Chapter 9: The Islamic Doctrine of Jihad
by Robert Morey
to understand what a particular organized religion teaches, it is
important to distinguish between the official teachings of a
religion from the personal opinions of someone who claims to follow
Religious Teachings vs. Religious Opinions
For example, what is the teaching of
Roman Catholicism on the issue of abortion? The only way you can find out
what it teaches on abortion is to examine general reference works and the
official publications of the church to see what it has stated. Once you
check the dictionaries, encyclopedias, theology books, etc., it is clear
that abortion is condemned by the Catholic Church.
But what if you have a neighbor who
is a Roman Catholic who believes in abortion? What if she says,
“Catholicism does not deny abortion. I ought to know because I am a
Catholic and I believe in abortion.”
The only rational response you can
give to this person is that her personal opinion on the issue does
not alter the official teaching of her religion. She may disagree
with her church’s doctrine but the fact that she does not believe in it
does not alter what the Catholic Church teaches.
The same distinction must be made
when discussing whether the religion of Islam teaches Jihad. The only way
to find out if it teaches Jihad and what that word means is to examine
reference works and official statements made by its representatives. What
if you meet a Muslim who denies that Islam teaches Jihad or who gives a
novel interpretation of it? His personal opinion has no logical or
legal bearing on what the religion of Islam officially teaches
concerning Jihad. He may disagree with what Islam teaches but this
cannot alter the fact that Islam teaches it.
Researching Jihad in Reference Works
Let us take a trip to the local
library to do some research on the subject of Jihad. The first step in
doing research on any topic is to establish the meaning of the key word.
Thus you must go to the dictionaries to see how they define the
word “Jihad.” You first consult general dictionaries and then religious
dictionaries which have an entry on the subject. What will you find?
Webster’s New International Dictionary
A religious war
against infidels or Muhammedan heretics.
Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary
A Moslem holy war;
campaign against unbelievers or enemies of Islam.
The Random House Dictionary of the English Language
A holy war
undertaken as a sacred duty to Muslims.
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary
holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty; a bitter strife
or crusade undertaken in the spirit of a holy war.
The Universal Dictionary of the English Language
“Contest, war”. A Mohammedan war against unbelievers, campaign against
the enemies of Islam.
The American College Dictionary
A war of
Muhammedans upon others, with a religious object.
Britannica World Language Dictionary
A religious war of
Moslems against the enemies of their faith.
The Oxford Dictionary
[struggle, contest, spec. one for the propagation of Islam.] A religious
war of Mohammedans against unbelievers in Islam, inculcated as a duty by
the Koran and traditions.
Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary
jihad is a holy war which Islam allows merely to fight against those who
reject its teachings.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English
A Moslem holy war against infidels.
Longman Dictionary of the English Language
A holy war waged
on behalf of Islam as a religious duty.
The Harper Dictionary of Modern Thought
Jihad (‘Holy War’). A fundamental tenet of traditional ISLAM obliging
the believer to fight the unbeliever until the latter embraces either
Islam or the protected status accorded only to those whose religions are
based on written scriptures (i.e., Jews, Christians, Sabaeans), the
‘peoples of the Book’. A Jihad must be officially proclaimed, by a
recognized spiritual leader.
Once you have consulted the
dictionaries, the second step in research is to examine what the
encyclopedias say on the subject. What will you find?
The New Encyclopedia Britannica
Jihad, also spelled
jehad, Arabic jiohad (“fight,” or “battle”) a religious duty imposed on
Muslims to spread Islam by waging war; jihad has come to denote any
conflict waged for principle or belief and is often translated to mean
Islam distinguishes four ways by which the duty of jihad can be fulfilled:
by the heart, the tongue, the hand, and the sword. The first consists in a
spiritual purification of one’s own heart by doing battle with the devil
and overcoming his inducements to evil. The propagation of Islam through
the tongue and hand is accomplished in large measure by supporting which
is right and correcting what is wrong. The fourth way to fulfill one’s
duty is to wage war physically against unbelievers and enemies of the
Islamic faith. Those who professed belief in a divine
revelation—Christians and Jews in particular—were given special
consideration. They could either embrace Islam or at least submit
themselves to Islamic rule and pay a poll and land tax. If both options
were rejected, jihad was declared.
Jihad, from an Arabic verb meaning to struggle and persevere, denotes,
in the history of Islamic civilization, religious war waged against
heretics, unbelievers, and the enemies of the state or the community of
Muslims. In early Islamic history “jihad” meant holy war, and, as a
strictly Islamic phenomenon, it bears a strict relation to the spread of
the faith by Muslims arms. It was a duty the Kharijits, a band of
warlike rebels, was jihad considered an obligation or command; and by
them it was ranked as a sixth pillar of religion.
Encyclopedia Americana International Edition
Jihad, an Arabic word meaning “struggle.” As a religious duty
theoretically laid upon all followers of Mohammed, jihad is based on the
concept that the Islamic faith, since it is of universal validity, must
be spread to all mankind, by force of arms if necessary. In classical
Islam, jihad was to be directed against “people of the Book” (that is,
possessors of authoritative sacred writings, above all Jews and
Christians) until they submitted to the political authority of Islam,
and against idolaters until they became Muslims. Sufi mystics, however,
often considered jihad as a spiritual struggle against the evil within
The Cambridge Encyclopedia
Jihad—The term used in Islam for ‘holy war’. According to the Koran,
Muslims have a duty to oppose those who reject Islam, by armed struggled
if necessary, and jihad has been invoked to justify both the expansion
and defense of Islam. Islamic states pledged a jihad against Israel in
the Mecca declaration of 1981, though not necessarily by military
Academic American Encyclopedia
In Islam, the duty of each Muslim to spread his religious beliefs is
termed “jihad”. Although the word is widely understood to mean a “holy
war” against nonbelievers, jihad may also be fulfilled by a personal
battle against evil inclinations, the righting of wrongs, and the
supporting of what is good.
The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam
Jihad “Holy war”: a Divine institution of warfare to extend Islam into
the dar al-harb (the non-Islamic territories which are described as the
“abode of struggle”, or of disbelief) or to defend Islam from danger.
Adult males must participate if the need arises, but not all of them,
provided that “a sufficient number” (fard al-kifayah) take it up.
An important precondition of jihad is a reasonable prospect of success,
failing which a jihad should not be undertaken. According to the Sunnah,
a jihad is not lawful unless it involves the summoning of unbelievers to
belief, and the jihad must end when order is restored, that is, when the
unbelievers have accepted either Islam or a protected status within
Islam, or when Islam is no longer under threat. It is impossible to
undertake a jihad against Muslims.
Now that you have consulted the
dictionaries and the encyclopedias, you look in the card catalog to see if
there are any specific books which deal the issue of Jihad. What do you
find? There are books written by Muslims and non-Muslims on the subject of
The Dhimmi by Bat Ye’or
To the cry of JIHAD, the Arabs began their conquest of the world in the
seventh century. This was the beginning of an extraordinary epic which
brought vast regions of the Orient, Africa, and Europe under the rule of
Islam. Jews and Christians who refused conversion became dhimmis:
“protected peoples.” Separating fact from myth in a vast study of their
history, Bat Ye’or offers authentic documents from many periods and
knowledge of the Jihad-War, its aims and regulations will provide
an indispensable key to contemporary conflicts in the Muslim world, as
well as to the wave of current Islamist extremism. The fourth reprinting
of this essential book facilitates the study of their ideological roots,
A Guide to the Contents of
the Qur’an by Faruq Sherif, pgs 166-168
The great expansion of Islam in
the short time after its inception was largely due to the militant
spirit of the new faith. A great many verses of the Qur’an enjoin on
Moslems to take up arms against polytheists, unbelievers and hypocrites.
The words used in expressing this commandment are ‘Qital’ (slaying,
warfare) and ‘Jihad” (going forth to fight in the holy war). This latter
word is more typical as its original meaning is striving with might and
main; and, as will be seen, the dedication of maximum effort to the holy
undertaking characterizes the commandment. Although the wording of one
verse (II.186) implies that fighting is justified when the enemy has
attacked first, this is by no means the general rule. Nor is there any
substance in the argument which is sometimes advanced to the effect that
Jihad should be understood primarily in the sense of moral endeavor and
self-discipline in the cause of service to Islam, and only secondarily
in that of holy war. The verses quoted below will show that the emphasis
is distinctly on warring against non-believers with the object of
propagating Islam, this being, by the express injunction of the Qur’an,
one of the primary duties of Moslems.
‘O Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and hypocrites and
deal rigorously with them; their home shall be Hell…’ (IX.73)
‘O believers, fight the infidels who dwell around you, and
deal rigorously with them.’ (IX.124)
‘Do not yield to unbelievers, but strive against them in a
strenuous Jihad.’ (XXV.54)
‘Fight for the cause of Allah with the devotion due to Him.’
‘Fight valiantly for His cause so that you may triumph.’
‘Whether unarmed or well-equipped, march on and fight for the
cause of Allah with your wealth and your person’s. (IX.41)
‘Fight in God’s cause; you are accountable for none but
yourself. Rouse the faithful…’ (IV.86)
‘Fight against the (the idolaters) until idolatry is no more
and Allah’s religion reigns supreme.’ (II.189 and VIII.40)
‘Fighting is obligatory for you, and you dislike it. But you
may dislike a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although
it is bad for you.’ (II.212)
‘Allah loves those who fight for His cause in ranks as firm as
a mighty edifice.’ (I.XI.4)
‘The true believers are those... who fight for His cause with
their wealth and their persons.’ (XLIX.15)
‘O Apostle, rouse the believers to the fight. If there are
twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two
hundred; if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the unbelievers.’
‘When you meet the unbelievers, smite at
their necks; at length when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond
firmly (on them), thereafter is the time either for generosity or for
ransom until the war lays down its burdens.’ (XLVII.4)
In a number of verses the command to fight is
supported by promise of rewards.
‘Who is he that will loan to God a
beautiful loan which God will double to their credit and multiply many
‘Allah has given those that fight with their goods and their
persons a higher rank than those who stay at home. He has promised all a
good reward, but far richer is the recompense of those who fight for Him;
rank of His own bestowal, forgiveness and mercy.’ (IV. 97)
‘Those who believe, suffer exile and strive with might and
main in God’s cause with their goods and their persons have the highest
rank in the sight of God.’ (IX.20)
‘Those who… fought in the path of God have the hope of the
mercy of God…’ (II.215)
Those who fall on the battlefield in the course of holy war
‘Those that… fought and died for My cause shall be forgiven
their sins and admitted to gardens watered by running streams…’ (III.194)
‘Think not of those who are slain in God’s way as dead; they
are alive and well provided for by their Lord.’ (III.163 and II.149)
‘As for those who are slain in the cause of Allah, He will not
allow their works to perish… He will admit them to the Paradise He has
made known to them.’ (XLVII.5)
Other verses show God’s displeasure with those who shirk their
duty of fighting.
‘And how should you not fight in the cause of Allah and for
the helpless?’ (IV.77)
‘Those who were left behind [in the Tobouk expedition]
rejoiced in their inaction behind the back of the Apostle of God; they
hated to strive and fight with their goods and their persons in the cause
of God. They said, “Do not go forth in the heat.” Say, “The fire of Hell
is fiercer in heat.”‘ (IX.81)
quotations are by no means exhaustive. Clearly the Qur’an makes it the
inescapable duty of every Moslem to take part in fighting for the cause of
God; only the blind, the lame and the sick are exempt (XLVIII.17). Whoever
disobeys this commandment or tries to compromise with the enemy is a
‘hypocrite’ and must be treated as an infidel. On the other hand, whoever
takes part in the fighting is not only promised the rewards of the
Hereafter, but in addition receives here below a share of the booty taken.
Except for a
few verses which are revealed with reference to particular events such as
the battles of Badr and Uhud, all the texts concerning Qital and Jihad
have a general import. The obligation to engaged in holy warfare is meant
to persist, in the words of the Qur’an cited above, until God’s religion
reigns supreme. Therefore if by God’s religion is meant Islam in the
specific sense, and if it is maintained that the commandments of the
Qur’an go beyond the special circumstances and needs of the time of
revelation, then it follows that the prescriptions concerning holy war
place the Islamic community in a situation of potential hostility towards
the non-Moslem world.
The Meaning of the Qur’an,
by S. Abul A’La Maududi
The Arabic words
Jihad-i-Kabir imply three meanings:
(1) To exert
one’s utmost for the cause of Islam,
dedicate all one’s resources to this cause, and
(3) To fight
against the enemies of Islam on all possible fronts with all one’s
resources in order to raise high the “Word of Allah”. This will include
Jihad with one’s tongue, pen, wealth, life and every other
“Exert your utmost”
does not fully convey the meaning of Jahidu. It implies that the
Believers should struggle against all the forces that stand in the way of
Allah, as if to say, “You can please Allah and win His favor only if you
exert your utmost in the way of Allah: struggle hard against all the
persons, parties and forces which stand in Allah’s way, which hinder you
from Allah’s way to turn you away from it, which do not let you follow
Allah’s way as His servants and force you to become their servants or
servants of others. Such exertion and struggle will lead you to true
success and become the means of obtaining the nearness of Allah.”
Thus it must have become clear that this verse exhorts the Believer to
fight his enemies on all fronts. On one side, he confronts Satan and a
host of his followers, and on the second, his own self and its alluring
temptations. On the third side, he has to fight many people who have
swerved from the way of God, and with whom he is bound by close social,
cultural and economic relations. On the fourth side, he is required to
oppose all those religious, cultural and political systems that are
founded on rebellion against God and force people to submit to falsehood
instead of the Truth. Though these enemies employ different weapons,
they all have one and the same object in view, that is, to subdue their
victims and bring them under their own subjection. It is obvious that
true success can only be achieved if one becomes wholly and solely a
servant of God and obeys Him openly and also secretly, to the exclusion
of obedience to all others. Thus there is bound to be a conflict with
all the four enemies. Therefore the Believer cannot achieve his object
unless he engages himself with all these hostile and opposing forces at
one and the same time and at all events, and removing all these
hindrances marches onwards on the way of Allah.
by W. Montgomery Watt
…the normal Arab practice of the razzia was taken over by the
Islamic community. In being taken over, however, it was transformed. It
became an activity of believers against unbelievers, and therefore took
place within a religious context. The Emigrants were described as
“striving with goods and person in the way of God.” They were promoting
one of the purposes of the Islamic community in trying to establish a
region in which God was truly worshipped.
This transformation of the nomadic razzia has wider implications than
are apparent from the English translations used. The words translated
‘strive’ is jahada, and the corresponding verbal noun is jihad or
‘striving’ which came in the course of time to have the technical
meaning of ‘holy war’. The change from the razzia to the jihad may seem
to be no more than a change of name, the giving of an aura of religion
to what was essentially the same activity. Yet this is not so. There was
a change in the activity which came to be of the utmost importance as
time went on. A razzia was the action of a tribe against another tribe.
Even if two tribes were very friendly, their friendship might collapse,
and in a few years a razzia might be possible. Jihad, however, was the
action of a religious community against non-members of the community,
and the community was expanding. If members of the pagan tribes raided
by the Muslims professed Islam, they at once became exempt from further
Muslim raids. Consequently, as the Islamic community grew, the raiding
propensities of the Muslims had to be directed even further outwards. It
was this ‘religious’ character of the jihad which channeled the
energies of the Arabs in such a way that in less than a century they had
created an empire which stretched from the Atlantic and the Pyrenees in
the West to the Oxus and the Punjab in the East. It seems certain that
without the conception of the jihad that expansion would not have
Understanding Islam through
Hadis by Ram Swarup
seventeenth book is the “Book of Religious Wars and Expeditions” (Kiotab
a divinely ordained institution in Islam. By many authorities it is
counted as one of the pillars of Islam. Theologically, it is an
intolerant idea: a tribal god, Allah, trying to be universal through
conquest. Historically, it was an imperialist urge masked in religious
The Punishment of the
Apostate According to Islamic Law by Abul Ala
To everyone acquainted with
Islamic law it is no secret that according to Islam the punishment for a
Muslim who turns to kufr (infidelity, blasphemy) is execution.
Doubt about this matter first arose among Muslims during the final
portion of the nineteenth century as a result of speculation. Otherwise,
for the full twelve centuries prior to that time the total Muslim
community remained unanimous about it. The whole of our religious
literature clearly testifies that ambiguity about the matter of the
apostate’s execution never existed among Muslims. The expositions of the
Prophet, the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (Khulafa’-i Rashidun), the
great Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet, their Followers (Tabi’un),
the leaders among the mujtahids and, following them, the doctors
of the shari’ah of every century are available on record. Al
these collectively will assure you that from the time of the Prophet to
the present day one injunction only has been continuously and
uninterruptedly operative and that no room whatever remains to suggest
that perhaps the punishment of the apostate is not execution.
A. The Proof from
the Qur’an for the Commandment to Execute the Apostate
Here I wish briefly to offer proof that will quiet the doubt in the
hearts of those who, for lack of sources of information, may think that
perhaps the punishment of death did not exist in Islam but was added at
a later time by the mawlawis (religious leaders) on their own.
God Most High declares in
But if they repent and
establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in
religion. We detail our revelations for a people who have knowledge. And
if they break their pledges after their treaty (hath been made with you)
and assail your religion, then fight the heads of disbelief—Lo! they
have no binding oaths in order that they may desist. (9:11,12)
B. Proof from the Hadith (Canonical Tradition) for the Commandment to
Execute the Apostate
After the Qur’an we turn to the Hadith. This is the command of the
1. Any person (i.e.,
Muslim) who has changed his religion, kill him.
This tradition has been narrated by Abu Bakr, Uthman, Ali, Muadh ibn
Jabal, Abu Musa Ashari, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Khalid ibn Walid and a
number of other Companions, and is found in all the authentic Hadith
2. Abdullah ibn Masud reports:
Messenger of God stated: In no way is it permitted to shed the blood of
a Muslim who testifies that “there is no god except God” and “I am the
Apostle of God” except for three crimes: a. he has killed someone and
his act merits retaliation; b. he is married and commits adultery; c. he
abandons his religion and is separated from the community.
Understanding the Arab World
by Louis Bahjat Hamada
Jihad, to struggle for a
holy cause—according to Muslim belief, all healthy men, and occasionally
women, must bear arms in the event of a holy cause that may or may not
lead to war. Death in jihad is martyrdom. A warrior who gives his
or her life for a holy cause will secure a beautiful place in paradise
with special heavenly privileges. This is a good reason for foreign
powers not to provoke the Muslims to wrath. Islam owes much of its
popularity as a major world religion to this tenet.
Recent Examples of
Your next step is to go up to the
librarian and ask if she knew of any examples of Jihad in modern times.
She points out that all the wars against Israel were Jihads. All the
recent terrorist acts—the bombing of the Pan Am flight over Scotland, the
bombing of the World Trade Center in September of 2001, all of the
Muslim suicide bombings in Israel and elsewhere, the killing of American
soldiers in Arabia and Germany, etc.,—were done in the name of Jihad. The
Desert Storm War was itself proclaimed a Jihad.
The librarian then sends you to the
computer to check out the newspapers and magazines that used the word
“Jihad” in any report of recent terrorist activities. The computer comes
up with thousands of references in newspapers and magazines where Muslims
in the name of Jihad have caused death and carnage around the world.
she hits on a recent example that is crystal clear in revealing the
violent nature of Islam: the Salman Rushdie affair! Rushdie is the author
of a book entitled The Satanic Verses. He was sentenced to death in
the name of Jihad. Several of the translators of his book were hunted down
and butchered in cold blood by Muslim fanatics. A price was put on
Rushdie’s head by the leader of Iran. He was forced into hiding for the
rest of his life. His book is burned and banned in Muslim countries. Even
the Muslims in the West called for his death and the banning of his book.
If there was ever an example of the violent meaning of Jihad in modern
times, this is it.
type the name “Rushdie” into the computer, thousands of references come
up. It was a hot topic and all the newspapers and magazines wrote on the
Jihad against him. After looking at some of the articles, you find several
books were also written on the issue. What do you find?
Satanic Affair: Salman Rushdie and the Rage of Islam
by Malise Ruthven
Prophet did not urge his followers to love their enemies or to turn the
other cheek. The Prophet of Islam preached his message during a bloody
and violent period in Arabian history. He waged holy war–jihad–upon his
enemies, the polytheists of Mecca, before overcoming them with superior
numbers and force. On occasions he behaved with utter ruthlessness
towards his ideological opponents, like his former Jewish allies, the
Banu Qurayza, whose males were massacred after the Battle of the Ditch
(627 CE). The men—about 600 of them—were all beheaded, apart from those
who converted to Islam; the women and children were sold into slavery.”
“According to Ibn Taymiyya, anyone defaming the Prophet must be
executed, whether he is a Muslim or not. There is disagreement among the
experts about whether the blasphemer should be allowed to repent. Ibn
Taymiyya comes down on the side of those who insist that even if the
culprit repents, or converts to Islam in the case of a non-Muslim, he
must be killed. Some authorities argued that Jews or Christians who
cursed the Prophet should be killed unless they converted to Islam, and
there are documented cases where this was applied.”
Sacrilege versus Civility:
Muslim Perspectives on The Satanic Verses Affair
by M.M. Ahsan and A.R. Kidwai, eds.
“Islam’s Gangster Tactics” by
Evidently, there is a political element in the attack on The
Satanic Verses which has killed and injured good if obstreperous
Muslims in Islamabad, though it may be dangerously blasphemous to
suggest it. The Ayatollah Khomeini is probably within his self-elected
rights in calling for the assassination of Salman Rushdie, or of
anyone else for that matter, on his own holy ground. To order outraged
sons of the Prophet to kill him, and the directors of Penguin Books,
on British soil is tantamount to a jihad. It is a declaration
of war on citizens of a free country, and as such it is a political
act. It has to be countered by an equally forthright, if less
murderous, declaration of defiance.
gain the impression that few of the protesting Muslims in Britain know
directly what they are protesting against. Their Imams have told them
that Mr. Rushdie has published a blasphemous book and must be punished.
They respond with sheeplike docility and wolflike aggression. They
forget what the Nazis did to books—or perhaps they do not: after all,
some of their co-religionists approved of the Holocaust—and they shame a
free country by denying free expression through the vindictive agency of
They have no right to call for the destruction of Mr. Rushdie’s book. If
they do not like secular society, they must fly to the arms of the
Ayatollah or some other self-righteous guardian of strict Islamic
“In Defense of Sacrilege: Muslims—Nazis of Britain?”
If members of Britain’s
community of some two million Muslims do not want to read Salman
Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, all they have to do is
abstain from buying it or taking it out of the local library. They
should not seek to impose their feelings about its contents—or, more
probably, what they have been told about them—on the rather larger
non-Islamic part of the population. Their campaign to have the book
banned, on the grounds that it blasphemes Islam, led to a demonstration
over the weekend in Bradford in which, following the example of the
Inquisition and Hitler’s National Socialists, a large crowd of Muslims
burnt some copies of the book.
“Not the Book but the Muslim Protest is Distasteful”
If members of Britain’s Moslem community wish to pay £12.95 for
the privilege of burning a copy of Mr. Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic
Verses in the privacy of their own homes, that is a matter for them.
Many Christians who have struggled with Mr. Rushdie’s impenetrable
novels will warm their hands at the fireside. But the state in a
society which, as they knew when they entered it, grants total tolerance
to all faiths so long as those faiths do not conflict with that very
principle of tolerance.
What applies in the United Kingdom applies equally to the United States.
What a secular society thinks of the prophet Mohammed is its own affair,
and reason, apart from law, does not permit aggressive interference of
the kind that has brought shame and death to Islamabad.
Islam once did intellectual battle. Now it prefers to draw blood. It
seems to have lost its major strength only to resort to the tactics of
the gangster. This is unworthy of a major religion.
would much prefer that Khomeini argued rationally with the infidel West
in the manner of the great medieval Arabs. But, instead of arguing, he
declared a holy war against argument. His insolence is an insult to
“Unite Against Islam!”
by Norman Stone
Islam is the religion, after all, of the ferocious Ayatollahs, of
suicide-bombings and hostage-taking; of the Afghan sects, who, no doubt,
will soon be meting revenge on collaborators with the Soviets. Salman
Rushdie has learned this, in a very hard way...
The Mahdi is the enemy of mankind, and particularly of womankind, and we
need all the allies we can get. The world as a whole must unite to make
sure that fundamentalist Islam does not get away with it.
Limits of Tolerance
There are few more difficult tasks, even or perhaps especially in a
liberal democracy, than to define the limits of tolerance. A year after
the Ayatollah Khomeini first pronounced sentence on Mr. Salman Rushdie,
the difficulties for the author, his publishers, and our own society
have become no easier to reconcile. Yet to almost all of us, Mr.
Rushdie’s right to publish his book was, and remains, beyond dispute. It
has been dismaying to behold British Moslems publicly echoing the
murderous threats of the Iranians. Only a month or two ago, several
hundred Moslems gathered in Walthamstow to vote that the death sentence
against the author should “remain in place”. One Dr. Kalim Siddiqui has
been strongly and openly associated with the call for Mr. Rushdie’s
If Moslem fundamentalism, and its bloodier manifestations, gain any hold
in this country, they will have to be suppressed, employing the full
vigour of the laws which were introduced to protect minority communities
from racial harassment.
We may all wish that Mr. Rushdie had not written his book. But he has
done so, and we should continue to defend his rights, as Mrs. Thatcher
and her Government have done with such credit. British publishers should
encourage Penguin to proceed with the paperback edition. To flinch from
publication now would be a surrender to those forces of fanaticism with
which we cannot compromise, if we are to sustain the traditional values
and license of our own society. It is those values to which British
Moslems must subscribe, however unwillingly, if they are to play a full
part in British life, as we all wish that they should.”
“Rushdie Shemozzle is Attempt to Blackmail”
Mary Kenny was last week surely mistaken for once. The Rushdie shemozzle
is not just a matter of freedom of expression versus censorship.
Islam is trying to blackmail us, with its preposterous death sentence
and hints that hostages might be freed and diplomatic relations be
restored if we ceased to protect Mr. Rushdie from its hit-men or at
least consigned his book to oblivion.
Why should Muslims expect their religion to be protected from attack?
Christianity is frequently assailed, sometimes blasphemously, but we
do not respond by threatening murder and burning books and bookshops.
Indeed we expect our religion to be spoken ill of, since Jesus himself
warned us that it would be. The proper reaction, we know, is to pity the
blasphemer and pray for his salvation.
The Rushdie File,
Edited by Lisa Appignanesi and Sara Maitland (Syracuse University Press)
“The Rushdie Affair”
Many outrageous comments have been made in the wake of Iran’s call for
the murder of British author Salman Rushdie, but for sheer
bloodymindedness it is hard to match the remarks of Iran’s charge
d’affaires in London. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s command to faithful
Moslems to kill Mr. Rushdie “does not imply any political gesture by
Iran, nor does it imply any interference in internal affairs of your
country,” Akhoond Zadeh Basti said last week. “...If the purely
religious-based opinion of a religious head is going to be interpreted
politically, it is very unfortunate.”
the risk of taking Mr. Basti too seriously, what could be more political
than called for the assassination of a foreign national? It is the
attempted extra-territorial application of Iran’s capital sanction
against blasphemy, without the inconvenience of a fair trial. It is a
calculated assault on international law.
took a few days for Western nations to get up to speed in their
political response, but the members of the European Community have not
agreed to recall their ambassadors and restrict the movements of Iranian
diplomats on their soil. Britain will go further by withdrawing its
embassy staff from Tehran. West German Foreign Minister Dietrich Genser
said the EC’s action was partly in solidarity with Britain, “but it is
also a signal to assure the preservation of civilization and human
values, the preservation of freedom of speech and expression.”
Canada has balked at such forceful remonstrance; External Affairs
Minister Joe Clark fretted that Canada should not overreact over a
single issue. But Canada, no less than other countries, is vulnerable to
the sort of mini-jihad Ayatollah Khomeini has launched. It is a Briton
today; it might be a Canadian tomorrow, and not necessarily an author.
Meanwhile, the government came within centimeters of a nasty blunder
last week. An Ottawa association complained to the Prime Minister’s
Office that the Rushdie book constituted hate literature; the PMO sent
the letter to Revenue Canada, whose officials promptly said they would
detain any further shipments at the border pending an examination of
their contents. Oh, what solace that would have given the sworn enemies
of Mr. Rushdie; fortunately, officials decided over the weekend that
there was no question of the book being hate literature, and new
shipments may enter at will.
reaction of booksellers themselves has been mixed. It was sad to see
Coles Book Stores Ltd. turn pale in the face of the Ayatollah’s wrath
and remove Mr. Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses from its 198
Canadian stores. Capitulation doesn’t deter threats and acts of
violence; it encourages them by showing that menace pays.
its credit, W. H. Smith Canada Ltd. said it saw no reason to banish Mr.
Rushdie’s book from its shelves: “While W. H. Smith appreciates that
this novel has caused offense to certain religious groups, our company
policy is to make available to our customers books which they wish to
purchase and which contravene no Canadian laws.” (The book, we might
note, has circulated freely in Canada since its publication last year.)
It may well be that international outrage at Iran’s actions plays into
the hands of hard-line Iranians, and that this whole crusade is a
product of domestic Iranian politics; but no country that believes in
international law can afford to let Mr. Rushdie and his allies stand
alone in their ghastly predicament. The spiritual head of a nation has
given religious adherents in other nations an exhortation to murder; if
such practices are not bitterly challenged, who among us is safe? Even
those who found The Satanic Verses offensive have a stake in
finding the Ayatollah’s incitement to murder many times more so.
The Truth About Jihad
By this time you have exhausted all the reference works on Islam that the
library has. You have a good grip on what Jihad means according to the
dictionaries, the encyclopedias, Islamic scholars, popular press,
historians, theological works, etc. What can we conclude from all of this
Jihad is clearly a major doctrine of the religion of Islam.
It is sometimes called the “sixth pillar of Islam.” Its founder, Mohammed,
stated that Jihad was the second most important thing in Islam (Bukhari,
vol. 1, no. 25).
Jihad is commanded in the Qur’an and in the Hadith. There
are so many references to this fact that this is beyond all doubt. See “The
Qur’an on Jihad”, below.
is the moral duty of all Muslims to participate in Jihad.
Any Muslims who says otherwise is voicing his personal opinion and not the
official teaching of the religion of Islam.
Fourth, in its non-violent form,
Jihad means to strive with all your might
against such temptations as alcohol, and for the conversion of non-Muslims
to Islam. In non-violent Jihad, people are encouraged to
convert to Islam or to return to Islam by gifts of money, the promise of a
job or university education, sexual favors, intimidation, evangelistic
outreaches to non-Muslims by the distribution of tracts, books, tapes and
videos promoting Islam, the promise of protection from rape in prison,
its violent form, Jihad has been invoked to justify every act of terrorism
imaginable. Waging war on a nation such as Israel or the
United States is Jihad. Jihad includes the blowing up of school buses
filled with children; the bombing public transportation such as buses,
trains, and airplanes; the killing of clergymen of other faiths; the
murder of authors who speak out against Islam; the kidnapping and rape of
women; the enslavement of non-Muslims; the assassination of political and
religious figures; bombing apartment houses; gang rape; the looting of
homes, businesses, cities and nations; the burning down of neighborhoods
and cities; the use of chemical and biological warfare against civilian
populations; putting people in jail for criticizing Islam; and torturing
them and mutilating their bodies, etc.
But what if you run across a Muslim
who says that Islam is a religion of peace and that Islam does not teach
and practice Jihad? He is either ignorant of what Islam teaches or is
trying to deceive you. Either way, he is an “apostate” from Islam because
he has rejected the Qur’an and the Hadith.
How different is the religion of
Jesus Christ, the crucified Son of God! He told His disciples to put away
their swords and to use only the moral persuasion found in the preaching
of the Gospel. Jesus did not come to found an earthly kingdom which would
be forced on others against their will. He asks us to place our faith and
hope in Him because of the love He showed on the cross when He died for
helpless sinners. While Mohammed was the “prince of war,” Jesus is the
“Prince of Peace.” Without Him, there can be no peace between God and man.