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September 7, 2006

The Religious Foundations of Suicide Bombings -Islamist Ideology

Filed under: Global Jihad, Islam, Terror — limewoody @ 3:19 pm

Suicide terrorism has been the scourge of the last quarter century. A
suicide bomb attack on the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut compelled Ronald
Reagan in 1983 to withdrawal peacekeepers from Beirut. Palestinian leaders
deploy suicide bombers to force Israeli concessions, and Iraqi insurgents
use suicide bombings to derail the new political order. Al-Qaeda terrorists
attacked the U.S.S. Cole in Aden in 2000 and, on September 11, 2001, the
World Trade Center and Pentagon. While some scholars argue there is no
religious component to suicide bombing[1]-often citing Sri Lanka’s Tamil
Tigers, who are not Muslims-they are wrong. All Muslim suicide bombers
justify their actions with their religion and, more specifically, with the
concept of jihad.

What Is Jihad?

Muslim self-justification of suicide bombing lies in interpretation of
jihad. While Western scholars of late argue that jihad refers primarily to
internal struggle,[2] Islamic writings feature jihad as physical warfare.[3]
Historian Bernard Lewis finds that “the overwhelming majority of classical
theologians, jurists and traditionalists … understood the obligation of
jihad in a military sense.”[4]

Islamic jurisprudence has distinguished four different ways in which a
believer may fulfill jihad obligations: 1) with faith in his heart; 2) by
preaching and proselytizing with his tongue; 3) by good deeds with his
hands; and 4) by confronting unbelievers or enemies with the sword.[5] In
practice, the first three are part of the da’wa (missionary activity),
actions that support jihad by the sword.[6]

Muslim theologians were explicit in the combination of nonviolent and
violent jihad to spread Islam.[7] Jihad is central to the Muslim perception
of the world, dividing it into dar al-Islam (abode of Islam) and dar al-harb
(abode of war) which is destined to come under Islamic rule.[8] Jihad both
purifies the dar al-Islam and is the tool to shrink and eradicate the dar
al-harb. As a doctrine, the aim of jihad is clear: to establish God’s rule
on earth by compelling non-Muslims to embrace Islam, or to force them to
accept second class status if not eradicate them altogether. Such an
understanding constituted one of the main ideological bases of the dynasties
that ruled the Islamic world from the late seventh century until Mongol
hordes put an effective end to their control in the thirteenth century.

A comparison between the concept of martyrdom in Islam on one hand and in
Judaism and Christianity on the other illustrates the emphasis on violent
jihad within Islamic jurisprudence. In Islamic practice, the martyr is one
killed in jihad. He is entitled to special status in paradise and on
Judgment Day. In Judaism and Christianity, a martyr is someone who endures
torture and death rather than renounce his or her belief.[9]

Jihad against Unbelievers

All four schools of Sunni Islam as well as mainstream Shi’ism consider
idolatry (shirk), apostasy (irtidad), and hypocrisy (nifiq, munafaqah, or
riya’) to be capital offenses.[10] In each case, jihad is a means to counter
such threats and assert the predominance of Islam.

There is little tolerance for idolaters within Islam: the first article of
faith is the profession, la ilah illa-llah (there is no deity but God).[11]
Muslim jurisprudence considers shirk to be the worst form of disbelief.[12]
The Qur’an commands Muslims to kill those who commit shirk[13] and is
replete with examples calling for jihad against idolaters. For example, sura
(chapter) 9:5 reads, “When the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters
whenever you find them, and take them captive or besiege them.”[14] Sura
8:39 reads, “So fight them so that sedition might end and obedience is
wholly Allah’s”; and sura 9:123 states, “Fight the unbelievers who are near
to you, and let them find ruthlessness in you.”[15] Muslims living under the
rule of idolaters are obliged to fight their rulers.[16] The Qur’an likewise
commands believers to conduct jihad against hypocrites,[17] seize them, and
do away with them.[18] All infidels, unbelievers, and hypocrites-those who
commit blasphemy or treason-are relegated to hell.[19]

Prominent Muslim scholars consider the general jihad declaration against the
unbelievers to be crucial to Islamic success.[20] Those who sacrifice their
material comfort and bodies for jihad win salvation.[21] By their sacrifice,
they obtain all the pleasures of paradise, be they spiritual-the close
presence of God-or material.[22] As an additional incentive, Muhammad
promised those mujahideen who fight in a jihad war a reward of virgins in
paradise.[23] Importantly, those conducting suicide bombings do not consider
themselves dead but rather living with God. As sura 2:154 explains, “Do not
think that those who are killed in the way of Allah are dead, for indeed
they are alive, even though you are not aware.”[24] Therefore the
prohibition on suicide need not apply to bus bombers or other kamikaze
jihadists. Martin Lings, a British scholar of Sufism, argues that this
linkage between martyrdom and paradise was probably the most potent factor
that Muhammad brought to the annals of warfare,[25] for it transformed the
odds of war by offering a promise of immortality.[26]

Jihad in the Hadith

The Hadith collections, the second important source of Shari’a after the
Qur’an, devote considerable attention to jihad, most often in terms of
military action against non-believers. Indeed, most Islamic theologians in
the classical period (750-1258 C.E.) understood this obligation to jihad as
military.[27] There is a whole genre of hadith known as fada’il al-jihad
(the merits of the holy war),[28] based on the nine-volume Hadith collection
of Muhammad ibn Isma’il al-Bukhari (810-70) and considered to be the most
respected and authoritative collection. He dedicates almost one-third of his
fourth volume on jihad as physical holy war against infidels. For example,
he relates a hadith of Muhammad commenting that there are one hundred stages
in paradise for those who fight for the way of God. [29] Only those who
participate in jihad deserve paradise without any checks and reservations.
To exemplify this notion, Bukhari relates a story of a woman asking Muhammad
if her son, who was killed in the battle of Badr, is in paradise, and he
replied that her son is in a higher paradise.[30]

Consistent with the Qur’an, these hadith generally demonstrate the necessity
for Muslims to spare no means to spread Islam by force and strike terror
into the hearts of the enemies of God. The main motif of jihad in the Hadith
reinforces the concept that death on the battleground in the cause of God
leads to paradise and receipt of a “sacred wedding” to black-eyed
virgins.[31] From among 262 traditions that are mentioned by Abdallah Ibn
al-Mubarak (736-97), a renowned Khorasani scholar who concentrated on jihad
warfare as the most important method to Islamic success, thirteen reinforce
the concept of virgins in paradise as a reward for martyrdom.[32]

The Hadith also emphasize the necessity for all believers, whenever called
upon, to commit to a jihad war.[33] In one example, Bukhari cites Ibn ‘Umar,
one of the transmitters of accounts about the Prophet traditionally accepted
by Muslims, who relates, “Muhammad said: ‘I have been ordered to fight
against all the people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and
that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger, 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 and their reckoning will be done by
Allah.'”[34] And, in another, a transmitter narrated, “O Allah, you know
that there is nothing more beloved to me than to fight in your cause against
those who disbelieved your messenger.”[35]

Just as in the Qur’an, the Hadith give ample justification for those who
would fight heterodox interpretations of Islam within their own society.
Muslim jurists in four schools of law have agreed that the apostate should
be given three days to repent and, if he did not, he was to be killed by
believer’s jihad.[36] Bukhari cites Abu Musa, another accepted transmitter,
who related how “a man embraced Islam and then reverted back to Judaism. Ibn
al-Mu’azz, one of the Hadith story tellers, said: ‘I will not sit down
unless you kill him, as the verdict of Allah and his messenger.'”[37] In
another hadith, Ali bin Abu Talib, Muhammad’s nephew and son-in-law,
narrated, “I heard the Prophet saying … whenever you find the apostates,
kill them, for there will be a reward on the Day of Resurrection.”[38] The
Hadith are graphic about punishment for such apostates. According to Anas
bin Malik, an Arab thinker and theologian from Medina (d. 795) and founder
of the Maliki School of Islamic jurisprudence, “The Prophet ordered the
apostates to have their hands and feet cut off. Then he ordered nails, which
were heated and passed over their eyes, and they were left in the Harra [a
rocky land in Medina], till they died.”[39]

Not as theologically important and seldom cited by modern jihadists are the
Assassins, a twelfth and thirteenth century Shi’ite movement which staged
assassinations against prominent political leaders who did not share their
ideas. While their actions do not directly affect the intellectual evolution
of contemporary suicide bombers, their actions demonstrate precedent and the
ability of theologians to interpret Islamic doctrine to justify suicide
terrorism. As with today’s terror masters, the group’s founder Hasan
al-Sabbah (d. 1124) promised its members paradise if they died in the course
of their missions.[40]

Contemporary Jihad

Early interpretations of jihad contributed a theological framework which
proponents of suicide bombing adopted. First was the idea that jihad was
violent. It was a tool not only to purify the domains of Islam and purge the
heterodox but also to defeat non-Muslims. Today, academics and scholars may
argue that jihad is peaceful and represents internal struggle,[41] but they
either obfuscate or misunderstand that for most Islamic theologians and as
described in detail by Islamic historians,[42] the first three nonviolent
components of jihad form a larger, more violent aggregate.

Those who argue that jihad is peaceful base their assertions almost entirely
on Qur’anic verses from the Meccan period,[43] in which Muhammad and his
band of followers were small and relatively weak and so prone to
compromise.[44] Islamists, though, justify their violence with verses
revealed to Muhammad after his December 623 expedition to Nakhlah.[45]
Prominent classical scholars acknowledged the principle of nasikh wa-mansukh
(abrogation) which placed greater emphasis on later Medinan verses of
violence and jihad.[46] For contemporary Western scholars and journalists to
down play Medinan verses suggests a critical misunderstanding of Qur’anic

Many Islamists are unapologetic about violent jihad. They use Qur’anic
interpretation to justify terrorism, suicide bombings, and beheadings.[47]
They seek to emulate the aggressive jihad waged by Muhammad and his
successors from 626 to 740 in their own struggle.[48] These are the Islamic
apocalyptic terrorist groups of today who agree with the idea that jihad is
so important that every believer must accept it as a compulsory duty, even
when unbelievers have not started it.[49]

While some academics and commentators argue that jihad is restricted to
religious wars, from an Islamic perspective, all wars against non-Muslims
(or Muslims redefined by jihadists as non-Muslims) are religious. This is
the reason why some Muslim scholars regard jihad as the sixth pillar of
Islam, as it is in Shi’ite doctrine.[50] The most influential Islamist
thinkers of the twentieth century-Abu al-A’la al-Mawdudi (1903-79), Hasan
al-Banna (1906-49), and Sayyid Qutb (1906-66)-have addressed the centrality
of jihad at length.[51] Activists such as Muhammad Abd al-Salam Faraj, an
Egyptian electrical engineer and a follower of Qutb, call it “the neglected
duty,”[52] and interpret it to justify a fight against any ruler or
government that does not adhere to the Shari’a.

Most recent jihadists have relied on Qutb to justify their own theories of
violent jihad. ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Azzam (1941-89), a Palestinian who fled to
Jordan after the Six-Day war, adopted many elements of both Ibn Taymiya, an
early fourteenth century Islamic scholar who laid the philosophical
groundwork for the Islamic fundamentalism adopted by Saudi Arabia centuries
later, and Qutb to promote the belief in an inevitable clash of
civilizations. He emphasized the necessity of violent revolution through
jihad against both secular governments in majority Muslim states and against
the West. He is credited with being the first Sunni Islamic figure to
instill the Islamic community with a divine myth of invincibility of jihad
and terrorism.[53]
‘Azzam was a major intellectual influence upon Osama bin Laden and
Al-Qaeda.[54] In his book Knights under the Banner of the Prophet, bin
Laden’s number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, identified his organization’s goals
as da’wa and violent jihad against both an “internal enemy,” i.e., existing
Arab infidel regimes, and an “external enemy” in areas not controlled by
Muslims. To Zawahiri, Muslims who accept Western values such as democracy
and those who renounce jihad as a means to establish the Islamic state are
infidels deserving of death. The Islamic nation, he maintained, would be
established only through jihad for the sake of God, compulsory duty vested
upon all the Islamic community. He believed that a “Crusader-Jewish”
alliance would mobilize all its resources to counter Islamic power.[55]

Bin Laden embraced similar logic. Beginning in August 1996, he used verses
from the Qur’an and the Hadith to argue that jihad was compulsory to expel
non-Muslims and Westerners from Saudi Arabia.[56] On February 23, 1998,
though, he expanded his jihad when, with Zawahiri at his side, he announced
the creation of the International Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews
and Crusaders.[57]

The writings of Qutb also influenced Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, the late leader
of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Zarqawi peppered his speeches and declarations with
verses from the Qur’an and Hadith to demonstrate God’s promise of the
inevitability of the creation of a pure Sunni Islamic state so long as
Muslims fight jihad against the enemies of Islam by jihad. Zarqawi called
jihad “the crest of the summit of Islam.”[58]

Bin Laden granted Zarqawi permission to kill Iraqi security forces and Shi’ites
in order to achieve a “state of truth” and uproot the “state of the
lie.”[59] Zarqawi did so with both car bombs and suicide bombers. On May 18,
2005, Zarqawi legitimized the killing of Muslims under the principle of
overriding necessity and the victory of jihad. “Islamic law states that the
Islamic faith is more important than life, honor, and property,” and the Shi’ites
are worse than the Crusaders, he argued.[60] He declared both collateral
killing of Muslims and murder of noncombatant non-Muslims legitimate[61]
and, on September 14, 2005, declared jihad war on the Shi’ites.[62]

In the words of Rudolph Peters, an expert on contemporary Islam, the
ultimate aim of jihad is the subjection of the non-believers and the
eradication of non-belief.[63] Islamic law is the ultimate solution, and it
has full answers to all possible situations and problems, present and
future. This is why the fanatic Muslims of today-religious, ideologists, and
practitioners-denounce all the existing political systems and demand their
liquidation. The current Arab-Islamic system represents a “new age of
ignorance” and the Western political systems are “the new Crusaderism,” all
doomed to extermination by jihad warfare.

Jihad becomes a binding duty on all Muslims as individuals. Abdulaziz A.
Sachedina, an Indian Muslim expert on the Shi’ites who lives in the West,
explained, “There is no doubt that the Muslim jurists conceived jihad in the
sense of engaging in a war to increase the Dar al-Islam as an integral part
of Islamic faith … with the essential aim of uprooting unbelief and
preparing the way for a creation of Islamic order on earth.”[64]

The violence of contemporary jihad was also apparent in the reaction of
Islamists to cartoons published in the Danish
newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Muslim rioters and Arab and Islamic governments
seized upon the contention that it is against Islam to depict the Prophet
Muhammad and to argue that the apostates and non-believers should be
punished. Violence accompanied demonstrations in Europe and in Muslim
countries. By far the greatest number of fatalities was in Nigeria, which is
neither European nor Muslim. In London, protestors marched under banners
reading, “Slay those who insult Islam,” “Butcher those who mock Islam,”
“Behead those who insult Islam,” “Exterminate those who slander Islam,”
“Massacre those who insult Islam,” “Europe is the cancer, Islam is the
answer,” “Europe take lessons from 9-11,” “Europe you will pay. Your 9-11 is
on its way,” “Be prepared for the real holocaust,” and “Islam will dominate
the world.”[65] To many jihadists, such threats are literal, not hyperbole.
Suicide bombing becomes a legitimate technique to carry them out.

The Islamic Roots of Suicide Bombings

What is the connection between religious sources of over a millennium ago to
the suicide bombings of today? There is a direct link between the jihadists
of yesterday and contemporary jihadists. Many jihadists cite the works of
Taqi al-din Ahmad Ibn Taymiya (1263-1328), an Islamic scholar born in
Harran, in modern-day Turkey, who wrote extensively on the need for jihad
and exalted it even above the Islamic obligations of fasting and pilgrimage
(hajj).[66] He attacked many practices prevalent among Muslims of his time
and favored a literal interpretation of the Qur’an. Modern jihadists have
used his fatwas commanding Muslims to fight the Mongols as precedents
legitimizing suicide bombing. Mawdudi, Banna, and Qutb have also developed
Ibn Taymiya’s philosophy,[67] writing extensively on jihad as the means to
fight the re-emergence of the age of ignorance, with its tribal savagery and
anarchy. They also suggested that the Islamic order can be maintained and
protected, if not expanded, through violence.

In recent decades, the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has embraced suicide
bombings to lethal effect. Its 1987 charter shows its intellectual and
theological justifications. It cites the Qur’an[68] to promote the idea of
Muslim exclusivity and hadith from Bukhari and the Sahih Muslim calling for
the murder of Jews to hasten the Day of Judgment. More recent exegesis also
influenced Hamas. The charter cites Banna’s call for Islam to obliterate
Israel and is explicit about the violent nature of jihad: Article 13 argues
that there is no solution to the Palestinian question but through jihad, and
Article 15 declares the necessity to instill jihad in the heart of the
Muslim nation.

The 9-11 suicide attacks sparked significant debate in the Islamic world
about the merits of suicide attacks.[69] Sheikh Muhammad Sa’id al-Tantawi,
head of Cairo’s Al-Azhar, the most prestigious university for Sunni
jurisprudence, declared that the Shari’a rejects all attempts on taking
human life, and Sheikh Muhammad bin ‘Abdallah al-Sabil, a member of the
Saudi Council of Islamic Clerics and imam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca,
decried the suicide attacks on the basis that Islamic law forbids killing
civilians, suicide, and protects Jews and Christians. But both Tantawi and
Sabil sidestep the question of “martyrdom operations.” Because preserving
the life of dhimmis (Jews and Christians) is conditional to their acceptance
of Muslim rule, suicide attacks upon Israelis or Jews and Christians outside
majority Muslim countries may be permissible.
Indeed, other Al-Azhar scholars, for example, ‘Abd al-‘Azim al-Mit’ani, say
it is permissible to kill Israeli civilians in the cause of jihad.[70]

Today’s Al-Qaeda splinter and successor groups and their fellow travelers
use the writings of Ibn Taymiya and those influenced by him. The linkage is
concrete. They often cite the same Qur’anic passages and hadith that
justified the violent jihad of the seventh century. Religious clerics issue
fatwas citing them. Perhaps the most prominent of these is Sheikh Yusuf
al-Qaradawi,[71] who has built upon such interpretations to justify suicide
bombing, other acts of terrorism, and the murder of civilians, all in the
cause of jihad. He has called suicide bombing a supreme form of jihad for
the sake of God and, therefore, religiously legitimate.[72] Those who object
to his ideas he labels as agents of ignorance.[73] While he argues that the
Qur’an does not allow attacks against the innocent,[74] his definition of
innocence is so narrow as to obviate such assurances.
September 11 hijacker Muhammad Atta’s last will and testament[75] shows how
deep such interpretations of jihad have penetrated Muslim life as his
verbiage and instructions for burial showed how he believed himself a good
Muslim, even as he participated in an event which murdered almost 3,000


Suicide bombing in the Muslim world cannot be separated from religion. Its
perpetrators believe jihad to be synonymous with war and mandate Muslims to
strike not only at non-Muslims but also at co-religionists deemed
insufficiently loyal to their radical cause. The ideological basis of such
an interpretation has deep roots in Islamic theology, but it came to
prominence with the twentieth-century rise of Muslim Brotherhood theorists
such as Banna and Qutb and was further developed by their successors. While
much of the exegesis developed out of Sunni jurisprudence, the Islamic
Republic in Iran encouraged the phenomenon. Many of Tehran’s proxy groups
embraced the tactic.

It is fashionable among Western analysts and academics to explain away
suicide bombing with discussion of “root causes” that omit religion. Many
cite a history of exploitation by Western powers, Israel’s existence,
government oppression, poverty, lack of education, and alienation as reasons
why desperate individuals decide to blow themselves up to murder others. But
attention to suicide bombers’ own justifications suggest that, for them,
Islam and its call for jihad is the primary motivation.
David Bukay is a lecturer in the school of political science at the
University of Haifa.
[1] See, for example, Robert Pape, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of
Suicide Bombing (New York: Random House, 2005).
[2] See, for example, John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of
Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 32-8.
[3] See, for example, Muhammad Jarir al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari
(Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987-1988), vols. 7 and 8;
Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1955), part 3; Muhammad Ibn Sa’d, Kitab
at-Tabaqat al-Kabir (New Delhi: Kitab Bahavan, 1981), vol. 2, which details
all Muhammad’s military expeditions; Abd al-Rahman Ibn Khaldun,
Al-Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 1967), vol. 1, p. 309, vol. 2, pp. 65-79, 220-1; Muhammad Ibn Isma’il
al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari (Lahore: Kazi, 1979), partly vol. 1, but mainly
vol. 2; Ibn al-Hajjaj Muslim, Sahih Muslim (Cairo: Dar al-Kitab al-Misri,
n.d.), includes many hadith, partly the same as those cited by Bukhari. For
scholarly interpretation based on these exegetes, see Reuven Firestone,
Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam (New York: Oxford University Press,
[4] Bernard Lewis, The Political Language of Islam (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1988), p. 72.
[5] Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 2, p. 199.
[6] Muhammad Ayoub, “Jihad: A Source of Power and Framework of Authority in
Islam,” Bulletin of the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, 6 (1992);
Firestone, Jihad, pp. 37, 84; Moulavi A. Cheragh, The Critical Exposition of
Popular Jihad (Karachi: Karinsons, 1977), pp. 62-6, 51-5, 123-5.
[7] See, for example, Muhammad Ibn ‘Isa al-Tirmidhi, Al-Jami ‘as-Sahih, vol.
7 (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyah, 1992), p. 36.
[8] Majid Khadduri, War and Peace in the Law of Islam (Baltimore: John’s
Hopkins University Press, 1979), pp. 62-6; Cheragh, The Critical Exposition
of Popular Jihad, pp. 163-76.
[9] Bernard Lewis, Islam and the West (New York: Oxford University Press,
1993), p. 163. For the privileges of martyrs who fall in battle, see Eitan
Kohlberg, The Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 9 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1960), s.v.
“shahid.” For specific examples, see Bukhari, Sahih, vol. 4, pp. 53, 72,
216; Muslim, Sahih, vol. 11, p. 2013.
[10] Khadduri, War and Peace in the Law of Islam, pp. 29-30, 33, 84, 98,
135; Taqi al-Din Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah, Al-‘Ubudiyah fil-Islam (Cairo:
Al-Matba’ah as-Salafiyah, 1987).
[11] Muhammad Ibraheem Surty, The Qur’anic Conception of al-Shirk (London:
Luzac, 1982).
[12] Qur’an, 28:17, 31:13, 36:74, 37:158. All quotes of the Qur’an are from
Ahmed Ali, Al-Qur’an: A Contemporary Translation (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 2001).
[13] Qur’an, 4:4.
[14] See, also, Qur’an, 2:193.
[15] See, also, Qur’an, 2:244.
[16] Qur’an, 22:39; 8:12; 8:60.
[17]’Ali ibn Muhammad al-Mawardi, Kitab al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyah (Beirut:
Wilayat al-Dinn, 1996), pp. 30-1, 44-5, 50-1.
[18] Qur’an, 3:167-8; 4:82; 4: 88-91; 4:145; 9:12; 9:73; 66:9.
[19] Qur’an, 9:73; 47:12; 98:6.
[20] Abu Muhammad ‘Abd al-Malik Ibn Hisham (d. 833), who edited Ibn Ishaq’s
biography of Muhammad; Abu ‘Abdallah Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar al-Waqidi (d. 823),
the author of Al-Maghazi, the Sirah, and the Early Islamic Conquests; Abu
‘Abdallah Muhammad Ibn Sa`d (d. 845), one of the earliest authorities on
Muslim biography; Abu al-Walid Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Rushd (d. 1198), one
of the renowned Islamic theologians and philosophers; Abu al-Hasan
al-Mawardi (d. 1058) and Abu Muhammad ‘Ali Ibn Ahmad Ibn Hazm (d. 1064) all
reference the Qur’an, 2:216-217.
[21] Abdallah Ibn al-Mubarak, Kitab al-Jihad (Beirut: Hammad, 1971), pp.
30-1, 37-46, 48-54, 59-61; Bukhari, Sahih, vol. 2, p. 149; vol. 4, pp.
19-22, 24-5, 39-40.
[22] Qur’an, 3:195; 9:72; 47:4-6, 15; 61:11-3.
[23] Qur’an, 44:51-4; 52:17-20; 55:47, 50, 52, 56, 70, 72; 56:22-4.
[24] See, also, Qur’an, 3:157-8, 169-171; 44:56.
[25] Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources
(Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 1983), pp. 147-76.
[26] Subhash C. Inamdar, Muhammad and the Rise of Islam (Madison, Conn.:
Psychological Press, 2001), pp. 222-3.
[27] Lewis, The Political Language of Islam, p. 72.
[28] See, for example, Ibn al-Mubarak, Kitab al-Jihad.
[29] Bukhari, Sahih, vol. 2, p. 200.
[30] Ibid., p. 202.
[31] John MacDonald, “Islamic Eschatology VI-Paradise,” Islamic Studies, 5
(1966): 352-60; Frantz Rosenthal, “Reflections on Love in Paradise,” in John
H. Marks and Robert M. Good, eds., Love and Death in the Ancient Near East
(Guilford, Conn.: Four Quarters Publication Co., 1987), pp. 247-54.
[32] Ibn al-Mubarak, Kitab al-Jihad, pp. 30-1, 37-46, 48-54, 59-61; Jane
Idleman Smith and Yvone Haddad, The Islamic Understanding of Death and
Resurrection (Albany: State University of New York, 1994), pp. 31-61.
[33] Bukhari, Sahih, vol. 1, p. 26; vol. 4, p. 41, 44-5.
[34] Ibid., vol. 1, p. 25.
[35] Ibid., p. 101.
[36] Bukhari, Sahih, vol. 4, p. 261.
[37] Ibid., p. 107.
[38] Ibid., p. 108.
[39] Ibid., p. 261.
[40] For additional background on the Assassins, see Bernard Lewis,
Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam (New York: Basic Books, 2003).
[41] For example, Mahmoud Shaltut, Al-Qur’an wal-Qital (Cairo: Matba’at
an-Nasr wal-Ittihad ash-Sharqi, 1948); John l. Esposito, What Everybody
Needs to Know about Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002); John L.
Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1999); Cheragh, The Critical Exposition of the Popular
Jihad, pp. 16-27, 114-9.
[42] Tabari, The History of al-Tabari, vol. 7, pp. 17-21; Guillaume, The
Life of Muhammad, pp. 281-8; Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest
Sources, pp. 175, 187.
[43] Qur’an, 20:130; 22:49; 38:15, 17; 43:88-9; 52:45, 48; 67:26.
[44] See discussion in Tabari, The History of al-Tabari, vol. 8, pp. 93-4,
98-9, 105, 112-3, 115, 118, 121-2, 124-7; Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad,
pp. 143, 145.
[45] ‘Abd al-Malik Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah an-Nabawiyah, vol. 1 (Beirut: Dar
al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyah, 1997), pp. 601-4; Tabari, The History of al-Tabari,
vol. 7, pp. 18-9.
[46] See, for example, Mawardi, Al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, pp. 60, 70, 76-7,
192, 200-2; Abu Muhammad Ali Ibn Ahmad Ibn Hazm, Kitab al-Jihad, vol. 3
(Beirut: Dar al-Ma’arif, 1987), p. 68.
[47] Timothy Furnish, “Beheading in the Name of Islam,” Middle East
Quarterly, Spring 2005, pp. 51-7.
[48] Tabari, The History of al-Tabari, pp. 62-81; Guillaume, The Life of
Muhammad, pp. 615-34; Fred Donner, The Early Islamic Conquests (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1981), pp. 17-29; Khalid Y. Blankinship, The End
of the Jihad State (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994), pp.
[49] E. Tyan, The Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 2 (Leiden: Brill, 1960), s.v.
[50] Muhammad S.R. al-Buti, Al-Jihad fil-Islam (Beirut: Dar al-Ma’arif,
1993); Mubarak, Kitab al-Jihad; Muhammad Ibn Hasan as-Shaybani, Kitab
as-Siyar al-Kabir, in Majid Khadduri, comp., The Islamic Law of Nations:
Shaybani’s Siyar (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1966).
[51] Abu al-A’la al-Mawdudi, Hasan al-Banna, and Sayyid Qutb, Al-Jihad
fil-Islam (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr and al-Ittihad al-Islami al-‘Alami, 1969).
[52] Johannes J.G. Jansen, The Neglected Duty (New York: Macmillan, 1986),
pp. 159-230.
[53] Abdallah ‘Azzam, “Al-Qa’idah as-Sulbah,” Al-Jihad, Apr. 1988, pp. 46-9.
[54] Uriya Shavit, “Al-Qaeda’s Saudi Origins,” Middle East Quarterly, Fall
2006, pp. 3-13.
[55] Ayman al-Zawahiri, “Knights under the Prophet’s Banner,” Asharq
al-Awsat (London), Dec. 2-10, 2001; Al-Jazeera, Sept. 1, 2005, Aug. 4, 2005,
June 17, 2005, Nov. 29, 2004, in Middle East Media Research Institute
(MEMRI) TV Monitoring Project.
[56] The Washington Post, Aug. 23, 1998.
[57] Al-Quds al-Arabi (London), Feb. 23, 1998, May 14, 1998; interview, Time
Magazine, Dec. 24, 1998; ABC News, Jan. 11, 1999; interview, Newsweek, Jan.
17, 1999.
[58] Asharq al-Awsat, July 13, 2004.
[59] “Osama bin Laden to the Iraqi People,” MEMRI Special Dispatch, no. 837,
Dec. 30, 2004.
[60] “Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi: Collateral Killing of Muslims Is Legitimate,”
MEMRI Special Dispatch, no. 917, June 7, 2005.
[61] Ibid.
[62] “Leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq al-Zarqawi Declares ‘Total War’ on Shi’ites,”
MEMRI, no. 987, Sept. 16, 2005.
[63] Rudolph Peters, The Encyclopedia of Religions, vol. 8 (New York:
Macmillan, 1987), s.v “jihad.”
[64] Abdulaziz A. Sachedina, The Just Ruler in Shiite Islam (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 106-7, 110-1.
[65] Associated Press, Feb. 3, 2006; Reuters, Feb. 3, 2006.
[66] See Ibn Taymiyah’s fatwas in Ahmad A.M. Qasim and Muhammad A.A. Qasim,
comps., Majmu’ Fatawat Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, vol. 9 (Riyadh:
Matba’at al-Hukumah, 1996).
[67] Mawdudi, Banna, and Qutb, Al-Jihad fi Sabilillah.
[68] Qur’an, 3:109.
[69] Haim Malka, “Must Innocents Die? The Islamic Debate over Suicide
Attacks,” Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2003, pp. 19-28.
[70] Ibid.
[71] The Economist, Feb. 13, 2003.
[72] Al-Rayah (Qatar), Apr. 25, 2001; “The Qaradawi Fatwas,” Middle East
Quarterly, Summer 2004, pp. 78-80.
[73] Al-Istiqlal (Islamic Jihad, Gaza), Aug. 20, 1999.
[74] Qur’an, 5:32.
[75] Der Spiegel, Oct. 1, 2001.


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