x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Abu Dhabi peace conference scholars discuss true meaning of jihad

Experts spoke out against those who distort the meaning of the word to 'brainwash' people into radicalism.

ABU DHABI // Scholars at the Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies conference have attempted to define jihad in the context of current events in the region.

On Monday, three experts took the stage to describe their frustration towards some who “brainwash” youth into radicalism by distorting the true meaning of the word.

They also expressed the need for clarification of certain concepts.

Dr Adel Qouteh, a professor at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, explained the different forms and contexts which come under jihad in terms of Sharia.

“Jihad, in a general sense, means to put in a maximum effort to reach a legitimate goal, to seek Allah’s pleasure. In another specific means, jihad is the fight in the name of Allah and His case against the enemy,” he said.

“Jihad’s greater purpose is to keep Allah’s word supreme, and to protect Muslims from enemies.”

Political advances should not be reached by bombing and killing, said Dr Qouteh, yet it is necessary for Sharia scholars to provide knowledge towards the Islamic states and their causes.

“All governments should allow Islamic intellects to guide and teach the youth. And I say intellects, not advocates or media representatives,” he said.

Dr Amhanad Amshanan, consultant in the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Algeria, suggested backing for government resistance against radicalism in the Islamic states.

“States are now in a struggle to save the Islamic conditions and regulations. To resist radicalism, leading governments should provide social justice, because by spreading balance and justice, we are containing the excessive radicals in the country,” he said.

Dr Amshanan said jihad is a “stored supply” that should not be taken advantage of, but saved as a last resort when the state’s security is at risk.

He also warned against those who give permission for jihad outside its context.

“We need to be careful from the practices of those who pretend to be scholars, who have jumped on the permissions of jihad and what it entails,” he said.

“There are many misconceptions of jihad, but our role here in this forum is to call upon love and reform, not fighting,” said Dr Adel Al Falah, undersecretary of the ministry of Awqaf and Islamic affairs in Kuwait.

He called upon confrontation towards those radicals, and the youth that have been drawn into the thoughts of extremism by using logic and awareness.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, received a group of scholars who were participating in the forum.

Sheikh Mohammed said the scholars were facing huge and exceptional challenges in confronting sedition and chaos mongers.

“Islam has always been, and will always be, the religion of good, tolerance, love and solidarity among the mankind,” he said. “Of late, some isolated minority groups started to sow hatred among people through their twisted thought, narrow-minded interpretations and ignorant opinions and to distort the image of Islam and Muslims by creating conflicts and spreading terror.”

Sheikh Mohammed said there are practices in some parts of the Islamic world that do not reflect the true image of Islam which calls for amity, brotherhood, peace, and cooperation to achieve happiness and peace of mind.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae