Regarding the National Defense University's recommendation that we all pretend that the global jihad is not a jihad, and hope that thereby it will go away, Greg Allen, on whose Right Balance radio show I have had the honor of appearing many, many times, has kindly passed on to me this memo from LTC Joseph C. Myers, Senior Army Advisor at Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB.
I tend to disagree with this article. I understand our desire to de-legitimize the "jihadist" as part of our CIST objectives; but we should not fall into the trap of failing to understand ourselves the exegesis of "jihad" in theory and practice. True, jihad does not translate to “Holy War” but that is also irrelevant and moot. War is either “just” or “unjust” in Islam and jihad to be “just” must be fought for the ends of God and Islam. Even Muslim texts do not accept this artificial debate, I suggest you find a copy of the Reliance of the Traveller, the first English translation of Sharia Law in print at your local library and go to the index, look up jihad -— re-indexed to “Holy War.”
Jihad does mean in the classic Islamic texts “striving;” striving in the context of war, not in the context of individual spiritual growth...that is a later adaptation brought by Shia and Sufi scholars, the influence of ascetics, around the turn of the last millennium as Islam struggled with schism and the Moghul invasion. Its original meaning was associated with warfare and that meaning has never been rejected or renounced as invalid, it was merely added upon with the concept of “greater jihad.”
...While that term itself, becoming more spiritually prepared as an individual Muslim is associated with spiritual growth and non-violence, it also has applicability with becoming more spiritually prepared for combat: “jihad” and “shahada.” Recall Mohammed Atta’s “Last Night” preparations...which was for him and the other 9-11 jihadis a lengthy process of spiritual preparation for their martyrdom.
The resurgent global “jihad” in all its forms [including the bust in Miami yesterday] is based on classical readings of the Quran with mujahids willing to take up the sword for “dawa,” the proclamation and propagation of Islam.
Finally, if the thesis below were accurate then these would, in fact, be the terms used by Muslim scholars themselves (over 1400 years of written texts) with respect to this “theme” in theory and practice including the term “jahidu” (combat), but that is not the case. The scholarly texts discuss war “in the path of Allah” as “jihad.”
One can appreciate these modern Muslim scholars attempting to discredit the ideology of groups like al-Qaida, but before we latch on to these modern “vernaculars” we must make sure we fully understand the terms of reference denotatively and connotatively and historically as Muslims have understood them; not as part of a Western Strategic Communication campaign.
...In my humble opinion we still have not done our homework.
We are dealing with “classicists,” not “extremists.”