Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Why is Islam at War?

A devout Muslim believes that anyone outside the Ummah, the community of believers, resides in Dar al-Harb, the World of War. The believer is obliged to fight to enlarge the Ummah by all means necessary. The war we are in now, the Great Islamic Jihad, Third Wave, is a continuation of a war that is as old as the Islamic faith itself.

Islam may be unique in its scriptural call to continuing war on behalf of the faithful. Some have argued that Christ's words (Matthew 10:34)
Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
are used as justification for Christian violence. On the whole, however, any Christian scriptural justification for holy war is weak indeed compared to numerous passages in the Quran such as:
Al-Baqara (The Cow)
2:218 Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of Allah,- they have the hope of the Mercy of Allah. And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
And yet there are many scriptural passages in the Quran urging peace and mercy. The question naturally arises: Why did Islam not follow the other major religions into modernity by interpreting its core texts in a way that would allow a tolerant and secular society to arise?

Posts over the next several days will explore some general reasons why Islam remains at war.


Baron Bodissey said...

Doesn't the "treaty" refer to the tactical concessions Muslims are allowed to make to infidels? These are considered only temporary, and may be broken by the believer without shame or consequence as soon as the situation confers advantage upon Islam.

I believe the Iranians are negotiating one of these with the EU right now.

Baron Bodissey said...

I think you're talking about how the status of dhimmitude is conferred upon the non-believers now to be incorporated within the ummah. The Islamic majority allows the dhimmi to survive with restricted rights within the Islamic polity, provided that he pays the tax, refrains from attempting to convert others to his faith, and so on.

This is the status that parts of (formerly) Christian Europe will undoubtedly live under before the end of this century.

Baron Bodissey said...

Graf, that's an interesting sequence. It seems the opposite of Christianity, where the Old Testament "smite with fire" meme was succeeded by the "love your enemy" trope in the New Testament.