Odds are there’s no ‘holy war’ in Qur’an
Want $1 million? All you have to do is find a reference in the Qur’an to “holy war.”
The offer is being made by Jamal Badawi, professor emeritus of management and religious studies at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His only requirement is that the reference be in the original Arabic, not an English translation of the holy Islamic text.
Is that $1 million Canadian or American? “It doesn’t matter,” Badawi said. “It can be a million Canadian, a million U.S. or even a million euro [which would be worth almost $1.5 million]. I don’t have that much money, anyway. I’ve been making the offer ever since 2001. I’ve never had a taker, and I never will.”
Badawi was in the Twin Cities a week ago as part of a continuing effort to combat negative stereotypes about Muslims and violence, especially terrorism. He said that one of the biggest misconceptions he encounters is that the Qur’an promotes war, especially against those of different faiths.
“There is nothing in the Qur’an that says you should fight someone because they are of a different religion,” he said. “Just the opposite is true. In its writings on other faith communities, it encourages dealing with them with kindness and justice.”
The only time war is mentioned is in passages saying that believers can defend themselves from attack or oppression. Asked if a Muslim who sees the West as a threat could interpret that as an endorsement of a preemptive attack, Badawi said, “Humans have an inexhaustible ability to justify the wrong they’re doing. It’s no different than a Christian who is opposed to abortion using that as justification for bombing an abortion clinic. He’s not indicative of Christians as a whole. He’s a religious extremist, and the same term applies to anyone who plants a bomb in the name of their god. … The ends do not justify the means in Islamic philosophy.”
Badawi also mentioned the news media’s misappropriation of the term “jihad,” often using it as a label for Muslim aggression.
“It means to exert maximum effort, to strive to the utmost of your ability,” he said. “It is not a synonym for war.”