A devout Muslim believes that anyone outside the Ummah, the community of believers, resides in Dar al-Harb, the World of War. The believer is obliged to fight to enlarge the Ummah by all means necessary. The war we are in now, the Great Islamic Jihad, Third Wave, is a continuation of a war that is as old as the Islamic faith itself.
Islam may be unique in its scriptural call to continuing war on behalf of the faithful. Some have argued that Christ’s words (Matthew 10:34)
Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
are used as justification for Christian violence. On the whole, however, any Christian scriptural justification for holy war is weak indeed compared to numerous passages in the Quran such as:
Al-Baqara (The Cow)
2:218 Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of Allah,- they have the hope of the Mercy of Allah. And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
And yet there are many scriptural passages in the Quran urging peace and mercy. The question naturally arises: Why did Islam not follow the other major religions into modernity by interpreting its core texts in a way that would allow a tolerant and secular society to arise?
Posts over the next several days will explore some general reasons why Islam remains at war.