By Keith Thompson
In a radio debate, Muslim apologist Jalal Abualrub limited the Islamic concept of jihad to “personal struggle.” He stated, “Jihad means to struggle. It doesn’t mean to fight” (Jalal Abualrub vs. Craig Winn debate, Mike Gallagher Radio Show, August 16, 2005).
A popular pro-Islamic website similarly claims jihad “has nothing whatsoever to do with . . .Holy War. . . . There is nothing ‘Holy’ about wars” (The True Meaning of Jihad, www.justislam.co.uk). This is a common tactic by Muslim apologists in the West.
The Islamic propaganda organization Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR even engaged in an ad campaign where they put up banners on buses with slogans such as “my jihad is to stay fit” to convey the idea jihad has nothing to do with holy war.
However, there is a wealth of authoritative Islamic evidence jihad should not be defined in such a limited way. Although in certain contexts it can refer merely to inward non-violent struggle, professional Arabic lexical material, theological dictionaries, Muslim scholars and early Islamic religious sources confirm in other contexts it can also refer to struggle or striving in the sense of offensive holy war.
Abdul Mannan Omar’s Dictionary of the Holy Quran notes one of the meanings of jihad is “fighting or holy war” (Abdul Mannan Omar, Dictionary of the Holy Quran, [NOOR Foundation, 2012], p. 106).
Penrice’s A Dictionary and Glossary of the Qur’an confirms jihad can mean “a going forth to fight (in the holy war)” (John Penrice, A Dictionary and Glossary of the Qur’an, [The Other Press, 2006], p. 44).
Moreover, in Sahih Bukhari, the most authentic hadith collection, jihad is explicitly defined as “religious fighting” (Volume 1, Book 2, Number 25; Volume 1, Book 10, Number 505), “holy battles” (Volume 3, Book 46, Number 724; Volume 4, Book 53, Number 412), “holy fighting” (Volume 5, Book 58, Number 140), one who “strives. . .[to be] martyred” (Volume 4, Book 53, Number 352), and “fighting in Allah’s cause” (Volume 5, Book 59, Number 598).
One of Islam’s most respected scholars Ibn Kathir stated bluntly in his commentary on the Qur’an, “. . . Jihad involves killing and shedding the blood of men” (Ibn Kathir, Commentary on Surah 2:190).
In the glossary of his translation of Ibn Kathir’s The Life of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslim scholar Rafiq Abur Rehman defines jihad as “war for the sake of Allah against unbelievers” (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad, trans. Rafiq Abur Rehman, [Darul – Ishaat Karachi, 2010], p. 923).
An example of the Koran using the Arabic word jihad in the sense of “holy warfare” can be found in Surah 25:52 which says, “So obey not the disbelievers, but strive against them herewith with a great endeavour.” The English word “strive” is jihad in the original Arabic. Clearly this refers to holy warfare as even Muhammad’s cousin Ibn Abbas stated in his early commentary on the Koran when he said: “. . .(but strive against them herewith) by means of the Qur'an (with a great endeavour) by the sword” (Ibn Abbas, Commentary on 25:52).
Abrogating the peaceful verses for the violent
Muslim apologists in the West often quote peaceful Qur’anic verses Muhammad produced in Mecca when he was weak and didn’t have an army, or when in Medina prior to implementing offensive jihad.
However, the Qur’an clearly teaches the principle of abrogation, meaning previous revelation sometimes gets cancelled out for later revelation. As Surah 2:106 of the Qur’an states: “Whatever message we abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring one better than that or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah has the power to do all that he wills?” (Surah 2:106).
Thus, when Muslims quote Surah 109:6 for example where Muhammad said to the pagans “to you your religion and to me mine” in order to try to prove Islam is peaceful, it must be noted this was abrogated by Muhammad’s later violent verses he gave after his migration to Medina when he got powerful. As the influential Islamic commentary Tafsir al-Jalalayn says concerning that earlier sounding peaceful verse, “this [S. 109:6] was [revealed] before he was commanded to wage war [against the idolaters]” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Commentary on 109:6).
This is abrogation. Such violent verses which abrogate earlier peaceful ones include, but are not limited to, Surah 9:5 and 9:29.
Koran 9:5 and 9:29
Surah 9:5 and 9:29 contain the final marching orders of Muhammad for Muslims for all time. This Surah was one of the last Muhammad produced for his people. Surah 9:5 concerns pagans:
“And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (Surah 9:5).
The context of this verse is the Meccan pagans had already been subjugated and beaten by Muhammad’s armies at this time. But, Muhammad was not happy with them remaining pagan. So he produced this verse nullifying every treaty or agreement with them, ordering them to become Muslim or be killed. This is confirmed and admitted by some of the greatest and most respected Muslim scholars of history.
For example, Ibn Kathir stated, “This honorable Ayah (9:5) was called the Ayah of the Sword, about which Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim said, ‘It abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolator, every treaty, and every term’” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Commentary on 9:5).
Muslim scholar Ibn Juzayy also said, “(kill the mushrikun wherever you find them) abrogating every peace treaty in the Qur’an” (Ibn Juzayy, Commentary on Surah 9:5). Also, Islamic scholar as-Suyuti affirmed, “This [Q. 9:5] is an Ayat of the Sword which abrogates pardon, truce and overlooking” (as-Suyuti Commentary on 9:5).
In Sahih Bukhari Muhammad interpreted Koran 9:5 by saying,
“(The Statement of Allah) ‘But if they repent [by rejecting Shirk (polytheism) and accept Islamic Monotheism] and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) [prayers] and give Zakat then leave their way free.’ Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Messenger said: ‘I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah’” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 2, Hadith 25).
This proves one-hundred percent Muhammad’s final marching orders for Muslims are to force pagans, in an all exclusive way, to either convert or die.
Now Surah 9:29 concerns what is to be done with the Jews and Christians,
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are subdued” Koran 9:29).
Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir explains how this is jihad and what exactly it means,
“. . .Allah ordered them to wage jihad against the People of the Scriptures unless they believed or agreed to pay the jizyah” (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad, trans. Rafiq Abur Rehman, [Darul – Ishaat Karachi, 2010], p. 561).
These texts clearly teach offensive jihad or warfare. Such texts explain why Muslims today hate Jews and Christians and are violently conquering countries for Allah and murdering Christians and Jews unless they convert to Islam or pay the tax of humiliation. The next verse (v. 30) explains why Muhammad wanted the Jews and Christians murdered and subjugated:
“The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the son of Allah’; and the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the son of Allah.’ That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?” (Koran 9:30).
This context shows according to Islam the Christians and Jews should be murdered for their beliefs. These texts cancel out any earlier peaceful verses such as Surah 109:6 which speak of tolerance and peace (again it says “to you your religion and to me mine”).
Thus, according to these late, final marching orders, anyone who disbelieves must be violently fought until they convert or pay a tax of humiliation and live under subjugation and Muslim rule. Hence, when Muslims cite earlier peaceful verses or verses Muhammad gave in Mecca when he was weak and didn’t have a large army, this principle of abrogation needs to be kept in mind.
Other verses and ahadith calling for offensive jihad
In Surah 8:12 we read,
“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” (Surah 8:12).
The next verse explains why Muhammad taught Muslims should mutilate and murder people:
“That is because they opposed Allah and His Messenger. And whoever opposes Allah and His Messenger - indeed, Allah is severe in penalty” (Surah 8:13).
Muhammad’s cousin Ibn Abbas explained what it means to oppose Muhammad and Allah thereby incurring death and mutilation: “. . . they opposed Allah and His messenger in relation to Religion” (Ibn Abbas, Commentary on Surah 8:13). Therefore, those who oppose Islam by holding to a different religion and rejecting Islam should be beheaded and mutilated according to this verse.
The Arabic word for “oppose” in Koran 8:13 does not refer to opposing Muslims violently, but rather to mere contention, resistance or separating oneself (John Penrice, A Dictionary and Glossary of the Qur’an, [The Other Press, 2006], p. 119). This is why Ibn Kathir explains “opposing” here means “not including themselves in the camp of Allah's Law and faith in Him” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Commentary on Surah 8:13).
Now, Muhammad also taught offensive jihad in the following Sahih Muslim hadith:
“It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattab that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim” (Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Hadith 75; also Jami` at-Tirmidhi Book 21, Hadith 69-70; Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 2, Book 13, Hadith 3024, p. 861).
In the same book Muhammad also said,
“I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah, and he who professed it was guaranteed the protection of his property and life on my behalf except for the right affairs rest with Allah” (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 33; also Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 2, Book 8, Hadith 2634-2635; Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 71-72).
Muslim scholar Ahmad Hasan explains this means “Muslims are allowed to fight with unbelievers until they utter the credo of Islam” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 2, ed. Ahmad Hasan, [Kitab Bhavan], p. 729, n. 1982).
This is clear offensive jihad as taught by Muhammad proving Islam is not a religion of peace.
Another example of Muhammad commanding offensive Jihad concerns his statements regarding wiping out all the Jews so that the end of the world will happen:
“Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews” (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Hadith 6985).
This explains why Muslims hate Jews and want to kill them and see Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
Moreover, in Sahih Muslim we also read,
“It has been reported from Sulaiman b. Buraid through his father that . . . the Messenger of Allah . . . would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war. . .” (Sahih Muslim, Book 19, Hadith 4294).
Other abrogated or misused peaceful Koranic verses
Another earlier verse Muslim apologists in the West cite in order to deceive people to think Islam is peaceful is Surah 2:256 which says, “There is no compulsion in religion. . .” However, again, the later verse Surah 9:5 abrogates this since it says to kill the pagans unless they convert, repent, establish prayer, and give zakah - thus proving there is compulsion in the Islamic religion after all. Moreover, Ibn Kathir noted, “This verse [2:256] is abrogated by the verse of ‘fighting’. . .(Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 253 to 286 Surah Al-Imran, ayat 1 to 92, Abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rifa‘I, [Al-Firdous Ltd, 1999], Part 3, pp. 37-38).
Such Western Muslim apologists also cite Surah 60:8:
“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly” (Surah 60:8; see also 4:91).
However, this verse was produced prior to Surah 9:5 and 9:29 and various hadith which, as we have shown Islamic scholars affirming, necessarily cancel out previous peaceful agreements and terms such as this one. Tafsir Al-Jalalayn explains this verse “was [revealed] before the command to struggle against them” (Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, Commentary on Surah 60:8).
Next, Muslims often quote this part of Surah 5:32 as proof Islam is peaceful: “. . . whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. . .” (Surah 5:32).
However, once the verse is read in its entirety it is clear this is talking about what the ancient Jews were allegedly told by Allah long before Muhammad, “Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption. . . ” (Surah 5:32).Muslims ususally leave that part out.
Moreover, the next verse proves Islam is not peaceful since it says to violently murder those who spread what Muhammad considered mischief or corruption in Muslim lands,
“Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment” (Surah 5:33).
“Waging war” here according to Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir, means merely to “oppose and contradict, and it includes disbelief” (Ibn Kathir, Commentary on 5:33). The scholars Muhammad Kahn and Muhammad Hilali say “To wage war against Allah means to reject faith in him” (Muhammad Kahn and Muhammad Hilali, Interpretaton of the Meanings of The Noble Qur’an, Vol. 1, [Darussalam, 2000], p. 492). So if you disbelieve you are waging war against Muhammad and Allah and must be killed.
Also, spreading “corruption” or “mischief” in Muslim lands is said by various Muslim scholars to include, among other things, apostasy and spreading anti-Islamic propaganda (Allama Usmani, The Noble Qur’an: Tafseer-E-Usmani, Vol. 1, [Islamic Book Service, 2008], p. 470). Such things warrant violent execution according to the verse right after the one Muslims quote in order to try to prove Islam is peaceful!
Muslim scholars affirming Islam teaches offensive jihad
It is important to consult the Muslim scholars of history and today who seriously studied the Koran and ahadith their whole lives to see what conclusions they came to on the issue of jihad.
The 8th century Islamic law scholar Abu Yusuf said,
“. . . one fights Arabs only to oblige them to embrace Islam without making them pay the poll tax. . . . The decision in respect to non-Arabs is different because they are fought not only to convert them but also to oblige them to pay the poll tax” (Abu Yusuf, Kitab Al-Kharaj, quoted in Andrew G. Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, [Prometheus Books, 2005], p. 175).
Commenting on Surah 2:256 Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir stated,
“Therefore all people of the world should be called to Islam. If anyone of them refuses to do so, or refuses to pay the Jizya they should be fought till they are killed” (Ibn Kathir, Commentary on 2:256).
The 12th century Islamic Sheikh Burhanuddin Ali remarked,
“The destruction of the sword is incurred by infidels, although they be not the first aggressors. . .” (Burhanuddin Ali, The Hidaya, quoted in Andrew G. Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, [Prometheus Books, 2005], p. 184).
Influential Islamic scholar and commentator of the Qur’an Abul Mawdudi who died in 1979 said,
“. . .the ultimate objective of Islam is to abolish the lordship of man over man and bring him under the rule of Allah . . . this purpose is called jihad. . . . undertake jihad and establish Allah’s rule on earth. . . . Let us come forward and fight in Allah’s cause with whatever we possess” (Abul A’la Mawdudi, Fundamentals of Islam, [Dar Al Wahi, 2008], pp. 245, 252, 264).
The 14th century Islamic historian Ibn Khaldun said,
“In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the [Muslim] mission and [the obligation to] convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force” (Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, quoted in Andrew G. Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, [Prometheus Books, 2005], p. 161).
The 12th century Islamic theologian Abu Al-Ghazali said,
“. . . [O]ne must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year . . .” (Al-Ghazali, Kitab Al-Wagiz Fi Fiqh Madhab Al-Imam al-Safi’i, quoted in Andrew G. Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, [Prometheus Books, 2005], p. 199).
On Al-Aqsa TV (April 11, 2008) Muslim cleric Yunis Al-Astal said,
“Allah has chosen you. . . . even to conquests through da’wa and military conquests of the capitals of the entire world” (Yunis Al-Astal, Al-Aqsa TV, April 11, 2008).
Lastly, Robert Spencer notes the four major schools of Islamic law teach offensive jihad:
“All four principle Sunni schools of jurisprudence, the Shafi’i, Malaki, Hanafi, and Hanbali schools, agree on the importance of jihad warfare against non-Muslims who refuse to convert to Islam. Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawana (d. 996), a Malaki jurist, declared that ‘it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war will be declared against them.’ Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328), a Hanbali jurist who is a favourite of bin Laden and other modern-day jihadists, explained that the aim of jihad was ‘that the religion in God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought.’ The other schools echo these teachings. The Hanafi school stipulates, ‘If the infidels, upon receiving the call [to convert to Islam], neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax, it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them . . . the Prophet, moreover, commands us to do so.’ Likewise the Shafi scholar Abdu’l Hasan al-Mawardi (d. 1058) taught that once infidels refuse the invitation to convert to Islam, ‘war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached’” (Robert Spencer, Stealth Jihad, [Regnery Publishing, 2008], pp. 37-38).
Islamic theology permits terrorism against civilians
In a 2014 online speech translated by Memri TV the Sudanese cleric Muhammad Ali Al-Jazouli said,
“American tax-payers share the blame for the blood of every Iraqi child. Our Prophet Muhammad said that anyone who helps kill a Muslim man – even by uttering half a word – no longer enjoys protection. . . . In its war with the infidels, Islam recognizes no distinction between regular armies and civilians” (Muhammad Ali Al-Jazouli, Online Speech, June 20, 2014, translated by Memri TV).
The hadith Al-Jazouli paraphrased can be found in Sunan Ibn Majah:
“It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Whoever helps to kill a believer, even with half a word, he will meet Allah with (the words) written between his eyes, 'He has no hope of the mercy of Allah’” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 3, Book 21, Hadith 2620).
This gives Muslims justification for blaming Western civilian tax payers for the death of Muslims since soldiers their taxes fund fight and kill Muslim soldiers in the Middle East. Thus, many Muslim scholars say Western civilians can be murdered in jihad because of this. This is why we see Muslims murdering civilians on the street in the West.
Moreover, Islamic theologian Abu Al-Ghazali said,
“. . .one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them. . .” (Al-Ghazali, Kitab Al-Wagiz Fi Fiqh Madhab Al-Imam al-Safi’i, quoted in Andrew G. Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, [Prometheus Books, 2005], p. 199).
This is based on two ahadith in Sahih Muslim where Muhammad permitted the murder of innocent unbelieving women and children:
“It is reported on the authority of Sa'b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 19, Number 4321; see also Sahih Muslim, Book 19, Number 4322-4323).
Muslim scholars note these ahadith abrogate previous prohibitions against killing unbelieving women and children. Also, the 14th century Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyya said unbelieving women and children can be murdered by Muslims if they merely “fight with words [e.g. propaganda]. . .” (Ibn Taymiyya, Al-Siyasa Al-Shariyya, quoted in Andrew G. Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, [Prometheus Books, 2005], p. 168).
The recent massacre in Pakistan where over 130 students were murdered by Muslim militants is in accord with Muhammad’s ordering of the beheading of around 700 Jewish boys and men of the Bani Qurayza tribe (Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 3, Book 33, Hadith 4390, p. 1227; Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, [Oxford University Press, 2014], p. 464-466). This massacre of a tribe of Jews sanctioned by Muhammad included boys who just entered puberty. Thus, since Muhammad allowed young boys to be murdered, the Muslim militants in Pakistan who massacred over 130 boys have justification from Muhammad for doing so.
Moreover, the reason Muslims engage in terror attacks against those who draw cartoons of Muhammad or who speak against Islam and Muhammad is because Muhammad allowed his followers to murder anyone who insulted him. For example, Muhammad allowed a blind man to stab his slave-mother to death for merely criticizing Muhammad (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4348), and he allowed a man to strangle a Jewish woman to death for merely disparaging Muhammad (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4349). Moreover, Muhammad said, “The people who will receive the severest punishment from Allah will be the picture makers” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 7, Book 72, Hadith 834). Thus, terrorist attacks, against civilians, cartoonist, and those who criticize Islam are all things justified by Muhammad and the early Islamic religious sources.
This is why, according to the Clarion Projectpoll study, more than 42 million Muslims support ISIS. Also, according to an Al-jazeera online Arabic poll, 81% of those polled support ISIS. These Muslims realize the ISIS caliphate and its brutal ways were actually sanctioned and practiced by Muhammad and his early Caliph successors (we will prove this below). Also, just concerning suicide bombings alone, 3,400 people were murdered in Islamic attacks in 2014, with 529 bombings. This is because Islam teaches terrorism.
Moreover, one could mention the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist massacre which left 12 dead, the Ottawa parliament attack which left a Canadian soldier dead, the Muslim convert who did a lethal hit-and-run on a Canadian soldier in Quebec, the Muslim in France who drove his car through a crowd screaming "allahuakbar", the Muslim who murdered three people at the Brussels Jewish Museum, the two black Muslims in Britain who ran over and then beheaded an innocent soldier named Lee Rigby in broad daylight with a machete, the Muslim in Oklahoma who beheaded his female co-worker after being fired for trying to convert people to Islam, the Nigerian Muslim terror group Boko Haram murdering close to 2,000 people in an attack on the city of Baga and surrounding villages in Borno state, the four Jewish hostages killed by Muslims in a Paris Kosher grocery store, the ten year old suicide bomb strapped girl who murdered 19 in Maiduguri, north-eastern Nigeria, the 10 murdered and 45 churches torched during protests over a Mohammed cartoon in Niger, the Libya hotel attack where Muslims massacred nine people, the Detroit man who stabbed two people at a bus stop after asking whether or not they were Muslim, the Kenyan al Shabaab Islamist militants who murdered 148 people at a university, the Taliban massacres 145 boys at a school, and the Muslim who murdered four Marines after storming military facilities in Chattanooga, etc.
These are just some of the Muslim terror attacks inspired by Muhammad’s teachings which occurred during my research into jihad. More have happened since then and will continue to happen because Muhammad’s early, Islamic, religious texts about jihad exist.
Jihad as obedience with reward
Why are so many Muslims so quick to murder unbelievers in the West or travel to the Middle East and join jihad campaigns with the Islamic State or with the Taliban, etc (sources 1, 2)? Why do jihad groups even exist such as Hezbollah, ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, al Shabaab, al-Qaida, Taliban, etc?
The motivation to engage in jihad comes from the ahadith texts where Muhammad taught jihad holy war is one of the best things a Muslim can do for Allah and that those who engage in it receive a special reward in the afterlife.
For example, in Sahih Bukhari we read:
“Narrated by Anas bin Malik. The Prophet said, ‘A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah's Cause in the forenoon or in the afternoon is better than the world and whatever is in it’” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 50).
“Narrated by Anas bin Malik. The Prophet said, ‘Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah's Cause). . .’” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 53).
Plus, the promise of defiling virgins in the afterlife if you die as a martyr in jihad is very appealing to many Muslim men. In a Sunan Ibn Majah hadith we read,
“It was narrated from Miqdam bin Ma’dikarib that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘The martyr . . . is married to (wives) from among the wide-eyed houris [virgins]. . .’” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 4, Book 24, Hadith 2799).
The Koran in Surah 55:56 explains this:
“Wherein both will be those (maidens) restraining their glances upon their husbands, whom no man or jinn yatmithhunna (has opened their hymens with sexual intercourse) before them” (Surah 55:56).
It is because devout Muslims across the world see these terror groups like ISIS as accurately carrying out Muhammad’s teaching and practice which is why so many of them who study the Islamic scriptures join such groups in the hopes that they can die in martyrdom and defile virgins for eternity. Muhammad taught terrorism and offensive jihad.
Meanwhile in the West you have ignorant liberals and leftists falsely claiming Muslims join ISIS because of lack of job opportunities or some other ridiculous explanation.
Then you have ignorant liberals in the West who take school-children to mosques dressing them in Muslim garb praying to Allah (sources 1, 2) while at the same time Muslims are murdering and doing jihad because of Muhammad’s teachings. This is liberal insanity.
Muhammad and his early caliph successors engaged in offensive jihad
If it can be shown Muhammad and his early successors, the Caliphs (i.e., heads of the Islamic state), engaged in offensive jihad warfare, that would prove jihad is part of Islamic teaching and also that the Koran they were following teaches offensive jihad.
Moreover, if they carried out offensive jihad that means according to Islamic theology Muslims for all time are to emulate them and do that same. This is because Muhammad said: “. . . keep to my sunnah and to the sunnah of the rightly-guided Khalifahs - cling to them stubbornly. . .’” (Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadith, Number 28). The “sunnah” of Muhammad and the early Caliphs Muhammad said must be followed are their teachings and actions. Hence, if they engaged in offensive jihad, this is a valid Islamic practice Muslims for all time must emulate. This is why ISIS, Boko Haram Al Shabaab and other Muslims today practice offensive jihad.
What is more, Muhammad said the best generations of Muslims were his and the two after his (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 78, Number 652; Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 6159). Thus, if Muhammad and the Muslims of the two generations after him engaged in offensive jihad, and they were the best Muslims, then clearly Muslims today must follow their example and do jihad according to Islam.
Also, with regard to the issue of ijma or “consensus” of the ummah or “community,” in Sunan Ibn Majah “Anas bin Malik said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah say: ‘My nation will not unite on misguidance, so if you see them differing, follow the great majority” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 5, Book 36, Hadith 3950). Hence if Muhammad’s early community engaged in and supported offensive jihad shortly after he died and agreed on it, this would prove offensive jihad is a valid theological practice for Muslims for all time.
In light of all this, the following is proof Muhammad and his early successors, “the rightly guided Caliphs,” engaged in offensive jihad warfare in an attempt to conquer the world for Allah.
The historian Will Durant notes, “During his ten years in Medina he [Muhammad] planned sixty-five campaigns and raids, and personally led twenty-seven” (Will Durant, The Story of Civilization 4: The Age of Faith, [MJF Books, 1950], p. 170). We will discuss some of these.
Offensive jihad campaigns of Muhammad
In A.D. 625 Muhammad ordered an offensive invasion against the Jewish Banu Nadir tribe. After the slaughter, Muhammad then expelled the remaining survivors from Arabia (Sunan Abu Dawud, 2676; Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Al-tabaqat Al-kabir, Vol. 2, [Kitab Bhavan, 2009], p. 70). As an excuse to attack them Muhammad claimed he received a revelation from Gabriel that they supposedly wanted to assassinate him (The History of al-Tabari, Vol. 7, [State University of New York Press, 1987], p. 157; Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Al-tabaqat Al-kabir, Vol. 2, [Kitab Bhavan, 2009], p. 69).
However, the context shows why he really attacked them. Historian William Montgomery Watt notes,
“The main underlying reason for the expulsion of the clan of al-Nadir was . . . Jewish criticisms endangered the ordinary Muslim’s belief in Muhammad’s prophethood and in the Qur’an as revelation from God. It should also be kept in mind that the attack was made only a few weeks after the Muslim loss of life at al-Raji and Bir Maunah, when many people in Medina must have been entertaining gloomy feelings . . . . it is also possible that the allegation [that the Banu Nadir tribe wanted to assassinate Muhammad] was no more than an excuse to justify the attack” (The History of al-Tabari, Vol. 7, [State University of New York Press, 1987], pp. xxxv-xxxvi parenthesis mine).
In A.D. 627 Muhammad sent his adopted son Zaid bin Haritha to lead an offensive, unprovoked jihad raid at Al Jumum where the Muslims captured a group of non-Muslims and stole a bunch of their camels and goats (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Al-tabaqat Al-kabir, Vol. 2, [Kitab Bhavan, 2009], pp. 106-107).
Again in A.D. 627 Muhammad sent Abdur Rahman bin Auf to lead an offensive expedition of 700 Muslim men against the Christian Banu Kalb tribe. The reason was to get them to submit to Islam or die (Ibn Kathir, The Life of Prophet Muhammad, [Darul-Ishaat, 2010], p. 446). Before sending Abdur Rahman bin Auf out on this attack, Muhammad said to him, “Fight everyone in the way of God and kill those who disbelieve in God” (Ibn Isaq, The Life of Muhammad, [Oxford University Press, 2014], p. 672; cf. Al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Maghazi, [Routledge, 2011], p. 275-276). The Christians were forced to convert, die or pay the jizya tax. Al-Waqidi confirms, “At first they refused all but the sword” (Al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Maghazi, [Routledge, 2011], p. 276).
In A.D. 630 Muhammad sent al-Dahak ibn Sufyan to lead a Muslim force to al-Zuji to command the people of the Banu Kilab tribe to embrace Islam or die. Al-Waqidi reported, “The messenger of God sent an army to al-Qurata. . . . they met them in Zujj. They invited them to Islam but they refused. So they fought them and defeated them” (Al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Maghazi, [Routledge, 2011], p. 481). Ibn Sa’d confirmed the same thing, “They . . . invited them to embrace Islam. They refused, so they attacked them. . .” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Al-tabaqat Al-kabir, Vol. 2, [Kitab Bhavan, 2009], p. 201).This is offensive jihad.
In A.D. 631 over a dozen men of the Banu Azd clan led by Surad ibn Abdullah became new converts to Islam. Muhammad’s response was to order them to attack their non-Muslim neighboring tribes i.e., the people of Jurash in Yemen. Ibn Sa'd notes, “He (Surad) invited them [the neighboring tribes] to embrace Islam but they declined” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Al-tabaqat Al-kabir, Vol. 1, [Kitab Bhavan, 2009], p. 398). The historian al-Tabari notes the Muslim Surad therefore “inflicted a heavy loss on them” (History of al-Tabari, Vol. 9, [State University of New York Press, 1990], p. 88).
In A.D. 632 Muhammad sent Jarir ibn Abdullah al-Bajali on an offensive expedition to destroy the Dhul Khalasa which was a religious temple of Yemenite pagans. Of course if you send a military force to destroy a religious temple of a people then there is going to be defensive resistance. Muhammad’s soldiers slaughtered those trying to resist the Muslim conquerors and defend their temple. In Sahih Bukhari we read,
“The Prophet said to me, ‘Won't you relieve me from Dhu-l-Khalasa?’ So I set out with one-hundred-and-fifty riders, and we dismantled it and killed whoever was present there. Then I came to the Prophet and informed him, and he invoked good upon us and Al-Ahmas (tribe)” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 641).
In Hisham Al-Kalbi’s The Book of Idols we also read of this campaign’s offensive nature,
“. . . the Apostle addressed him [Jarir ibn-'Abdullah] saying, ‘O Jarir! Wilt thou not rid me of dhu-al-Khalasah?’ Jarir replied, ‘Yea.’ So the Apostle dispatched him to destroy it. He set out until he got to the banu-Abmas of the Bajilah [tribe] and with them he proceeded to dhu-al-Khalasah. There he was met by the Khath'am and the Bahilah, who resisted him and attempted to defend dhu-al-Khalasah. He, therefore, fought them and killed a hundred men of the Bahilah, its custodians, and many of the Khath'am; while of the banu-Qubafah ibn-'Amir ibn-Khath'am he killed two hundred. Having defeated them and forced them into flight, he demolished the building which stood over dhu-al-Khalasah and set it on fire” (Hisham Al-Kalbi, The Book of Idols, pp. 31-32).
These are but some of the instances of offensive jihad warfare Muhammad ordered proving this is part of Islam.
Offensive jihad campaigns of Muhammad’s early caliph successors
We will now turn our attention to some of the offensive jihad campaigns undertaken by Muhammad’s early Caliph successors, that is, the “rightly guided Caliphs”.
In A.D. 628 Muhammad sent his first Caliph successor Abu Bakr to lead an offensive expedition against people of the Arab Banu Kilab tribe (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Al-tabaqat Al-kabir, Vol. 2, [Kitab Bhavan, 2009], p. 146). The Muslims began the hostilities with this tribe by murdering some of their innocent men (Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar, [Darussalam, 2002], p. 353). In Sunan Abu Dawud we read about the later Muslim attack after those innocent men were murdered, “The Apostle of Allah appointed Abu Bakr our commander and we fought with some people who were polytheists, and we attacked them at night, killing them. Our war-cry that night was ‘put to death; put to death.’ Salamah said: I killed that night with my hand polytheists belonging to seven houses” (Sunan Abu Dawud, 2632).
After becoming Caliph in A.D. 632 after Muhammad’s death, Abu Bakr engaged in various offensive campaigns. According to the book Biographies of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, which is a compendium from the works of Muslim historians like Ibn Kathir, al-Tabari, As-Syooti and others, the mindset behind Abu Bakr’s conquests was the following:
“The basic aim of Muslim conquests was to spread the call to Islam to all nations in all lands. . . . calling on people to embrace Islam, or to enter a peace agreement and lead life under the protection of Muslims [i.e., second class subjugation under Muslim rule]. If they rejected both options, war would be the only choice left” (Biographies of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, eds. M. Ibrahim Kamara, Joanne McEwan, [Dar Al-Manarah, 2001], pp. 97-98 parenthesis mine).
This brings us to the conquest of Iraq ordered by Abu Bakr, specifically, “The Battle of Chains.” Abu Bakr ordered Khalid Ibn Al-Waleed to march to Iraq in the region of Uballah with a Muslim force. The governor of this district of Iraq was Hormuz. Khalid Ibn Al-Waleed sent Hormuz a letter saying, “Surrender to Islam, and you will live in peace. In the alternative you may agree to the payment of Jizya, and you and your people will be under our protection. Otherwise you will have only yourself to blame for the consequences. I have brought you a people who desire death as ardently as you desire life” (Biographies of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, eds. M. Ibrahim Kamara, Joanne McEwan, [Dar Al-Manarah, 2001], p. 90). This is offensive jihad. This battle led to thousands of non-Muslims being killed (Biographies of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, eds. M. Ibrahim Kamara, Joanne McEwan, [Dar Al-Manarah, 2001], p. 101).
Moreover, Abu Bakr had Khalid Ibn Al-Waleed engage in offensive jihad against the people of Al-Anbaar which was a town where caravans from Ash-Sham and Persia came. In regards to the Muslim motivation for waging this battle, the book Biographies of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs explains, “Khlaid grew impatient. He wanted to spread Islam everywhere, so he looked westwards along the banks of the Euphrates and saw Al-Anbaar” (Biographies of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, eds. M. Ibrahim Kamara, Joanne McEwan, [Dar Al-Manarah, 2001], p. 109). Although the governor of that district, Sheerzad, tried his best to defend the town, but the battle was ultimately lost. One very cruel aspect of this battle is that Khalid ordered his Muslim archers to aim for the eyes of the enemies. This resulted in thousands of non-Muslims losing their eyes before dying (Biographies of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, eds. M. Ibrahim Kamara, Joanne McEwan, [Dar Al-Manarah, 2001], p. 109).
Regarding the second Caliph, Umar, who reigned from A.D. 634 to 644, it is necessary to mention his harshness towards the Christians of Ash-Sham after they were put under Muslim rule. Ibn Kathir provides us with terms of his treaty with these Christians. Under these terms the Christians could not erect churches, monasteries, or sanctuaries for monks. They could not restore any place of worship that needed restoration. They could not publically practice shirk (i.e., teach Jesus and the Holy Spirit are divine), or invite anyone to such beliefs (i.e., Christian evangelism). If a Muslim wanted to sit where a Christian was sitting, the Christian had to move and let the Muslim sit there. They could not erect crosses on the outside of their churches. And they could not bury their dead next to Muslim dead (Ibn Kathir, Commentary on Koran 9:29). Ibn Kathir reports Umar added, “These are the conditions that we set against ourselves and followers of our religion in return for safety and protection. If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion” (Ibn Kathir, Commentary on Koran 9:29).
Moreover, Al-Bukhari tells us the following story of Ibn Umar, “Abdu'r-Rahman said, ‘Ibn 'Umar passed by a Christian who greeted him and Ibn 'Umar returned the greeting. He was told that the man was a Christian. When he learned that, he went back to him and said, 'Give me back my greeting'" (Al-Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad, trans. Aisha Bewley, chapter XDIII). This is because, as Al-Bukhari reports, “Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, ‘Do not give the People of the Book the greeting first. Force them to the narrowest part of the road” (Al-Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad, trans. Aisha Bewley, chapter XDIII).
Thus, it is quite clear Muhammad and his Caliph successors practiced offensive jihad and subjugation which means it is part of Islam.
In sum, the historian Robert Hoyland observes,
“In just over a hundred years - from the death of Muhammad in 632 to the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate in 750 - the followers of the Prophet swept across the whole of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. Their armies threatened states as far afield as the Franks in Western Europe and the Tang Empire in China” (Robert Hoyland, In God’s Path, [Oxford Univsesity Press, 2015], front flap).
Islamic Spain was peaceful?
One typical Islamic response to all this evidence is to falsely claim medieval Islamic Spain was peaceful and Christians and Jews were treated well with mutual respect. For example, Muslim apologist Karen Armstrong erroneously claimed,
“until 1492, Jews and Christians lived peaceably and productively together in Muslim Spain – a coexistence that was impossible elsewhere in Europe” (Karen Armstrong, “The curse of the infidel: A century ago Muslim intellectuals admired the West. Why did we lose their goodwill?” The Guardian, June 20, 2002).
This claim is made largely because of a propaganda book called The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain written by Maria Rosa Menocal. However, the first-rate Oxford historian Roger Collins refutes this nonsense in his work Caliphs and Kings: Spain where he notes,
“In recent years, to bring up the Umayyad period in Spanish history . . . often raises the issue of whether this was indeed that golden age of tolerance in which members of the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam coexisted in harmony and mutual respect. To which question there can be but one quick answer, and that is a wholly negative one. . . . if there were any truth to such a notion than it only applied to a very limited period of forty years or fewer in the mid-tenth century, in just one location, the city of Cordoba, and to a very small sector of society, the intellectual elite attached to the caliph court. Beyond these chronological, geographical, and social confines, life in Umayyad al-Andalus as recorded in our far from insubstantial sources looks more like Thomas Hobbe’s war of all against all than a realization of the prophetic visions of the wolf dwelling with the lamb, and the lion lying down with the goat. The Arab conquest created the conditions for a state of almost permanent warfare in the Iberian Peninsula that put special emphasis upon destruction and the display of dead enemies, with a lively slave trade as an additional incentive. This continued throughout the period covered in this book, and in scale and intensity exceeded anything to be found elsewhere in Western Europe in these centuries. Even in Cordoba at its cultural apogee it will have been hard to escape the reek of decomposing flesh from the decapitated heads displayed on the gates and the bodies of those publically crucified, left to rot in front of the palace. Quite why this roseate image of an age of mutual tolerance has taken so strong a hold on popular imagination both in the United States and throughout Europe is not easy to say. Perhaps we would like to believe that something we wish to achieve today once existed in the past, and therefore can seem an attainable goal. Worthy as the ideal may be, it needs to stand on its own two feet and not be made to rely on overly optimistic, and thus anachronistic, readings of the past” (Roger Collins, Caliphs and Kings: Spain, 796-1031, [John Wiley & Sons, 2012], introduction).