Skip to comments.Know the Enemy 1: heretical Jihad vs "orthodox" Islam
Posted on 09/18/2001 9:38:38 AM PDT by sanchmo
OK, gang - let's get to know our enemy. In this first installment, let's clarify exactly what Islam is and is not, and understand why the terrorists' views are heretical Jihadism and not "orthodox" Islam. That way we can try to separate friends from foes, enemies from allies. We'll also learn about the 2 major divisions of Islam. Here we go...
A Muslim is described as someone who "believes in Allah and submits to his will as it is described in the Koran." The Koran (Quran) is a compilation of revelations given to Muhammad in the period 610- 632." The Hadith are collections of sayings and acts of Muhammad and the first Muslims.
The Five Pillars of Islam are the minimum sacred obligations on all Muslims if they are to properly follow their Faith. They are:
1. Belief in the Shehada, the statement in Arabic which says: "There is no god but God and Muhammad is Prophet".
2. Salah, prayer five times a day.
3. Zakat, the paying of alms to the poor.
4. Ramadan, the holy fasting month. In Ramadan, Muslims must not eat, drink or make love from sunrise to sunset. In fact, they make up for it by feasting all night. Ramadan is the most social time of the Islamic calendar and consumption of foodstuffs rises so dramatically that there are often shortages.
5. Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca. This is an obligation for all Muslims who can afford it once in a lifetime. About two million Muslims go on hajj every year to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The trip carries enormous social prestige.
Non-Muslims are divided into two groups, the Peoples of the Book, and the pagans or Infidels. In classical Islamic theology, both Christians and Jews are regarded as 'People of the Book' - the Talmud and the Bible being regarded as Holy Books second only to the Quran. They cannot be forced to convert to Islam and are guaranteed freedom of worship in Islamic societies. Muslims regard Christianity and Judaism as incomplete versions of Islam. So they are obliged to tolerate these two faiths.This is an important point - in Islam Christians and Jews are not infidels, and are not to be the targets of religious war. The violent Jihadists are the heretics.
Islamic Law, or Shari'a, is held by Muslims to be a complete legal system that governs every aspect of individual and social life. In fact, there is great controversy within the Muslim world about what exactly a return to Shari'a would mean.
Jerusalem has the distinction, and the misfortune, to be a Holy Place for three major world religions which have fought over it for centuries: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Palestinians demand access to Jerusalem as their inalienable right and Islamic fundamentalists all over the Middle East demand the Liberation of the Holy City from 'Zionist hands'. Pictures of al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, another mosque in the same compound, adorn the walls of homes in dank refugee camps and tenement blocks across the Middle East.
Islam is divided into two main sub-divisions, the Sunni, who form about a 90 percent majority of the Muslim world, and the Shia, who form about 10 percent. The origins of the two schools are steeped in the early history of Islam. Sunni Islam claims to be the continuation of the religious and political Islam as it was defined through the revelations given to Muhammad and his life. Sunni Islam has a different set of hadiths from Shi'i Islam and puts far more importance into the hajj to Mecca.
Shi'i Islam represents the overwhelming majority (88%) in Iran, the largest religious group in Iraq, and minorities in Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, the Gulf States, Pakistan and India. Shi'ites focus on the trials of the martyrs (rawda kani) and exultation of martyrdom in general, and the use of self-flagellation as part of religious ritual. Another element is the principle of temporary marriage (mut'a), in which a marriage contract can be entered for a set time, for any period of time between 1 day and 99 years. The woman entering the mut'a is paid a set amount of money. According to some Shi'i traditions, a man performing 4 mut'as is secured a place in Paradise.
The term Jihad comes from the Arabic root 'jahada' meaning 'to struggle'. Jihad has two possible definitions: the greater, which is the spiritual struggle of each man, against vice, passion and ignorance. Giving up smoking can count as Jihad, for example, or controlling one's temper. In Islamic theology, these struggles inside the personality are termed 'the Greater Jihad' and struggles with outside forces such as state power or tyrannical armies 'the lesser Jihad'.
The most famous use of the word Jihad is as 'Holy War', and Islamic guerrillas fighting state authority in various Muslim countries use it freely to describe their struggles. The fighter who fights a Jihad - a Mujahid (plural: Mujahidin) - is believed to go straight to Paradise if he dies and his enemy will go straight to Hell. The culture of Jihad and the 'martyr' or shaheed (plural: shuhada) it produces is pervasive in some Muslim countries. While offensive jihad, i.e. attacking, is fully permissible in Sunni Islam, it is prohibited for some of the larger groups of Shi'i Islam, which consider only the Imam (a special leader) as carrying the right to decide to go to war or not.
The Veil - The Quran enjoins both men and women to dress modestly, and also speaks of covering women's adornments from outsiders of the family. Traditional dress codes in fact vary sharply in different Muslim societies. In Iran, the black chador is traditional among wide sectors of society but among the bedouin of the Arabian peninsular, women wear scarves that cover their hair but leave their faces open - just like most of their men. The same is also true in Muslim areas of south-east Asia. The Quran itself merely prescribes modesty rather than actually forcing the wearing of a particular garment.
For more info:
Glossary of Political Islam
Encyclopedia of the Orient
The Spiritual Significance of Jihad
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Yeah. And what did Jesus do?
Now compare that to what Muhammad, peace be upon him, preached and did.
A fair comparison?
In a nutshell: Peace versus violence & mayhem.
My sentiments exactly!
Even before the WTC attack saw many posts advocating the death of all Palestinians and Muslims. Some sick people around.
One school of thought says it's the Americans' fault: American imperialism and the export of American social and sexual mores are to blame. The other school of thought holds that Islam, by its very nature, is in permanent competition with other civilizations. This is the theory expounded by the Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington, who coined the term "Islam's bloody borders" -- a reference to the fact that wherever Islam rubs up against other civilizations -- Jewish, Christian, Hindu -- wars seem to break out.
Whenever I meet a Muslim fundamentalist, I ask them the same stupid-sounding question: Which is more important to Islam, greater jihad or lesser jihad? The answer, usually accompanied by an indulgent look, is usually something like, "They don't call it 'greater jihad' for nothing." The struggle against the external oppressor waxes and wanes, but the fight to suppress the evil inclinations within is perpetual.
But in my conversations with Haq, and with mullahs across Pakistan and Afghanistan, I kept getting a different answer. "They are of equal importance," Haq said. "Jihad against the oppressor of Muslims is an absolute duty. Islam is a religion that defends itself." Jihad against the devil without has assumed a place of permanent, even overriding importance in the way these mullahs look at the world. This was surprising to me, because not even the leaders of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, or sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, ever answered the question this way.
When I asked Samiul Haq to explain why he placed so much emphasis on lesser jihad, he said: "Islam is a religion of limits. There are four pillars of Islam. Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, you must make once, only if you have the means. There is a limit to how much charity you must give. In prayer, we only pray five times a day. And fasting, we fast for only one month, Ramadan. But for jihad, there are no limits. Jihad must be fought without limits. There is no compromise in jihad."