Friday, July 27, 2018

A Misrepresentation of Jihad by Fairfield University Professor

Hat tip Middle East Forum and Campus Watch

Martin Tran Nguyen is a  professor of religious studies (particularly Islamic studies) at Fairfield University in Connecticut. On Wednesday, he gave a presentation on Islam before the Retired Men's Association in Greenwich. From the description in the below report, it appears that Nguyen gave the standard template presentation on Islam that Muslim speakers give to non-Muslim audiences. I have heard these presentations numerous times, and they are misleading to the point of out and out falsehoods. In the q and a, Nguyen gave a misleading description of jihad. Like his colleagues, whose business it is to mislead non-Muslim audiences, Nguyen gave the default definition of  jihad.

Truth be told, there are two versions of Islam. One is -as Nguyen describes it- the struggle to be a better Muslim. However, the other version of jihad is fighting in the cause of Islam. That means warfare.

According to Islamic historiography, the Prophet Mohammad, upon returning from a battle, is said to have proclaimed: "Now that the lesser jihad is finished, it is time for the greater jihad."

According to that interpretation, the lesser jihad is actual fighting in the cause of jihad (warfare), and the greater jihad is struggling to become a better Muslim. The Koran is replete with references to fighting wars and killing non-Muslims. That is jihad. Call it the lesser jihad if you will, but it is jihad. Go back to every Islamic act of terror including 9-11 and beyond, and that is jihad.

Just as a side note, one of the best-selling books in the Middle East to this day is Hitler's, "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle), which is translated into Arabic as "My Jihad".

People who attend these presentations need to go armed with the facts and able to challenge speakers like Nguyen. These lies are skin deep and easily exposed.


ChrisLA said...

In the discussion of Jihad in 'Umdat al-Salik, the classic manual of sharia law compiled around 1300, Jihad is exclusively warfare to establish the religion. A comment provided in the modern rendering of the text (Reliance of the Traveler) by 'Umar Barkat around 1880 suggests the alternate view of warfare against the lower self. This very late interpretation is disputed by Ibn Taymiyyah (also around 1300) who wrote, "This hadith [about the lesser jihad] has no source and nobody in the field of Islamic knowledge has narrated it." Source: al-Furqan, page 44-45.)

Gary Fouse said...

Interesting. (Chris, whom I know personally) is an expert on Islam (unlike Professor Nguyen).

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Have you considered that translating "Kampf" as "Jihad" might be a good part of the reason for the popularity of the Arabic translation? Its not accurate, because Hitler's struggle was NOT on behalf of Islam, to it wasn't jihad. A word for struggle or fight that dates to the jalaliyah might be a more accurate translation.

Anything written around 1300 lacks the authority of Mohammed. Ibn Taymiyyah is right, but the same logic applies to his preferred texts.