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The Question of Jihad. Traditional Narrative Of Jihad. Ongoing spread of God’s religion Early Islamic conquests set the tone Islamic state is a conquest state dependant on spoils of war for income  continued expansion

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traditional narrative of jihad
Traditional Narrative Of Jihad
  • Ongoing spread of God’s religion
    • Early Islamic conquests set the tone
    • Islamic state is a conquest state dependant on spoils of war for income  continued expansion
    • This duty of fighting to spread the ‘Abode of Islam (Dar al-Islam)’ in the ‘Abode of War (Dar al-Harb)’ is legitimized by the scholarly tradition… it is one of the duty’s of the caliph and one of the reasons for accepting otherwise illegitimate sultans.
    • Ex. Masyafa, Ottoman ‘ghazi’s and the Golden Apple
traditional narrative of jihad evidence
Traditional Narrative of Jihad - Evidence
  • Prophet’s Career: Steady progression from passive persecution in Mecca, to preparation for conflict, to war and treaty, to all-out conquest of the enemies of Islam
  • Quranic Argument: through asbab al-nuzul (occasions of revelation) and naskh (abrogation), verses allowing unrestricted warfare are considered final ruling.
  • Hadith: “I have been commanded to fight the people until they say ‘There is no god but God, establish the prayer and pay the alms tax.” (or jizya)…
peaceful preaching under meccan rule
Peaceful Preaching under Meccan Rule
  • “Call to the path of your Lord with wisdom and goodly preaching, and dispute with them with what is best. Indeed your Lord is most knowledgeable about those who have gone astray, most knowledgeable about those who are guided.” (16:125)
  • “Indeed they do plot and scheme, and I do plot My scheme. So bear patiently with the unbelievers, bear patiently with them a while.”
  • “To you your religion, to me mine.”
fighting when wronged
Fighting When Wronged
  • “Permission has been given to those who fight because they have been wronged, indeed God is most able to give them succor. Those who were driven from their homes unjustly, for but saying ‘Our lord is God. And if God did not repel one group of people with another, monasteries, temples and places of kneeling where God’s name is mentioned would be destroyed. Indeed God gives aid to those who aid Him, indeed God is powerful, great.” (22:39-40)
  • “God has not forbidden you from treating justly and fairly those who have not driven you from your homes or fought you in your religion, indeed God loves those who are just. Rather, God had forbidden you from being close with those who have driven you from your homes, fought you in your religion or assisted those who did, and indeed those who seek to be close to them, they are wrongdoers.” (60:7) (OBL cites this)
fighting in case of injustice and solidification of communal lines
Fighting in Case of Injustice and Solidification of Communal Lines

“Fighting is ordained for you, though it be hateful to you; but it may well be that you hate a thing while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing while it is bad for you. God knows, whereas you do not know. They ask you about the Sacred Month and fighting in it. Say: fighting in it is a grave act, but driving people from the Sacred Mosque, disbelieving in God and expelling His people from it is more grave in God’s eyes. Persecution is more serious than fighting. They will not stop fighting you until they drive you from your religion, if they can. And those who leave their religion from among you and dies a disbeliever, indeed all their deeds will be forfeit in this life and the next. They are the people of Hell, eternally condemned to it.” (2:217)

fighting persecution for god within limits
Fighting Persecution for God – within limits!
  • “And fight in the path of God those who fight you, but do not transgress, indeed God does not like those who transgress. So kill them wherever you find them, expelling them from those places from which they expelled you. For persecution is more severe than killing. And do not fight in the Sacred Precinct unless they fight you there. If they do, then kill them. That is the recompense of those who do not believe. If they desist, indeed God is most forgiving, merciful. So fight them until there is no persecution and religion is God’s [alone]. And if they desist, then there is no aggression except upon the wrongdoers.” (2:190-3)
sword verses conquest
Sword Verses - Conquest
  • “When the sacred months have passed, kill the polytheists wherever you find them, seize them, lay siege to them, and lie in wait for them in every place of ambush. And if they repent, take up the prayer, pay the poor tithe, let them go their way. Indeed God is most forgiving, merciful.” (9:5)… context
  • “Fight those who do not believe in God and the Day of Judgment, who do not forbid what God has forbidden, those from among the People of the Book who do not believe in the religion of truth, until they pay the jizya out of what they can and they have submitted” (9:29) context
traditional laws of war
Traditional Laws of War
  • Remember, these are egg-head scholars writing these laws… what Sultans do is something else entirely!
  • Limits and Non-Combatants:
    • No killing of women, children, old men or monks (unless mixed in with enemy on battlefield… Malik & Awza’i say not at all)
    • Destruction of property should be avoided
    • Peace treaties entirely acceptable
  • Offensive Jihad is Communal Duty (Fard Kifaya), Defensive Jihad is incumbent upon all (fard ‘ayn)
thematic reading vs chronological reading
Thematic Reading vs. Chronological Reading
  • Overarching Principles:
    • Religious discourse done through discussion, goodly preaching, acceptance of disagreement
    • Fighting allowed in cases of:
      • Self-Defense
      • Religious Persecution
      • Activity in Open War
      • Ending Injustice for others
    • Exceeding these boundaries is a sin
  • Firestone’s reading: transformation from Jahiliyya system of warfare to Islamic one
the greatest jihad
The Greatest Jihad

Jihad in Sufism: the war against the lower self (nafs)

Hadith of the Greater Jihad: returning from the Raid on Banu Mustaliq, the Prophet says, ‘Now for the greater/est jihad, the jihad against al-nafs.’

  • Generally considered a weak hadith, but ‘true’ nonetheless
martyrdom in islam
Martyrdom In Islam
  • Martyr = witness = shahada/شهادة
  • Suicide is a sin: killer cannot be killee… well…
  • Fighting in the “Path of God’  “so that God’s word might be supreme”
  • “Beautiful Death”: Commercial language of Quran & Instant Immortals
  • Just Islam? Classical and Norse
  • Just Battle?: others means include dieing in fire, structural collapse, drowning, childbirth, plague…
  • Hadith: “Whoever falls in love and represses it and dies, he dies as a martyr”  Sufi ‘Martyrs of love’ (ex. al-Hallaj)