Chapter 9
Back Home Up Next


free web counter


Click here to purchase a printed copy of this bookChapter 9: The Islamic Doctrine of Jihad

by Robert Morey


hen seeking 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 that religion.

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?

The Dictionaries

Webster’s New International Dictionary

A religious war against infidels or Muhammedan heretics.[1]

Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary

A Moslem holy war; campaign against unbelievers or enemies of Islam.[2]

The Random House Dictionary of the English Language

A holy war undertaken as a sacred duty to Muslims.[3]

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary

A holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty; a bitter strife or crusade undertaken in the spirit of a holy war.[4] 

The Universal Dictionary of the English Language

“Contest, war”. A Mohammedan war against unbelievers, campaign against the enemies of Islam.[5]

The American College Dictionary

A war of Muhammedans upon others, with a religious object.[6]

Britannica World Language Dictionary

A religious war of Moslems against the enemies of their faith.[7]

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.[8]

Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary

A jihad is a holy war which Islam allows merely to fight against those who reject its teachings.[9]

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

A Moslem holy war against infidels.[10]

Longman Dictionary of the English Language

A holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty.[11]

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.[12]

The Encyclopedias

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 “holy war.”

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.

Collier’s Encyclopedia

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.[13]

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 self.[14]

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 attack.[15]

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.[16]

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. [17]

Historical and Theological Works

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 Jihad.

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 regions.

A full 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, often obfuscated.

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.’ (XXII.77)

‘Fight valiantly for His cause so that you may triumph.’ (V.39)

‘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.’ (VIIIl.67)

‘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 times?’ (II.245-246)

‘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 become martyrs.

‘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)

The above 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,

(2) To 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 available weapon.[18]

“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.[19]

Mohammed 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 happened.[20]

Understanding Islam through Hadis by Ram Swarup

The seventeenth book is the “Book of Religious Wars and Expeditions” (Kiotab al-Jihad Wa’l-Siyar).

Jihad is 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 phrase­ology.[21]

The Punishment of the Apostate According to Islamic Law by Abul Ala Mawdudi

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 the Qur’an:

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 Prophet:

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 collections.

2. Abdullah ibn Masud reports:

The 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.[22]

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.[23]

Recent Examples of Jihad

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.

But then 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.

Once you 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?

A Satanic Affair: Salman Rushdie and the Rage of Islam by Malise Ruthven

“The 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.”[24]

“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.”[25]

Sacrilege versus Civility: Muslim Perspectives on The Satanic Verses Affair by M.M. Ahsan and A.R. Kidwai, eds.
“Islam’s Gangster Tactics” by Anthony Burgess

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.

...I 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 bonfires.

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 morality.”[26]

“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.[27]

“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.

I 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 Islam.[28]

“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.[29]

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 death.

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.”[30]

 “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.[31]

The Rushdie File, Edited by Lisa Appignanesi and Sara Maitland (Syracuse University Press) “The Rushdie Affair” Editorial

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.”

At 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.

It 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.

The 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.

To 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.[32]

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 material?

First, 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).

Second, 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.

Third, it 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, etc.

Fifth, in 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.

[1]p. 1336

[2]p. 985

[3]p. 1029

[4]p. 1216

[5]p. 631

[6]p. 657.

[7]p. 686

[8]Volume 5, p. 583

[9]p. 781.

[10]Volume 6, p. 704

[11]p. 849

[12]p. 327

[13]Volume 13, p. 587

[14]Volume 16, pgs. 91-92

[15]p. 637

[16]p. 418

[17]p. 209

[18]Vol. VIII, p. 198

[19]Vol. III, pgs. 40-41

[20]pgs 108-109

[21]p. 99

[22]pgs. 17-19

[23]p. 164

[24]p. 48.

[25]p. 51.

[26] p. 75

[27]Source: ©The Independent, 16th January 1989—’Dangers of a Muslim Campaign’. p. 73

[28]Source: ©The Independent, 16th February 1989—’Islam’s Gangster Tactics’. (Italics ours.) pgs. 73-77

[29]Source: ©The Daily Telegraph, 19th February 1989—’We Need Russian Help Against Islam’. p. 77

[30]Source: ©The Daily Telegraph, 6th February 1990—’Limits of Tolerance’. (Italics ours.). pgs. 78-79

[31]The Sunday Telegraph, 24th June 1990—’Rushdie Shemozzle is Attempt to Blackmail’. (Italics ours.) p.80

[32]Globe eMail, Toronto, 21 Feb. 1989, pgs. 145-147

Introduction Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Appendix

If you have questions or comments about this web site, or if you wish to contact Abdullah Aziz, send email to them here: Contact Us. The Islam Comic Book is copyright © 2012 Abdullah Aziz. Last modified: 02/19/12.