In “Jihad Means Much More Than Violence” in the Emory Wheel, Emory University senior Will Caldwell, a Muslim, objects to the David Horowitz Freedom Center‘s Terrorism Awareness Program for the ad it placed in the Wheel, “What Americans Need to Know About Jihad.” (Other campus newspapers are simply refusing to run it.)
After reading the advertisement in last Friday’s Wheel, “What Americans Need to Know About Jihad,” I was outraged. Then I laughed.
David Horowitz, the man who paid for half a page of space to “educate” Americans on the threat of jihad, is clearly as much of an extremist as the terrorists he feels compelled to fight. It’s easy enough to take hatred like Horowitz’s in stride. What continues to upset me is that the Wheel allowed the ad to run.
Ad hominem attack and call for censorship. Good start, Will.
Emory is the last place in America that I would expect such propaganda to have any real effect. Most in our community are educated enough to understand that statements like “The goal of jihad is world domination” are completely ignorant and intentionally provocative. However, this does not mean the Wheel should offer its complicity in spreading ignorance.
Unfortunately, jihad as warfare against unbelievers in order to institute Sharia worldwide is not propaganda or ignorance, or a heretical doctrine held by a tiny minority of extremists; instead, it is a constant element of mainstream Islamic theology. Islamic law contains unmistakable affirmations of the centrality of jihad warfare against unbelievers. This is true of all four principal schools of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence (madhahib): the Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali, and Shafi”i, to which the great majority of Muslims worldwide belong, as well as of all the other schools.
These schools formulated laws regarding the importance of jihad and the ways in which it must be practiced, centuries ago. Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d. 996), a Maliki jurist, declared:
Jihad is a precept of Divine institution. Its performance by certain individuals may dispense others from it. We Malikis maintain that it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war will be declared against them.
Likewise, Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328), a Hanbali jurist who is a favorite of Osama bin Laden and other modern-day jihadists:
Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely and God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought. As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped and their likes, they shall not be killed unless they actually fight with words (e.g. by propaganda) and acts (e.g. by spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare).
The Hanafi school sounds the same notes:
It is not lawful to make war upon any people who have never before been called to the faith, without previously requiring them to embrace it, because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith, and also because the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to the call, in order to save themselves from the troubles of war”¦ If the infidels, upon receiving the call, neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax, it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them, because God is the assistant of those who serve Him, and the destroyer of His enemies, the infidels, and it is necessary to implore His aid upon every occasion; the Prophet, moreover, commands us so to do.
And so does the Shafi”i scholar Abu”l Hasan al-Mawardi (d. 1058 ), who echoes Muhammad’s instructions to invite the unbelievers to accept Islam or fight them if they refuse:
The mushrikun [infidels] of Dar al-Harb (the arena of battle) are of two types: First, those whom the call of Islam has reached, but they have refused it and have taken up arms. The amir of the army has the option of fighting them”¦in accordance with what he judges to be in the best interest of the Muslims and most harmful to the mushrikun”¦ Second, those whom the invitation to Islam has not reached, although such persons are few nowadays since Allah has made manifest the call of his Messenger”¦it is forbidden to”¦begin an attack before explaining the invitation to Islam to them, informing them of the miracles of the Prophet and making plain the proofs so as to encourage acceptance on their part; if they still refuse to accept after this, war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached”¦
Underscoring the fact that none of this is merely of historical interest is another Shafi”i manual of Islamic law that in 1991 was certified by the highest authority in Sunni Islam, Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, as conforming “to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community.” This manual, “˜Umdat al-Salik (available in English as Reliance of the Traveller), after defining the “greater jihad” as “spiritual warfare against the lower self,” devotes eleven pages to the “lesser jihad.” It defines this jihad as “war against non-Muslims,” noting that the word itself “is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.”
It spells out the nature of this warfare in quite specific terms: “the caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians . . . until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax.” It adds a comment by a Jordanian jurist that corresponds to Muhammad’s instructions to call the unbelievers to Islam before fighting them: the caliph wages this war only “provided that he has first invited [Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians] to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya) . . . while remaining in their ancestral religions.” Also, if there is no caliph, Muslims must still wage jihad.
Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), a pioneering historian and philosopher, was also a Maliki legal theorist. In his renowned Muqaddimah, the first work of historical theory, he notes that “in the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” In Islam, the person in charge of religious affairs is concerned with “power politics,” because Islam is “under obligation to gain power over other nations.”
Extremists? Propaganda? No, this is the Islamic mainstream.
Will Caldwell continues:
As journalists, it is your job to provide the community with reliable and useful information. Using time and resources to help spread hateful rhetoric while it could be spent providing real knowledge – or just a fast food ad – is simply a poor choice.
I just provided some reliable and useful information about jihad. I’d be happy to discuss or debate it, and what can be done about it, with Will Caldwell or anyone else.
As a Muslim, I feel it is my duty to correct Horowitz’s claims about jihad – if for no other reason than to provide the Wheel the opportunity to correct its mistake.
Jihad, the struggle to preserve Islam in a Muslim’s day-to-day affairs, as well as from those who would oppress it, is something binding upon all Muslims. Using the words of a few extremists like Bin Laden and Nasrallah to pass off terrorism as jihad is nothing short of libel.
Note that the people I quoted above were venerable Islamic jurists, not modern-day “extremists.” Yet they support the meaning of jihad presented in the ad.
By helping Horowitz spread such misinformation, the Wheel has allowed itself to become an accessory. I urge you to be more conscientious when choosing ads in the future.
In other words, censor ads that report uncomfortable facts.