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Understanding Jihad

Understanding Jihad

David Cook
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: 1
Pages: 269
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppjtw
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  • Book Info
    Understanding Jihad
    Book Description:

    Jihadis one of the most loaded and misunderstood terms in the news today. Contrary to popular understanding, the term does not mean "holy war." Nor does it simply refer to the inner spiritual struggle. This book, judiciously balanced, accessibly written, and highly relevant to today's events, unravels the tangled historical, intellectual, and political meanings ofjihad.Looking closely at a range of sources from sacred Islamic texts to modern interpretations,Understanding Jihadopens a critically important perspective on the role of Islam in the contemporary world. As David Cook traces the practical and theoretical meanings ofjihad,he cites from scriptural, legal, and newly translated texts to give readers a taste of the often ambiguous information that is used to construct Islamic doctrine. He looks closely at the life and teaching of the Prophet Muhammad and at the ramifications of the great Islamic conquests in 634 to 732 A.D. He sheds light on legal developments relevant to fighting and warfare, and places the internal, spiritual jihad within the larger context of Islamic religion. He describes some of the conflicts that occur in radical groups and shows how the more mainstream supporters of these groups have come to understand and justify violence. He has also included a special appendix of relevant documents including materials related to the September 11 attacks and published manifestoes issued by Osama bin Laden and Palestinian suicide-martyrs.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93187-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-4)

    Jihad. The word has entered into common usage in the United States in the wake of September 11, 2001. Politicians use it to conjure up terrifying images of irrational foreigners coming to destroy American freedoms; religious figures use it to define Islam.Jihadhas even entered our everyday vocabulary, associated (by most non-Muslims) with unrestrained, unreasoning, total warfare. But whatdoesit really mean?

    Jihad, like other words taken from a religious context, has a long history and a complex set of meanings. Conventionally it is translated as “holy war,” but this definition, associated with the medieval Crusades, is usually...

  5. ONE QURʾAN AND CONQUEST
    (pp. 5-31)

    Islam did not begin with violence. Rather, it began as the peaceful proclamation of the absolute unity of God by the Prophet Muhammad (ca. 610 c.e.) in the pagan-dominated town of Mecca. The earlysuras(chapters) of the Qurʾan proclaim this basic message: “Say: He is Allah, the only One, Allah, the Everlasting. He did not beget and is not begotten, and none is His equal” (Qurʾan 112). Initially, Muhammad was instructed merely to communicate this message to his immediate family and close friends, who, together with a number of social outcasts and slaves, formed the original community of Muslims....

  6. TWO THE “GREATER JIHAD” AND THE “LESSER JIHAD”
    (pp. 32-48)

    As might be expected from thehadithliterature, and especially from the definitions of “martyr” in early Islam, jihad did not necessarily entail actual fighting. As the conquests began to move to more distant regions, many Muslims were unable (or probably in some cases unwilling) to abandon their homes and families to go and fight. It is likely that the Islamic definition of “jihad” was expanded as a result from its original meaning to encompass “struggle” or “striving.” Although most verses in the Qurʾan are unambiguous as to the nature of the jihad prescribed—the vast majority of them referring...

  7. THREE THE CRYSTALLIZATION OF JIHAD THEORY: Crusade and Counter-Crusade
    (pp. 49-72)

    Islam enjoyed a large degree of success during the conquests of the seventh and eighth centuries, and it continued to prevail during the periodic local invasions that followed during the ninth and tenth centuries (the conquest of Sicily and southern Italy, for example, and the conquest of Crete). However, many of the initial Muslim victories were achieved because no strong states other than the Byzantine Empire (and more distantly, the Chinese Empire) stood in the path of the Muslims. In fact, the Muslim conquests to a large degree facilitated the development of strong states, especially in Europe, as loosely ruled...

  8. FOUR JIHAD DURING THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: RENEWAL AND RESISTANCE
    (pp. 73-92)

    During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Western domination of regions previously controlled or dominated by Muslims did not stop at the boundary between non-Muslim majority and Muslim majority territories. Nonetheless, many Muslim majority regions held out longer against Western domination than did regions in which other religions were dominant, though there are significant exceptions to this rule (among them: Algeria, Indonesia, the Muslim majority areas of India, and Central Asia). Muslim resistance to Western encroachments was intermittent. In areas where the majority of the Muslim population acknowledged a state—even from afar—they tended to either emigrate to that state...

  9. FIVE RADICAL ISLAM AND CONTEMPORARY JIHAD THEORY
    (pp. 93-127)

    Contemporary jihad theory begins from the time that overt military resistance to Western incursions ceased and the need arose to radically redefine the meaning of jihad, either for apologetic reasons or because the definition was no longer relevant to new circumstances. By the early twentieth century, most of the Muslim world was ruled by Europeans, who imposed their laws and norms upon the Muslim societies. In some cases the Europeans ruled directly (as they did in India and Algeria); in others they ruled through proxies (as in Morocco, Tunisia, and Iran) or through local elites that were clearly subservient to...

  10. SIX GLOBALIST RADICAL ISLAM AND MARTYRDOM OPERATIONS
    (pp. 128-162)

    To a large extent the agent of the transition from contemporary jihad theorists and local Muslim resistance movements to globalist radical Islam was the Palestinian radical ʿAbdallah ʿAzzam. ʿAzzam’s method of fighting for the sake of Islam, rather than for the sake of Palestinian nationalism, against Israel found little support among Palestinians during the 1970s (the heyday of the leftist and secularist Palestine Liberation Organization and its many associates). When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, ʿAzzam moved to Peshawar (Pakistan), where he began to preach a globalist and salvific variety of jihad to audiences that, over time, comprised...

  11. AFTERWORD
    (pp. 163-168)

    There is no lack of evidence concerning the Muslim practice of jihad. The classical and modern works on the subject are voluminous, and they are documented by an examination of Muslim actions as recorded by historians. There can be no reasonable doubt that jihad is a major theme running through the entirety of Muslim civilization and is at least one of the major factors in the astounding success of the faith of Islam. However, despite the centrality of the theme of jihad, there have been numerous and sometimes complicated developments in its interpretation and practice. From the initially straightforward conquest...

  12. APPENDIX: SOME TRANSLATED DOCUMENTS
    (pp. 169-208)
  13. TIMELINE
    (pp. 209-210)
  14. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 211-212)
  15. NOTES
    (pp. 213-236)
  16. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 237-252)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 253-259)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 260-260)