Bet You Can't Find 'Jihad' in the Koran

A prominent Islamic apologist named Jamal Badawi, renowned as a “moderate Muslim,” has offered one million dollars to anyone who can find references in the Koran that condone “religious war, or jihad.” He blames the media for giving people this idea.

Well, I want to be a millionaire. There are many verses in the Koran that enjoin believers to fight. While some may spiritualize them, their literal meaning is not hard to understand. This verse also makes clear the religious (and physical) character of the fight:

    Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom. (47:4)

This one states the goal of the fighting in terms that also make clear that the war is religious:

    And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. (8:39)

And this one establishes that he warfare is against the People of the Book, that is, Jews and Christians:

    Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (9:29)

There are many other such verses, but I don’t have to speak with Dr. Badawi to know what he will say about this list: I am taking the verses out of context. I can only understand them properly in the original Arabic. I need to be well-versed in the science of Koranic interpretation, tafsir, to be able to understand them. Only an “Islamophobe” would take such verses at face value.

Very well. But what about Muslims take them at face value? The Ingushetian Shura Council in Chechyna has explained in a recent communiqu???? © that Allah “permitted Jihad on His Straight Way, so that the Religion of Allah could be above all, so that all areas of life could be guided by Islam, and so that the Earth could be cleansed of unbelief.” In support of this idea, the Council quoted Sura 8:39, as it appears above. Likewise, in a treatise entitled “The true meaning of Jihad” that was posted last year on several jihadists websites, one Sidik Aucbur charged that “the West” was trying to distort the meaning of jihad by teaching that “Jihad is only about struggling against our desires.” He quotes the Koran copiously to establish that jihad means warfare against unbelievers, and declares: “there are over 120 verses of the Koran that use the Shari’ [Islamic legal] meaning of Jihad to mean fighting and killing.” Aucbur adds that all four major schools of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence agree on this point: “It has been agreed upon by the classical scholars that the Shari’ah meaning of Jihad is to fight and kill the kuffar [unbelievers].”

Aucbur is hardly eccentric in pointing out this sort of thing; such arguments are echoed by jihadists worldwide, who use passages of the Koran and Islamic law to recruit new jihad warriors and convince Muslims that theirs is the “true Islam.” Is Badawi unaware of all this? Rather than throw his millions around with claims that the Koran contains nothing in the way of exhortations to religious warfare, wouldn’t it be more honest of him to acknowledge that such passages exist and are used by jihadists, and to offer some cogent explanation of how their force can be blunted within the Islamic community — if indeed it can?

This is one of the fundamental defects of the post-9/11 discourse in America: Muslim spokesmen again and again have insisted that Americans accept that Islam is a religion of peace, without offering a shred of evidence to this effect. Meanwhile, Muslims worldwide continue to commit violence in the name of Islam, and bland denials like Badawi’s do nothing to stop them. As long as this goes on, nothing effective can or will be done to stop the ideology of jihad terrorism from proliferating in mosques and Islamic schools in the United States and around the world.

The Bergen (N.J.) Record noted that Badawi made his million-dollar offer “jokingly,” although it did not occur to the reporter (again, typically) to question his assertion about the Koran. It’s a good thing Badawi was joking: while I appreciate his kind offer, I don’t know what I would do with a million dollars anyway.