The New Duranty Times (thanks to Mel) has printed an op-ed, “Pause for Peace,” by Ahmed Yousef, “a senior adviser to the Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniya.” Of course, the Times would never dream of explaining that according to traditional Islamic law, which there is every indication that Ahmed Yousef takes very seriously, a hudna can only be concluded “if Muslims are weak” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.16), so that they have time to gather strength to fight again more effectively. In other words, there is just no chance that the “lasting peace” of which Yousef speaks will be concluded during the period of any such hudna as he proposes.
But willful ignorance about the teachings of Islam and the light those teachings may shed on the current political situation seems to be a requirement for participation in the public debate these days.
HERE in Gaza, few dream of peace. For now, most dare only to dream of a lack of war. It is for this reason that Hamas proposes a long-term truce during which the Israeli and Palestinian peoples can try to negotiate a lasting peace.
A truce is referred to in Arabic as a “hudna.” Typically covering 10 years, a hudna is recognized in Islamic jurisprudence as a legitimate and binding contract. A hudna extends beyond the Western concept of a cease-fire and obliges the parties to use the period to seek a permanent, nonviolent resolution to their differences. The Koran finds great merit in such efforts at promoting understanding among different people. Whereas war dehumanizes the enemy and makes it easier to kill, a hudna affords the opportunity to humanize one’s opponents and understand their position with the goal of resolving the intertribal or international dispute.
In reality, the only “permanent, nonviolent resolution” to differences between Muslims and non-Muslims allowed by Islamic law is the subjugation of the non-Muslims under the rule of Sharia, under which they will “pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29).