Archive for the ‘Bo’s Commentary’ Category

Introduction

“Hijacking Planes, terrorizing innocent people and shedding blood constitute a form of injustice that cannot be tolerated by Islam, which views them as gross crimes and sinful acts.” so says the Saudi Grand Mufti Shaykh Abdul Aziz al-Ashaikh. (1)  Warfare is a multidimensional pursuit and the dimension a combatant chooses is usually determined by factors such as the environment, needs, limitations, strength, goals, funding and motivation. Each form of warfare is definitionally limited in order to categorize, study, understand and properly respond to the threat. (2) Sometimes it is also necessary to divide the general category into subcategories. A subcategory will have major features which fit the definition but might differ inconsequently from another. Nevertheless, despite the differences each subcategory is limited as to what it can apply by definition. Asymmetric warfare is one dimension of war and terrorism is a subcategory. Each category has an operational definition. The definition is formed by attempting to understand the various root causes of what might have produced the particular act. A proper definition will implicitly include the possible proper issues which need to be addressed in order to eradicate the cause(s) that lead to the act.

The West universally categorizes Islamic jihad as an act of terror within asymmetric warfare without question. (3) Nevertheless, Jihadists staunchly deny they are involved in terror. The difference in how each group defines the actions is extremely important in the conflict against Jihadism. If an act is improperly categorized, being forced into a particular definition to which it cannot conform, it will hinder the authorities’ ability to fully understand what motivated the act and how to properly respond. This paper will provide evidence that jihad is not an act of terror qua terror by examining the definitions of asymmetry and terrorism and compare the definitions with the belief system of Islamic Jihadism. Instead, the West needs to make jihad its own category within the study of warfare.

Definitional Limitations of Asymmetry

Defining asymmetric warfare is difficult. Steven Lambakis states, “Yet the analytical utility of the term is less certain when a definition cannot be reached.” (4) Lambakis argues one problem with the use of asymmetric to describe a form of warfare is that the term is too vague and its application too broad. Despite the difficulty in defining asymmetric warfare it must be attempted.  T.V. Paul defines asymmetric warfare as  “conflict involving two states with unequal overall military and economic power resources.” (5)  Heinz Dinter defines it as “Asymmetric warfare is a set of operational practices aimed at negating advantages and exploiting vulnerabilities rather than engaging in traditional force-on-force engagements.” (6) Roger Barnett describes asymmetric warfare as an act that is “unlawful, politically motivated, and directed against innocents in order to affect others . . .  actions outside the limits imposed on the use of force . . .  “ (7) The FBI’s definition includes the politically motivated and adds social change. (8) Rod Thornton offers a more simple definition when he says, “At its simplest, asymmetric warfare is violent action undertaken by the ‘have-nots’ against the ‘haves’ whereby they have-nots, be they state or sub-state actors, seek to generate profound effects -at all levels of warfare (however defined), from tactical to strategic – by employing their own specific relative advantages against the vulnerabilities of stronger opponents.” (9) These five definitions are not the only definitions military scholars have offered to defined asymmetric warfare. Nevertheless, adding more definitions will not necessarily clarify asymmetric warfare any further.

The purpose of a definition is to provide guidelines by which an individual can determine what the definition includes and what it excludes. The above definitions provide the boundaries that are needed to determine if Jihadism falls within the limitations of asymmetric warfare. Asymmetric warfare is limited to one or more violent actions that take place between two or more entities between which inequalities in any form of power exists. In addition, the violent action is limited to negating the enemy’s vulnerabilities unlawfully in an unconventional manner. Presumably, the act is in violation of International Law. Furthermore, this unlawful action must be committed to force the enemy to institute a particular political or social change desired by the entity attacking. Finally, the entities using the asymmetric tools at their disposal must be the “have-nots.”

Definitional Limitations of Terrorism

Defining terrorism is as difficult as defining asymmetric warfare for a number of reasons. The Obama administration has become a hindrance to properly defining terrorism. The DHS and the State Department’s Counterterrorism Communications Center has decided it is politically incorrect to use words like jihad, Jihadists and mujahedeen. In addition, no government communication is allowed to use Islam or Muslim in relation to any “terrorist” attack including Al-Qaeda.(10)  It turns out the changes the DHS and State Department made in the CTCC were suggestions offered from an undisclosed group of Muslims who might have been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. (11) The other difficulty is that there is no single officially, accepted definition. (12) Despite these difficulties there are a number of sources to be mined. The Federal Bureau of Investigation divides terrorism into domestic and international. A terrorist incident is defined as “a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, in violation of the criminal laws of the United States, or of any state, to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” The definition limits terrorism to act which is promoting a particular political or social agenda. The document does not define the term social. Paul Pillar, a former deputy of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, stated that terrorism is premeditated, political, aimed at civilians and is carried out by subnational groups.(13)  This definition limits terrorism to act which is not accidental and is aimed solely at imposing a political agenda. In addition, the target must be civilians and the entity committing the act must be less than a state which means it must be a non-state organization like Hizb ut-Tahrir or an individual. The Department of Defense and the Army have similar definitions. The DOD defines terrorism as “The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.” The DOD significantly adds religion to the definition of terrorism as does the Army’s official definition. (14) Religion, as a part of the definition of terrorism, is conspicuously missing from the other definitions and this creates some significant problems. One problem is defining what is a terrorist act. The DHS could not define an act as terrorism if the group’s motivation is religious while the DOD would. Another problem is in persecuting the “war” against terrorist groups. If governmental agencies will not or cannot agree on a precise definition of terrorism it seems it would be very difficult for the same agencies to determine and label a group as a terrorist organization.

According to the above definitions terrorism is limited to a premeditated act that is dangerous to a human. The act must be in violation of the criminal laws of a nation or any specific state. Further the act must be perpetrated by an organization which is less than a state but can be an individual which attacks only civilians. Additionally, the reason an entity attacks the civilian populace is to produce fear in the popular and intimidate the government to give in to the organization’s demands. All the definitions agree that the demands are generally political in nature. The DoD’s definition significantly differs from the others for it adds that religion is also a motivation that might compel an organization to commit a  terrorist act. The difficulty now is to determine whether the working definition of terrorism this paper is creating ought to include religion. Generally, it is agreed that the definition most often used is that of the FBI which mentions only political and social motives and does not mention religion. In addition, the present administration has also purged all official government documents of any mention of religion especially Islam. Therefore, the definition of terrorism will not include religion.

Jihad: A Form of Asymmetric Warfare or Terror?

“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” (15) Unfortunately, it could be argued that America knows neither herself nor her enemies. America seems to be in the throes of evaluating whom she is and what she stands for and has been for some time. In the midst of this she is fighting an enemy who wants nothing less than her complete transformation to an Islamic republic. America has always prided herself on the abilities of the FBI, CIA and other organizations which have been tasked to discover, root and take out America’s internal and external enemies. These organizations can only do their job if they know our enemy. Nevertheless, often cultural, secular, political and religious beliefs can become barriers to understanding the enemy and their motivations. In some cases, the worldview to which a person or organization’s subscribes might force them to define a violent act and its motives by their worldview rather than defining the issue from the viewpoint or worldview of the terrorist or terror group which perpetrated the act. This pigeonholing can actually hinder the ability to fully understand the group or individual’s motive(s) and make predictions about future events.

U.S. politicians and agencies categorize Jihadist activity generally within asymmetric warfare and more specially within terrorism. Jihadist literature provides a different viewpoint for their activities, purpose and motivation and in so doing provides some predictive insight. This section will examine Jihadi motivations from a Jihadi perspective which will lend support for the conclusion that Jihadism is a category of war on its own and is neither asymmetric nor terror.

Jihad, Terror and Suicide

The Qur’ an states more than once that Allah will cast terror into the lives of disbelievers. (8:012) Yet, Muslims argue that the terror of which the Qur’ an speaks is not the same terror of which Jihadists are accused. Al Islam states “In a nutshell, taking hostages and maltreating envoys and private citizens in any shape and form are totally foreign to the teachings and doctrines of Islam.” (16)  Additionally, Islam Religion states “In light of these and other Islamic texts, the act of inciting terror in the hearts of defenseless civilians, the wholesale destruction of buildings and properties, the bombing and maiming of innocent men, women, and children are all forbidden and detestable acts according to Islam and the Muslims.” (17) If we dismiss taqiyya or Islamic dissimilation for the moment, it seems that Islam decries terror as the West understands the term and yet, the Islamic world does not reject jihad. All warfare creates terror in the civilian population and innocents are unfortunately killed. Yet, these instances are defined as a terrorist act. Jihadists believe jihad is warfare against a proper target even if there is collateral damage.

Often suicide is associate with a terrorist act such as the 9/11 attack. The Qur’ an forbids a Muslim to take his own life. (25:68) The only justification for killing is if it is for a just cause and this cause must be approved by Allah. At-Taubah is considered to be the last Surah of the Qur’ an and therefore, Allah’s last words through Muhammad. Allah approved the Ummah to fight against those who reject Allah, the last day, do not forbid what Allah does and do not acknowledge the truth. (9:029) Contextually, the fighting is physical because it also commands Muslims to force dhimmis to pay the jizyah. A dhimmi is a creation of jihad. An ahadith provides evidence that this fighting is physical and states “It is reported on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah.” (18) Jihadists therefore, do not view their actions as suicidal. Instead, Jihadists seem to view giving up their lives, as did the 9-11 attackers, as a proper act of self-sacrifice in attacking a proper enemy to further the goals, in this case, of Allah. In actuality Jihadists believe that the actions of the 9-11 Jihadists are no different that a U.S. soldier who storms a machine-gun nest, dying in the process, to further the goals of his superiors.

In summary, Islam accepts jihad but rejects the use of terror and suicide as defined by the West. Therefore, from a Jihadist’s perspective a jihadi act is a proper act of war directed against a proper target which might demand self-sacrifice as well as include collateral damage.

Jihad, Religion and Democracy

The issue here is controlling the definition of words. Jihadists use many of the same words as do the West but gut them of Western meanings filling them with Islamic meanings. The purpose of jihad is multifaceted and one purpose is transform democracy. The conflict between the Jihadist and democracy is a religious issue. Yet, the word religion does not properly explain the issue. In essence there is no difference between the religious and political in Islam for it is a theocracy.  Mary Habeck states, “For jihadis, the distinction between religious and political, private and public, disappears replaced by a vision of life unified into one whole.” (19) Allah rules the Ummah through Shari’ ah in which the political and religious, as the West understands it, is meshed inseparably together. Most Jihadists stem from the Hanbali school of fiqh. Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al_Wahhab, Hassan al-Banna, Sayyid Abul A’la Al-Mawdudui, Sayyid Qutb are the primary, although not only, mentors of Hanbali Jihadists. Qutb argued that only Allah has the right to make laws for mankind and this clashes with democracy. (20) Hizb ut-Tahrir, a Hanabli Khilafah-centered group, explains that jihadi groups reject democracy due to the principle of sovereignty. (21) Hizb argues that democracy places the sovereignty over a person’s life in the hands of the individual rather than Allah. Because the concept of democracy is a matter of sovereignty Qutb argued that democracy is about religion not politics. (22) Islam and democracy are a clash of sovereignty. Because democracy’s sovereignty clashes with Allah’s sovereignty, Jihadi do not believe it is sinful for a Muslim to live within the borders of a democratic nation as long as they practice Shari’ ah. They do believe it is an act of idolatry for a Muslim to live democratic principles either in lue of or alongside of Shari’ ah. (23)

The clash between religions (democracy and Islam) justifies jihad. Mohammad permitted Muslims to fight against those who do not believe in Allah, the last day, do not forbid what Allah does and refuse to acknowledge the true religion. (At-Taubah 9:29) According to this passage the fight is against those who reject Allah by worshiping someone or thing other than Allah. The Qur’ an forbids worshiping any partners with Allah. (Ar-Rum 30:33) The fight is also against those who reject what is halah and haraam located within Shari’ ah. (At-Taubah 9:29) Finally, Muslims are to fight against those who reject the true religion which is Islamic monotheism. (At-Taubah 9:29) This fight is to continue until there is no more persecution. The term persecution is translated from fitnah which refers to worshiping others than Allah and jihad is to continue until this worship ceases. (Al-Baqarah 2:193) To Jihadists democracy is a question of sovereignty, sovereignty is a question of obedience and obedience is a question of worship. (Al-Imran 3:51) Qutb argued that “obedience to [man’s, BIP] laws and judgments is a sort of worship, and anyone who does this is outside this religion.” (24) Allah commands his jihadi to fight against and subdue every religion which is not Allah’s true religion and democracy, a religion, rejects Allah’s sovereignty. Therefore, Jihadi attacks against any democracy is theocratically justified at least from an Islamic worldview.

In summary, Jihadi attacks against democracy are justified because democracy is a religion. This religion permits people to exercise sovereignty over their lives rather than submitting to Allah’s sovereignty and live out Shari’ ah. So, Jihadists do not view their actions as a political but a theocratic act in which they are furthering Allah’s Da’wah or call to obedience.

Jihad and Kufr Law

“The International Law, which is Kufr, is the basis of its foreign policy. It serves as a member in the United Nations, accepting their Kufr based resolutions.” (25) In general, Jihadists reject any law which is not Shari’ ah which includes both international, national and regional law. The vast majority of Western jurists argue that all terrorist attacks are a violation of International and regional law and the perpetrators, if they survive, could be prosecuted under such. (26) Islam, on one hand, is divided over the relationship between Islam and international and regional law including the U.N. There are numerous Islamic voices heralding the unity of Islamic and international law. (27) On the other hand, Jihadis fully agree that the Ummah is to be governed solely by Shari’ ah and is therefore, free from International and regional Law and the U.N.

Nevertheless, despite the antithesis between Jihadi beliefs and International law there is a legal issue which the West seems to have overlooked when defining Jihadism as terror. According to Islamic jurists there are at three definitions of jihad. The Noble Qur’ an declares the three types of jihad correspond to the mind, tongue and hand. (28) Jihad can be waged through different avenues and most often the avenues are used together. The process that initiates jihad is rather simple. First, the Da’wah is announced which is the call to be obedient to Islamic monotheism by submitting to Allah alone. (29) The Da’wah is essential because Muslims are not allowed to attack any person or group of people who have not first been given the Da’wah. (Al-Qasas 58:29) Fundamentally, the Da’wah is a non-Muslim’s opportunity to be freed from the oppression of skirk or polytheism by becoming either a true Muslim or a dhimmi. Shirk includes being enslaved to democracy. The four main mentors of the Hanbali school, especially Sayyid Qutb, taught that tawhid or the oneness of Allah meant Allah alone has the authority to make laws for mankind. This is a matter of sovereignty. (30) Allah guides the Ummah by the Qur’ an, Hadiths and Sunna which together are the basis for Shari’ ah. Therefore, all manmade laws are an affront to Allah’s sovereignty and a person whether Muslim or not who conducts their lives by these laws is viewed are worshiping a false god. This is the essence of shirk.

The Da’wah divides the world into Muslim and non-Muslim which is divided into dhimmis and kufrs. A dhimmi submits to Shari’ ah without becoming a Muslim and a kufr refuses to submit in any form. Jihad is the method by which the Da’wah is enforced. Jihad is not so much about killing people, although this is a significant part of this process, but instead forcing submission and removing obstacles. Therefore, from the Jihadist’ view point jihad is a defensive tool even when it is offensively used and promotes justice.

Shari’ ah allows the Ummah to attack any individual or group who attacks them. The Qur’ an states, “And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you . . .  “ (Al-Baqarah 2:190) and “And fight them until there is no more Fitnah and worship is for Allah alone.” (Al-Baqarah 2:193) Defensive jihad does not require an Islamic state or Khilafah because these verses make it a fard ayn (individual obligation) for every Muslim to defend his home and property. Offensive jihad is a fard kifaya (community obligation) and must be directed by an Islamic state under a Khilafah. In this case, offensive jihad is Dar al-Islam taking the battle to the lands of Dar al-harb. Defensively, jihad is used to stop democracies from colonizing a Muslim’s home, family and land. In essence, jihad is used to stop the spread of shirk. Offensively, jihad is used to spread Da’wah, take back lands that were once Islamic and release people from the oppression of democracy. So, in deference to Western scholars, Jihadi view jihad as a necessary means to protect the spread of shirk into their lands, to liberate others from shirk and remove any obstacles to the acceptance of Da’wah. (31)

Jihad is not so a much tool of terror as a means to bring Allah’s justice to a world in which things are out of place especially between religion and politics. Islamically, justice is concerned with things being in their right place. (32) The Qur’ an claims “Indeed, We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance (justice) that mankind may keep up justice.” (Al-Hadid 57:25) This verse claims the Qur’ an was given in order to bring balance or justice to mankind. Justice has its roots in the Allah’s monotheism which is the basis for Islam’s call to the world to give up their polytheistic religions and political systems and join the Ummah.  Injustice destroys the religio-political harmony which Allah originally created the world with. In this case, jihad is not so much to terrorize the unfaithful or non-Muslims. Instead Jihadi use jihad to restore the balance of justice in Allah’s world which has been lost by removing obstacles which enslave the peoples of the world and forbid them the opportunity to hear of Allah’s oneness. This balance can only be restored through the full implementation of Shari’ ah.

Kufr law is antithetical to Shari’ ah which is the only law Allah has proscribed for his Ummah. The introduction of Kufr law, nationally or internationally, brought an imbalance into Allah’s original creation creating injustice. The injustice is that men do not accept Allah’s monotheism and Shari’ ah instead creating their own laws to govern their lives. In the process these lawmakers refuse the peoples of the world the opportunity to obey the Da’wah. Jihad is a method to bring justice or balance back into Allah’s world by removing the obstacles to the full implementation of Shari’ ah worldwide.

Jihadi and Terror Groups

There are significant differences between Jihadist and true terrorist organizations.  This section will compare Jihadi groups generally with the defunct leftist German Red Army Faction. (33) The RAF existed for about twenty-eight years and grew out of student movements. (34) Its ideology was Marxism and entirely secular. The vast majority, if not all, of the RAF’s attacks were against military and governmental sites. The RAF’s location of operations was primarily Germany and the unit was basically self-supporting. The RAF’s parent organization, the Baader Meinhof gang, was trained in a Muslim-terrorist camp in Jordan. Nevertheless, the ties between the two groups were pragmatic since both wanted the West destroyed. (35) The RAF was ver independent and any ties to other terrorist organizations were ideological or pragmatic. The RAF was not a part of a worldwide organization bent on creating a world government. Instead, the organization used violence to change German policy.

Jihadi groups are tied together ideologically, politically and religious. Theocratically, all Jihadi groups claim to follow only Muhammad, the Righteous Caliphs, Qur’ an and Hadiths. They are all part of a non-state entity whose flag ship is Al-Qaeda and whose mission is to install the Khilafah. (36, 37) Jihadi groups use Da’wah and jihad as the tools of foreign policy. It is true that Jihadi methods involve terror because Allah promises to terrorize his opposition. (Al-Imran 3:151) Nevertheless, the Qur’ an uses terror defined by Shari’ ah void of Western understanding. Unlike the RAF who clearly hated those against whom they fought Jihadi believe that love for Allah is prerequisite of jihad. (38) Islamic jihad is not merely about changing national policies. Instead, Muslims use jihad to prevent democratic nations from spreading shirk to their home lands. In addition, jihad is used to free oppressed peoples from shirk, bring justice to the world and to eliminate any obstacle to the worldwide implementation of Shari’ ah.

The comparison between Jihadi groups (Sunni and Shiite) and the RAF reveals important distinctions between a classic terrorist organization and Jihadi groups. The comparison reveals that the ideology, methods, goals and purposes of Jihadi groups extend well beyond the classic definition of terrorism.

Conclusion

Asymmetric warfare is limited by definition to one or more violent actions that take place between two or more entities between which inequalities in any form of power exists. The action is limited to negating the enemy’s vulnerabilities unlawfully in an unconventional manner. Furthermore, the purpose of this unlawful action is to force the enemy to institute a particular political or social change. Finally, the “have-nots” want what the “haves” own. Terrorism is limited by definition to an act that is dangerous and premeditated,  in violation of national or international criminal law, perpetrated by a sub-state organization, is designed to produce fear in the populace to intimidate the government to give in to the demands of the organization and is generally political in nature. According to Jihadi writings jihad is not so provincial. Rather, jihad’s meaning, purposes, scope and goal are much broader than either the definitions of asymmetric warfare or terrorism allow. Even if religion is added to the definition of terror, Islamic jihad would still be too broad to be incorporated within.

Jihad is a foreign policy tool whose purpose is twofold. Jihadi use jihad to protect their homes, families and lands from the incursion of modern-day crusaders, like America, who want to subjugate Muslims to shirk. In addition, Jihadi use jihad because they love Allah and Allah demands the Ummah to spread Islam worldwide. To accomplish this Jihadi must remove obstacles to the obedience to the Da’wah. Jihad is the foreign policy tool of choice. It is jihad that brings balance to Allah’s creation by restoring justice so people can submit to Allah.

Endnotes:

(1) Shaykh Abdul Aziz al-Ashaikh, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Senior Ulama [online] (Muslims Against Terror date unknown, accessed 19 Aug. 2010) available from http://www.islamfortoday.com/terrorism.htm

(2) Steven Lambakis, Reconsidering Asymmetric Warfare, [online] (Center for Counterproliferation Research 2004 accessed 19 Aug. 2010) , 105 available from  http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA430420

(3) Rod Thornton, Asymmetric Warfare, (Polity Press: MA, 2007) , 7

(4) Steven Lambakis, Reconsidering Asymmetric Warfare, [online] (Center for Counterproliferation Research 2004 accessed 19 Aug. 2010) available from  http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA430420

(5) SEMP, What is Asymmetric Warfare?, [online] (Surburban Emergency Management Project, January 22 2005 accessed 20 Aug. 2010) available from http://www.semp.us/publications/biot_reader.php?BiotID=167

(6) Hinez P. Dinter, U.S. Army Special Forces Role in Asymmetric Warfare, [online] (Thesis Present to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 2001 accessed 20 Aug. 2010) available from http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA395646

(7) Roger Barnett, Asymmetric Warfare, (Potomac Books: Washington D.C., 2008) , 16

(8) FBI, Terrorism 2000/2001, [online] (Federal Bureau of Investigation, date unknown, accessed 2 Sept. 2010) available from http://www.fbi.gov/publications/terror/terror2000_2001.htm

(9) Rod Thornton, Asymmetric Warfare , 1

(10) Steven Emerson, Investigative Project Releases Gov’t Memos Curtailing Speech in War on Terror, [online] (Investigative Project May 2, 2008 accessed 24 Aug. 2010) available from  http://www.investigativeproject.org/659/investigative-project-releases-govt-memos-curtailing-speech

(11) Steven Emerson, Dangerous Word Games, [online] (Investigative Reports April 25 2008 accessed 24 Aug. 2010) available from http://www.investigativeproject.org/653/dangerous-word-games

(12) FBI, Terrorism 200/2001, [online] (Department of Justice date unknown, accessed 24 Aug. 2010) available from http://www.fbi.gov/publications/terror/terror2000_2001.htm

(13) Boaz Ganor, The Definition of Terrorism, [online] (CitzenWarrior, July 9 accessed 24 Aug. 2010) available from http://www.citizenwarrior.com/2007/07/definition-of-terrorism.html

(14) DEMA, Various Definitions of Terrorism, [online] (Arizona Online date unknown accessed 24 Aug. 2010) available from http://www.azdema.gov/museum/famousbattles/pdf/Terrorism%20Definitions%20072809.pdf

(15) Sun Tzu, Sun Tzu Quotes, [online] (BrainyQuotes, date unknown, accessed 2 Sept. 2010) available from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/suntzu155752.html

(16) Al Islam, Islam and Terrorism, [online] (Ahmadiyya Muslim Community date unknown accessed 26 Aug. 2010) available from http://www.alislam.org/library/links/00000104.html

(17) Islam Religion, What Does Islam Say about Terrorism, [online] (The Religion of Islam 8 March 2006 accessed 26 Aug. 2010) available from http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/238/

(18) Sami Zaatari, Does Islam Promote Violence?, [online] (Muslim Responses date unknown accessed 26 Aug. 2010) available from http://muslim-responses.com/Islam_is_Peace/Islam_is_Peace_

(19) Mary Habeck, Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror, Yale University Press: London, 2006) , 58

(20) Ibid, 36

(21) Hizb ut-Tahrir, Manifesto of Hizb ut-Tahrir for Pakistan: Pakistan Khilafah and the re-unification of the Muslim World, [online] (Hizb ut-Tahrir Wilayah Pakistan, date unknown, accessed 27 July 2010) , 8 available from http://www.hizb-pakistan.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/manifesto-english1.pdf

(22) Mary Habeck, Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror, 36

(23) Ibid, 52

(24) Mary Habeck, Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror, 63

(25) Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, The Meaning of Ijma’ its Types & Misuse, [Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia 19 January 2009 accessed 27 Aug. 2010) available from  http://www.hizb-australia.org/culture/usul-a-fiqh/64-the-meaning-of-ijma-its-types-a-misuse-

(26) Fredrick L. Kirgis, Terrorist Attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, [online] (American Society of International Law, September 2001 accessed 27 Aug. 2010) available from http://www.asil.org/insigh77.cfm

(27) Ummah, Comparison between Islam and The International Law Concerning War, [online] (Ummah.net date unknown accessed 27 Aug. 2010) available from http://www.ummah.net/what-is-islam/war/war5.htm

(28) Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Noble Qur’ an: The Call To Jihad In the Qur’ an, (Darussalam: Riyadh, 1985) , 885

(29) The Modern Religion, Da’ wah Priorities in the Qur’ aan, [online] (The Modern Religion, date unknown, accessed 1 Sept. 2010) available from http://www.themodernreligion.com/dawah/dawah_quran_priorities.htm

(30) Mary Habeck, Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror, 36

(31) Caliphate, An Overview of the Department of Military, [online] (Caliphate.eu, date unknown, accessed 2 Sept. 2010) available from http://www.caliphate.co.uk/caliphate/military_dept.htm

(32) Islamic Religion, The Meaning of Justice, [online] (Islamic Religion, 10 July 2006, accessed 1 Sept. 2010) available from http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/376/

(33) The RAF bombed Ramstien Air Base in August 31, 1981. I was stationed on the base as an Air Force Security officer. I become involved in the initial response, VIP protection and guerilla warfare studies through the 10th Special Forces. I am using this group to as a comparison with Jihadi groups to show the differences between a terrorist and Jihadi organization.

(34) Christina Gerhardt, Representative Democracy, Political Action, and Armed Struggle: The Weather
Underground and the Red Army Faction, [online] (H-Net Reviews, November 2007, accessed 2 Sept. 2010) available from http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=13897

(35) James Verniere, How German Leftists Turn into Terrorists, [online] (Free Republic, 9 Sept. 2009, accessed 2 Sept. 2010) available from  http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2337018/posts

(36) Walid Phares, Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against the West, (Palgrave MacMillian: New York, N.Y., 2005) , 126

(37) Khilafah, Khilafah – Hope for the Ummah, [online] (Khiafah.com, 5 July 2010, accessed 2 Sept. 2010) available from http://www.khilafah.com/index.php/the-khilafah/issues/9805-khilafah-hope-for-the-ummah

(38) Raymond Ibrahim, The Al Qaeda Reader, (Broadway Books: New York, 2007) , 82

Bibliography

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Monotheism: The Heart of the Conflict Between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb

by Bo Perrin

A Research Paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the School of National Security Studies

Introduction

“We will strike terror into the hearts of the kafirs because they worship others besides Allah, which He gave them no permission to do. Their home will be the Fire, a terrible resting place for the evildoers.” (3:151)
President Obama in his June 2009 speech at Cairo University called for a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim world or the Ummah. He promised that the U.S. would dedicate itself to building new schools, hospitals, roads and businesses across the Middle East. He stated, “. . . that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.”

In addition to his Cairo speech President Obama has also taken steps to scrub all government documents, especially National Security documents, of any term which might inflame the feelings of the Ummah. Jihad, Islamic extremism and militant radical Islam are a few of the terms which cannot be found in any National Security document today. March 14, 2008 the Counter Communications Center put out a memo which describes which words can and cannot be used to describe our fight with terror. The memo tells its readers to avoid invoking Islam when speaking of terror and to not harp on Muslim identity. It also states to refrain from using Islamo-fascism, totalitarian, jihadist, mujahideen or terms from Islamic theology. It argues the only term that ought to be used to describe actions like 9/11 is terrorism. Supposedly, scrubbing National Security documents from these so-called offensive words is a show of good faith toward the Ummah that the U.S. does not believe the two are in competition.
But Islam does not see itself in competition with the West specifically the United States. The Obama administration, as well as every U.S. administration, fails to understand that Islam is not in competition with the United States but at war. This war is not about the economy but about religion.

There are numerous reasons why terrorism is used as a weapon. This purpose of this paper is to show that the heart of the Islamic use of terror is about monotheism. We will look at Islamic monotheism, the Qur’ an and polytheism and the definition and use of jihad on behalf of monotheism.

History of Islamic Monotheism

Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the only three world-religions which teach that God is monotheistic although the Judeo-Christian monotheism is very different from Islamic monotheism. This is the heart of the conflict between Islam, Dar al-Islam, and the rest of the world, Dar al-harb.  Mohammad was born in 570 AD in Mecca in Arabia. He was born into the Quraysh tribe.  The Quraysh were the keepers of the Ka’ ba a black stone building roughly shaped like a cube. It was one of about five or six such structures in the area. It housed approximately 360 different idols including pictures of Jesus and Mary. When Mohammed was 40 years old, he began to receive visions from Jibril or the angel Gabriel. (2:097) Jibril revealed to Mohammad that there was no other god than Allah. This new doctrine becomes the heart of the conflict between Mohammad, the Quraysh, Jews and Christians. Mohammad had numerous confrontations with the Quraysh because he cursed their gods and revealed that to worship any god other than Allah would mean hell. (Ishaq: 183) The conflict in Mecca never turned deadly nevertheless it lead to two important events. First, when the Meccans refused to convert Mohammed said, “Hear me, O Quraysh. By Him who holds Muhammad’s life in his hand, I will bring you slaughter.'” (Ishaq: 131).  Second, the Quraysh forced Mohammad out of the community. Mohammed also attacked Christians because he believed that Christians are polytheistic. He condemned Christians because they exceeded the limits of Allah (3:112), believed Allah has a son (2:116) and he derogatorily declared them polytheists (3:67). When Islam became strong enough Mohammed decreed Muslims are to fight the polytheists into submission (9:29) until Islam prevails over all religions (9:33). Eventually, ten years after he was banished, Mohammad returns to Mecca militarily, enters the Ka’ ba and destroys every idol housed there. Allah is now the only God, the Ka’ ba is his house and no other god exists. Monotheism is the heart of Mohammad’s war against those in Mecca and Medina and it is still the heart of war between Islam and the West.

Polytheism and the Limits.

Monotheism is the heart of Islam and needs to be defined. Mono means one and theism means God. Islamic monotheism is a simple monotheism. Allah is the only God and there is no one like him, equal to him nor do any other gods existentially exist (2:255).  In Christianity, monotheism is embedded in the phrase trinity.  Biblical monotheism refers to three separate personalities who are one God in two senses. God is said to be “one” in the sense of united (Deut. 6:4, New King’s James Version) and “one” (1) (Is. 44:6, 8, NKJV) in the sense that there are not two, three or more gods. In the first sense the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, while separate personalities, have the same essence which is what makes you, you.  Biblically, God’s essence can be defined by the term “infinite.” (Ps. 147:5, NKJV) Infinite means there are no boundaries and is the only word a person needs in order to describe every aspect of God. Because each essence is infinite there is no distinction between them and therefore, they are one (united) as Deity. But the three individuals are also “one” in the sense that there are no other gods who are equal to them essentially. Therefore, there is only “one” God not two or three or more. In fact, such gods or idols do not existentially exist, existing only in the worshiper’s mind.

The two definitions of monotheism clash. Mohammad did not seem to comprehend the Biblical view of God. He accused Christians of elevating Jesus, a mere human and prophet chosen by Allah, to Deity and worshiping two or more Gods by claiming that Jesus is God’s son (4:171; 5:116). This led to Mohammad’s charge that Christians are polytheists (2:105). The word poly means many and theist means God. A polytheist, therefore, at the very least believes in two or more Gods. The term polytheist or an equivalent term or phrase is used quite often in the Qur’ an. It is usually associated with the phrase “people of the book.” The phrase refers to Jews and Christians who believed in the Biblical Scriptures. Often Mohammad warns the “people of the book” to not “go beyond the limits.” They respect neither ties of relationship nor covenant, in the case of a believer. And these are they who go beyond the limits. (9:010) The contrast is between a believer, Muslim, and those who go beyond the limit. In this case, the limit exceeded is the number of Gods. Muslims believe Allah is the only God while Christians accept Jesus as the Son of God the Father therefore, making him Deity as well.  Polytheism can refer to others than Christians. Nevertheless, the term is used primarily to refer to Christians only in the Qur’ an.

According to Mohammad Jews and Christians are “people of the Book” because they were given the Scriptures. Christians are also polytheists because they believe Jesus is Deity and in so doing they go beyond the limits of the number of Gods that exist. Because Christianity believes in Jesus’ Deity, they are also idolaters and unbelievers. An idolater is one who worships a deity who is not real. If Allah is the only Deity then to elevate Jesus to Deity is idolatrous. Idolatry is making “Allah the third of three.” (5:073).  Christianity is the only religion to which this statement applies. Because, in Mohammad’s eyes, Christianity made Allah a third of three he labeled Christians as “disbelievers.” (5:072).  The term “disbeliever” is used often in contrast with the believer. A believer is one who believes in “Allah and the Last day” (2:008). According to Maulana Muhammad Ali this phrase sums up the five Pillars of Islamic faith of which the first is belief that only Allah is God. This is Islamic monotheism. Therefore, an unbeliever is a person who does not accept Islamic monotheism.

The heart of the conflict between Islam and Christianity is monotheism. Islam believes Allah is the only Deity. Christianity accepts the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as Deity equally. For this reason, Mohammad labeled Christians as unbelievers, idolatrous and polytheists who exceed the limit of how many Gods exist. This is why there is eternal hostility between Islam and Christianity (60:4)

Jihad.

“’The War Foretold By the Prophet Muhammad . . .  Is Drawing Near. . . This Is a War Of Religion, Not Just a War Between Arabs and Israelis’ . . . ” Sometimes truth comes from the most unlikely sources. This statement was made by the Kuwaiti MP Jama’an Al-Harbash in a rally of the Kuwaiti Students’ Union on Al-Jazeera TV. The statement cuts to the heart of jihad. Jihad is a religious war.
There is a lot of misinformation about jihad. Muslim sources usually define jihad as an inner struggle to get close to Allah.  The term jihad is “a verbal noun with the literal meaning of ‘striving’ or ‘determined effort.’” In Sahih al-Bukhari’s hadith collections jihad is mentioned 199 times and each use assumes the word means warfare including physical warfare.
Jihad is defensive. The Qur’ an does not allow for Muslims to take the offense against another religion. In part, Sura 2:256 states, “There is no compulsion in religion . . .  “ Even if a person accepts this verse to mean Muslims are not to force Islam on others, to which there is much dispute, Islam can defend itself if it feels as if it is being attacked by unbelievers. Sura 2:190 in the Al-Baqarah translation states:

Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not do aggression, . . . Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities . . .  and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution (fitnah, BIP) is worse than slaughter.

Islam is permitted to engage in defensive jihad and defensive jihad includes physical warfare meant to rid Islam of fitnah or persecution. The Ummah’s claim of Islamophobia is a prelude to jihad. These supposed phobic responses to Islam are merely the documentation of fitnah against Islam providing the justification for jihad.
The Qur’ an is very specific as to who is the Ummah’s enemy and the enemy is other religions. Allah has promised that Islam will be supreme. From a Muslim’s perspective the reason why Dar al-harb is fighting against Islam is because the House of War is trying to force their religion on the Ummah (2:217). Because of this fitnah the Qur’ an promises “the Religion of Truth that He may make it prevail over all religions.” (48:28) Islamic supremacy is about humiliating Allah’s enemies and becoming predominate. (61:014) The question is, how will Allah make Islam predominate over other religions?

Clearly, the Qur’ an does permit the Ummahh to use nonviolent methods to spread Islam. What many people reject is the concept that the Qur’ an permits violent methods against their enemies as well. The Qur’ an contains approximately 164 jihadi verses and the vast majority refer to physical violence. This issue of application is the context in which a statement is located. The Qur’ anic Suras are listed by size not chronologically. Every Sura is either from the Medina or Mecca period. The Mecca period is a period when Islam is weak in relation to its enemies and Medina, when strong. Every Qur’ anic verse was penned within a historical context and proper hermeneutics demands that any interpretation must begin with that historical context. The issue is whether a verse penned within one historical period can apply equally in another. The answer is yes, if two conditions are met.  The first condition is that the passage contains words, phrases or applications which exceed the limited present historical context. The second condition is that there is no statement which clearly limits the statement to its present historical context.

The Qur’ an calls upon Muslims to “struggle hard (Jihad) in the way of Allah” (22:078). Muslims are not allowed to jihad against other Muslims or dihimmis. Struggling in Allah’s way can lead to death (3:169; 4:074-077) which happens only in physical warfare. This command is found both the Medinan (2:218) and Meccian (22:078) phases of the Qur’ an. Since there is no passage which limits this struggle to a particular historical period then it must apply universally to all Muslims. This struggle is against “those who fight against you” (2:190). Allah commands Muslims to “kill them wherever you find them.” (2:191). The term them refers to those who fight against Islam. This passage was penned during the Medina period but must be accepted as universally applicable. It is universal as long as there are those who fight against Islam. This means Sura 2:191 is universally applicable as well. So, as long as there are those who fight against the Ummah, Muslims have a duty to kill those who fight against them wherever, no limits, they might be found. The Qur’ an also reveals the environment in which this universal jihad is to take place. The environment is called fitnah. Muhammad Ali uses persecution in Sura 2:191 to translate fitnah and argues it means to persecute Muslims. The Al-Baqarah translation (2:193) interprets fitnah as disbelief and worshiping others than Allah. The Aal-e-Imran translation (3:7) states fitnah refers to polytheism and trials. The Ummah are embroiled in fitnah when disbelief, trials and polytheism exist. Clearly, these three existed in both Medinian and Meccan periods but they have existed ever since. Therefore, the environment which originally gave rise to the need for jihad during Mohammed’s time still exists today and implying not only that jihad continues today but will not end until all those who are the objects of jihad are eliminated or have submitted.

The purpose of jihad is to remove fitnah so that the Ummahh can live in peace as Muslims. Jihad is a “fight in the way of Allah.” (2:244). This fight is enjoined on all Muslims (2:216) and viewed as a way of life. The Muslim Brotherhood’s pledge is “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’ an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” Every Muslim must decide which tool to use to further jihad against Dar al-harb. A Muslim can be a jihadist (4:074). A jihadist uses the sword to strike terror into the hearts of the House of War and through this terror one of three things will happen. Those of the House of War will either convert to Islam, become a dihimmi or die. A Muslim can also choose to support the jihadists by supplying the physical needs of the jihadists (4:095). Nevertheless, the Muslim who uses his property and person to actually fight kaffirs is greater in the eyes of Allah than those who only use their property (4:095). It is the actual foot soldier who gets the best spoils both in this world and the next. The point is that every Muslim has a religious duty to jihad.

The Qur’ an is very specific as to whom jihad is to be waged against. Muslims are commanded to fight against the friends of Satan (4:076). The friends of Satan are the disbelievers who according to the Qur’ an are those who do not believe in Allah and the last day. It was shown earlier in this paper that to believe in Allah is to believe that he is the only God, he does not have a son and there are no associates-gods (6:149) comparable to him. In other words, to believe in Allah is to believe in monotheism. Allah promises his jihadists he will strike terror into the hearts of the unbelievers and they are to strike off their heads and fingertips (8:012). The reason unbelievers deserve this fate is because they oppose Allah and Mohammad (8:013).

Jihad is also to be waged against idolaters (9:005). An idolater is one who worships a god who is not the true god. An idolater is a person who worships Jesus as God or a Hindu who worships Bhagwan. Allah is clear that Muslims are to kill idolaters wherever they find them. Since there are idolaters today this command must still stand.
Jihad is to be waged against polytheists as well (9:036). Polytheism is a favorite subject of the Qur’ an and the Qur’ an constantly claims that many important Biblical figures like Abraham, David, Jesus and others are not polytheists (6:079). The purpose is to attempt to show that the true leaders of the faith, especially Abraham, do not have anything in common with today’s form of Christianity.  A polytheist is any person who at least believes in more than one god. Nevertheless, the Qur’ an specifically refers to a polytheist as a person who believes in the Trinity of God. Clearly, there were polytheists in Mecca and Medina and Mohammad eventually allowed Muslims to kill those polytheists if they continued to refuse to believe in Allah. This situation still exists today therefore, these commands to kill polytheists must still stand today.
Fitnah is over and jihad becomes unnecessary only when the one true religion prevails. Allah sent his messenger, Mohammad, for one purpose and that is to make the Religion of truth prevail over all religions (9:033). The word “make” can imply noncoercive tactics but Sura nine makes it very clear that it includes force. Islam is to prevail even if polytheists are adverse to its supremacy. To accomplish this Allah commands his followers to fight those who do not believe in Allah (monotheism), the Last day, forbid what Allah has forbidden nor follow the religion of truth (9:029). This fight is to continue until the unbelievers pay the poll tax (jiyza). The poll tax shows the superiority of Islam and inferiority of their beliefs. But Islam prevails if the polytheist is dead as well. Mohammad sums up what the West must hear:

“I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am the Messenger and in all that I have brought.” (Muslim C9 B1N032) The West, especially America, is now the people against whom Allah fights until Americans submit to him and his prophet, Mohammad by either converting, paying the poll tax or death.

Conclusion

The Qur’ an is a manual of jihad against polytheists who are persecuting Dar al-Islam. Mohammad elevated Allah from among many gods to the supreme deity and in the process made monotheism the heart of Islam. The Qur’ an calls on the Ummahh to jihad against polytheists everywhere in order to make Islam the religion above all religions. Islam has five pillars upon which its religion and politics are built. The first pillar is to believe in Allah alone which means belief in monotheism. While the Qur’ an surely approves nonviolent means to achieve this goal, it also sanctifies violence. Muslims who decide to use the tool of violence are seeking to push Islam on unbelievers not because of cultural, scientific or economic grievances. This is the reason why building roads, hospitals and other facilities in Islamic nations will not stop Islamic terrorism. The sole goal of Islamic terrorism is force monotheism upon polytheism making Allah, Mohammad and Islam supreme. The so-called war on terror is a war about monotheism. The West must recognize this fact or we may lose this conflict.

Selected Bibliography

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