Islamist Terrorists vs. Muslim Believers: The Question of Jihad
To reiterate, today’s Jihadists/terrorists/extremists rely on a radical/literalist interpretation of cherry-picked verses from the Koran to justify their atrocities. According to Dr. M. Amir Ali (1937 – 2005), founder of the Institute of Islamic Information and Education, the very concept of “JIHAD” is completely misunderstood and abused by Islamist Extremists/Terrorists. There are actually three kinds of Jihad and NONE OF THEM have anything to do with terrorism, extremism, or attacking innocent people, especially when it comes to murdering children/babies.
First, there is INNER JIHAD. It is a “personal struggle within one’s self to submit to Allah, fight evil within one’s self, achieve higher moral and educational standards.”
Second, there is SOCIAL JIHAD. It is “against evil, injustice and oppression within one’s self, family and society.”
Third, there is PHYSICAL JIHAD (or armed struggle). It is “against all that prevents Muslims from servitude to God (Allah), people from knowing Islam, defense of a Muslim society (country), retribution against tyranny, and/or when a Muslim is removed from their homeland by force.”
Perhaps most significant is the fact that a physical Jihad, per the teachings of Islam, “must be performed according to Islamic rules and regulations and only for the sake or in the service of Allah. The physical or military Jihad must be called by a Muslim authority, such as, a president or head of a Muslim country after due consultations with the learned leadership” (M. Amir Ali, Ph.D., “Islam, Jihad, and Terrorism“).
In other words, the so-called Jihad now being carried out by Islamist terrorists/extremists is an illegal Jihad with no official sanction of Islam leaders! These terrorists/extremists are religious apostates/cultists acting on their own. All of the verses in Islam’s holy writings regarding violence/destruction/killing are set within the context of wars—not terrorism against innocent people. Consider the following verses that are totally ignored by the Jijadists/terrorists/extremists:
Quran 60:8 — God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes, that you should show them kindness and deal justly with them. God loves just dealers.
Quran 2:190 — Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not begin aggression, for God loves not aggressors.
Quran 8:61 — If they seek peace, then seek you peace and trust in God for He is the Hearer, the Knower.”
Quran 5:8 — [A]nd let not the hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is next to piety; and fear Allah, for Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.
Quran 41:34 — The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! He between whom and thee there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a bosom friend.
Anti-Muslims, fear-mongers, and prejudiced haters of Middle-Easterners fail to see—either willfully or out of ignorance—that today’s Jihadists/terrorists/extremist are at odds with the vast majority of Muslims and with the Koran. And this rift between them is exactly why Jihadists/terrorists/extremist have no problem murdering fellow Muslims. In fact, Islamist terrorists kill/injure more Muslims every year than non-Muslims (see “No One Wants to See ISIS Defeated More Than Muslims“). “Between 2004 and 2013 about half of all terrorist attacks, and 60% of fatalities due to terrorist attacks, took place in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan — all of which have a mostly Muslim population,” according to a spokesperson for the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) at the University of Maryland. And per a 2011 report by US government’s National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC), “In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82% and 97% of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years [i.e., 2007-2011].”
Blaming all Muslims (or the religion of Islam) because of a small minority of so-called “Muslims” who misuse/pervert the Koran in order to justify their evil deeds, would be like blaming all Christians/Jews for some small minority group (or persons) that went around acting out the following passages from the Bible (also see the Boston Globe article, “Dark Passages,” by Penn State Uiversity teacher, Phil Jenkins):
Exodus 22:18-20 — Do not allow a sorceress to live. Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal is to be put to death. Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed.
Deuteronomy 17:2-5 — If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the Lord gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God in violation of his covenant, and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars in the sky, and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is trueand it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death.
Matthew 10:34 — “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Jesus)
Luke 19:26-27 — “I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me” (Jesus).
Luke 22:36 — He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Jesus).
Obviously, what’s important is taking these and many other Bible verses in their literary context, and reading them in view of their history, culture, and symbolism. Similarly, verses from the Koran regarding warfare must not only be taken in context, but also be understood in light of the interpretations given of those verses by the majority of Muslims (especially Muslim scholars). When it comes to killing, the fact of the matter is that outside the framework/structure of war (or in defense against others attacking Islam/Muslims), killing is absolutely forbidden by the Koran:
Quran 2:190 — Fight in the cause of God against those who fight against you, but do not transgress limits. Lo! God loves not aggressors.
Quran 2:193-194 — Let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression. Make not your hands contribute to (your) destruction [suicide]; but do good; for God loves those who do good.
Quran 4:29-30 — [D]o not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful. And whoever does that in aggression and injustice — then We will drive him into a Fire. And that, for Allah, is [always] easy.
Quran 5:32 — [I]f anyone kills a person, unless in retribution for murder or spreading corruption in the land, it is as if he kills all mankind, while if any saves a life it is as if he saves the lives of all mankind.
One particularly interesting Koranic passage is found in 5:32. Apparently, some Jewish individuals were planning on abushing Muhammad. So, the Muslims expressed to them (i.e., the Jews) their belief in Islam that “whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land—it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one—it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.”
In other words, anyone who kills someone unjustifibly is guilty, in a figurative way, of killing all of mankind. As explained by Muslims at Questions On Islam: “A murderer who kills a person unjustifiably is the one who does not let a person live and who violates the prohibition of blood to be shed and attacks the innocence of souls. Besides, he encourages other people to murder. In that case, a person who has killed a person is considered as if he has killed all humankind and deserves Allah’s punishment.”
Many other verses are equally as interesting. Quran 5:52, for example, says, “O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you—then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.”
On the surface this verse sounds fairly awful. And it’s caused a lot of controvresy. But what’s important here is not necessarily what the passage says on it’s surface. What’s important is how it is interpreted by the majority of Muslims. According to IslamCity, Muslims “are only discouraged from befriending those [jews and Christians] who fight Muslims because of their religion.”
Likewise, Al-Islam—the Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community — explains in “Is it true that the Quran says to not take the Jews and Christians for friends?” that “[t]here is a fallacy that the Quran commands Muslims to not befriend Jews and Christians based on Chapter 5 verse 52. If we look at the context of the verse, we see that it refers to the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad when Jews and Christians were at war with Muslims. If you consider enemies at war with each other, it makes perfect sense to discourage friendships between them because of that situation. Even so, the subsequent verses 58 and 59 clarify the reasons for discouraging friendships with Jews and Christians of that time, who used to make fun of Muslims for adhering to their faith. . . . [M]any topics in the Quran are continued in other places for the purpose of clarification. Consider Chapter 60 verses 8-10, with the suggestion that God may bring about love between the Muslims and their enemies.”
Another Muslim—an avowed progressive Muslim—has appealed to the original Arabic language used in his article “6 Convincing Reasons Debunking the Myth of Islam Promoting Hatred of Jews and Christians,” asserting that “Aulia is erroneously and inconsistently translated as friends by some translators. However, in Arabic, Aulia is more closely defined as a protector or an ally. It has been used in the Quran to mostly signify that God protects (Wali) the believers through revelation. This is not to be confused with Khaleel, which does mean friend, but is an honor given exclusively to Ibrahim (4:125). Additionally, Muslims should sincerely ask themselves what they mean when they call their scholars ‘Maulana.’ Are they trying to imply that these scholars are their friends who they hang out with? Hardly! Obviously, by calling these religious figures as ‘Maulana,’ they mean to imply that these scholars are their protectors — from evil, perhaps.Keeping the context in mind, it is clear that the verse refers to political allies, and is not about friendship.”
There are some Muslims, of course, who are more strict in their reading of this verse. And they do, in fact, believe that friendship with Jews/Christians is not permissable. But this is a very strict/fundamentalist view of the passage. Interestingly, this is not really all that different from how many Christians read Second Corinthians 6:14 in the Bible: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” There is also James 4:4: “[D]on’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
Many Christians (take note: many Christians) interpret these passages to mean that a Bible-believing, born-again, Jesus-loving, God-following Christian must not:
a) date a non-Christian;
b) marry a non-Christians];
c) have a non-Christian close/best friend; or
d) enter into a business agreement/relationship with a non-Christian.
Does this mean that ALL Christians are as narrow-minded, inflexible, and strict about their relationships as those Christians who hold to a rigidly interpretation of these Bible verses? No.
As for Islamist Jihadists/extremists/terrorists, they usually just explain away any interpretations of the Koran that might refute their evil deeds, mounting all kinds of nonsensical arguments, illogical justifications, and mental gymnastics. But that’s exactly what all cultists do in all religions when confronted with doctrinal reasons for them to stop their wicked activities/beliefs. Such a refusal is not the fault of those who are part of the larger religion. It’s not the fault of those who are seeking to live peacefully in love and tolerance—whether they are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists.