In Part 2 of this series of articles, I further examine the efforts of a Muslim activist and self-proclaimed counter terror expert named Mubin Shaikh. Part 1 of this series of articles can be found HERE. This article primarily addresses Mubin Shaikh’s claims that Islamic theology forbids offensive jihad warfare, and his questionable approach to understanding and preventing Islamic terrorism.
In early April 2018, Mubin Shaikh made the following statement on his Twitter account: “Jihad is a War Tradition, with RulesOfEngagement. Terrorism is to Jihad, what WarCrimes are to ROE’s.”
With these words, Mubin Shaikh reveals his disturbing agenda. Mubin is expecting that most non-Muslims will not attempt to analyze or comprehend what he is claiming in his statement above. He is essentially claiming that jihad warfare is only legitimate under a very select set of circumstances (namely; purely self-defensive jihad), and that offensive jihad warfare is otherwise strictly forbidden (Haram) in Islamic theology. Speaking as an ex-Muslim, I believe this to be a false claim.
Offensive jihad warfare is permissible (Halal) according to much of what the majority of Muslims consider to be the authentic teachings of canonical Islam (the Quran, hadiths and Muhammad’s sira). Before examining the Islamic texts to see if they instruct Muslims to wage offensive jihad, it is important to note that Islam has no central authority similar to the Pope in Roman Catholicism to pronounce final judgements on various religious matters (although of course the many horrors of Islamic Sharia law are essentially Islamic theology fully applied).
Due to the fact that the Quran lacks important explanatory detail, Muslims are obliged to search the hadith collections and Muhammad’s sira for complete answers to matters partially addressed by the Quranic verses. Since the Quran is often ambiguous and lacking needed detail, Muslims are left to pick and choose from this convoluted jumble of writings (the Sunnah), that are often found to be contradictory, fanciful, and do not inspire trust.
In terms of Islamic theology directing Muslims to perform acts of offensive jihad violence, arguably the most troublesome and hardest to reform aspect of Islam is the fact that Muslims are taught in the supposedly perfect Quran that Muhammad the prophet of Islam has left a “good example” for them to follow. Because Muhammad himself performed purely offensive jihad on numerous occasions (the battles of Badr and Tabouk, and the Khaybar raid being examples), Islamic theology clearly inspires and instructs Muslims to commit acts of purely offensive jihad warfare and terrorism.
Quran 33:21: ‘There is a good example in Allah’s apostle for those of you who look to Allah and the Last Day and remember Allah always.’
The verse above would be non-problematic if Muhammad were a dishwasher who enjoyed playing golf in his spare time, but unfortunately for the non-Muslim world and Muslim world alike, these were not the pastimes of Muhammad the prophet of Islam. As mentioned above, Muhammad performed purely offensive jihad, slaughtered hundreds of innocent Jews, assassinated poets who criticized him, and raped infidel women, as Islam’s canonical texts diligently record.
Here are just a few of the passages taken from what the majority of Muslims consider to be Islam’s canonical texts. The texts below record Muhammad the prophet of Islam instructing his followers to wage purely offensive jihad for the purpose of attaining war booty and achieving complete Islamic domination.
Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are considered to be the most authentic of Islam’s canonical hadith collections:
Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 24:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle said: “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform all that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.”
…Ali went a bit and then halted and did not look about and then said in a loud voice: Allah’s Messenger, on what issue should I fight with the people? Thereupon he (the Prophet) said: Fight with them until they bear testimony to the fact that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger, and when they do that then their blood and their riches are inviolable from your hands but what is justified by law and their reckoning is with Allah.
The Quran repeats over and over again that its verses are clear and are to be considered as instructions for Muslim believers to follow (Quran 3:138, 6:114, 16:89, etc.) In Part 1 I listed just some of the many Quranic verses that Muslims have for centuries used to kill and/or subjugate non-Muslims and spread Islam though offensive jihad warfare. If the Quran is truly the word of God, then God is truly an irresponsible fool worthy of being despised. Here one telling passage of the Quran that I did not quote in Part 1 of this article:
Quran 8:59-60 Let not the unbelievers think that they will ever get away. They have not the power to do so. Muster against them all the men and cavalry at your command, so that you may strike terror into the enemy of God and your enemy, and others besides them who are unknown to you but known to God. All that you give for the cause of God shall be repaid you. You shall not be wronged.
Returning to the main topic being addressed by this article — Mubin Shaikh’s attempts to absolve the teachings of Islam from being in any way responsible for Islamic terrorism — this is a most troublesome matter when one considers the fact that Mubin Shaikh is a trusted media pundit and is being paid large sums of money to train law enforcement officials and military personnel in the field of counter terrorism, with an emphasis on countering widespread Islamic terrorism.
Various Islamic supremacists groups such as ISIS and Al-Quada explain in extensively documented detail that they are following the Islamic texts and Muhammad the prophet of Islam’s example as they attempt to pave the bloody road to Islamic dominance in the form of Sharia rule. Mubin Shaikh is trying his best to make people believe that these groups are ignorant of the true teachings of Islam and that there is nothing whatsoever wrong with Islamic theology and jihad. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Many classical and contemporary Muslim scholars and a disturbingly large percentage of Muslim laymen do indeed claim that performing jihad warfare is not limited exclusively to defensive jihad. An in-depth reading of the Quran and Muhammad’s Sunnah and various Quranic tasfirs (exegeses of the Quranic texts) elucidated by many of Islam’s most accomplished and respected Muslim scholars confirm that there are a multitude of reasons for Muslims to participate in jihad, including purely offensive violent jihad, that do not concur with secular nation-state rules of engagement as Mubin Shaikh erroneously claims.
Attempting to downplay or deny the fact that the Islamic texts and teachings play a legitimate and essential role in Islamic jihad terrorism is disingenuous in the extreme. Therefore Mubin’s motives and logic ought to be considered highly questionable at best. If law enforcement officials were to discount the vital role the Islamic texts play in creating Islamic terrorism, the very texts that are instructing Muslim terrorists to commit acts of jihad terrorism, they would essentially be left clueless and grasping in the dark in terms of understanding and preventing it.
The time and efforts of law enforcement officials would be better put to use and ultimately be proven to be more fruitful in terms of thwarting acts of Islamic terrorism if they were to study the various Quranic dictates and Muhammad’s Sunnah and acknowledge the fact that jihadis are using these texts as instructions for acts of Islamic jihad terrorism. But apparently this elementary deductive reasoning is considered to be too politically incorrect and “Islamophobic” in these hypersensitive times.
Mubin Shaikh is selling himself as a person who can give law enforcement officials the best tools to prevent Islamic terrorism, when all the while he is attempting to prevent law enforcement officials from discovering the Islamic texts numerous doctrinal justifications for jihad terrorism. It is clear that the Islamic texts do indeed teach that offensive jihad warfare is permissible, and nothing can change that fact, short of Muslims themselves discarding large parts of the Quran and Muhammad’s Sunnah – texts considered to be authentic by the majority of the world Muslims – an occurrence that is unlikely to ever take place.
In sum, Mubin Shaikh wants to exclude from study and discussion the obvious role the Islamic texts and teaching play in instructing and inspiring Muslims to commit acts of violent jihad terrorism. He is a curious fellow indeed.