I was born and brought up in a conservative Muslim society. After graduating in India, I moved to the West for furthering my education. Despite my conservative Muslim background, I grew up with a liberal outlook. In my school and university days, my closest friends were Hindus and Sikhs: I felt more comfortable with them as they were more liberal, easy-going and humble with fewer religious scruples. I had wholly given up religious rituals by the time I completed my university studies: they just didn’t attract me.
When 9/11 occurred, I had lived in a liberal society for over a decade. I had become consciously convinced that religious rituals—prayers, fasting, pilgrimage—were all meaningless. I should be rewarded, I felt, for working hard, and intelligently, not for aping some wasteful rituals, which brings good to nobody. Non-Muslims were my best friends; shocking my Muslim peers, I ate haraam (prohibited) foods, drank alcohol (in moderation).
Despite the kind of a liberal person I had become, let me be honest that I was not excluded from those Muslims who felt that the 9/11 attacks were justified, although I felt those perished in it died undeserving deaths. Muslim societies universally portray America as a mortal enemy of Islam, particularly for its stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict. America’s mindless support for Israel has been causing terrible oppression and untold sufferings to Palestinian Muslims. There was, undoubtedly, an overriding sense of justification for the 9/11 attacks amongst Muslims; it gave the unjust superpower a bloody nose: I, so little a Muslim, thought that way too.
Weird as it may sound, I still believed in Islam. I thought the terrorists, acting in the name of Islam, were misguided. After 9/11, I slowly started reading about Islam: Quran, Sunnah and Prophet Muhammad’s biographies; I hadn’t read them in the thirty-five years of my life. I was shocked. I had been told all my life that Prophet Muhammad was the ideal human being: most merciful and just; that Islam is the most peaceful religion; and I believed it. But the Quran reads like a manifesto of open-ended war against non-Muslims for converting them or for subjugating them into horribly degraded dhimmi subjects. In his prophetic career, especially during the critical last ten years, Prophet Muhammad was anything but what a peace-loving, merciful and just person stands for.
My curiosity grew. Over the past years, I have done extensive research on Islamic theology as well as on Islamic history: from Prophet Muhammad to modern times. It has been a harrowing tale of forced conversion, brutal imperialism and devastating slavery. It’s a saga of great human tragedy—all in the name of Islamic holy war or Jihad, the foundational creed of Islam. This tragic tale is the subject of this book.
Inside the Book that will change your mind and open it forever:
Obviously, there is a great deal of disagreement or denial about this extremist discourse of Jihad.
Yet, it is undeniable that, out of misconception or not, the violent Islamist groups—with their unquestioned belief that they are fighting in the cause of Allah—will continue unleashing violence and terrorism against innocent men, women and children in the years and decades to come, causing incalculable damage and destruction to human life and society. Indisputably, Muslims are now a substantial and established group in almost every nation in the world. Due to high birth-rates amongst Muslims, their continued influx from the overpopulated Islamic world and decline of the native population, they may become, according to current demographic trends, the dominant religious group in many Western countries by the middle of this century. If the current tide of ascendant violent radicalism continues to thrive amongst Muslims, the stability of the tolerant, civilized world may face peril in the not-too-distant future. To secure the stability of the modernist, secular-democratic and progressive future of the world, nations must work unitedly for countering the ideology and activities of these radical Islamist groups, using both military and ideological means.
As violent Islamists wreak havoc around the world, more so in Islamic countries, understanding the ‘true meaning’ of Jihad, their central cause, is of central importance for both Muslims and non-Muslims in order to devise effective counter-measures against them. Without understanding what Jihad truly means, it is impossible for authorities and the people to devise effective remedies against the growing violent trend in the name of Jihad amongst Muslims.
This book is a small effort to give readers an idea of what Jihad truly means. It goes through the life of Prophet Muhammad as he progressively received revelation from the Islamic God (Allah) as contained in the Muslim holy book, the Quran. It will examine when and under what circumstances, Allah introduced the concept of Jihad into Islamic doctrines. It will demonstrate—based on the Quran, authentic prophetic traditions, and original biographies of Prophet Muhammad—how the Prophet of Islam had applied the doctrine of Jihad as he founded the Islamic creed during the last twenty-three years of his life (610–632 CE). Having thus made a sense of the religious foundation and prophetic model of Jihad, it will examine how this prototypical model of Jihad was perpetuated by Muslims through the ages of Islamic domination.
It is worth noting beforehand that, in putting Allah’s doctrine of Jihad into practice at the birth of Islam, Prophet Muhammad had established three major models of Jihadi actions:
The historical accounts of these legacies of Jihad will be discussed in separate chapters in this book.
- Use of violence for the propagation of Islam,
- Islamic imperialism,
- Islamic slavery
BIBLIOGRAPHY ....................................................................................... 359