any sacred book, religion, or philosophy. Violent interpretations say more about the reader than they do about the text itself. A violent person will find violence no matter what the words really intend, like one who “by peace shall destroy many.”

 

 

It would be far more helpful to focus on the sociological root causes of terror and violence, rather than let the extremists find validation in their unholy interpretations of scripture by affirming their ownership of terms like jihad.

 

Credit : Yaqeen Institute of Islamic Research.