Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has said Jihad does not mean war or violence.
The governor spoke yesterday while delivering a lecture, titled: “Muslims’ response to insurgency threat in Nigeria” at the sixth annual Femi Lateef Okunnu lecture series, organised by the Nigeria Association of Muslim Law Students of Obafemi Awolowo Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
Aregbesola said Jihad should not be turned into a licence to unleash terror on the people and destabilise the nation.
He held that contrary to the claims by groups such as Boko Haram,Jihad was neither a call to arms nor an ideological blueprint for destructive insurgency.
The governor said Jihad in Islam was at its core about establishing a personal relationship with Allah.
He noted that the meaning ofJihadin Islam was total submission to the will and obedience to the laws of Allah.
“Submitting to Allah’s will is an act of conscious choice granted to mankind by God; obeying His laws is a demonstration and vindication of that submission.
“The abused notion of Jihad often used as a justification for satanic atrocities of insurgent groups, such as Boko Haram, is a gross misapplication of the concept.
“Jihad is far from being an open cheque for senseless violence, neither is it a Qur’anic endorsement of the pursuit of selfish political desires.
“The concept ofJihadin Islam simply means ‘struggle’ or ‘striving’. It has two broad dimensions – external and internal striving.”
Aregbesola said Islam opposes any form of violence, either against Muslim or non-Muslim or of any place where the name of God is being called and worshipped, such as churches and synagogue.
He argued that Boko Haram and other insurgent groups have no justification in Islam to back the violence it unleashed on the people of the nation.
“If Islam thus forbids violence against innocent, how does Boko Haram justify the senseless killings, maiming, kidnappings of innocent women, children, and girls?”
The Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Kehinde Yusuff, described the honouree, Femi Okunnu, as an elder statesman, who has contributed to the growth of the nation.
Prof. Yusuff hailed the administration for observing what he described as religious justice through the freedom given to every faith to practise freely.
He praised the governor for granting a public holiday for the celebration of Hijira New Year.
The association’s President, Mallam Abdulyekeen Olaitan, said the lecture series have been serving as a platform knowledge acquisition and meaningful contributions to public enlightenment.