Jihad means struggle - and the purpose of struggle is to end struggle.
God does not need you to struggle for Him. The struggle for Him is the struggle against the fear driven, harm-causing, self-seeking motivations of our lower selves, that part of ourselves that denies God and affirms our desires in all things. Master that and we will be true masters.
The popular pastime of the Muslim lower self is steadfastly avowing and affirming that God is "other" than or separate from our selves - somewhere else, so to speak. And this is affirming our lower selves as "other" than Him, which is correct, in a sense, but incorrect in that it is affirming and solidifying the position of the lower self and denying that anything else exists. This is a psychologically and scientifically unsound position which puts a very individualized interpretation on Qur`an and religion, and in this sense is false. "Higher than" or "greater than" is the correct way to express the distinction of God over the soul, but not "other than", for there simply is no "other".
It is true, however, and only in a sense, that our lower selves are other than Him, but they are from us, and we are from Him. But it is not true of our higher selves that they are somehow "other" than He, and that's why "knowing our Selves is knowing God", and why it is an incumbent duty on human beings to know themselves. Not that our true Selves are God Himself, but they are of the Essence of God, from the "Command" of God, as it is said in Qur`an.
The setting-up of the self as "other" than God is the solidification of the ego as authority. It is that which is to be avoided, and it is not the true Surrender. It is the true "shirk" (polytheism, the association of self - saying "there is God and there is "me", when there is only God - as a "partner", in authority - with God), and is, according to teachings, to be avoided at all costs. It is the partnering of self with God for which there can be no forgiveness until it is stopped and the Absolute Oneness of God truly accepted, and this is the true Surrender (Islam).
There is no other, since He is totally and complete, without partners in anything.
The manifest truth of unity is now very open and well expressed in the English language in science, medicine, theology and philosophy. I appreciate the summary statement made by Peter Young delivered at the Ibn Arabi Society Symposium in Oxford, 1999 in his thesis - "Ibn 'Arabi: Towards a Universal Point of View" - (www.ibnarabisociety.org/pyoung.html), "Existence is an absolute unity and totally present everywhere without division." I highly recommend reading his article.
There are as many expressions of this truth as there are people and each person is an expression of this truth, whether they choose to understand it or not, by the mere fact of their existence. God is One. Unity is Whole, not partial.
The exclusion of this reality, as taught and practiced by the Sufis as well as Unitarian spiritualists of every faith and denomination, by the people who cling, desperate for salvation, to their convictions based on the fiction that their way is right and other ways wrong, is the cause of the deterioration of the Muslim peoples and the degeneration of the 'status' of Islam, in the eyes of the world, from that of a benevolence to humanity. Muslims themselves are often asking, "If we are so right, Lord, and the "chosen" people, why then are we so poor and feeling so powerless?"
And the answer is simply "If I were to give you power in your present state of understanding, you would wreak havoc on my earth, being not the bringers of peace that you were destined to be as soon as you find it (Me) in yourselves." This is reflected in Qur`an and verified in at least two very well-known Islamic traditions stating roughly that if the people to whom the truth has been given did not treat it right, it would be given to another people, better than they, who would. And that the best of the people of this faith were those closest to the Prophet and that the succeeding generations would deteriorate, except for a few. And that "By over zealous followers my back hath been broken". And these are the people who deny the reality Allah in this life, so ardent is their seeking for the permanence of their own sensory satisfaction in the next.
They thoroughly ignore the prophetic mandate to "Die before you die", and the prophetic behavior pattern of "Rahmatun lil Alameen" - A Mercy unto all the worlds, and many others of such meaning. They cling tenaciously and with all due religious conviction to the life of their illusions and slam shut the doors of paradise to all others but themselves. It is the same in all fundamentalist beliefs, and no different, obviously, in Islam.
The psychological analysis of these 'believers' in their own limited understanding but not in the wisdom of their elders is plainly recognizable in both western and Sufi parlance. And it is in fact their fears of their fathers, which they have conveniently translated into fear of Allah, which they are running from and which keeps them from seeking the counsel of their Sufi elders. For they are actually in mortal fear of being wrong. And the seeking of counsel is the allowing of that possibility. This is not the Islam that the Prophet preached, and it is not, obviously, the way of the Sufi.
Fear of being wrong is a denial of the recognition of God's Love and Mercy in all things. It is obviously taught by parents, for it is not from the liberating and liberated teachings of the truly surrendered. It is however, a reflection of the psychological evolution of humanity both individually and en masse, and as such is to be viewed also with compassion and understanding and not with disdain.
The only solution to the problem of terrorism is the
of terror. Terrorists are terrified. It could be simplistically summed
up like this. Muslim children are terrified of the west, and the West
terrified of Islam. The simple solution is to understand Islam in a
perspective, the perspective of "Spiritual Psychology", or the true