WILL JIHAD EVER END? AN INTERVIEW WITH THE PRESIDENT OF CRESCENT PROJECT
May 10, 2018 | By Cresent Project
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“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
Wars have been fought to end it. National world leaders have convened to stop it. Civilians have joined military campaigns to die in the fight against it. But will jihad ever truly end? We asked Fouad Masri, founder and president of Crescent Project, to share his thoughts on this troubling question.
Fouad, before we begin addressing this important question, let’s revisit the definition of jihad first.
Fouad: The Arabic word jihad when literally translated means to strive. Since the inception of Islam, Muhammad used jihad to specifically mean fighting to spread the cause of Islam. Repeatedly, Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, allowed jihad, even prioritizing it over prayer at the mosque. Throughout Islamic History, any reference to dying while in jihad meant dying in warfare, not praying peacefully in a mosque….
Jihad in the Qur’an is also related to fighting in the cause of Islam.
And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Qur’an 9:5)….
Fouad: Muhammad said if there is more than one leader in the Muslim community, then kill the other.
It has been narrated on the authority of Aba Sa’id al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah said:
“When oath of allegiance has been taken for two caliphs, kill the one for whom the oath was taken later.” (Sahi Muslim, 1853: Book 33, Hadith 96, Book 20, Hadith 4568)
The problem is, the Hadith does not define who the “other” is. The one who wins has God on his side. After the death of Muhammad in 632 AD, a severe schism developed around the question of who would succeed him as Messenger. One side called themselves Sunni and the other Shi’ites. Sunnis wanted to declare a successor of Muhammad as a result of a consensus among tribal leaders, while Shi’ites pushed for the holy lineage and unique bloodline of the prophet of Islam. The first cousin of Muhammad, Ali, considered himself worthy of the position as a blood relative. In the Shi’ite opinion, Ali was the rightful successor, because of being in the right household and of approved descent….
Fouad: As a religion Islam, in many ways like Christianity, views itself as a way of life that controls all facets of life. Islam dictates political, military, social, and personal life. Therefore, a Muslim can attain heaven or paradise and good standing with God when they produce good works. Implementing Islamic law on earth through jihad is considered good works.
Added to that, Islam’s view of the Judgment Day does not assure Muslims of their destiny after death. God’s will cannot be trusted since God can change His mind. Therefore, jihad is offered as a guarantee to attain paradise.
Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed. [It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah ? So rejoice in your transaction which you have contracted. And it is that which is the great attainment. (Qur’an 9:111)….
Fouad: Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” (John 14:27). In John 6:37 He said, “…whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” He invites us in Matthew 10:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
In today’s culture, it sounds plausible to many people to attain heaven through our own works. But repeatedly, the twenty-first century provides overwhelming evidence that the human soul is broken and needs a savior. Jesus can mend the heart and change the soul. Jesus leads us to heaven after death because He is faithful to his promises. Terrorists, whether Sunni or Shi’ite, all need to hear about the Savior Jesus.
What should the Christian’s response be?
Fouad: It is important to protect communities we live in. The only way we can do that is to meet Muslims in our communities and share the Gospel with them. The Gospel will change their lives. If every Muslim had one Christian friend, we could catch the terrorists! As Christians, our number one response must be anger without committing sin. Jihad is the problem, and Muslims are continuously its victims. Christians must resolve to move beyond the anger and fear incited by the media and obey the command of Jesus who said, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” (Matthew 28:19-20)…. (Excerpts from Cresent Project)