10/19/2012 03:23 pm ET Updated Dec 19, 2012

Two Types of Jihad

Shock waves spread throughout the world after hearing that the Taliban had shot a 14-year-old girl named Malala Yousafzai on a school bus full of children. The Taliban targeted her because she stood up for her right to a good education, which Islam has made obligatory upon all Muslims. The Taliban committed this horrific act in the name of jihad. But Malala didn't see it that way -- and I don't either.

Prophet Muhammad declared: "The Person Who Goes Forth in Search of Knowledge Is Striving Hard in the Way of God; Until He Returns." (Tirmidhi)

In other words, seeking knowledge is a form of jihad. Knowledge alone enables one to make clear arguments against those who seek to desecrate their faith. Physical jihad is meant for defense against physical attacks that are made on a person because of their faith, or in a case where an attempt is made to violate one's freedom of conscience or thought.

The Taliban's concept of jihad is to crush anything which threatens their grip on society -- including an educated society. As a result, they target innocent people who try to stand up for their rights, and they do this in the name of God and Prophet Muhammad.