Jihad and Freedom in the Modern World

I wanted to share with you another excerpt from my debut book, What Would a Muslim Say. . . it is quite a dramatic exchange, and I thought you might enjoy the back and forth:



I really resent your slogans in the university depicting that Jesus was Islamic. No, Jesus was a Jew. I also resent you trying to recruit martyrs; perhaps you need European-looking young men to carry out your Jihad. I resent that you even mention Jihad on your website. You are the enemy living among us! You are exploiting the freedoms that we value to ultimately take it away from us. I will do everything in my power to make sure that no daughter or grand-daughter of mine will have to cover themselves. God made nothing imperfect!


In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful:

I pray this email finds you in the best of health and faith, God-willing. My name is Ahmed Rashed. I am a volunteer for the WhyIslam Outreach Team, and I hope to start a dialogue with you to address the concerns you mentioned in the comments above.

To proceed with your comments:

1. I really resent your slogans in the university depicting that Jesus was Islamic. No, Jesus was a Jew.

He was both. Muslims believe Jesus (God’s peace and blessings be upon him) was a noble Prophet and one of God’s Great Messengers. Muslims agree that he was a Jew, for he was from the line David from the Children of Israel.

The Qur’an quotes Jesus (God’s peace and blessings be upon him) as saying: I am a Servant of God. He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet. He made me blessed wherever I go, and he has charged me with prayer and charity so long as I live. He has made me kind to my mother and not insolent nor miserable. So peace be upon me the day I was born and the day I die and the day I am raised to life. (19:30-33)

The word “islam” is simply the Arabic word for “loving submission/obedience to God.” The word “muslim” is simply the Arabic word for he who lovingly obeys and submits to God. Do not get confused by the language. All Prophets dedicated their whole lives to following God’s Word and preaching it to their people out of love and obedience to God. In whatever language they spoke, they were all “loving devotees of God.” Therefore, in the language of Arabic, they were all “muslims.”

The Qur’an says: He has ordained for you the Faith which He enjoined on Noah and which We have revealed to you, and which we enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: “Observe this Faith and be not divided therein.” Qur’an (42:13)

2. I resent you trying to recruit martyrs; perhaps you need European looking young men to carry out your Jihad.

We are not trying to recruit martyrs. Our purpose is simply to provide accurate information on our faith. There is a lot of anti-Islam propaganda and misinformation in the media. We set up this website to set the record straight; nothing more, nothing less.

3. I resent that you even mention Jihad on your website.

We mention Jihad on our website because it is the most misunderstood concept in our faith. Jihad on the battlefield, in the Islamic perspective, is the last resort, and is subject to stringent conditions outlined by the Prophet: no harming of non-combatants, no demolishing buildings, no cutting down crops, and no killing of prisoners. Those are the Islamic rules of engagement.

The Qur’an says: Permission is given to those who are fought against, and God is Able to give them victory. Those who were unjustly evicted from their homes, merely for saying, “Our Lord is God.” Were it not that God repels people by means of others: monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques – where the name of God is remembered – would have been destroyed. God supports whoever supports Him. God is Strong and Mighty. (22:39-40)

Moreover, the Qur’an says: And why would you not fight in the cause of God, and the helpless men, and women, and children, cry out, “Our Lord, deliver us from this town whose people are oppressive, and appoint for us from Your Presence a Protector, and appoint for us from Your Presence a Victor.” (4:75)

Thus the conditions of physical jihad are clearly defined in the Qur’an. Regardless of how legitimate a cause may be, Islam does not condone the killing of innocent people.

4. You are the enemy living among us! You are exploiting the freedoms that we value to ultimately take it away from us.

How can Islam take away freedom when its whole purpose is to free mankind from physical and spiritual slavery?

Islam calls people to Guidance: So where are you going? Verily this is but a reminder to all; to those of you who wish to be upright. Qur’an (81:26-28)

Islam calls people to Righteousness: Verily God commands justice and excellence and giving to kith and kin, and He forbids indecency and wickedness and oppression. He admonishes you, that ye may take heed. Qur’an (16:90)

Islam calls people to Mercy: “What actions are best? To gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured.” -Prophet Muhammad

Islam calls people to Compassion: “All creatures are God’s family, and those dearest to God are the ones who treat His creatures kindly.” -Prophet Muhammad

Islam calls people to accept Diversity: And among His Signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your languages and your colors: verily in that are Signs for those with knowledge. Qur’an (30:22)

Islam calls people to Peace: “Shall I not inform you of a better act than fasting, charity, and prayers? Making peace between one another; for enmity and malice tear up virtue by the roots.” -Prophet Muhammad

Islam calls people to Equality:

“Women are the twin halves of men.”

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve… a white man is no better than black man, and a black man is no better than a white man; except by piety and good deeds.” -Prophet Muhammad

These are the REAL teachings of Islam.

5. I will do everything in my power to make sure that no daughter or granddaughter of mine will have to cover themselves.

To Muslim women who practice hijab, it represents an act of obedience to God. It also represents a step towards freedom, i.e., freedom from being judged by their looks rather than their intellect.

Both men and women are required to dress and conduct themselves in a manner that befits their dignity and is not the cause of temptation for others. Hair is considered part of a woman’s physical attractiveness. Therefore, covering of hair for the woman is considered essential to modesty of her attire, even in the Bible. This is the reason why nuns and orthodox Jewish women also cover their hair.

In a society where women’s beauty has been made a commodity, and where women often end up associating their self-worth with their looks, the hijab and its concomitant de-emphasis of physical beauty can be tremendously liberating. Muslim women wear the hijab out of obedience to God, while recognizing the immense wisdom behind His commandment.

6. God made nothing imperfect!

You have spoken truth. The Qur’an says: Such is the handiwork of God, the One who perfected everything; and He is well aware of what you do. Qur’an (27:88)

Islam is not a new religion. Rather, it is the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people. For over a fifth of the world’s population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.


Thank you; I appreciate the dialogue.

1. If you believe we are all united in religion, why do your clerics condemn Judaism and our European and North American Christian traditions?

2. Why does your Islamic faith continue to enlist European or North American-born young men of Islamic faith to return to countries such as Somalia that their very own parents escaped? I will point out that some of the teenage or young men missing from the United States that ended up in Somalia were recruited by the very mosques that they attended. There are many examples of this. The martyrs of 9/11 were living and schooled in the United States; there have been such examples in Europe and more recently the CIA killings.

3. Qur’an (22:39-40) and Qur’an (4:75) – I feel this is very self-explanatory that the Qur’an teaches violence and intolerance.

4. Does this include freedom of girl children to be educated? Does this include the freedom of women to be vindicated instead of tried and sentenced in Islamic courts as the victims of rape or violence perpetrated on them by men who are not tried? Does this include the freedom of women to make their own choices without family or tribal retribution? Should the boys who are used by your Islamic followers in Afghanistan (and this has been documented practice) be free from the abuses of men, as a local tradition because they can’t take the liberties they would want with women?

Did Jesus not say: whoever harms a child or takes away his innocence it is better for him that he ties a stone upon himself and throws himself in the sea, rather than face the wrath that awaits him?

. . . End of Excerpt . . .

Read the rest of this conversation (and more like it) in the book that started the series!

What Would a Muslim Say: Conversations, Questions, and Answers About Islam

Kindle edition ON SALE — 20% off

Get your copy HERE

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