SBJT Forum -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 20:2 (Summer 2016)
Article: SBJT Forum
Author: Anonymous

SBJT Forum

Ayman S. Ibrahim is Bill and Connie Jenkins Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies, and Senior Fellow at the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He earned his PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary and he is currently working on his second PhD in the Department of Middle Eastern History at the University of Haifa, Mount Carmel. Dr. Ibrahim was born and raised in Egypt. Since 1991, he has taught in various countries in the Muslim world and in the West at undergraduate and graduate levels. His articles on Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations have appeared in a variety of places such as: The Washington Post, Religion News Services, Colorado Springs Gazette, Louisville Courier-Journal, First Things, Faith Street, Charisma News, Evangelical Interfaith Dialogue Journal, and Ethics Daily. Dr. Ibrahim has a forthcoming book entitled, The Stated Motivations for the Early Islamic Expansion and a forthcoming co-edited volume on the Insider Movements among Muslims, both anticipated in 2017.

SBJT: Today there is a lot of discussion regarding the nature of jihad in Islam. Describe for us what jihad is in the Qur’an and Islam and compare it to the Bible and Christianity.

Ayman S. Ibrahim: The Arabic word “jihad” has become well-known as an English term after its extensive usage by various media outlets to describe militant activities by terrorists. It is commonly used to refer to Islamic holy war waged against non-Muslims. The word jihadi, which is also an Arabic noun, became a common word to identify a person who executes an act of jihad, usually terror attack, under the banner of his religion. With the rise of ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Shabaab, after the Qaeda, words like jihad, jihadi, and jihadist found their way into the English dictionary, and for the most part they appear in connection with militant activities achieved by religious enthusiasts, particularly those self-identified as Muslims.

In Arabic, the noun jihad stems from the verb’s root letters j-h-d, which means “to strive, make every effort, struggle, and labor.” The Qur’an treats this term extensively and seems to offer various meanings to it. Surprisingly,

the Arabic Bible, too, particularly the New Testament, uses the term and its derivatives several times in translating the Greek verbs agōnizomai and athleō. A comparison between the references of the term in both of these Arabic texts, apart from later commentaries and interpretations, offers a compelling contrast as to how jihad is treated, perceived, and portrayed in the two texts, and thus faiths, emphas...

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