change in Islamic teaching on Jihad
Posted: 12 September 2008 03:37 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I’m trying to find information on the Muslim doctrine of Jihad and how it has changed over the years.  As far as I can tell, it started as a doctrine of holy war which mandated violence against non-believers, but was later changed to mean something else because the holy war wasn’t working anymore.  Not only were they not gaining any new land, they were getting colonized.  So they changed the teaching to fit the new circumstances, but the old teaching keeps on re-emerging in the form of terrorism.  At least that’s what I’ve gathered.  Any input would be great.

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Posted: 13 September 2008 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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It never really changed in nature.
It became technically obsolete when the Caliphate was abolished - as technically only the Caliph could declare Jihad. 
In the 18th and 19th century, the Caliph of the Ottoman Empire faced increasing external political pressure for European powers which were advancing technologically far more quickly than the Ottomans, also, their populations grew hugely as a result of the industrialisation of food production and the development of medecines etc.
This pressure meant that the expansionist nature of Islam was contained for a while.

In the late 19th century, with the “crisis” of colonisation by the modern (i.e. European) world, the Islamic world turned away from the doctrine that had failed them - Islam.  Where it was retained, concepts were interpreted more peacefully.  (If they were not interpreted peacefully, the interpreter was liable to be killed by either European or the Islamic authorities, who were afraid of the European authorities). There are a couple of lines in the ahadith which speak of the “greater Jihad” - the interal struggle against oneself etc.  (these comprise c. 3% of the references to jihad in the ahadith and furthermore contradict the Qur’an).

Having tried various other ideologies in the 20th century - fascism, pan-Arabism, communism etc. and found that these failed, many Muslims have returned to Islam as an ideology that can help them.

The basis for modern Jihad rests on the answer to the question: if there is no Caliph to declare Jihad against the kuffar, can Jihad be declared against them?
The salafi answer is that without a Caliph a constant state of Jihad exists (this had significant support in Sharia and the hadith).

Basically the change from jihad as physical jihad happened in the 19th century, after colonisation.  The “greater jihad” got prominence then and remains a useful tool for duping non-Muslim marks. 

Ask over at faithfreedom.org/forum if you want more information.

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Posted: 14 September 2008 07:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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jamesbond - 13 September 2008 05:47 PM

There are a couple of lines in the ahadith which speak of the “greater Jihad” - the interal struggle against oneself etc.  (these comprise c. 3% of the references to jihad in the ahadith and furthermore contradict theQur’an).............................
Basically the change from jihad as physical jihad happened in the 19th century, after colonisation.  The “greater jihad” got prominence then and remains a useful tool for duping non-Muslim marks.

This question sometimes comes up when people ask whether or not Islam is a “religion of peace” and it seems that part of the answer hinges on whether or not Muslims are really “duping” non-Muslims or if they honestly believe that the verses in Koran about Jihad as an actual armed conflict are somehow in error, something that seems difficult to believe given the widespread belief among Muslims that the Koran is somehow infallible.  If nobody really believes that Islam is a religion of peace and the Muslims are just deceiving everyone, then it seems accurate to say that Islam is not really a “religion of peace”, but if a fair number of Muslims believe that Jihad merely refers to an inner struggles, then the question doesn’t seems to have a determinate answer.  For some Muslims it’s peaceful and for some Muslims it isn’t.  Which one is the correct version is simply a matter of opinion, although it could be said that the war-like version of Islam is more accurate because it was changed to match circumstances and involves a more consistent interpretation of the Koran and previous Islamic teachings.  When Muslims claim that terrorism is a distortion of true Islamic teachings, that may be correct in that Islamic teachings state that it is not permissible to kill innocent civilians and destroy civilian property. However, saying that there is no connection between terrorism and Islamic teachings seems clearly false because the original doctrine of Jihad mandates violence against non-believers and teaches that martyrs will go to heaven, something that the terrorist themselves claim to believe.

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Posted: 14 September 2008 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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There’s a lot more to Islam than Jihad. And there’s a lot more to Jihad than “Kill the Infidel!”

Jihad is one of the pillars of Islam. In several hadith Mohammed called warfare “the Lesser Jihad”. The “Greater Jihad” was always the struggle against one’s worse nature, ego, evil intention, take your pick. The nafs to use a Muslim term.

Onee nice thing about a Jihad in the common sense of the word is that the Caliph doesn’t have to pay the soldiers.

The idea that the Muslim world “tried” fascism, communism, monarchy, etc. and “returned to” wahabism is a lot like saying Europe tried the Roman Republic and the Empires and then chose barbarism. It’s so oversimplified and ignorant of the facts and history that it can be dismissed with a wave of the hand.

The Muslim world has never been one thing. Various parts of it have had a wide variety of systems of governance. Some were very responsive to popular pressure. Some were dictatorial. Some were very tolerant and liberal. Others were closed-minded and vicious.

Wahabism is a modern perversion with an interesting history. It rose to prominence on British gamesmanship and Saudi oil money. It bears little or no resemblance to, say, Suleyman the Magnificent’s reign or Moorish Spain.

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Posted: 15 September 2008 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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telner - 14 September 2008 09:28 PM

There’s a lot more to Islam than Jihad. And there’s a lot more to Jihad than “Kill the Infidel!”

The “Greater Jihad” was always the struggle against one’s worse nature, ego, evil intention, take your pick.

Nevertheless, it seems pretty clear that the reason why there has been greater emphasis on the “Greater Jihad” in more recent Muslim history is because the other Jihad wasn’t working anymore.  They weren’t successful with their conquests.

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Posted: 15 September 2008 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Nice. “Heads they’re evil. Tails they’re the opposite of good.”

Gotta love that sort of “logic”.

If it was a rationalization that only occurred when conquest wasn’t working, then why is the quote from Mohammed directly? And why was it a religious principle accepted by all the major schools of Islamic legal theory during the height of its ascendancy? Were they prophetic enough to realize that the Frankish barbarians would someday rule the world, so they had to come up with a rationalization for things that weren’t scheduled to happen for centuries?

Sorry, but it’s a sick cat; it doesn’t wash.

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Posted: 15 September 2008 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Montague - 12 September 2008 07:37 AM

I’m trying to find information on the Muslim doctrine of Jihad and how it has changed over the years.


My understanding is that it’s more about differences between Muslim franchises than change over time, though I’m sure there are both to research and document.

Byron

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Posted: 21 September 2008 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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telner - 15 September 2008 02:01 PM

Nice. “Heads they’re evil. Tails they’re the opposite of good.”

Gotta love that sort of “logic”.

If it was a rationalization that only occurred when conquest wasn’t working, then why is the quote from Mohammed directly? And why was it a religious principle accepted by all the major schools of Islamic legal theory during the height of its ascendancy? Were they prophetic enough to realize that the Frankish barbarians would someday rule the world, so they had to come up with a rationalization for things that weren’t scheduled to happen for centuries?

Sorry, but it’s a sick cat; it doesn’t wash.

It seems that the two different verions of Jihad aren’t really two different versions of the same thing or two different variations on the same teaching.  Rather, they’re two different meanings of the same word.  The word was used in two different ways, but when the Muslims were no longer succesfull in forcing their religion upon other peoples by violent means, they emphasized the other meaning of the word Jihad and came up with some strange rationalization to try to say that the more commonly used meaning no longer applied.  How they were able to do that without acknowledging the huge contradiction is something I haven’t figured out yet.

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Posted: 21 September 2008 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Montague - 21 September 2008 10:46 AM
telner - 15 September 2008 02:01 PM

Nice. “Heads they’re evil. Tails they’re the opposite of good.”

Gotta love that sort of “logic”.

If it was a rationalization that only occurred when conquest wasn’t working, then why is the quote from Mohammed directly? And why was it a religious principle accepted by all the major schools of Islamic legal theory during the height of its ascendancy? Were they prophetic enough to realize that the Frankish barbarians would someday rule the world, so they had to come up with a rationalization for things that weren’t scheduled to happen for centuries?

Sorry, but it’s a sick cat; it doesn’t wash.

It seems that the two different verions of Jihad aren’t really two different versions of the same thing or two different variations on the same teaching.  Rather, they’re two different meanings of the same word.  The word was used in two different ways, but when the Muslims were no longer succesfull in forcing their religion upon other peoples by violent means, they emphasized the other meaning of the word Jihad and came up with some strange rationalization to try to say that the more commonly used meaning no longer applied.  How they were able to do that without acknowledging the huge contradiction is something I haven’t figured out yet.

Please listen to the lecture entitled “Understanding Jihad in Islam” by Hamza Yusuf, a world renown leading Muslim scholar from the US, for a more enlightened view of the meaning of jihad.

Found here: http://www.zaytuna.org/multimedia.asp?speaker=2&category=All&type;=&NumPerPage=12&page=4

Here is the nine part lecture on Jihad for those who wish to actually understand the matter as it is, rather than have a superficial understanding.

http://sheikhynotes.blogspot.com/2008/02/habib-ali-al-jifri-and-sheikh-hamza.html

[ Edited: 21 September 2008 08:41 AM by Jack Shooter]
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