A Shafi’i manual of Islamic law that was certified in 1991 by the clerics at Al-Azhar University, one of the leading authorities in the Islamic world, as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy, stipulates that “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 Sheikh Nuh “˜Ali Salman, a Jordanian expert on Islamic jurisprudence: 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.” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.8).
Of course, there is no caliph today, and hence the oft-repeated claim that Osama et al are waging jihad illegitimately, as no state authority has authorized their jihad. But they explain their actions in terms of defensive jihad, which needs no state authority to call it, and becomes “obligatory for everyone” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.3) if a Muslim land is attacked. The end of the defensive jihad, however, is not peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims as equals: ‘Umdat al-Salik specifies that the warfare against non-Muslims must continue until “the final descent of Jesus.” After that, “nothing but Islam will be accepted from them, for taking the poll tax is only effective until Jesus’ descent” (o9.8).
That understanding of jihad is mainstream in Islam — none of the other schools of Islamic jurisprudence contradict it in any particular. But in this new film, an opposition is set up between jihad as inner struggle and jihad as fight “on behalf of [the] community” — a euphemistic phrase that will slide right by you unnoticed unless you stop and focus on it for a moment. And the whole idea here, we’re told, is ultimately to question “those who use the lesser Jihad as a reason for conflict” — but as always, I do not believe that this can be effectively done simply by ignoring or denying the basis in Islamic texts and teachings for violent jihad and Islamic supremacism.
Jihad: Inner Struggle is a film that is being shown at Edinburgh’s Mela Festival.
“A stylish show that needs background knowledge,” by Thom Dibdin for The Scotsman, August 28 (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):
USING hypnotic dance moves and a sexy modern soundtrack, Faroque Khan explores the concept of Jihad — meaning ‘struggle’ — by focusing on an Israeli and an Arab who live in the same house.
There are, according to Khan, two kinds of Jihad. The greater Jihad, in which a person fights their animal tendencies, and a lesser Jihad, in which they fight on behalf of their community.
The house is the home of Faroque, a hedonist who stays out all night clubbing and comes home to tumble into bed. In his dreams, an Israeli man, Yoran, stealthily comes into the house. He is on the run from the army — although he might even be a ghost — and is looking for peace.
The two clash, but this is not the classic fight between cultures of the Arab-Israeli conflict in Palestine — instead, Khan is uses this premise to demonstrate the clash between the two kinds of Jihad.
Faroque is fighting his own internal demons. He takes Yoran out clubbing and gets him loved up on pills. It is an alien world to Yoran who joined the army as soon as he could, and was happy to go out to defend his country. It was only when it came to actual killing that he began to balk.
Of course, in this propaganda fantasy world it is the Israeli who has to deal with the prospect of “actual killing,” not the Muslim.
Though the show looks and sounds great, it demands too much prior knowledge to be a real success for the casual audience.
If you understand a bit about the concept of Jihad though, then the whole piece begins to take a shape that questions those who use the lesser Jihad as a reason for conflict.