Yesterday I posted part of an article from California’s Paradise Post about a speaker named Mujahid el-Masih, who asserted that “the main theme of jihad is the murdering of Christians and Jews.”
In my haste I once again left out something I should have included: that the Qur’an actually mandates warfare against Christians and Jews not simply to murder them, but to offer them three choices: conversion, death, or subjugation as inferiors under Islamic law (cf. Qur’an 9:29). Many Muslim commentators throughout history and today have understood this to be the Qur’an’s last word on jihad.
So el-Masih’s statement was incomplete “” but the reactions to his remarks has been, predictably enough, even more misleading.
From the Paradise Post, with thanks to Nicolei:
On Tuesday, the Paradise Post published an article about Pastor Mujahid el-Masih, a former Muslim from Pakistan who now preaches to churches around the country as a converted Christian.
His presentation on Sunday at the Ridge Southern Baptist Church was titled the “True Understanding of Islam” and he made bold statements such as: “The main theme of jihad is the murdering of Christians and Jews,” el-Masih said. He also claimed Muslims plan to take over America by the year 2020.
The story was picked up and linked to the national Council on American-Islamic Relations Web site and to the Jews Like News Web site….
The Post had tried to contact assistant professor of religious studies, Loren Lybarger of Chico State to get his reaction to the presentation. Unfortunately he could not get in contact with the paper until Wednesday.
Lybarger was born in Pakistan and had lived in the Middle East with Palestinians for a number of years. He now teaches an introductory class on Islam, Christianity and Judaism at Chico State.
“Jihad is a very complex idea,” Lybarger said in response to el-Masih’s claims of jihad having a murderous theme towards Christians and Jews. “That is blatantly false and quite the contrary.”
Quite the contrary? So jihad is to save the lives of Christians and Jews? I wonder what the Christians and Jews of the Middle Eastern and North African regions that were conquered by Islam so long ago would say about that.
Lybarger summed up jihad to mean the Muslim’s struggle to live a good life with the practice of Islam.
However, one of the interpretations of jihad has been linked to war.
“For most of Islamic history the understanding of war was that it was linked to self- defense,” Lybarger said. “Muslim scholars developed certain rules when at war and the Islamic community had to be under attack.”
While it is true in Islamic jurisprudence that an attack on Muslim lands makes defensive jihad obligatory on every Muslim who is able to fight (fard ayn), offensive jihad is also obligatory on the Muslim commuinity as a whole (fard kifaya). The difference between a fard kifaya obligation and one that is fard ayn is that one is released from a fard kifaya obligation if someone else is taking it up: so offensive jihad is not commanded for everyone, as long as some Muslims are performing it, while defensive jihad is mandatory for all.
Throughout Islamic history Muslims waged offensive jihad. That is how the great Islamic empires of the past came to be. Lybarger should know this.
As a result, more militant groups had adopted jihad to justify armed resistance and going against the government. However, it is stipulated noncombatants would not be targeted. In other words, if a person is not a soldier, they are to be left alone.
Once again, this is not so simple. While it is true that some Islamic
jurists prohibit the killing of women and children (cf. Shaybani’s Siyar, I.29-30), others allow it if they are perceived as aiding the war effort (cf. ‘Umdat al-Salik o9.10; al-Mawardi’s al-Akham as-Sultaniyyah, 4.2).
“Most Muslims argue that the attack on the World Trade Center was unjustified because there were civilians,” Lybarger said. “But if the attack was on the military, it might have been a different story.”
Lybarger also said most Muslims disagree with extremists.
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesmen of national communications for the Council on American-Islamic Relations was disappointed with el-Masih’s presentation.
“The problem is that Christian churches all around America are hiring these speakers. It’s a strange phenomena,” Hooper said. “What good does it do? All it does is promote hatred and mistrust.”
Well, I’m against hatred and mistrust. But Ibrahim Hooper could do a great deal to dispel that hatred and mistrust by coming clean about CAIR’s real perspectives and goals (and particularly how this “moderate” group managed to hire several people who have now been indicted for various terrorist activities). He could dispel a lot of hatred and mistrust by being forthright about the traditional roots of jihadist violence, and working for real reform in the Islamic community. No, I’m not holding my breath.