Terrorism – what delineates radical Islamists from moderate Muslims

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Some say that acts of terrorism such as we saw in Nice, France on July 14th or on a train in Germany on July 18th, and have seen in recent days in Tel Aviv, Brussels, Paris, Orlando, San Bernardino, Istanbul, and Lahore were never commanded by Allah – despite the fact that numerous Islamic texts (Qu’uran, Hadiths, Tafsirs) say otherwise. In this article, we look at terrorism in light of what Islamic texts say and the difference between how radical Islamists (Jihadis) interpret those texts and how moderate Muslims do.

As mentioned in an earlier post, moderate Muslims define the violent passages of Islamic texts in the context of less violent ones, concluding that violent ones should not be taken literally. Radical Islamists / Jihadis determine which Islamic texts apply and what violent behaviour is appropriate.

So lets look at a few texts that radical Islamists act upon, in accordance with the Doctrine of Abrogation (see earlier post, “A Difference of Interpretation – the distinction between moderate Muslims and Jihadis“).

(1) Allah commanded Muhammed to fight against unbelievers;

“It is reported on the authority of Abu Huraira that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: I have been commanded to fight against people, till they testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am the messenger (from the Lord) and in all that I have brought. And when they do it, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah.”   
Sahih Muslim, The Book of Faith (Kitab Al-Iman), Book 1: Hadith 33:31
“It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer, and pay Zakat and if they do it, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah.”
Sahih Muslim, The Book of Faith (Kitab Al-Iman), Book 1: Hadith 33:33
 (2) Muhammed himself commanded Muslims to fight against infidels, idolaters, and unbelievers.
“Slay the idolaters wherever you find them”
Qur’an 9:5
 
“Fight those who believe not in Allah”
Qur’an 9:29

The Tafsir on Qur’an 9:30 says that Allah encourages fighting Jews and Christians;

“Fighting the Jews and Christians is legislated because they are idolaters and disbelievers. Allah the Exalted encourages the believers to fight the polytheists, disbelieving Jews and Christians, who uttered this terrible statement and utter lies against Allah, the Exalted. As for the Jews, they claimed that Uzayr was the son of God, Allah is free of what they attribute to Him. As for the misguidance of Christians over Isa, it is obvious.”
Tafsir Ibn Kathir (on Qur’an 9:30)

Jews and Christians are referred in many Islamic texts as “People of the Book” and are considered “unbelievers” and the Qu’uran, Hadiths, and Tafsirs have much to say about how they are to be treated.

In Muslim lands operating under Sharia [Islamic] law, Jews and Christians (1) may be given the choice to pay the Jiziya tax (a yearly tax historically levied by Islamic states on certain non-Muslim subjects) which would then make them dhimmis (second class citizens that give deference to the Muslim majority and live under Islamic law (Sharia) or (2) they may be killed.

Islamic texts command Muslims to fight “polytheists” – which explains the massacre of Yazidi at Sinjar Mountain, in Iraq in August 2014. Radical Islamists consider Yazidi polytheists, along with Hindus and Buddists. They also view Christians who call Jesus “God” to be “polytheists“, because the fundamental tenant of Islam, the Shahada says;

“There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”.
By calling Jesus “God”, and calling the Holy Spirit “God”, Christians violate the first shahada (also called the tahlīl), i.e. “there is no god but Allah”, making Christians “polytheists”.

Idolaters” include people such as Hindus and Buddhists, and can include Yazidi and Christians (if they follow a tradition that includes carved images of Biblical figures).

Muslims killing other Muslims comes under the heading of “infidels” (e.g. Sunnis killing Shia, killing moderate Muslims).

(3) Muslims are commanded to kill any Muslim who coverts to any other religion;

 

“Allah’s Messenger said, “If anyone changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”
Sahih al-Bukhari 6922

What about Jihad?

Jihad (Arabic جهاد‎‎) means to “strive, apply oneself, struggling, and persevere” and is viewed very differently by radical Islamists / Jihadis and moderate Muslims. More on that below.
Historically, different Islamic scholars defined “jihad” differently, for example, Ibn Rushd (1126 – 1198 CE) defined 4 types of jihad; (i) by the heart, (ii) by the tongue, (iii) by the hand and (iv) by the sword”. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292–1350 CE) defined 4 types of jihad as being (i) against oneself, (ii) against Satan, (iii) against disbelievers and (iv) against the “hypocrites”.
Today, “jihad” is defined with respect to its two parts;
(1) the “greater jihad“: which is seen as an inner spiritual struggle.
(2) the “lesser jihad“: which is seen as an outer physical struggle against the enemies of Islam and which may take a violent or non-violent form.

Moderate Muslims focus on the internal spiritual struggle to be a “good Muslim” (“greater jihad“) and on performing the Five Pillars of Islam;

Five Pillars of Islam

(1) voluntary declaration of the Shahada (“there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”).
(2) Salahcompulsory prayer offered 5 times a day (before sunrise, midday/mid-afternoon, mid-afternoon/before sunset, after sunset, after nightfall/before dawn).
(3) Sawmobligatory fasting from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan.
(4) Zakahcompulsory annual welfare contribution from annual savings i.e. 2.5% of cash and precious metals and jewellery and a percentage of animals and crops.  This is not “charity”; charity is optional, however the zakah can be spent on helping the poor, the oppressed, or supporting Islamic organizations.
(5) Hajj – fulfilling the obligation to make the pilgrimage to “the house of Allah” in Mecca, Saudi Arabia at least once during one’s life, provided there is the means to do so.

The Lesser Jihad

As we mentioned in a previous post, moderate Muslims define the violent passages of Islamic texts in the context of less violent ones, concluding that violent ones should not be taken literally.  As a result, “lesser jihad“, the outer physical struggle against the enemies of Islam may be expressed as educating non-Muslims about Islam, or by supporting Islamic groups that help Muslims in countries where they are felt to be oppressed.

For radical Islamists / Jihadis, the Doctrine of Abrogation determines which passages of Islamic texts apply and defines (1) what “outer physical struggle against the enemies of Islam” (“lesser jihad”) ‘looks like’ and (2) who those enemies of Islam are.
It looks like Nice, France and Germany. 
It looks like Orlando and Tel Aviv.
It look like Brussels and Paris.
It looks like San Bernardino, Istanbul and Lahore.

For radical Islamists, the enemies of Islam are the unbelieversidolaters, polytheists and infidels; Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Yazidi and moderate Muslims. It is the lesbian, gay, transgender and queer. It is anyone who would be out celebrating democracy and freedom on Bastille Day, the 4th of July and on Canada Day – rather than voluntarily submitting to the Islamic rule of a Caliphate and the dictates of Sharia law.

It is you.
It is me.
Terrorism is aimed at us.
[For more information, please read “A Difference of Interpretation – the distinction between moderate Muslims and Jihadishttp://www.morehasbara.com/2016/06/14/ja-difference-of-interpretation-what-separates-moderates-from-jihadis/]