The Islamic concept of “Jihad” has been misused for the alleged goal of establishing an “Islamic caliphate”, while the concept is not meant to impose Islam on others, according to the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayyeb.
“There are people who manipulated the concept of Jihad and the minds of our youth with glamorous slogans of Sharia and the Islamic caliphate,” Tayyeb said in his weekly message on Thursday.
According to Tayyeb, who heads the most prestigious religious institution in the Muslim world, applying the term to impose control over others would be “a Jihad in the name of the devil and a satisfaction of personal whims,” as he put it.
Jihad does not involve interference in the affairs of others or inducing social divisions, according to Tayyeb.
“Jihad, in its broader, correct meaning in Islam, is the exertion of effort in resisting enemies”, the Grand Sheikh said. “Jihad can also be carried out for educational reform, the preservation of public health and the preservation of human life,” he added, stressing that the term cannot be limited to the battlefield.
Fighting in Islam does not mean forcing other people to adopt it, but rather to deter their assault or to liberate people from doctrines imposed on them, Tayyeb’s message said.
Edited translation from MENA