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Jihad Is Not Perpetual Warfare

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Jihad is Not Perpetual Warfare

 

By Imam Zaid Shakir

 

One of the fundamental ideas underlying the argument of those who advocate a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West is the thesis that Islam is a religion that advocates perpetual warfare. This warfare, in their formulation, is what Muslims know as ‘Jihad.’ In his provocative book, Islam Unveiled, Robert Spencer unequivocally states: The Jihad that aims to increase the size of the dar al-Islam at the expense of the dar al-harb, is not a conventional war that begins at a certain point and ends at another. Jihad is a “permanent war†that excludes the idea of peace but authorizes temporary truces related to the political situation.

 

Other Western writers and ideologues go further by linking the idea of Jihad to an effort by Muslims to obtain global domination. For example, Daniel Pipes, writing in the November 2002 edition of Commentary, states, In premodern times, jihad meant mainly one thing among Sunni Muslims, then as now the Islamic majority. It meant the legal, compulsory, communal effort to expand the territories ruled by Muslims at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims. In this prevailing conception, the purpose of Jihad is political, not religious. It aims not so much to spread the Islamic faith as to extend sovereign Muslim power (though the former has often followed the latter). The goal is boldly offensive, and its ultimate intent is nothing less than Muslim domination over the entire world. As the premodern world never came totally under the sway of Islam, Jihad, in the formulation described by Pipes, meant permanent war. Pipes doesn’t see modernity mitigating this pre-modern tendency in Jihad, for he goes on to say, In brief, jihad in the raw remains a powerful force in the Muslim world, and this goes far to explain the immense appeal of a figure like Osama bin Laden in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001.

 

It is interesting that Spencer, Pipes, and others, buttress their arguments with formulations and concepts associated with classical Islamic political theory. However, their understanding presupposes a single, narrow reading of the Islamic tradition, based on certain ideologically determined parameters, which limit their ability to accommodate an alternative reading.

 

Read the whole article from (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.zaytuna(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/seasons/seasons2/53-64%20Seasons.pdf"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.zaytuna(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/seasons/seasons2/53-64%20Seasons.pdf[/url]

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