Mandalorian Mindfulness: health, fitness & self-help (and a lot of fun!)
Struggle is a key part of all ideologies, at any core of a knowledge system there is the requirement for study, training, practice, learning and/or devotion. All religions have the concept of Struggle at their heart and so much of life itself is a competition or challenge.
Politicians and media in the West breed into our culture the concepts of the war on crime, the war on drugs, the war on terror. In street language we talk of ‘the rat race’, ‘climbing the social ladder’, ‘bread winning’.
In the Mandalorian fiction we have the Crusaders and even the renewed idealism of the Neo-Crusaders, similar to the Roman Empire or the exploits of Alexander the Great these Crusades would face anyone who challenged them and accepted anyone who joined them. Their Cause was the pursuit of conflict to create a brotherhood.
The word Islam itself means ‘submission’ and although this is generally taken to mean a submission to God, in the time of Mohammed when he was uniting the Arab tribes- the submission was to this league of a greater good. Mohammed was a great leader and warrior, and the spread of early Islam was rapid due to the militant requisite of submission.
For outsiders there is submission, for insiders (and for those who have submitted) there is the ongoing Struggle. Not only to convert, but to fight oppression, withstand enemies of the community and assert the rights and powers of the movement…but also the continual inner Struggle to maintain an individual Islam.
Jihad in Arabic means Struggle in the sense of ‘striving in the way of God’. For we Mandalorians, Jihad is a sacred pursuit not in the supernatural sense but by not living in drudgery, ignorance and resignation but taking hold of life with a bright mind and a stern resolve. Our great cause aims for heightened awareness and trying to make the most of life.
The concept of The Fight is key to the Mandalorian mindset, but ours is not to fight every battle thrown at us, you do not need to turn every act into a fight. In fact, the more situations are handled with effficiency and obstacles overcome with ease- then the greater your ability (your time and energy) can be spent on acheiving your real life goals. Don’t struggle with distractions or fight off the wake of others and their needs and their flaws.
In Islam the Greater Jihad is the inner struggle to fulfil your duties to God and thereby your family.
Lesser Jihad is the physical struggle against the enemies of Islam. In this tier you also have the Jihad of the Pen, which is the non-violent combat and defence of Right Action and Right Thought against the enemies of those principles. This Jihad nurtures your own adherence to Right Action and Right Thought. In a commentary of the hadith Sahih Muslim, entitled al-Minhaj, the medieval Islamic scholar Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi stated that “one of the collective duties of the community as a whole (fard kifaya) is to lodge a valid protest, to solve problems of religion, to have knowledge of Divine Law, to command what is right and forbid wrong conduct”.
In Religious Science during recent years a number of international censuses and polls have been conducted in order to find a Common Sense of Islam from the point of view of Muslims. One of the most famous had its results published in 2007 under the title Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.
Among the top answers to a poll asking what Jihad means to them were the following:
“A commitment to hard work” and “achieving one’s goals in life”, “Struggling to achieve a noble cause”, “Promoting peace, harmony or cooperation, and assisting others”, “Living the principles of Islam”
These for me are the essential building blocks of our movement. If we as warriors feel a calling to Crusade or to Jihad it should be this. If our very existence is Struggle, by accepting the Struggle and willfully rising to meet the challenge we are joining the great human Jihad. This is the submission to the Great Cause.