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Saint Augustine
Islamist Jihad in the 21st Century
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Article Index
Islamist Jihad in the 21st Century
Islamist Theoreticians
Islam: A Religion of Both Peace and War
The Islamic Law of War
Understanding Jihad
Radical Islam and Holy War
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By Reverend Wylie W. Johnson, D.Min., M.Div., M.S.S.; Chaplain (Colonel) U.S. Army Reserve (retired), Senior Pastor of Springfield Baptist Church, Springfield, Pennsylvania, and until his retirement in June 2012 the first Command Chaplain for the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Readiness Command.

Quotations from this paper

Modern Muslims are faced with a nagging conundrum which we might put this way: ‘How is it that Islamic people, who are the possessors of the only true religion and who ought to be the most powerful people on earth, are now so poor, backward and powerless?’

Like most social movements, there have been many thinkers contributing to the Islamist idea. A Sunni Pakistani, Syed Abul A'ala Maududi (1903-1979), linked the ancient faith with the revolutionary fervor of the present. Maududi‘s experience was in the Indian conflict between Hinduism and Islam. He also developed a worldwide jihadistic vision for imposing a new Islamic order. Maududi, as many of his contemporaries, melded the political rhetoric of communism and fascism into a revolutionary Islamic ideology. The goal of such an insurrectionist religious vision is global hegemony.

Introduction: Threads of Understanding

To begin understanding the modern phenomenon of radical Islam, one must have a working knowledge of Muslim history, theology and contemporary events. In this article, I will knit together these three threads in order to contribute towards such an understanding.

For the purposes of this project, Islamic Radicalism, Salifism, and Islamism are used as interchangeable terms. Islamists hold to a literal interpretation of the Qur’an. They condemn all who differ as kafir1 (hypocritical or heretical) and repress all divergence from their narrow view. The radical agenda includes a rejection of any form of civil law and strict adherence to Shari‘a law.2 I would further add that my concentration in this project is specifically upon those various groups that have declared jihad3 on the United States at home and abroad, and are actively pursuing future operations.

Many Muslims feel that they have successively been defeated, resulting in the loss of power to other nations; the loss of authority within their own nations; and finally through the loss of “mastery in his own house from emancipated women and rebellious children”4 who model their behavior and expectations on the ‘Christian’ West. The following story simply explains Middle Eastern feelings and motivations.

One day an elderly Bedouin man discovered that by eating turkey he could restore his virility. So he bought himself a turkey and he kept it around the tent, and every day he watched it grow. He stuffed it with food, thinking, Wow, I am really going to be a bull. One day, though, the turkey was stolen. So the Bedouin called his sons together and said, “Boys, we are in great danger now – terrible danger. My turkey‘s been stolen.” The boys laughed and said, “Father, what do you need a turkey for?” He said, “Never mind, never mind. It is not important why I need the turkey, all that is important is that it has been stolen, and we must get it back.” But his sons ignored him and forgot about the turkey. A few weeks, later the old man‘s camel was stolen. His sons came to him and said, “Father, your camel‘s been stolen, what should we do?” And the old man said, “Find my turkey.” A few weeks later, the old man‘s horse was stolen, and the sons came and said, “Father, your horse was stolen, what should we do?” He said, “Find my turkey.” Finally, a few weeks later, someone raped his daughter. The father went to his sons and said, “It is all because of the turkey. When they saw that they could take my turkey, we lost everything.”5

This ancient story amply illustrates the Muslim community‘s sense of loss and vulnerability in a hostile world. Modern Muslims are faced with a nagging conundrum that we might put this way: ‘How is it that Islamic people, who are the possessors of the only true religion and who ought to be the most powerful people on earth, are now so poor, backward and powerless?’6

Muslims believe that ultimately all of humanity must accept Islam, which will eventually become the only worldwide faith. The Islamic Umma7 (the middle nation) is perfectly conceived and not prone to religious extremes of asceticism or depravity. “The Umma is the ‘assembly’ of the ‘party of God.’ It is the best nation and has a mission to be a witness over the nations.”8

Many Muslims hold an ideal in common with Christians—that of becoming the only world religion. In many ways, we may compare the Islamic notion of one world religion with the Christian Great Commission: Christ‘s imperative to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20). For both religions the individual believer is responsible for global mission. However, there are fundamental differences in method and purpose. Christianity, propagating a redemptive gospel, is essentially a non-state religion. Even when the Christian faith becomes entangled with political authority, it usually remains distinct from the state. Islam is a nomocratic (law-based) state with imperialistic pretentions. Islam has “combined the dualism of a universal religion and a universal state.”9

The mission of Islam comprises both da’wah (witness and invitation) and dawlah (political and territorial mission).10 In Islam, mission and the establishment of Islamic social order are nearly synonymous, since “extending Islamic authority over peoples and territory was the same as extending God‘s rule.”11 Islamic rule has historically been extended by military conquest. In the Islamic faith, personal religion is ideally a matter of conscience, for the Qur’an teaches that, “There is no compulsion in religion” (Surah 2, 256). However, Muslim societies have been structured so that it is a burden to believe in any faith other than Islamic. The history of Islam has been an uneven balance between da’wah and dawlah over subject peoples.

It is not surprising that religious faiths come into conflict, particularly since each is convinced of its own exclusive veracity and its unique mandate for social unity. Religious conflict has intensified in the contemporary era. Benjamin R. Barber has declared that modern forms of traditional monotheistic religion “are parochial rather than cosmopolitan, angry rather than loving, proselytizing rather than ecumenical, zealous rather than rationalist, sectarian rather than deistic, ethnocentric rather than universalizing.”12 Formerly peaceful (or generally peaceful) comity arrangements have deteriorated into hostility and outright conflict around the modern world.

Adam Garfinkle attributes the phenomenon of modern political Islam to “a condition of blocked or distorted modernization.”13 He sees Islamic societies negatively reacting to Western cultural-imperialism that requires radical change from traditional to modern methods and mores. Traditional societies are strained by globalized social pressures as well as urbanization, pluralism, lack of education and economic opportunity. Such influences alter established mores and behaviors.14 Many Muslims, proud of their faith and heritage, resent the pressures of Western (especially Christian) culture-driven modernization that undermines the functioning basis of their society.

Religious responses to such forces are often chiliastic, that is, understanding the current cultural drift as clear signs of the end-of-time demise of society. One sort of cultural religious response is to become quietist (e.g., the Sufis)—seeking retreat from society to develop isolated communities that preserve the old ways and values.15 Another response may be a turning to authoritarian rule in an attempt to restore the status quo (e.g., Taliban). Others, like bin Laden, developed a vision of worldwide conquest for the establishment of the true faith and moral attitudes. “At such times, believers usually think that violence is part of a divine plan to hasten the end of the world, bring the Mahdi; re-establish the Caliphate, or whatever the theology requires.”16

Middle Eastern cultures are structured with an endogamous family construct, meaning arranged marriages within the family. Such relationships define family within the tribal structure. This retains wealth and property in the family, as well as undergirding patriarchal authority.

In most Arab societies, everyone knows where they fit into the overall structure. Loyalty is to extended family, individual agency is weak, and the entire structure tends to resist outside influence. Religion is organic to birth and reinforces the authority of the patriarchal system. However, it is the social structure, which predated Islam that comes first. Assaults to tribe and family, real or imagined, are therefore assaults against religion, and vice versa. Endogamous social organization helps explain why these societies tend to split into factions when they come under pressure. The Taliban, which most Westerners consider motivated by religion, are as much driven by concern over their tribal structures‘ viability. Westerners divide politics from religion and religion from social structure by second nature, but these divisions have no parallel in the Middle East.17

Chronically impoverished Arab peoples have not shared in the economic prosperity that the developed world enjoys—“per capita income has been virtually unchanged since 1980; in some countries, including oil-rich Saudi Arabia, it has actually fallen. Real wages and labor productivity are about where they were thirty years ago.”18 Oil wealth in each Middle Eastern nation resides in the hands of a tiny ruling clique, while regional development remains minimal at best. “Outside the energy sector, trade is at a standstill: the entire region‘s non-oil exports are smaller than those of Finland….The Arab world has, in effect, disengaged from the world economy.”19

Traditional population distribution within the region has rapidly changed from a rural to an urban majority. Combine this with a populace where more than half are under age twenty. “High concentrations of young people in a society, especially teenagers, correlates well with violence and poorly with stability...“youth bulges” have accompanied many of history‘s most dramatic upheavals.”20

Islamist Theoreticians

However, it is not the unwashed masses who are the ideologues and leaders of Islamist movements. While the foot soldiers of Islamic radicalism come from the economically disadvantaged, by contrast Islamist leadership originates from money, power and advanced educational status.21 These are the leaders who so clearly articulate the hopelessness of the Muslim masses by identifying their powerful enemy in the Great Satan (dajjal) - the USA, and life‘s answers in fundamentalist Islam. Religious fundamentalism always flourishes in an environment where its adherents perceive its beliefs and way of life are under attack. The modernist assault on Islam, “westoxification,”22 is popularly seen not only as confirmation of Islamist ideology but substantiation of the need for Muslims to return to a purer practice of their religion.

Al-Qaeda brought together strands of Arab Nationalism and Islamist fundamentalism as interpreted by an Egyptian philosopher, Sayyid Qutb.23 Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden‘s organization, is representative of the current worldwide Islamist movement. The organization was created in the late 1980s by an affiliation of three armed factions—bin Laden's circle of ''Afghan'' Arabs, together with two factions from Egypt, the Islamic Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the latter led by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's top theoretician.24

Qutb was a leading thinker of the Islamic Brotherhood founded in Egypt by Hasan al-Banna. The Brotherhood is a nationalist, social and political movement highly critical of the Egyptian and other Middle Eastern governments during the 1950‘s and 1960‘s.

In a famous book, al-‘Adala al-ijtima‘iyya fi‘l-islam (Social Justice in Islam), Sayyid Qutb put forward a powerful interpretation of the social teaching of Islam. For Muslims, as distinct from Christians, there was, he suggested, no gap between faith and life. All human acts could be seen as acts of worship, and the Qur‘an and Hadith provided the principles on which action should be based. Man was free only if he was released from subjection to all powers except that of God: from the power of priesthood, fear, and the domination of social values, human desires and appetites.25 314

Egyptian authorities used Qutb‘s book, Milestones, to condemn him at his sedition trial. His execution in 1966 (interpreted by Islamists as martyrdom) by the Egyptian authorities gave his works credibility, creating interest throughout the Middle East. Milestones became a “classic manifesto of the terrorist wing of Islamic fundamentalism.26

Qutb called “for a renewal of Islamic life, a life governed by the spirit and the law of Islam, which alone can produce that form of Islam that we need to day, and which is in conformity with the genuine Islamic tradition.”27 While this sounds innocuous enough to the Western ear, Qutb is calling for nothing less than a radical reorientation and reform of present day Islamic social order. For Qutb, Islam teaches that there is a unity between the spiritual and temporal.

For the center of its being and the field of its action is human life in its entirety, spiritual and material, religious and worldly. Such a religion cannot continue to exist in isolation from society, nor can its adherents be true Muslims unless they practice their faith in their social, legal, and economic relationships. And a society cannot be Islamic if it expels the civil and religious laws of Islam from its codes and customs, so that nothing of Islam is left except rites and ceremonials.28

Such a radical reformation necessitated the overthrow of the existing Islamic order as well as the need to militantly confront the remainder of the world through jihadist conquest. Qutb radically critiqued the settled orthodoxy that Islam had become. His was no less than a clarion call to overthrow what he perceived as pernicious Christian domination of the entire Islamic world.29

Qutb‘s purpose was to politically reunify all Muslims worldwide under a restored, rightly guided Islamic Caliphate. His is a complete rejection of the Christian West and a reactionary view toward the progressiveness of the Islamic schools. “Qutb and the Islamists…pictured the resurrected caliphate as a theocracy, strictly enforcing Sharia, the legal code of the Koran.”30 This required a total rejection of all things non-Muslim.31

Qutb held that every Muslim lived in direct relationship with Allah. There is no priesthood or other intermediary between “creature and the Creator”.32 This becomes the basis for his rejection of the religious hierarchy (the jurists of the orthodox schools). Qutb accused the orthodox legal schools (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii and Hanbali) of syncretism - combining Christian and pagan philosophies with the teaching of Islam. He thought this syncretism was an affront, because Islam is perfect as received from Allah through the Prophet. “Islam has one universal and integrated theory which covers the universe and life and humanity; a theory in which are integrated all the different questions....”33 However, Qutb wrote that the “Islamic concept” was corrupted when, “Islamic philosophers borrowed certain concepts from Greek philosophy and terms from Aristotle, Plotinus and the Christian theologians, and merged them with the Islamic concept.34 This dilution of the pure faith had profound consequences for the Muslim community.

When the life of the Muslims became free of the concerns of jihad and they surrendered to comfort and affluence; and when at the same time different opinions and schools of thought came into existence, largely because of political problems going back to the well-known conflict between ‘Ali and Mu‘awiya, they began to concern themselves with Greek philosophy and theological discussions relating to Christianity, which were then translated into Arabic.35

Further, Qutb asserted that the reality of modern Muslim society is not Islamic in any sense. He proclaimed that as long as Muslims adhered to the purity of Islam, not only was there was no weakness in society but there would be no subordination to non-Muslim powers. He charged that when the Umma departed from true Islam, Muslim society lost its rightful place and authority in the world.36 This state of affairs starkly contrasted with the belief that Islam ought to be - “ever in the forefront.” “You are the best nation which has been brought forth for men; you enjoin the good, and you forbid the evil.” (3:10)37

Qutb was highly critical of domination of Muslim peoples by Europeans and their subsequent acceptance of Christian culture, values and mores. He interpreted European colonialization as a Christian desire to put an end to the entire Islamic culture. Qutb links the collapse of Islamic power with a Christian ascendancy that resulted in establishing cultural, economic and religious hegemony over Muslim lands.38

…he traced the ‘new jahiliyya’ to the disintegration of the first Umma and that the creation of the Umayyad and Abbasid empires, where the notion of Allah‘s universal sovereignty succumbed to the reality of human kingship and hereditary rule in their most decadent and un-Islamic forms. In the following millennium the House of Islam would fluctuate between various levels of attainment, from the low ebbs of the Mongol and crusader invasions to the apogee of the Ottoman expansion. Yet it would never manage to rid itself of the new jahiliyya, let alone come anywhere near the lofty heights of the first Umma.39

Qutb‘s remedy for this disastrous situation is to reinstitute a thoroughly Islamic society based upon Quranic teaching, and the strict observance of the Sharia. He wrote that three foundational principles are necessary for the establishment of justice – absolute freedom of conscience; the equality of all men; and the upholding of a mutual responsibility for society.40

Like most social movements, there have been many thinkers contributing to the Islamist idea. A Sunni Pakistani, Syed Abul A'ala Maududi, linked the ancient faith with the revolutionary fervor of the present. Maududi‘s experience was in the Indian conflict between Hinduism and Islam. He also developed a world-wide jihadistic vision for imposing a new Islamic order. Maududi, like many of his contemporaries, melded the political rhetoric of communism and fascism into a revolutionary Islamic ideology. The goal of such an insurrectionist religious vision is global hegemony.41

Islam: A Religion of Both Peace and War

It is commonly asserted that Islam is a religion of peace—a fundamental belief for all of those faithful residing in the dar al-Islam (house of peace). However, the remainder of the world‘s population is believed by Muslims to live in the dar al-harb (house of war). Those peoples outside the dar al-Islam are, according to the administration of Islamic law, under an enduring jihad (struggle) with the faithful until all come into submission to Allah. “Any community which prefers to remain non-Islamic—in the status of a tolerated religious community accepting certain disabilities—must submit to Islamic rule and reside in the dar al-Islam or be bound as clients to the Muslim community.”42 Such a worldview leads those outside of Islam to be skeptical and uneasy concerning Islamic intentions.

No single teaching of Islam has engendered more misunderstanding, mistrust and outright confrontation than the idea of jihad.43 Muhammad is thought44 to have initially developed the concept of jihad to redirect Arab society‘s predilection for raiding and marauding into a religious duty supporting the spread of Islam.45 “He developed and amplified this concept with the expansion of his political ambitions until it became a rallying cry for world domination.46 The Prophet subordinated his culture‘s mindset with a moral and religious vision for a utopian future. “From the first Arab-Islamic Empire of the mid-seventh century to the Ottomans…the story of Islam has been the story of the rise and fall of universal empires and, no less important, of never quiescent imperialist dreams.47

Muhammad died in June 632. His followers immediately began the work of religiously motivated world conquest that within 12 years overthrew the Iranian Sassanid Empire and seized Syria and Egypt from Byzantium. Islam‘s empire grew in the early eighth century, encompassing central Asia and India to the frontiers of China, consumed North Africa, even laying siege to Constantinople.48 “The Arab and Moorish surge west and north only ended at Tours in 732”49 and at India‘s Indus River on the east. Incomplete world domination brought with it the unanticipated issue of relations with non-Muslim communities. This was thought to be a temporary state of affairs that would be resolved when Islam finally became the one world religion.50

The early Caliphate‘s ruling class used Islam as a tool for legitimizing their efforts of building and unifying empire. Over time, the later Caliphs demonstrated less interest in inculcating the faith51 within the empire and little appetite for expanding Islam. In the modern era the Islamic mission passed by default from rulers to political activists, marking the rejection of traditional authority and the rise of Islamic individualism. “The Islamists, by contrast, modeled themselves on Islam‘s early conquerors, and aspired to nothing less than the substitution of Allah‘s universal empire for the existing international system.52

Conflict continues between the tectonic plates of Islam and Christianity to the present day. In response to centuries of Islamic aggression, a series of Roman Catholic Crusades during the 11th to 13th centuries reclaimed the Holy Lands for Christianity. Ottoman Turks (14th – 17th centuries) countered by restoring the Levant to Islam then capturing Constantinople, seizing the Balkans and, in the process, twice attempting to reduce Vienna, in 1529 and in 1683. In recent times, the frontiers of Islam have increasingly been areas of bloodshed.

On the northern border of Islam, conflict has increasingly erupted between Orthodox and Muslim peoples, including the carnage of Bosnia and Sarajevo, the simmering violence between Serb and Albanian, the tenuous relations between Bulgarians and their Turkish minority, the violence between Ossetians and Ingush, the unremitting slaughter of each other by Armenians and Azeris, the tense relations between Russians and Muslims in Central Asia….”53

Islam has not only contended with European Christianity. In Africa “the other great antagonistic interaction of Arab Islamic civilization has been with the pagan, animist, and increasingly Christianized peoples to the south.”54 Modern examples of this conflict are raging in Sudan, Nigeria, Algeria, Mali and Chad, as well as intermittent clashes with Christian Copts in Egypt and Abyssinians in Ethiopia. To the East and South Islam contends with Asian people in historically Hindu and Buddhist regions as well as those adherents to a wide variety of Oriental religions.55 When Pakistan and India were partitioned in 1947, millions of Muslims and Hindus were displaced resulting in about one million deaths. These two nations remain mutually hostile.

However, of all American actions in the region over the past 300 years, the Restorationist Movement56 was to have the most profound impact. Restoration is the religiously motivated idea that the Jewish Diaspora should returned to the Holy Land to reestablish the nation of Israel, thus ushering in the return of the Messiah. Evangelical churches in the colonial era were strongly supportive of this popular movement, which subsequently “penetrated the mainstream” of American Christianity.57 Ultimately, this Restorationist movement culminated in the 1948 UN Mandate establishing the modern state of Israel.

Over all, Islam has been in retreat since the second siege of Vienna (1683)—more than three hundred years ago. During that time Christian and post-Christian civilization has profoundly affected the economics, government, mores, society, and culture of the entire Muslim world.58 These developments have brought forth overwhelming discontent and resentments throughout the Islamic world. While there are numerous causes for Islamic grievance against the West, none is more pronounced or focused than the existence of the modern state of Israel. Islamic fundamentalism has given voice to and demanded redress for the angry passions of the Muslim civilization.59

The Islamic Law of War

In the initial centuries, Mujahidin60 found astonishing success in all directions of the compass as they spread the faith by conquest. It is one thing to have a religion of personal piety but quite another to acquire an empire. The nascent Islamic state soon required a body of laws to regulate conduct with neighboring communities and with internally tolerated religious communities. “The special branch of the sacred law—the siyar–developed by the Muslim jurists to meet the need that may aptly be called the Islamic Law of Nations.”61 Islamic practice and laws of war developed from the example of the Prophet Mohammed‘s 27 battles and the commentaries testifying of his immediate successors Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.62 Kadduri notes that the law “precedes the state: it provides the basis of the state.”63 It is therefore not God, but God‘s law which really governs; and, as such, the State should be called nomocracy, not theocracy.64

In the Muslim view, Allah is ineffable and therefore not tainted by human interactions. What makes Islam a nomocracy is that a human ruler enforces the perfect, divinely-given law.65 The state exists solely to enforce the divine law, and if it fails in that duty, the state “obviously forfeits its raison d’etre—the believer still remained under the obligation to observe the law even in the absence of any one to enforce it.”66 Islamic law consists of faraid (obligations) illuminating the Sharia (the right path) to salvation. Sharia distinguishes between religious obligation (fard) and the religiously forbidden (haram). Between these two poles, Muslims have the freedom to express their faith positively (mandub) and to refrain from the unacceptable (makruh). There is also the category of jaiz, to which the law is indifferent and the believer has full freedom of action.67

Kadduri notes there are three vital characteristics of the divine law. First, the law is permanent and applicable in all times and places. Secondly, the primary concerns of the law are the common interest of the Umma, thus the individual is protected only as long as the individual‘s rights coincide with the wellbeing of the Islamic community. Thirdly, the law must be sincerely followed in good faith.68

Traditional Islamic culture rests upon a religion of laws and thus requires religious lawyers, or jurists, to interpret that law. Four centuries after Mohammed, four orthodox legal schools (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii and Hanbali) became recognized mainstream interpreters of Sunni Islam. Their legal opinions became the standard of orthodoxy, and any departure from these established legal opinions were “denounced as innovation (bida). As a result ijtiha69 was gradually abandoned in favor of taqlid (literally, “imitation” or “submission”) to the canons of the four schools, and the door of ijtihad was shut.70

The issue of ijtihad gains increasing importance when consideration of current Islamist thought is taken into account, because Salifists discard standard interpretations for innovative understandings. Modern Islamic Radicals, contrary to accepted doctrine, teach that only violent confrontation with the dar al harb and kafir (hypocritical or heretical Muslims) will save Islam. Islamist pronouncements are considered by traditional Islamic jurists as originating from the unlearned and condemned as innovation (bida). Some have identified this trend toward independent Quranic interpretation as the equivalent of the “Protestant Reformation” in Islam. For instance, bin Laden issued a 1998 fatwa, “Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders,” which legitimated subsequent attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa. Neither bin Laden nor any of his lieutenants are recognized clerics with alim (interpreter of Islamic law) credentials. These self-appointed interpretations are framed in traditional fatwa form to provide a perception of authenticity with Muslim masses.71

As originally formulated, the Muslim law of nations was a temporary situation—the institution of an Islamic nation(s) in relationship with non-Islamic nations. It is universally believed within Islam that “all people, except perhaps those of the tolerated religions, would become Muslims.”72 The entire world will be subordinated to the complete authority of the Caliph. The Muslim law of nations is a triumphalist worldview that recognizes no other legitimate authority.73

Ibn Khaldun (AD 1332-1406) was one of the most prominent scholars to develop Muslim thought concerning war—naming “man‘s will-to-revenge” as its primary cause. Wars were not “casual social calamities”; rather, the causes were rooted from creation in the anger, avarice, emotions, guilt or jealousy of mankind. Thus groups or nations would conspire against one another and then make war.74 War is an unnatural state entered into “because of man‘s carelessness and sins. Ibn ‘Abd-Allah…described wars as diseases…their frequency …arising from the very nature of man, makes their recurrence as permanent as social life itself.”75

Islamic writers wrestle with the same sorts of just war issues that Christians have: i.e., varieties of conflicts, treatment of the defeated, establishment of (Islamic) law. ‘Umar ibn Ibrahim al-Awasi al-Ansari penned a 14th century work, The Dispelling of Fears in the Management of Wars, the 1961 edition of which “mentions over 40 classical Arabic texts on warfare written between the 8th and 15th century.”76 A more recent text focusing upon Islamic international law is, The Book of the Law of Nations, by Shaybani.

Islamic jurists admit no legitimate cause for war except jihad. “Only a war which has an ultimate religious purpose, that is, to enforce God‘s law or to check transgression against it, is a just war. No other form of fighting is permitted within or without the Muslim brotherhood.”77 The jihad concept set strict limits on the Arabic cultural proclivity for internecine conflict. Tribes could not go to war with Muslim coreligionists and justify this as jihad.

“In Muslim legal theory, the objective of war is neither the achievement of victory nor the acquisition of the enemy‘s property; it is rather the fulfillment of a duty—the jihad in Allah‘s path—by universalizing the Islamic faith.78 Thus Hamas‘ declaration of “victory”79 following the recent devastating three-week attack by Israel in the Gaza Strip has little to do with their military debacle and everything to do with the Islamic faith of the Palestinians.80 Jihad is religiously-justified war, “not as an instrument of policy but as an emblem of identity, an expression of community, an end in itself.”81

Understanding Jihad

The word jihad, in English, literally means “struggle.” It is popularly translated as, “holy war, but that is only one of its derivative meanings. Kadduri philologically notes that the verbal form, jahada carries the meaning “exerted.“  “Its juridical-theological meaning is exertion of one‘s power in Allah‘s path, that is the spread of the belief in Allah and in making His word supreme over this world.”82 For the individual to sincerely make jihad is to be rewarded with Allah‘s salvation, the direct path to the Islamic paradise. Jihad is almost universally regarded by jurists as ‘a collective obligation of the whole Muslim community.’83

Believe in Allah and His Apostle and carry on warfare (jihad) in the path of Allah with your possession and your persons. That is better for you. If ye have knowledge, He will forgive your sins, and will place you in the Gardens beneath which the streams flow, and fine houses in the Gardens of Eden: that is the great gain. [Q.LXI, 10-13]

Islamic Jurists have recognized four different manners in which the true believer may accomplish the obligation for jihad. The greater jihad (identified as such by the Prophet Mohammed) is that spiritual path whereby the believer submits one‘s heart to the will of Allah. The second and third manner of jihad, submission of the tongue and hands, are for the support of society by enforcing justice and correction of evil. All of Islam recognizes great worth in these spiritual devotions, observation of personal piety and communal obedience to Allah. The lesser jihad is accomplished by the sword, or by the conduct of war that defends or enlarges Islam. The fourth form of jihad, the conduct of holy war, “is concerned with fighting the unbelievers and the enemies of the faith. The believers are under the obligation of sacrificing their ‘wealth and lives‘ (Q.LXI, 11) in the prosecution of war.”84

It is this lesser jihad, appropriately named “holy war,” that concerns the world community and is of primary concern to the Christian warrior both for the implications of that belief and for the real-world actions of Islamists. “In the words of Ibn Khaldun: ‘…the jihad is a religious duty because of the universalism of the Islamic mission and the obligation [to convert] everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.’”85

Muslims view Scripturaries, Jews and Christians, as people who responded to Allah‘s Prophets but tragically not to Mohammed. These “People of the Book” are subject to a limited jihad that renders three choices—convert to Islam; pay jizyah (the poll tax) and be allowed to live in the community as second-class citizens (dihimini); or receive the full consequence of jihad. The polytheists (a generic term for the remainder of the world‘s population) are given the choice either to convert or be subject to the sword. Any convert to Islam is granted full citizenship.86 Kadduri remarks that jihad is a sanction or a punishment against those at variance with Islam. “The jihad, therefore, may be defined as the litigation between Islam and polytheism; it is also a form of punishment to be inflicted upon Islam‘s enemies and the renegades from the faith.” He goes on to assert that jihad is bellum justum—a just war.87 Thus the jihad, reflecting the normal war relations existing between Muslims and non-Muslims, was the state‘s instrument for transforming the dar al-harb into the dar al-Islam.88

The practice of lesser jihad against believers was permitted by Al-Mawardi against those apostatizing from the faith (al-ridda); against Muslims creating dissension in the Islamic community (al-baghi); and against those fomenting secession from Islamic rule (al-muharibun). Some other jurists concluded that protecting the frontiers of Islam (al-ribat) was also permitted.89 378

Much legal reflection has gone into defining qualifications for a Muslim waging jihad (holy war). The Shafii School identified seven tests to determine if a person was under obligation to perform the lesser jihad. The Jihadist must be a (1) believer in Islam; (2) mature and of sound mind; (3) male; (4) economically independent; (5) receive his parent‘s permission; (6) be of good intention; (7) fulfill certain spiritual duties while serving as a jihadi.90

Jihad is divinely initiated war that is completely different from war initiated by humans for their own devices. Islamic nations or entities are fully convinced that they wage holy war at the instigation of God. “Islam, in its all-embracing creed, is imposed on the believers as a continuous process of warfare, psychological and political if not strictly military.”91 Kadduri notes that although jihad is the undeviating foundation for Islamic relations with its neighbors, it did not necessitate continual strife and that the jihad against Islam‘s neighbors could be accomplished by non-violent methods.92

James Turner Johnson describes characteristics of holy war that are common across the monotheistic religious continuum. Holy War is conducted at God‘s command by his commissioned leadership, but the primary warrior is God who wages war against unfaithfulness inside and outside the people of God. Holy war is conducted to protect and purify the faith of nation and its society, to bring about true devotion and punish disobedience. In the conduct of holy war, human warriors are seen as morally righteous even in killing that is necessary during battle. Holy war is both an aggressively violent and nonviolent struggle for the accomplishment of God‘s purposes managed by spiritual leaders resulting in divinely miraculous results.93

For the Islamic community, jihad “delivers a different set of virtues: a vibrant local identity, a sense of community, solidarity among kinsmen, neighbors, and countrymen, narrowly conceived.94 However, this worldview, which necessarily excludes all except coreligionists, results in a constricted and un-accepting culture made secure by an attitude of conflict against outsiders. This sort of solidarity “often means obedience to a hierarchy in governance, fanaticism in beliefs, and the obliteration of individual selves in the name of the group.”95 The principle of jihad is the basis of Islamic intolerance toward others and loyalty to the Umma. Jihad engenders “deference” to communal leadership and a corresponding suspicion about liberal-democratic values which teach that both men and women are “capable of governing themselves.”96

Muslims are promised divine rewards for faithful service to this communal duty. Traditionally recognized authorities gave extravagant promises to martyrs of “eternal life in paradise immediately and without trial on the resurrection and judgment day for those who die in Allah‘s path. Such martyr remains were not ceremonially washed but were buried where they fell on the battlefield.97

Who may legitimately declare jihad against others? Among the Sunna, the obligation for calling the faithful to war belongs to the state. “As a collective duty, the jihad is a state instrument; the imam, accordingly, as head or deputy head of the state, is charged with the duty of declaring it.”98 The Shii regard this authority as belonging to the Rightful Imam (who has disappeared) leaving that duty without a proper declaratory authority.

Opinion differed as to the capacity of the mujtahids to act in the name of the imam in fulfilling the jihad obligation; but since the duty of calling the believers to battle is a matter in which an infallible judgment is necessary – since the interest of the entire community would be at stake – only an imam is capable of fulfilling such a duty. Further, it is deemed impossible to combat evil during the absence of the imam; the jihad, accordingly, is regarded as inconsequential. Thus in the Shii legal theory, the jihad has entered into a dormant stage – it is in a state of suspension. In contrast to the Sunni doctrine which requires the revival of the dormant jihad when Muslim power is regained, the resumption of the jihad in the Shii doctrine would be dependent on the return of the imam from his ghayba (absence), in the capacity of a Mahdi, who will triumphantly combat evil and reestablish justice and righteousness.99

The Kharijis sect, distinct from both Sunna and Shii, holds that jihad is the sixth pillar of the Islamic faith and is compulsory for the entire community. Theirs is a jihad of compulsion by violence. Islam ought to be imposed on the unbeliever by the sword. “This is based on a hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said: ‘My fate is under the shadow of my spear.’”100

Radical Islam and Holy War

A few months after moving his organization to Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden published his first fatwa, “Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places,” in al-Quds al-Arabi, the Arabic language newspaper based in London.101 A fatwa is an Islamic religious opinion normally issued by an acknowledged scholar, and its importance depends upon the communally recognized status of that jurist. His work, known as the Ladenese Epistle, “is an endless list of charges…The most prominent grievance is bin Laden‘s hallmark: the ‘Zionist-Crusader Alliance,’ that amalgam of world infidelity, is waging a war against the people of Islam.”102 His declaration of war caught the attention of the entire Muslim world on two counts. First, bin Laden is not a recognized Quranic authority even if he might popularly speak for the masses. Secondly, as all Muslims know, ―the declaration of jihad creates a legal state of hostilities.103 His subsequent attacks on the U.S. “stem from a pervasive fear—in the minds of bin Laden and many other Muslims—that American culture is crushing theirs.”104 Bin Laden exploited the fact that there “is no ‘clear, decisive, and unequivocal’ religious authority [in Islam] able to declare that the killing of innocents by terrorist attacks is contrary to Islam….”105

Bin Laden did not act within a vacuum; there were historical predecessors teaching radical interpretations of jihad. Ibn Taymiyya (1263 – 1328) was an early Islamic jurist who became a precursor for Islamist philosophers. Unlike most clerics, he added jihad as the sixth pillar of Islam.106 Historically, most clerics didn‘t consider jihad (holy war) as essential to personal piety. Ibn Taymiyya noted that both prayer and the practice of jihad were “God‘s two essential requirements for all conscientious, able-bodied Muslims. The goal of jihad is God‘s victory; anyone who opposes jihad is therefore an enemy of God.”107 He did not recognize a distinction between a greater and lesser jihad. “Along with his contemporaries, he considered the superior form of jihad to be combat against infidels. Spiritual jihad was important as preparation for the more physically demanding kind of jihad.”108 Ibn Taymiyya’s stress upon holy war is taken as an article of faith for contemporary Islamists, rejecting an emphasis upon the spiritual without war making. He taught that religion was not subordinate to the state, but rather there must be agreement between the ruler and clerics. Further, if a ruler was not personally pious and would not enforce Sharia he was to be considered apostate and Muslims were obligated to depose him. Obedience to such a ruler was against one‘s religion.109

Among modern Islamists, where there are few clergy, there is a rejection of orthodox religious opinion in favor their version of a return to an older, “purer” form of Islam. “Implicit in this is a disregard for generations of learning and religious authority, a repudiation that goes beyond the insistence of ibn Taymiyya on the individual struggle with the Quran and hadith.”110 Islamic scholars consider Islamist teaching ijtihad—the error of innovation. Bin Laden is a businessman who studied economics and business administration at a Saudi Arabian university. Yet he boldly rejected accepted scholarly judgment and issued an independent and ‘binding‘ religious opinion to the world Islamic community.

For Western minds it is difficult to understand that there is no separation of church and state in Islam. As currently practiced in Muslim society (except perhaps in Iran), official religion is subordinate to but inseparable from the state. (It must be noted that in Islamic nations, everything is conditioned by religion even if individual national leaders sometimes act out of seemingly non-religious motives). However, the Islamist world-view is quite opposite. Religion is primary over all things in the Salafist view; it directs the workings of government. Entirely within the context of Islamist thought, radical leaders like Ayman al-Zawahri “stress the requirement to achieve political power and control: the ‘victory of Islam will never take place until a Muslim state is established in the manner of the Prophet in the heart of the Islamic world.‘”111 The Islamist goal is to establish the political unity of the Umma—a caliphate headed by a “Rightly Guided Caliph.”112 Initially, the Caliphate must be restored in the heart of the Islamic world—the Levant, Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, and Iraq. From that position of moral and political strength the new Islamist revolution would be spread throughout the world.

The traditional Islamist position rejects all modern Muslim governments as counterfeits of the Islamic ideal. This is not a novel teaching, but dates from the thirteenth century. Ibn Taymiyya refused to acknowledge any primacy of the state over Islam. In his view, there was an authentic unity between the sovereign and the clergy. This was a vision to recreate the lost reality of the Prophet Mohammed‘s time. “His were serious demands: a ruler who did not enforce sharia or exhibit scrupulous personal piety would be no better than an apostate, and under Islamic law, Muslims were obligated to rebel against such a leader.”113 Obedience to an apostate monarch, especially one who violated the principles of the faith, was to be considered equivalent to rejection of the Qur’an and committing apostasy.

The modern Umma is confronted with the choice of adapting to a globalized existence of nation-state interdependence that has been created by the West or seeking some Islamic alternative. Existing national leaders in Muslim nations are often dictatorial, insular and grossly out of touch with their populations. The majority of Muslims are caught in a cycle of hopelessness, poverty and lack of opportunity. Radical Islam has given voice to popular Muslim grievances and because of that gained great popularity. Islamists also offer a hope of a unified Umma in a region that remains divided by tribal, religious, and political divisions, in which continued instability is inevitable.114

Islamism is a twenty-first century phenomenon that has emerged as an evolving insurgency “having broad appeal among the global Muslim community.”115 The primary objective of Islamist groups is to overthrow the existing nation-state structure within the Islamic world and to reconstitute a unified and worldwide Umma of Islamic piety and power. However, the overthrow of Muslim governments proved too great a task for the present. “In national struggles, the jihadists were overmatched by the security apparatus of the state.”116 Thus the enemy at hand—the governments of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, etc.—proved to be too powerful, even if the source of that power could be conveniently blamed upon the United States. Islamist attention shifted to the “far enemy,” the Christian West, and especially the USA.

The question debated in Islamist circles centered upon a strategy for confronting the far enemy. How could the movement successfully achieve its primary goal by defeating the Christian West? Abu Bakr Naji theorized a strategic vision for attaining Islamist ideological goals. He noted that Muslim governments were propped up by either of the superpowers (the Soviet Union or the USA). If a superpower could be “provoked” into an invasion of the Middle East it would facilitate a propaganda victory for four reasons.

…the people will 1) be impressed that the jihadis are directly fighting a superpower, 2) be outraged over the invasion of a foreign power, 3) be disabused of the notion that the superpower is invincible the longer the war goes on, and, 4) be angry at the proxy governments allied with the invading superpower. Moreover, he argues, it will bleed the superpower‘s economy and military. This will lead to social unrest at home and the ultimate defeat of the superpower.117 406

Radical Islamic movements have conspired to implement variations on this strategy by patiently attacking American interests, including the following: Iran Embassy Hostages (1979); - Beirut, Lebanon, Embassy and Lebanon Marine Barracks (1983); - Lockerbie, Scotland, Pan-Am flight to New York (1988); - First New York World Trade Center attack (1993); - Dhahran , Saudi Arabia, Khobar Towers Military complex (1996); - Nairobi, Kenya, U.S. Embassy (1998); - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, U.S. Embassy (1998), and Aden, Yemen, the USS Cole (2000).118

Ineffective and tepid American responses encouraged the Islamists to regard the USA as a degenerate society unable to overcome their righteous cause. For this reason, the American responses to the September 2001 attacks on the New York World Trade Center and Pentagon were completely unanticipated by Islamists. However, though unforeseen, the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq brought the West into the Middle East where it could be confronted.

Such a shift in strategy from the near to the far enemy, a far more powerful opponent, meant a radical change in operational design. Terrorism is a weapon of the weak. If it were possible to confront and defeat the enemy directly, much time and effort could be saved. To directly confront America was simply out of the question. Dramatic terrorist attacks taking noncombatant lives would accomplish two objectives: gaining support from the - “Arab street,” - and striking fear into the U.S. population. Ayman al-Zawahri, writing in “Knights under the Prophet‘s Banner,” (2001) declared:

If the successful operations against Islam‘s enemies and the severe damage inflicted on them do not serve the ultimate goal of establishing the Muslim nation in the heart of the Islamic world they will be nothing more than disturbing acts, regardless of their magnitude, that could be absorbed and endured even if after some time and with some losses.119 408

Fanaticism usually leads to the justification of terrible and forbidden actions on the basis of the results obtained. Thus we find the modern advent of the Islamic suicide bomber—whether the bomb is strapped to the person, carried in a vehicle, or loaded on an airplane. Traditional Muslim scholars argue that suicide is not Islamic, that it is an unpardonable sin and not a true martyrdom. “Naming a martyr is the business of Allah, the scholar Amir Taheri reminds us, not of those ‘in pursuit of political goals’…Muslims who implicitly condone terror know they cannot smuggle a new concept into Islamic ethics.”120 On the other hand, Ayman al-Zawahiri noted that: “...the method of martyrdom operations [is] the most successful way of inflicting damage against the opponent and the least costly to the mujahidin in terms of casualties.”121 Suicide bombers are inexpensive, and they leave no one behind to implicate accomplices while achieving a maximum of killing and terror.

“Taheri argues that ‘not a single reputable theologian anywhere’ endorses the new trick word that has been added to the Islamic lexicon by those who are trying to get around restrictions against suicide bombings.”122 Declaring such suicide bombers as “martyrs” is to knowingly contravene 1,600 years of Islamic teaching and to glorify forbidden actions. “Radical clerics do not educate suicide-bombers and would-be jihadists on these finer points of Islamic law and its complexity.”123 Further, such persons are made promises of paradise, common in popular Islamist cultural lore that “the martyr who kills for the faith and perishes in the process is given seventy-two black-eyed women to serve him. His reward will come ten minutes after his ‘martyrdom.’”124 Many Islamic experts, such as Georgetown University Professor Yvonne Haddad, dispute this notion as “nowhere to be found in Islamic writings.”125

Other excesses of religion have appeared in the recent past that are contrary to Quranic just war teaching. Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, the chief cleric of Iran, issued a fatwa that permitted children as young as nine years old to fight a jihad against Iraq during the decade of the 1980s. Iranian propaganda was aimed at school children encouraging passion for martyrdom. “Competing legal traditions on the age of adulthood grant it at puberty, which could occur at age 12 in boys and age 9 in girls.”126 Hezbollah and other radical Islamic movements encourage the making of martyrdom videos, manipulating the jihadist impulse in the Muslim community.127 The Taliban, among others, have taken and beheaded hostages contrary to the clear teachings of the Qur’an (Q. Sur. 5, al-Maida).

Conclusion: The Islamists Will Continue to Present a Grave Threat to Free Peoples

Terrorism depends upon the sudden and random killing of innocents to gain political advantage. Zuhur references numerous texts from the Qur’an and hadiths that expressly forbid the indiscriminate killing of innocents.128 Islamic radicals defend such wholesale tactics by asserting that “their victims are not innocent people” but collectively responsible for the affronts to Islam.129 Others argue that these earlier verses protecting innocents are “abrogated’ by subsequent “sword verses.” Further, radicals blame Muslim governments for not acquiescing to Islamist demands, leaving them no other options against a more powerful foe. The claim that such actions are, in reality, a recompense for the sufferings of Muslims, and that this is war and in war innocent people die.130

Islamists have rejected or radically reinterpreted orthodox teaching. Jihad is practiced as unrestrained warfare against both non-Muslim and apostate Muslims alike. Terror methodologies are a necessity in the confrontation of injustice. It is an “obligation that Muslims cannot ignore…assassinations, deception, kidnappings – these acts which are either justified or excused by the realities of the struggle that contemporary Muslims are commanded to undertake.”131

Zuhur points out that such doctrine, which labels a “Muslim as a non-Muslim (takfiri),” denies the legitimacy of the entire Muslim world (jahili, non-Muslim condition), and that the sole solution of jihad (holy war) “factionalizes‘ the Umma. “It distorts the classical definitions of war against apostates, unbelievers, rebels, and brigands, and misdirects the debate over the nature of the collective or individual duty to jihad.132

Islamism is, depending upon the observer, both a natural outgrowth of Muslim theology and a heretical mutation of the true faith. What is abundantly clear to non-Muslims is that Islam is not a monolith with a univocal expression. There exists today a multitude of voices and organizations within the Islamic religion, all claiming to speak for the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims.

This has been a necessarily brief summary of the Islamic and Islamist concept of war, and of the current practice of Islamist terrorism. In it, I have attempted to contrast the orthodox and the Islamist positions and their views on the practice of jihad as war. I have also sought to cite important voices in the development of the Islamist ideal. In order to respond effectively to this very serious threat, we in the West need to become much more aware that the phenomenon of global Islamist aggression will continue to consume the attention of military and political leaders, our peoples, and much of our energy and resources, for the foreseeable future.

Wylie W. Johnson has served as the Senior Pastor of The Springfield Baptist Church, Springfield, Pennsylvania, since May 1997. Ordained in 1982, he served five years as Assistant Pastor at First Baptist Church, Metuchen, New Jersey; followed by 10 years in the active Army Chaplaincy prior to coming to Springfield. His education includes a D.Min. (Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia); M.Div. (Denver Seminary); MSS (U.S. Army War College), and a B.A. (The King’s College, New York).

He retired in 2012. His last assignment was service as the Command Chaplain for the Military Intelligence Readiness Command of the U.S. Army. He is a veteran of five conflicts and a master parachutist. In his Army career, Chaplain Johnson served in Honduras, Korea, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Haiti, Germany, Afghanistan, and Iraq, as well as numerous locations in the continental United States.


1.  In the Arabic language, kafir means “hypocritical or heretical“; a verbal variant, taqfir, is “to declare someone a hypocrite or heretic.”

2.  Elshtain, Jean Bethke. Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World (New York: Basic Books, 2003), p. 3.

3.  Literally, “struggle”

4.  Lewis, Bernard. “The Roots of Muslim Rage” (The Atlantic, September 1990, accessed February 03, 2009) available from; internet.

5.  Friedman, Thomas L. From Beirut to Lebanon (New York: Anchor Books, NY 1989); p. 89.

6.  Muslims cite their scripture: “you are the best of all nations.” Qur’an 3:110 [also used by Bin Laden] which Muslims believe is absolutely true but incongruent with their present circumstances.

7.  Umma - all Muslim people of faith regardless of nationality.

8.  Shenk, David W. Journeys of the Muslim Nation and the Christian Church: Exploring the Mission of Two Communities (Waterloo, Ontario: Herald Press, 2003); p.24.

9.  Kadduri, Majid. War and Peace in the Law of Islam (New York: AMS Press, 1979); p. 63.

10. Ibid, Shenk, p. 225.

11. Ibid, p. 49.

12. Barber, Benjamin R. “Jihad vs. McWorld” in Conflict After The Cold War: Arguments on Causes of War and Peace. updated 2nd edit. Richard K. Betts, edit. (New York: Pearson Longman, 2005); p. 623-24.

13. Garfinkle, Adam. "How We Misunderstand Terrorism." (E-Note from FPRI. 11 Sep 2008. Foreign Policy Research Institute, accessed 08 March 2009).

14. Ibid, Garfinkle.

15. Exemplified by Shi‘i Ayatollahs Abul Qasim al Khu‘I, Mirza Hosein Na‘ini, and Ali al-Sistani.

16. Ibid, Garfinkle.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid, Benjamin & Simon. p. 177-178.

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid, p. 176-177.

21. Ibid, p. 79.

22. Ahmad, Jala Al-i & Hamid Algar Occidentosis: A Plague From the West (North Haledon, NJ, Mizan Press, 1984). The term ‘westoxification‘ originated in this book also, ‘Occidentosis.‘

23. Berman, Paul. “The philosopher of Islamic Terror” in the New York Times, March 23, 2003.

24. Ibid, Berman.

25. Hourani, Albert. A History Of The Arab Peoples (New York: MJF Books, 1991); p. 398.

26. Ibid, Berman.

27. Qutb, Sayyid. Social Justice in Islam (Oneonta, NY: Islamic Publications International, 2000); p. 261.

28. Ibid, p. 26.

29 Ibid, Berman.

30. Ibid.

31. Ibid, Qutb, Social Justice in Islam, p. 19.

32. Ibid, p. 30.

33. Ibid. p. 37.

34. Qutb, Sayyid. Basic Principles of the Islamic Worldview, Islamic (North Haledon, NJ: Publications International, 2006); p. 97

35. Ibid, p. 6.

36. Ibid, Qutb, Social Justice in Islam, p. 262.

37. Ibid, p. 35.

38. Ibid, Qutb, p. 269-70.

39. Ibid, Karsh, p. 215-216.

40. Ibid, Qutb, Social Justice in Islam, p. 52.

41. Ibid, Benjamin, p. 60.

42. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 64.

43. Jihad – literally, “struggle”

44. This statement is from a Christian perspective only, Muslims regard the Qur’an to have been handed down from God in a complete and perfect form that admits no human motivations.

45. Karsh, Efraim. Islamic Imperialism: A History (New Haven CT: Yale University Press, 2007); p. 5.

46. Ibid, Karsh, p. 5.

47. Ibid.

48. Ibid, Karsh, p. 23.

49. Huntington, Samuel P. The Clash of Civilizations? Conflict After the Cold War: Arguments on Causes of War and Peace, updated 2nd edit. Richard K. Betts, edit. (New York: Pearson Longman, 2005); p. 38-39.

50. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 52.

51. In fact, non-Islamic peoples (dihimini) were obliged to pay the jizyah (the poll tax) which was a very lucrative income for the empire.

52. Ibid, Karsh, p. 212.

53. Ibid, Huntington, p. 40.

54. Ibid, p. 40.

55. Ibid.

56. Christian Zionism, an offshoot of this movement, militantly supports the (Jewish) Zionist ideal and radically opposes any Palestinian claim to the land of Israel.

57. Ibid, Oren, p. 141.

58. Ibid, Lewis.

59. Ibid.

60. Muslim warriors whose primary motivation is to either defend or expand the Islamic faith.

61. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 3.

62. Zuhur, Sherifa D., Youssef H Aboul-Enein. Islamic Rulings on Warfare (Carlisle PA: Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, accessed Feb. 3, 2009, p. 1.); available from; internet.

63. Kadduri omits mention that the Muslim Law of Nations (Siyar) was not articulated for some 200 years after Muhammad, although it was founded upon Muhammad‘s example and the Qur'an.

64. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 16.

65. Ibid, p. 14.

66. Ibid, p. 24.

67. Ibid, p. 25.

68. Ibid, p. 26-7.

69. Ijtihad – making an independent interpretation of texts in the Quran or Sunnah.

70. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 36.

71. Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon. The Age Of Sacred Terror (New York: Random House, 2002); p. 117.

72. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 44.

73. Ibid, p. 44-5.

74. Ibid, p. 69-70.

75. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 71-72.

76. Ibid, Zuhur, p.2.

77. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 69.

78. Ibid, p. 102.

79. January 30, 2009.

80. In Islamic Just War teaching, this is the defense of Islam as a religious duty.

81. Ibid, Barber, p.623.

82. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 55-56.

83. Ibid, p. 60.

84. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 56-57.

85. Ibid, Karsh, p.66.

86. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 80.

87. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 59.

88. Ibid, p. 53-54.

89. The outstanding case of apostasy was the secession of the tribes of Arabia after the death of Muhammad. Abu Bakr, the first caliph, warned them first to return to Islam, and those who did not return were severely fought, especially by Khalid ibn al-Walid, who burned a great number of them in spite of objections raised regarding the penalty of burning. The leaders of the apostated tribes were severely punished and most of them were slain. An eminent chronicler, al-Baladhuri, reports that nobody escaped death save those who returned to Islam. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 74.

90. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 84-87.

91. Ibid, p. 64.

92. Ibid.

93. Johnson, James Turner. The Holy War Idea In Western And Islamic Traditions (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997); p. 37-39.

94. Ibid, Barber, p. 625.

95. Ibid.

96. Ibid.

97. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 59-60. [Q.IX,74].

98. Ibid, p. 94.

99. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 67.

100. Ibid, p. 67-8.

101. The Two Holy Places are Medina and Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

102. Ibid, Benjamin & Simon, p. 140-141.

103. Ibid, Kadduri, p. 94.

104. Johnson, Douglas V. and John R. Martin, “Terrorism Viewed Historically,” Defeating Terrorism: Strategic Issue Analyses. John R. Martin, ed. (Strategic Studies Institute, January 2002, 1-5); p. 3.

105. Elshtain, Jean Bethke. Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World (New York: Basic Books, 2003), p. 133.

106. The other five pillars of Islam are shahadah (profession of faith), salah (ritual prayer), zakat (almsgiving), sawm (fasting during Ramadan) and hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

107. Ibid, Benjamin & Simon. p. 49-50.

108. Ibid, p. 48.

109. Ibid.

110. Ibid, p. 79-80.

111. al-Zawahri as cited in Kiras, James D. “Irregular Warfare: Terrorism and Insurgency” Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies. Eds. John Baylis, James Wirtz, Eliot Cohen, Colin S. Gray (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007); p.164.

112. This is the title given to the first four successors to Mohammad.

113. Ibid, Benjamin & Simon, p. 48.

114. Joint Operating Environment 2008: Challenges and Implications for the Future Joint Force (United States Joint Forces Command, November 2008); p. 35.

115. Roper, Daniel S. Global Counterinsurgency: Strategic Clarity for the Long War (Carlisle PA: Parameters: US Army War College Quarterly, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 3, Autumn 2008); p. 99.

116. Ibid, Benjamin & Simon, p. 120.

117. Brachman, Jarret M. & William F. McCants. "Stealing al-Qaida's Playbook." (Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. February 2006. p. 7, accessed August 03, 2009); available from'da's%20Playbook%20--%20CTC.pdf; internet.

118. Many lesser known or remembered additional attacks were accomplished in a wide variety of nations over this same period.

119. Mahnken, Thomas G. Strategic Theory and Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies. Eds., John Baylis, James Wirtz, Eliot Cohen and Colins S. Gray (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2007. 66-81); p. 70.

120. Ibid, Elshtain, p. 11.

121. Ibid, Benjamin & Simon, p. 29-30.

122. Ibid, Elshtain, p. 11.

123. Ibid, Zuhur, p. 13.

124. Ibid, Elshtain, p. 43.

125. Ibid, p. 43.

126. Ibid, Zuhur, p. 13.

127. Ibid, p. 13.

128. Ibid, p. 22.

129. Evans, Ernest. The Mind of a Terrorist: How Terrorists See Strategy and Morality (World Affairs, Washington, Spring 2005, Vol. 167, Issue 4, p. 175-180).

130. Ibid, Evans, p. 175-180.

131. Kelsay, John. Islam and War: A Study In Comparative Ethics (Louisville, KY: Westminster: John Knox Press, 1993); p. 106-107.

132. Ibid, Zuhur, p. 29.


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Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 18:55