People around the world faced the early morning of September 11, 2001 like all other ordinary days. But as Muslim terrorist brutally murdered some 3000 people in American soil, the world was never the same. Nineteen terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. These four commercial airliners were rerouted by their hijackers, two were flown into the World Trade Center, one each into the South and North towers, one was flown into the Pentagon, while the last one was crashed near Shanks Ville, Pennsylvania.Five years after the incident, the world is still reeling from the ripples of this massive attack. Today, nations are bracing themselves for another probability of other attacks. America together with other nations went after the Muslim terrorist groups in Afghanistan. Muslims associated with Islamic terrorist organizations were arrested in different parts of the world.As the nations look on with horror and sorrow, unable to comprehend how anyone in his right faculties could possibly commit massive murder, some of those of the Muslim faith living in the West felt it is imperative for them to staunchly defend Islam saying that it is a religion of peace. However, open celebration on the deaths and destruction of the World Trade Center was done by many Muslims in the Islamic world, those living in Muslim communities, and Muslim students in American campuses. Islamic nations rejoiced and chanted “Death to America!” and cried for more bloodshed and the ultimate destruction of America.Spokesmen and defenders for the Muslim faith continue to proclaim that real Islam is a kind and peaceful religion. Terrorists, so they claim, have tainted their image. These contradictory statements cannot come from the same source. Both cannot claim that each one speaks the truth about Islam. Is the Islam faith, a divided house? II. The Quran and its Teaching Concerning the JihadThe religion of Islam finds itself in the center of discussion from those outside. Non-Muslims’ common perception and constant question about it is whether this religion is truly violent? American diplomacy and political machinery has stressed that the American government and her allies are not fighting Islam but against Muslim terrorists who have perverted the real teaching of Islam. Others believe however that the religion itself carries a violent component. Take the word ‘jihad’ for example. Muslim terrorists declare it as a ‘holy war’, while others interpret it as a holy struggle. How could there be two conflicting interpretations, if both are reading from the same Quran?In order to truly understand Islamic violence plaguing the world today and the proper Islamic application of “jihad”, one must delve deeply into the teachings, background, and context of the Quran, Hadith, and Sira. Otherwise, one would only be confused as many passages found in these books would seemingly contradict each other. Learning a few phrases such as “jihad is a holy internal struggle”, or “jihad is a holy war”; or “Islam is peace” or “Islam is violent” is insufficient. One needs to know the actual teachings of Islam. It is imperative that we be armed with the right understanding, or simply invites the same disaster that has been perpetrated upon us, again and again.Just what are the fundamental teachings of Quran as written by Muhammad? The foundations of Islam were written by Muhammad’s words and works in a span of 23 years. They were written for a specific people for a specific period of time and event. But as his situation changed, so did his thoughts, words, teachings, commands and attitudes. Therefore, as circumstances changed over time, so did Islam.Non Muslims especially of the Western culture would take Quranic verses at face value with the mindset that all the verses in the Quran are applicable today. If they had read a passage that says: “there is no compulsion in religion”, it would mean that Muslims are not to force people to convert into Islam. This conclusion is INCORRECT. One main characteristic of Quran is that some verses cancel other verses, rendering them null and void, therefore no longer applicable. How is this so? As mentioned earlier, Muhammad changed his teachings as his circumstances changed. Therefore, as times passed, passages were written that seemed inconsistent. Thus the Quran was written with passages that cancels previous written teachings or texts that might otherwise be contradictory. Muslims do not view them as being inconsistent, but rather, as improvements, according to the need and call of the time. Thus, the phrase “there is no compulsion in religion” found in Chapter 2 has already been canceled by another passage written 7 to 8 years after, found in Chapter 9 which commands to: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden – who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book – until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled”. Simply said, this passage calls Muslims to fight all other people until they become Muslim.This is where the related subject of jihad and terrorism comes in. What were Muhammad’s final teachings and commands that he wanted to be followed? Which of these passages are enforced today for the Muslim community? The term “jihad” or a form of the word occurs 35 times in Quran. Other words are used for various forms of violence are found in this book.“Jihad”, which is a verb, had been defined as “to struggle, strive, and fight for the faith” (H. Kassis. “Concordance of the Quran”). This is the simplest yet most straightforward definition of the word. This is further expounded by the Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam which states that: “The spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general. It narrowly escaped being a sixth “rukn”, or fundamental duty, and is indeed still so regarded by the descendants of the Kharidjis. The position was reached gradually but quickly. In the Meccan Suras of the Kur’an patience under attack is taught; no other attitude was possible. But at Medina the right to repel attack appears, and gradually it became a prescribed duty to fight against and subdue the hostile Meccans. Whether Muhammad himself recognized that his position implied steady and unprovoked war against the unbelieving world until it was subdued to Islam may be in doubt. Traditions are explicit on the point; but the Kuranic passages speak always of the unbelievers who are to be subdued as dangerous or faithless. Still, the story of his writing to the powers around him shows that such a universal position was implicit in his mind, and it certainly developed immediately after his death, when the Muslim armies advanced out of Arabia. It is now a “fard ‘ala ‘l-kifaya, a duty in general on all male, free, adult Muslims, sane in mind and body and having means enough to reach the Muslim army, yet not a duty necessarily incumbent on every individual but sufficiently performed when done by a certain number. SO IT MUST CONTINUE TO BE DONE UNTIL THE WHOLE WORLD IS UNDER THE RULE OF ISLAM” (See “Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam”).Violent jihad or terrorism as how it is being expressed today is permitted in Islam for defensive and offensive purposes. Muhammad himself praised it as one of the greatest and highest forms of true Islamic spirituality. It is perfectly “righteous” for them to take innocent lives if they refuse to be converted to Islam. Killing non-Muslims are justifiable since these people are against their prophet and god. These killings must be continued until all people are subjected under its rule. Even accounts of Muhammad’s life records the man responsible for killings and murders against others who go against him. Incidents of misunderstandings between him and some Jews led him to resort to violent killings to address the issue. The same is true among his true followers. Islam calls for the use of force and violence, or jihad as the means to spread Islam’s power over non-Muslims. Jihad may be carried out by spreading Islamic literature, or assassination, or bombing of buildings, or worst — a massacre. These teachings and instructions are still very much in motion in the world that we live in. The Muslims in our generation today will continue to wage war against those who do not belong to their faith as they simply carry out the desire of their prophet Muhammad as expressed in his last words prior to his death: “May Allah curse the Christians and the Jews for they build their churches next to the graves of the prophets” (See “The Death of Muhammad”). Again this leads us to another question: “if they are against Christians and Jews, then why have Muslim terrorists zeroed in on America?” II. Reasons that Brought the 9/11 Attack (how are Muslims reacting?) Many people do not completely understand why America has earned the wrath of Islamic followers. Many of the Islamic faith resent the fact that America is the strongest power opposing the spread of Islam, especially its violent means. Its desires therefore are to weaken and destroy America so that Islam can spread its rule unhindered. The attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was not a mere effort to kill American people. Rather, it is to strike at the heart of America’s financial institution, and command and control center.Official U.S. government sources reported that the September 11th attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda’s campaign that was set out since 1998 fatwa. There are three alleged crimes and sins committed by the Americans. These are:· The United State’s support on Israel· U.S. aggression against the Iraqis· U.S. military occupation on the Arabian PeninsulaMoreover, the fatwa continues to list the United States’ supposed atrocities such as the plunder of the Arabian Peninsula; dictating pro-Western policies to the rulers of these countries; supporting abusive regimes and monarchies in the Middle East who oppress their people; and so on.The attack was designed to “liberate” the world from American dominance and to do so would create a new social and political movement that will carry out the desire of every conservative and zealous Muslim government in the Middle East (P. Bergen. “The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda’s Leader”). III. The Effect of 9/11 on the Lives of Americans (Current Perception of Americans on Muslims) The September 11th attack had an overwhelming effect on the American people as a nation. The lives of common Americans have drastically changed, as Congress passed the USA Patriot Act which allows law enforcement to invade the privacy of all citizens, and the secret National Security Agency operation “to eavesdrop on telephone and e-mail communications between the United States and people overseas without a warrant” (J. VandeHei; D. Eggen. “Cheney Cites Justifications for Domestic Eavesdropping”).The attack also had an immediate change of perception by some Americans on Muslims. There were some incidents of harassment and crimes committed against Middle Easterners and other, “Middle Eastern-looking” people. Sikhs who wear turbans, associated with Muslims, also became easy targets. Rage and a prevailing distrust among Muslims gripped the minds of most Americans (See “Hate Crime Reports Up in Wake of Terrorist Attacks”). IV. The Future of America in the Light of 9/11 (is another attack possible?) After five years, there are no sure proof strategy to make sure America and its allies are safer. At the back of the head of American citizens and the world in general is the question: “Will there be another attack?” This is one the most difficult war, because enemy lines are not limited in geographical or racial boundaries. The enemy is hidden in the “shadows” that can silently strike out anytime or retreat when needed, whatever the circumstances may call for its survival.U.S. citizens hold the view that the attack had “changed the world forever”. The Bush administration is still bent on continuing its war on terrorism (See “September 11,2001 Attacks”). The objective of which, is to bring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to justice and to prevent the emergence of other terrorists groups. America is hunting down terrorists around the world while watching behind its back of possible attacks on its own shore.America is the most powerful nation to date, but the government is lured into the trap the al-Qaeda is spinning, to spill out big losses of dollar reserves. I would rather not imagine what the scenario would be in case of a collapse in the economy. Not only would America suffer but the world as a whole, since it is that is largely dependent on American economy. V. ConclusionThe war against terrorism has its roots on Islam’s agreement in the use of aggressive violence to spread its rule over non-Muslims. The war that Muhammad started long ago still continues. However, the stakes are much higher. From tribal domination to world dominion, spreading beyond the continents of America, Europe, and other nations. These nations will continue to be adversely affected by the aggression of real Muslims. These are the people who believe that to kill and take innocent lives is doing their god and prophet a great service. But it is erroneous to conclude that all Muslims are terrorists. Some Muslims are either nominal Muslims or just simply living a devout personal piety. (See “America, Islam, Jihad, and Terrorism”).America must not dance to the tune of the enemy. Social ills, not unlike body diseases can be healed when solutions applied are directed to the cause rather than merely controlling the more visible symptoms. Here, lies in the call of wisdom.