Whose Jihad?

“MyJihad” is a nationwide campaign launched late last year by CAIR for the purpose of spiffing up the image of jihad, which has become somewhat tarnished over the past decade or so. According to CAIR:

MyJihad is an independent national initiative that seeks to share the proper meaning of Jihad as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims. Jihad is a central tenet of the Islamic creed, which means struggling uphill in order to get to a better place.

That’s the definition of “jihad” that the Muslim Brotherhood and its various American franchises would like us to accept. CAIR’s promotion of the “inner struggle” meme is one of the reasons that Pamela Geller launched her own bus ad campaign to highlight the bitter fruits of jihad as it is understood and practiced by Muslims all over the world.

The images on the buses are what middle-class Americans want to believe about Muslins: they are exactly like us; they just go to a mosque instead of a church, but otherwise they’re the same. Oh, except that the women wear that scarf on their heads. No matter how modern and trendy and well-dressed they are, they always wear hijab to proclaim their ideological affiliation.

You have to hand it to CAIR: they have a deep understanding of the 21st-century American psyche, and they have exploited that understanding to the full. Many of their operatives were born in this country, and have been applying themselves to the “civilization jihad” all their adult lives. Knowing what makes Americans tick, and leveraging that knowledge, is the essence of their modus operandi.

The following video clip shows a TV news report about the appearance of the MyJihad bus ads in San Francisco. Vlad Tepes has interspersed the report with scenes from the other kind of jihad, the one that was so grotesquely on display in Heliopolis a few days ago. He has also included a brief instructional clip by Maj. Stephen Coughlin explaining jihad as it is understood by Muslims themselves in terms of Islamic law:

All this wishful thinking about the nature of Islam is a reminder of how effectively the portals of information concerning Islamic law and theology are controlled by Muslim advocacy organizations. When television networks or newspapers or local politicians or business roundtables want more it information on Islam, they usually consult CAIR or some other similar organization that fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood. They don’t go to Steve Coughlin or Robert Spencer or Andy Bostom to find out what Islam is all about. They prefer to take the word of Muslim spokesmen — who are of course adept at the art of taqiyya.

One of Maj. Coughlin’s core rules — which he applied consistently during his tenure as a consultant with the Joint Chiefs of Staff — is that in order for Westerners to understand Islamic law as it is understood and followed by those who wage violent jihad, we must read authoritative Muslim scholars who write for a Muslim audience.

An objection that is often raised at this point is that no one can understand Islamic law without reading it in the original Arabic. This is a spurious assertion, since approximately 80% of the world’s Muslims do not understand Arabic, and yet follow Islamic law as it is written in their native languages (or often in English). Thousands of volumes of Islamic law in English — either original or translated — are used all over the world every day by Muslim imams and ulama to apply the tenets of sharia.

Below is a précis of what you might read about jihad if the legacy media did their job properly. It’s drawn from some of the same sources that Maj. Coughlin uses for his briefings, and begins with an authoritative definition of jihad using a text of Islamic law from the Shafite school written in the 14th century. The book is entitled ’Umdat al-salik wa ’uddat al-nasik, or The reliance of the traveller and tools of the worshipper. It is commonly referred to as Reliance of the Traveller when cited in English. The Revised Edition (published 1991, revised 1994) and is “The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law ’Umdat al-Salik by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 769/1368) in Arabic with Facing English Text, Commentary, and Appendices”, edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller.

We know that Reliance is an authoritative source on Sunni Islamic law, because it is certified as such by Al-Azhar University in Cairo. There is no higher authority on Sunni Islamic doctrine than Al-Azhar. It is the Islamic equivalent of the Vatican.

Book O, “Justice”, § 9 begins with a section on jihad:

Jihad means to war against non-Muslims and it is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying war to establish the religion. And it is the lesser jihad.

Note: none of the Sahih hadith scholars ever mentioned the “greater” jihad, which is what those bus ads are trying to push on their American audience. The “lesser jihad” is what concerns Islamic scholarship, as recorded in the authentic hadith. According to Bukhari, “The Book of Jihad” is about “fighting for Allah’s cause”. Reading Bukhari leaves the reader with no doubt that jihad is all about fighting. Footnote #1 tells us more:

Al-Jihad (Holy fighting) in Allah’s Cause (with full force of numbers and weaponry) is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its pillars (on which it stands). By Jihad Islam is established, Allah’s Word is made superior, … and His Religion (Islam) is propagated. By abandoning Jihad (may Allah protect us from that) Islam is destroyed and the Muslims fall into an inferior position; their honour is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish. Jihad is an obligatory duty in Islam on every Muslim, and he who tries to escape from this duty, or does not in his innermost heart wish to fulfil this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite.

“But Baron,” you say, “this is the Shafite school of Islamic law. We all know that there are many versions of Islamic law.”

Yes, there are — or, at least there are four major ones in Sunni Islam. Yet all four agree on the vast majority of legal issues, and are in near 100% agreement on the most important doctrines — including the meaning of “jihad”.

If you don’t like Shafite law, take a look at The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer by Ibn Rushd[1], which was published in the 12th century and is a classical Maliki text. Ibn Rushd was a qhadi — an Islamic law judge — in the court of Cordoba in Andalus. He is usually known as “Averroës” in the West.

Book Ten of The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer is “Jihad”. Concerning the hukm (law) of jihad, ibn Rushd has this to say:

With respect to the hukm of this activity, the jurists agreed unanimously that it is a collective and not a universal obligation, except for ’Abd Allâh Ibn al-Hasan who said it is voluntary. The majority of the jurists adopted this view because of the words of the Exalted, “Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you, but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you, Allâh knoweth, ye know not”. [Koran 2:216]

According to ibn Rushd, except for a single dissenting jurist, all sources agree the activity is obligatory:

The activity is obligatory on men, who are free, have attained puberty, who find the means (at their disposal) for going to war, are of sound health, and are neither ill nor suffer from a chronic disease. There is no dispute about this because of the words of the Exalted, “There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick”… [Koran 48:17]

Both these statements tell us that there is scholarly consensus about the activity of jihad, and that this consensus constitutes an absolute rule based on the words of the Koran.

Bearing in mind that Ibn Rushd was the chief judge in the court of Cordoba in al-Andalus during the “Golden Age” of Moorish Iberia, consider Section 7: “Why wage war?”:

Why wage war? The Muslim jurists agreed that the purpose of fighting the People of the Book, excluding the (Qurayshite) People of the Book and the Christian Arabs, is one of two things: it is either for their conversion to Islam or the payment of jizya. The payment of jizya is because of the words of the Exalted, “Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allâh or the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allâh and His Messenger hath forbidden, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily being brought low”. (Koran 9:29) [emphasis added]

The fact that “Muslim jurists agreed” means that this constitutes an absolute understanding across all of Islam.

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Not satisfied yet? Still think that “jihad” means an “inner struggle” to decide what brand of sunglasses to buy, or what color to paint your toenails?

Consider Shaybani’s Siyar, or The Islamic Law of Nations[2], which is the oldest, most completely extant text of Islamic law on warfare. It was written by Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani, a disciple of the Hanafi school of Islamic law. Book Thirteen is the Siyar, which concerns jihad and relations with non-Muslims. It tells us that jihad means “just war”, or more popularly, “holy war”.

This means that the people we are fighting in the “War on Terror” — assuming they know what the word jihad means — at the very least believe it is a just war or, in popular parlance, a holy war. A mujahid fights “just wars”, and “just wars” are jihads that are “holy wars”.

The meaning is obviously clear to them. Why isn’t it clear to us?

If you require a modern source, the The Quranic Concept of War[3] is apropos. It was written in 1979 by the serving Brigadier General S. K. Malik, when he was chief of staff of the Pakistani army.

According to Gen. Malik:

So spirited, zealous, complete and thorough should be our preparation for war that we should enter upon the ‘war of muscles’ having already won the ‘war of will’. Only a strategy that aims at striking terror into the hearts of the Enemies from the preparation stage can produce direct results and turn Liddell Hart’s dream into a reality. (p. 58)

This tells us that the Pakistani military understands that there is a Quranic concept of war. President Zia ul Haq declared this book to be his country’s doctrine. The Advocate General in Pakistan, a man named Brohi, stated that it was law.

To make his point about the Quranic concept of war, Gen. Malik includes the following four quotes from the Koran.

I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers. (Qur’an 8: 12)

Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers. (Qur’an 3: 151)

And those of the People of the Book who aided them, Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts, so that some ye slew, and some ye made prisoners [the women and the children]. And he made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which ye had not frequented (before). And Allah has power over all things. (Qur’an 33: 26-27)

Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the Godly): they will never frustrate them. Against them make ready your strength of the utmost of your power, including steeds of war to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah any your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. (Qur’an 8:56-60)

Given that Allah “made you heirs of their lands…and of a land which ye had not frequented”, it could hardly be said that Mohammed and his followers were engaged in defensive warfare. On the contrary, the forces of Islam mounted an offensive and conquered another tribe or group.

Based on the above citations from the Koran, Brigadier General S. K. Malik concludes:

TERROR struck into the hearts of the enemies is not only a means; it is an end in itself. Once a condition of terror into the opponent’s heart is obtained, hardly anything is left to be achieved. It is the point where the means and the end meet and merge. TERROR is not a means of imposing decision upon the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose upon him.

So Gen. Malik reasons that the Quranic concept of war is terror, with four quotes from the Koran to back up his argument. On page 60, the last paragraph of the last page of the same chapter is very important:

Terror cannot be struck into the hearts of an army by merely cutting its lines of communication or depriving it of its routes to withdraw. It is basically related to the strength or weakness of the human soul. It can be instilled only if the opponent’s Faith is destroyed. Psychological dislocation is temporary; spiritual dislocation is permanent. … To instill terror into the hearts of the enemy, it is essential, in the ultimate analysis, to dislocate his faith. An invincible faith is immune to terror.

The object of jihad is therefore the destruction of faith. It aims to destroy our faith in our God, in our government, in our legal system, in our entire world. Once we lose faith in our world, we become the object of a da’wa mission intended to convert us to Islam.

Gen. Malik’s final sentence at the end of the book reads:

This rule is fully applicable to nuclear as well as conventional wars.

A few points in conclusion:

  • Pakistan is still the only nuclear power in the Muslim world.
  • It has declared, as part of its published military doctrine, that nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction should be used for jihad.
  • The general who authored this doctrine received a stamp of approval from the chief of staff of the army, who later became the head of state.

Has Gen. Malik’s take on “My Jihad” appeared on the side of a bus yet? No?

How strange!

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“All right,” you say, “but that’s Pakistan. What does ‘jihad’ mean to American Muslims?”

A good question! How about a textbook written for Muslim seventh-graders by an American convert to Islam?

The top-selling school text for American Muslim children is What Islam Is All About by Yahiya Emerick, who is considered the authority on children’s education in Islam in English. He qualifies: a recognized Muslim authority in children’s Islamic education in the Muslim community.

It’s interesting to note that this book is also used in the federal penitentiaries as a text.

If a seventh-grader could understand Mr. Emerick’s book, then any American could understand it. If they even knew that it existed, that is.

So what is taught in that seventh-grade school text? Take this, for example:

If a real Jihad was declared, then we, as Muslims, must obey and follow the rules of Islam in our conduct. [9:38-41] (p. 164)

Notice the citation: 9:38-41. This means Surah 9, verses 38-41, in the Koran. Even if we did not have a Koran, we would know that those kids are being taught about jihad with text that comes from the Surah of the Sword.

Students: get out your Koran and read Surah 9, verses 38-41!

9:38   O you who believe! What is the matter with you that when you are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah you cling heavily to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life as compared with the hereafter.
9:39   Unless ye go forth [in battle], He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least. For Allah hath power over all things.
9:41   Go ye forth, (whether equipped) lightly or heavily, and strive and struggle, with your goods and your persons, in the Cause of Allah. That is best for you, if ye (but) knew.

This is for seventh-grade Muslim children in America. It does not discuss actual war, but is clearly jihad, and concerns war-fighting. There is no confusing this with the “greater jihad”.

Also from Mr. Emerick’s book:

The law of the land is the Shari’ah of Allah. The leader, the Khalifa of the Islamic nation, implements the Shari’ah in society and the people try to follow it as best they can in order to save their souls in the hereafter. (p. 376)

So he comes right out and says it: sharia is the law of the land. Doesn’t this conflict with the United States Constitution, Article VI: “The Constitution shall be the supreme law of the land”?

Or does it matter, in Modern Multicultural America?

So whose jihad is it, anyway?

My jihad? Your jihad?

Or maybe: Islam’s jihad?

If you use Twitter, check out the hashtag #MyJihad, just for fun.


1.   Ibn Rushd, Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad (aka Averroes). The Distinguished Primer (Bidayat al-Mujtahid wa Nihayat al-Muqtsid). 2 vols. Trans. Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee. Reading: Garnet Publishing, 2002.
2.   Al-Shaybani, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan. The Islamic Law of Nations: Shaybani’s Siyar (Kitab al-siyar al-kabir). Translated by Majid Khadduri. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1966.
3.   Malik, S. K., Brigadier, Pakistani Army. The Quranic Concept of War. First Indian Reprint. New Delhi, India: Himalayan Books, 1986.
4.   Emerick, Yahiya. What Islam is all About: A Student Textbook, Grades 7 to 12. 5th rev. ed. Lebanon: Noorart, 2004

3 thoughts on “Whose Jihad?

  1. Last Sunday I listened to the BBC World Service. The programme was from London. There were three, the anchor man, a conservative man and a woman journalist with an Arab name and based in London.

    Sincé BBC is into news they had a report from Kazakstán where the Iran Bomb talks were happening.

    What was really striking is that after this report, and I thought a fairly truthful report, and when it came back to the studio, there was no discussion. This was due to the BBC anchor man. He moved on to a fun piece.

    Just now I have googled the issue and in 3 google takes there was only an indirect reference to the talks.

    And it is this:


    It may be worth to quickly glance at this.

    To use the jargon it is fluff.

    The world is being controlled by tens of thousands of petty tyrants in studios like this

  2. Pingback: Links and News April 8 2013 | Vlad Tepes

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