Islam and Jihad

These days there is a lot of argument about the word jihad. Does it mean "holy war" or does it mean spiritual striving for personal betterment? The more Muslims who believe it means spiritual striving the better as far as I'm concerned and I sure as hell don't want to convince them that jihad means "holy war" but then apparently the majority of Muslims have always believed it means "Holy War."

The problem is that the first Muslims who had Muhammad's personal guidance and who believed they were receiving direct revelations from Allah didn't sit around meditating amongst the sand hills and date plantations and talking about love and peace but formed armies and went out and started killing, conquering, pillaging and raping non-Muslims and demanding the survivors either become Muslims or die or best case scenario become third of fourth class citizens under Muslim protection (= extortion) and pay very high taxes for the privilege of staying alive.

The Islamic Supreme Council of America acknowledges that the "concept of jihad has been hijacked by many political and religious groups over the ages in a bid to justify various forms of violence." Of course all those groups were Muslims and they were imitating Muhammad and the first Muslims which is exactly what Osama Bin Laden and many other modern day Muslims are saying they are doing - returning to the true Islam.

In his book "Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests From the 7th to the 21st Centuries" Paul Fregosi writes:

THE JIHAD, THE ISLAMIC SO-CALLED Holy War, has been a fact of life in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Near and Middle East for more than 1,300 years, but this is the first history of the Muslim wars in Europe ever to be published. Hundreds of books, however, have appeared on its Christian counterpart, the Crusades, to which the Jihad is often compared, although they lasted less than two hundred years and unlike the Jihad, which is universal, were largely but not completely confined to the Holy Land. Moreover, the Crusades have been over for more than 700 years, while a Jihad is still going on in the world. The Jihad has been the most unrecorded and disregarded major event of history.

Jihad has not disappeared into long ago historical events. The Ottoman Turks, the last of the Muslim empires capable of European conquest, were still conducting warfare to hold onto territory in the Balkans in 1913. On Wednesday November 11th 1914, Shaykh al-Islam Ürgüplü Hayri, the highest Ottoman religious authority of the caliphate in Constantinople, issued five fatwas, calling for jihad against Great Britain and its allies. The fatwa was recited to a large crowd outside Constantinople's Fatih Mosque, in the name of Sultan-Caliph Mehmed V and by imams in Friday sermons in mosques throughout the world. Other fatwas targetted the Christian minorities in the Ottoman empire. Some one million Armenian, and 250,000 Assyro-Chaldean and Syrian Orthodox Christians were brutally slaughtered or starved to death during forced deportations through desert wastelands and this has continued to the present day.

Holy War

On May 10 1941 Haj Amin El Husseini the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem broadcast a fatwa (religious ruling) calling for a holy war against the British.

In the name of Merciful and Almighty God. I invite all my Moslem brothers throughout the whole world to join in the Holy War for God, for the defense of Islam and her lands against her enemy. O Faithful, obey and respond to my call. O Moslems!

Therefore I invite you, O Brothers, to join in the War for God to preserve Islam, your independence and your lands from English aggression. I invite you to bring all your weight to bear in helping Iraq that she may throw off the shame that torments her. O Heroic Iraq, God is with Thee, the Arab Nation and the Moslem World are solidly with Thee in Thy Holy Struggle!

Fortunately, these calls to jihad continued in the long line of Palestinian failures.

In 1998 Osama bin Laden and 4 others representing various Muslim groups declared a fatwa approving indiscriminate killing of Americans and Jews everywhere. Of course a fatwa only has meaning if Muslims accept it as being authorised. And despite President Obama and his ilk reiterating that 99% of Muslims reject radical Islam the truth is completely different as googling Muslims approve of Osama will demonstrate.

al-Jazeera (2006): 49.9% of Muslims polled support Osama bin Laden

Pew Research: 59% of Indonesians support Osama bin Laden in 2003
41% of Indonesians support Osama bin Laden in 2007
56% of Jordanians support Osama bin Laden in 2003

Pew Global: 51% of Palestinians support Osama bin Laden
54% of Muslim Nigerians Support Osama bin Laden

The good news about jihad is that the laws of jihad forbid the killing of women and children (except as collateral damage) – they should be enslaved rather than killed. Whew, that's a relief. Of course, it's perfectly okay to rape the women as long as their husbands are dead and unfortunately it's okay for infidel adult males (yep, that's us) to be executed.

Let's not forget that many so-called Christian soldiers have raped and killed as well but always with the threat of eternal punishment in hell for their sins.

Over 200 years ago the USA fought 2 wars with Islamic nations. Thomas Jefferson, the U.S. Ambassador to France, reported a conversation he had with Tripoli's envoy in London to the US Secretary of State.

The ambassador answered us that [their right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.

The Greater and the Lesser Jihad

Islamic apologists regularly mention the spurious distinction between the "greater jihad" and the "lesser jihad."

"A number of fighters came to the Messenger of Allah, and he said: ‘You have done well in coming from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.’ They said: ‘What is the greater jihad?’ He said: ‘For the servant [of God] to fight his passions’” - Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Zuhd al-Kabir

Apologists claim that jihad ought to be primarily understood as a spiritual struggle and not as a military one. Not only do none of the canonical collections of hadith include this tradition but it is directly contradicted by the Quran:

Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame, etc.), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward; - Quran (4:95)

  • God's Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad - Charles Allan
  • Jihad vs. McWorld - Benjamin Barber
  • Iran's Final Solution for Israel: The Legacy of Jihad and Shi'ite Islamic Jew-Hatred in Iran - Andrew G. Bostrom
  • The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate Non-Muslims - Andrew G. Bostrom
  • Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests From the 7th to the 21st Centuries Paul Fregosi
  • Islam and Terrorism: The Truth About ISIS, the Middle East and Islamic Jihad - Mark A. Gabriel
  • Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad - Caroline Glick
  • Inside Jihad - Tawfik Hamid
  • Jihad Academy: The Rise of Islamic State - Nicolas Henin
  • From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and Its Legacy - Kenan Malik