Many may know that we are currently in the month of Ramadan for Muslims. This is the time when Muslims fast from sun up to sun down. I suppose it is comparable to our Christian season of Lent.
One of my passions is building stronger Muslim-Christian relationships through inter-religious dialogue and also making sure each faith is understood correctly. I am not a Muslim and I understand the distinction between our religions, centered around our beliefs about Isa al-Masih (Jesus, the Messiah). Most of the ideas we carry about one another are misinformation and disinformation. It is sensationalized news media and films that project much of what Christians (and general humanity) believe about Muslims.
One major concept that followers of Jesus misunderstand is that of jihad. The word simply means struggle or strive. It does not mean holy war. However, a quick Google image search of the word jihad will yield primarily pictures of terrorists, which is an injustice.
With that, I encourage you to watch this very brief video on what jihad actually mean.
Knowing what the video above presents about an inner and outer jihad, or a greater and lesser jihad, consider these passages from the Qur’an regarding jihad.
Go forth, whether light or heavy, and strive (jihad) with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. That is better for you, if you only knew. (9:41)
And strive (jihad) for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. He [i.e., Allah] named you “Muslims” before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give alms and hold fast to Allah. He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper. (22:78)
Let’s remember that Muslims are beautiful people created in the image of God and deserve dignity, which includes our effort to truly understand who they are and what they genuinely believe.