Today young Muslims find in all the media an emphasis on Muslim jihad as warfare, and the most recent, in the revival of the Caliphate in the ISIS doctrines with the tactic of brutality to terrorise opponents.
However, the Muslim Qur’an and Mohammed’s first teaching emphasizes a religion rather than a jihad limited to killing others. Young Muslims and all other people should know this original teaching.
We can compare it with other religions. For example, today we don’t keep a lot of the Bible, but the fiercer fanatics select the angry and warlike passages. Most Jews and Christians don’t emphasise the plentiful murderous passages in the Bible. Medieval Catholics and 17thcentury Protestants emphasized finding and killing witches. Buddhism also developed monasteries with un-Buddhist practices.
Allah is the Compassionate, the Merciful in all descriptions of Allah in the Qur’an and in Muslims’ prayers. This description occurs everywhere, and is even shouted by the unmerciful and uncompassionate jihadis.
The appeal of Islam to the ordinary man is its simplicity, lack of theology apart from the description of Allah as Compassionate and Merciful, its lack of clerical hierarchy, and straightforward list of commands for action. It gives him power over women.
When Mohammed came to Mecca, it had idols, a meteorite, the black stone, a sacred well and a temple, the Kaaba. Mohamed denounced the idols, the ‘worship of sticks and stones’, and he took over the others. He took over the single God of the Bible and much of its legends and teaching. Allah was the Eloha of the Old Testament revealed in a new light. The old religion of Abraham, Moses and Christ took on a new name, with the emphasis on charity, compassion, gentleness and love. Islam was the joy of submitting to the will and wisdom of Allah.
The 3 fundamentals Muslims must submit to were in faith, devotion, and conduct, in a social contract between God and man.
There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet. (A very simple creed for everyone.)
Prayers is 5 times a day wherever a man is, part of everyday life, for ‘every spot for divine service is equally pure’. ‘Praise be to Allah the Lord of the worlds, the Compassionate the Merciful’. Then Friday prayers together in the Mosque, without shoes, and clean washed hands, mouth, face, neck, & feet. Ramadan is fasting every day for that month. And once in a lifetime, every Muslim seeks to be a pilgrim to Mecca, wearing a seamless white robe, symbol of the social unity of all members of races and classes. They must go to the sacred Kaaba and traverse it seven times. Pilgrims must be friendly to one another and merciful to all living creatures.
An explicit ethical code is revealed in the Qur’an, prohibiting alcohol, gambling, dishonesty, selfishness and cruelty of every sort. The code distinguishes between mere piety and real prayer. He is pious who for the love of Allah disburses his wealth to the orphans, the needy and the wayfarers. This is he who is just and this is he who fears Allah. Treat parents with respect and kindness. Give to orphans. Justice to the individual and peace to the world, with compassion to all living things. The union of all who love in the service of all who suffer. The whole world is one Brotherhood under one God. The umma of Islam extends to all Muslims throughout the world, and all men are equal (not so clear about women). The devout Muslim respects the adherents of other faiths.
Allah loveth not the aggressor. The true Muslim is a man of peace, but he is right to defend himself when attacked. Fight for the cause of Allah against those who fight against you, but not as the first one to attack. Allah loveth not the aggressor.
The true Muslim worshipped Allah and loved his fellow man. ‘I have not been sent to curse, but to be a mercy to mankind’ so the Muslim did not curse his enemies. There is no God but Allah and Mohamed is his prophet. Greet each other with ‘peace unto you’ ‘Use no violence against anyone. For all the creatures of God are members of one family. And he is most beloved of God who shows the greatest love to all God’s creatures’ . Gabriel told Mohammed, to teach ‘oppress not the orphan neither repulse the beggar, but declare the goodness of Allah.’ ‘Better than fasting, alms and prayers is the making of peace between man and man’.