The word jihad has been negatively known for it’s lesser meaning for a very long time — to wage a holy war against the unbelievers. But with the possibility of Donald Trump these days, a Muslim Girl commenter truly put the word into perspective — jihad stands for the act of exercising your Constitutional right to vote as a citizen of the United States of America.
The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once said “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then (let him change it) with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith.”
“Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then (let him change it) with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith.”
This is where one might stumble on the meaning of jihad. In order to change it with your hand, one might interpret this to be an act of physical violence.
But it does not need to be. Muslims need to make sure they are registered to vote, then physically take themselves to the polls in their assigned district, and physically push the correct buttons to vote for whom they think will best serve themselves and their country.
It is an important hadith because it shows that Muslims should not be innocent bystanders, should stand up for what they believe in, and to stop any unlawful activity.
We are a country of over 3.3 million Muslims. We must be active in the voting process. By voting, you get to have a say in who represents you in government, for both local and national elections. It is the right, privilege and duty to vote as an American citizen and a member of your community.
Many Muslims think their vote does not matter, but votes can shape domestic, economic and social policies. People who do not vote, but object to how the government is run do not get the right to complain. You earn that right through the physical act of voting.
Jihad does not mean “holy war” as it has been portrayed in the media. Literally, jihad means to struggle, strive and exert effort. We must take this broad, Islamic concept and use it to improve the quality of life for Muslims in America.
In a well-known hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was asked, “What is the best jihad?” to which Prophet Muhammad replied, “Speaking a word of truth to an oppressive ruler.”
Muslims are not out to fight other religions or the United States. Actually, it is quite the opposite, as Islamic tradition teaches us to respect our neighbors and care for our community.
So I would like to personally thank our Muslim Girl reader for putting this idea that jihad is the need to exercise one’s right to vote out into the universe. Muslim citizens need to be more involved in American politics, regardless of their political views.
They need to know that voting to elect someone into office should not be what is important, but that the act of voting as your Constitutional right, that should be what is most important for you.