A recent Arabic article appearing in Egyptâ??sÂ Al AhramÂ newspaper titled â??Is Terrorism Jihad?â?ť written by Islamic law expert Dr. Abdul Fatah Idris offers important lessonsâ??from the fact that jihadÂ doesÂ involve subjugating non-Muslims to why the Western mentality is still incapable of acknowledging it.
Idris, professor and chairman of Al Azhar Universityâ??s Department of Comparative Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Sharia Law, is a well-reputed legal scholar.Â He begins his article by quoting from various international bodies that define terrorism as violence as a means of coercion.
In the context of the Muslim Brotherhoodâ??s recent terrorist attacks throughout Egyptâ??including the destruction of over 80 Christian churchesâ??Idris goes on to agree that, â??It is therefore correct to define what happened recently [in Egypt] as terrorism and it cannot be called, as some have done [e.g., Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, et al.], a jihad orÂ ribatÂ in the path of Allah, for the difference between them is vast.Â Terrorism is a crime, both according to Sharia and the law; and all international conventions consider it a crime and call on all people to fight against it through all means.â?ť
So far so good.
However, Idris immediately makes a complete reversal in his follow-up sentences:
â??But jihad in the path of Allah,Â to make his word supreme, spread his religion, defend the honor of the Islamic nation [umma], and respond to the aggression against Muslims all around the earthâ??this is jihad:Â when a Muslim fights an infidel without treaty to make the word of Allah Most High supreme, forcingÂ him to fight or invading his land, this is a permissible matter according to the consensus of the jurists.Â Indeed, it is an obligation for all Muslims.Â Now if the deeds of the jihadâ??including fighting the infidels and breaking their spine through all possible meansâ??are permissible according to Sharia, then it is impossible to define those acts as terrorism, which Sharia-based evidence has made illegitimate. A large gap exists between them [jihad and terrorism].Â And there is no connection between what is obligatory [jihad] and what is forbidden [terrorism].â?ť
At this point, the befuddled Western reader may be at a loss to understand this seemingly semantic argument: exactly how is jihadâ??â??according to the consensus of the jurists,â?ť no lessâ??different from the aforementioned definitions of terrorism?
Whatâ??s needed here is for the non-Muslim to try to transcend his epistemology and think, for a moment, like an observant Muslim, especially in the context of two points:
According to Islamic doctrine, jihad, as Idris asserts,Â isÂ an obligation for Muslims (offensive being communal, defensive being individual).Â As this expert of Islamic jurisprudence states:Â â??But jihad in the path of Allah,Â to make his word supreme, spread his religionâ?¦Â this is jihad:when a Muslim fights an infidel without treaty [e.g. dhimma pact] to make the word of Allah Most High supreme, forcingÂ him to fight or invading his landâ?¦â?ť
In Islamic thinking, even offensive jihadâ??including â??breaking [the infidelsâ??] spine through all possible meansâ?ťâ??is seen as something of an altruistic affair, for the good of the world.Â More to the point, the ends justify the means.
Taking these two points togetherâ??Allah commands Muslims to wage jihad and it is good for all concerned, a means to a glorious end, i.e., â??making Allahâ??s word supremeâ?ťâ??how can Muslims classify jihad as â??terrorism,â?ť even when, from a non-Muslim perspective, it seems identical to the international definitions of terrorism that Idris himself delineated and agreed with?
In short, jihad is not terrorism simply because AllahÂ says soâ??even if the two, back in the real world, are identical.Â In the words of Idris: â??Now if the deeds of the jihadâ??including fighting the infidels and breaking their spine through all possible meansâ??are permissible according to Sharia,then it is impossible to define those acts as terrorism.â?ť
Three final thoughts:
- Next time you wonder why â??moderateâ?ť Muslims rarely if ever condemn the terrorism habitually committed in the name of their religion, youâ??d do well to remember Idrisâ?? article and rationale.
- Regarding the supposedly â??controversialâ?ť question of what jihadÂ reallyÂ is, who do you think is more authoritativeâ??a Sharia law instructor at the Islamic worldâ??s most prestigious university, writing in Arabic to fellow Muslims, or, say, a Karen Armstrong writing best-selling fluff pieces about a benign and â??misunderstoodâ?ť Islam to a naĂŻve Western public?
- Why was Idrisâ?? article left unreported?Â Imagine the international outrage that would spark if a Christian theologian wrote in theÂ New York Timesâ??which is whatÂ Al AhramÂ is equivalent to in Egyptâ??that â??it is an obligationâ?ť for Christians to wage â??holy warâ?ť on non-Christian infidels and â??fight or invade his [non-Christian] landâ?ť to â??make Jesusâ?? word supremeâ?ť?
And so we come back full circle to the lamentable fact that, while Islamâ??s commands are black and white, so easily ascertained and visible to all, the West still cannot accept realityâ??thanks in great part to its own endless array of liars, fools, and traitors.
Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islamâ??s New War on Christians.