Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Qur'an:
The Mein Kampf Of The
Jihadist Movement?

There is a sense in which it is true:

As Ibn Warraq has said, "There may be moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate." In other words, there are manifestly peaceful people who have no intention of working by violent or subversive means to impose Sharia on the West, and who identify themselves as Muslims. This simple fact does not mitigate the other fact, that some high-profile moderates, such as Cleveland Imam Fawaz Damra, who signed the recent Fiqh Council of North America's fatwa against terrorism, turned out to be deceivers.

No one can claim that all peaceful Muslims are deceivers without being able to look into the soul of each one -- although I know that some ignorant and intemperate writers on Islam have made just such a claim. And to say that the Qur'an is the Mein Kampf of the jihad movement is not to deny the reality that many, if not most, people who identify themselves as Muslims are primarily interested in living ordinary lives, making a living, providing for their families, etc.

How could it be that the Qur'an could be the Mein Kampf -- that is, the inspiration and guidebook, the motivating force -- of the jihad movement, and yet there could be peaceful Muslims? In the first place, because jihadists themselves routinely invoke it as the justification for their acts of violence, and as a means to recruit other Muslims into their movement.

... any cursory glance at the statements of jihadists shows them to be filled with Qur'an quotes and appeals to other Muslims that they represent "pure Islam."

Nor are these jihadists misrepresenting, twisting, or hijacking what the Qur'an says. Indeed, they are fiercely literalistic, taking the book's many martial verses at face value. There are over a hundred verses in the Qur’an that exhort believers to wage jihad against unbelievers.

“O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell, an evil refuge indeed” (Sura 9:73). “Strive hard” in Arabic is jahidi, a verbal form of the noun jihad. This striving was to be on the battlefield: “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly” (Qur’an 47:4).

This is emphasized repeatedly: “O ye who believe! Fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you: and know that Allah is with those who fear Him” (Qur’an 9:123).

This warfare was to be directed against both those who rejected Islam and those who professed to be Muslims but did not hold to the fullness of the faith: “Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate” (Qur’an 9:73).

This warfare was only part of the larger spiritual conflict between Allah and Satan: “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan” (Qur’an 4:76). “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is forgiving, merciful” (Qur’an 9:5).