Jihad - Why Did They Do It?

On Larry King Live, the Queen of Jordan told of her conversation with her son when he saw the WTC destruction on television. He asked, "Is there a war? she answered, "Yes, kind of." Then he asked, "Why did they do this?"--the question which all of us have asked..

On some other radio and television programs the statement has been made that Islam means peace. Although the word "Islam" comes from the same root as the Arabic word for "peace," the word really means "submission"--either spiritual submission to God or submission to the Islamic state. Sura 9:5 reads: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)..." (Translation of Yusuf Ali) Sura 9:29 reads: "Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, (which is Islam that abolishes all other religions) of the people of the Book, (meaning the Jews and the Christians) until they pay the jizya (the tax imposed upon them) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued. (with humiliation and submission to the government of Islam.)" (Commentary in parenthesis is from the Tafsir Al-Jalalein. i.e., Al-Jalalein Interpretation of the Koran.)

On the basis of these verses, Muslims divided the world into two parts. Dar al-Islam (house of Islam) and Dar al-Harb (house of war). House of Islam means those countries where Muslims are in the majority and Jews and Christians are subdued second class citizens paying the jizya tax. House of war means all countries which are not under Islam and are therefore open to being attacked in order to cause them to submit to Islam. In our modern times, Brigadier S.K. Malik published in Pakistan in 1979 a book entitled The Quranic concept of war in which he quotes Sura 8:12 as a license for terrorism, "...I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them." (Yusuf Ali) Then Malik goes on to say, "Terror struck into the hearts of the enemies is not only a means, it is the end in itself. Once a condition of terror into the opponents heart is obtained, hardly anything is left to be achieved. It is the point where the means and the end meet and merge. Terror is not a means of imposing decision upon the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose upon him. (Malik, The Quranic Concept of War, p.59) Malik concludes that such terrorism is to aim not only at the enemy's retreat but to destroy him completely. "It can be instilled only if the opponent's faith is destroyed...To instill terror into the hearts of the enemy, it is essential, in the ultimate analysis, to dislocate his Faith" (p.60) (Here, I understand he means to dislocate and destroy my Christianity.)

Fortunately this harsh fundamentalist belief is not held by all Muslims. As reported by the Morning Call on Sept. 15 the Sheik Mohammed Sayed Tantawi told worshippers at Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque, "He who kills a person without necessity...will never go to heaven. It's not courage in any way to kill an innocent person, or to kill thousands of people, including men and women and children." Even in Pakistan, during free elections the fundamentalist party could never get more than 6% of the vote. Praise the Lord! that means 94% are moderate Muslims.

In speaking with some moderate Muslims in these days, they have claimed that these verses applied to a certain battle at the time of Muhammad. That they no longer apply to our present politics. Unfortunately, the WTC terrorists understood these verses to apply now. Two copies of a letter used by the terrorists to encourage themselves have been found, translated and put on the web at www.annaqed.com/english/attack_full_text_of_letter_in_english.html.

Parts of it read, "The Last Night. 1) Make an oath to die and renew your intentions...3) Read al-Tawba (Sura 9) and Anfal (Sura 8) [traditional war chapters from the Quran which include the verses cited above] and reflect on their meanings and remember all of the things that God has promised for the martyrs...Bless your body with some verses of the Quran [done by reading verses into one's hands and then rubbing the hands over whatever is to be blest such as your clothes, the knife, your passport, etc.]...When the confrontation begins, strike like champions...God said, "Strike above the neck, and strike at all of their extremities." Know that the gardens of paradise are waiting for you in all their beauty, and the women of paradise are waiting, calling out, "Come hither, friend of God." Lastly, the writer reminds them to fight like Muhammad. When Muhammad was in Mecca he had peaceful verses like "There is no compulsion in religion" (2:256), but when he went to Medina he gave verses of war like those listed above. These later verses abrogate or cancel the first ones.

I am sorry to have to write this, but Muhammad lived by these war verses. There were known assassinations of adversaries during the Prophet's time which he requested his followers to carry out. Among them there was a 120 year old man, Abu `Afak whose only crime was to compose a lyric satirical of the Prophet. Then when a poetess, a mother of 5 small children , Asma bint Marwan, wrote a poetry cursing the Arabs for letting Muhammad assassinate Abu `Afak, the Prophet ordered her to be assassinated, too. This was carried out in the middle of the night while her youngest child was suckling from her breast. (Sirat Rasul Allah, (The Life of Muhammad, A. Guillaume's translation, pages 675, 676).

Several other examples with complete references are found on the web; Even with the freedom here in the United States, many Muslims have not read the Quran and do not know about these verses which order the fundamentalists to do what they are doing. The question must now be asked. "Are these verses really from God. They call for killing, they are prescriptions for hate and they foment intolerance. And when some Muslims read those hate-laden verses, they act on them and the result is September 11, human bombs in Israel, massacres in East Timor, killings in the Philippines, slavery in the Sudan, much misery and death.

A group with the web page, [www.secularislam.org/articles/call.htm] writes as follows, "If we are not terrorists, if we love peace, if we cried with the rest of the world for what happened in new York, then why are we supporting the Qur'an that preaches killing, that advocates holy war, that calls for the murder of non-Muslims? It is not the extremists who have misunderstood Islam. They do literally what the Qur'an asks them to do. It is we who misunderstand Islam. We are the ones who are confused. We are the ones who wrongly assume that Islam is the religion of peace. Islam is not a religion of peace. In its so-called "pure" form it can very well be interpreted as a doctrine of hate".

You moderate Muslims who read these lines must now take action. You must give your interpretation of these verses so that the fundamentalists (and we non-Muslims) can agree with you and be convinced by your reasoning that Islam is a religion of peace. Killing non-Muslims must be found wrong. Killing those who leave Islam must be shown to be false action. Or, if you cannot show that the Qur'an says that these actions are wrong then you have only one other action open to you. That is to admit to yourselves that Islam did not come from God and leave it, and allow the rest of us to have PEACE and FREEDOM. As Abraham Lincoln said, "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it."