The Greater Jihad

I wrote this in 2001 after 9/11 under the pen name Yahya (Arabic for Ian).  I thought it prudent to do some of my advocacy in the past under some pseudonyms for some extra protection.  You never know what kind of lists someone might be keeping 😉  So now I rerelease this here again with full ownership.

I hear some brothers talking, saying we should join the fight,
Their talk keeps me thinking, cause I want to do what’s right.
They say that all true believers should help the Taliban,
They say that we should fight a war with them in Afghanistan.

Everywhere I look and hear, there’s that word jihad,
The way it’s tossed around would make the Prophet sad.
When are we all going to learn what God really meant,
It’s not about other people, it’s destroying your own evil bent.

The greater jihad, it’s not killing people.
The greater jihad, it’s about fighting evil.
The greater jihad, it’s a battle that’s inside you.
Now that you know, what are you gonna do?

Muhammad said that the struggle in battle-that’s the lesser fight,
So he fought the greater one first, so his words could be a light.
Take the plank out of your own eye, before your brother’s speck,
Maybe you would stop to think-wouldn’t be so quick to correct.

The war against the Soviet Union, now that was a real jihad,
But the way the “students” treat the Afghans must make God real mad.
Why did we leave the freedom fighters once they won the war,
We got what we wanted, and now we’re coming back for more.

The greater jihad, it’s not killing people.
The greater jihad, it’s about fighting evil.
The greater jihad, it’s a battle that’s inside you.
Now that you know, what are you gonna do?

I know that I’m fighting my own jihad every single day,
Satan’s whispering in my ear for me to come out and play.
But it’s my choice, my free will, the gift that God gave me,
Choosing the harder right over the easier wrong, that will surely save me.

Man’s been asking the question all along, does God create evil,
He didn’t have to create it-he just created people.
Everything that’s good in life comes from God’s merciful hand,
And everything that’s evil is done by the hand of man.

The greater jihad, it’s not killing people.
The greater jihad, it’s about fighting evil.
The greater jihad, it’s a battle that’s inside you.
Now that you know, what are you gonna do?

It’s time to get up, stand up, stand up for your rights,
And sometimes that means that you have to join the fight.
But God taught man by the pen what he knew not,
It’s time to speak up and write down without firing a shot.

We’re living in the times where killing is the easy solution,
But I say killing the evil inside each of us is the real revolution.
So let’s all come together and join in our Creator’s perfect plan,
Working hard to love one another and spreading peace throughout the land.

The greater jihad, it’s not killing people.
The greater jihad, it’s about fighting evil.
The greater jihad, it’s a battle that’s inside you.
Now that you heard, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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About Ian Benouis

Ian Benouis is a West Point graduate, former Blackhawk helicopter pilot, US Army officer and combat veteran who participated in Operation Just Cause in the Republic of Panama. This operation was the largest combat operation in US history focused directly on the War on Drugs. He was a pilot-in-command and his aviation brigade flew more night vision goggle hours than any unit in the military except for the Task Force 160 Special Operations which his unit was ultimately rolled up into when the Fort Ord, California military base was shut down. Ian grew up in Hawaii in the 1970’s where cannabis was decriminalized and fully integrated in to the culture. He has been healing himself of trauma for over 25 years with sacred plants, a spiritual practice, and being a student and practitioner of ethnobotany. Ian was a pharmaceutical representative for Pfizer after he got out of the Army witnessing firsthand the meteoric rise of the SSRI’s and synthetic opioids in the early 1990's. He is a casualty of the drug war having been busted for a friend’s cannabis while in law school. Ian is an intellectual property attorney who has been working in the corporate world for over 20 years in the primary roles of VP of Sales and Marketing and General Counsel. He is a political activist in the cannabis and natural plant medicine space nationally and locally in Texas. Ian has also been the Chairman of the Board for a public policy foundation in Texas for over seven years. Ian was featured in the Spike Jonze produced episode Stoned Vets on Weediquette the cannabis focused series on Viceland on HBO with a number of other veterans protesting the VA’s policy on medical cannabis and trying to end the veteran suicide epidemic. In 2016 Ian organized a trip for six veterans with PTSD to Peru in May for a 10-day plant diet including ayahuasca and other plant medicines with three Shipibo shaman brothers that are third generation plant medicine healers. Ian also took some of the same veterans to Mexico for treatment with iboga and 5-Meo-DMT. This experience was captured on video and was released as a documentary on March 16, 2017 entitled Soldiers of the Vine. He is member of the team working on the movie From Shock to Awe a feature-length documentary that will chronicle the journeys of military veterans as they seek relief from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with the help of ayahuasca, MDMA and cannabis.