Dogmatic Basis of Jihad And Martyrdom

Dogmatic Basis of Jihad And Martyrdom

by Wm Gawthrop

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The dogmatic basis for jihad and martyrdom attacks (Sunni Tradition) are the core values and themes in Islam's doctrinal texts: The Quran and the Hadiths. Islamic dogma gives rise to a world view postulating perpetual, but not necessarily constant, war facilitated by the twin doctrines of jihad and martyrdom. The ultimate goal of Islam is its domination over other ideologies and the means for achieving that goal includes "jihad" at the individual collective and personally obligatory level.

Zakat, as a systemic and dedicated funding mechanism, combine with multiple forms of jihad (Jihad of the Tongue [speech], Jihad of the Pen [writings], Jihad of Wealth [financial support]) to feed and fuel Jihad of the Sword (combat, combat support and combat service support operations).

The themes of jihad and martyrdom, flowing directly from the core doctrinal sources, are amplified rather than moderated by the four schools of Sunni law. Absent a moderating interpretation of the world view, funding practices, and incitement to jihad, these themes will continue to attract new generations of responsive, autonomous, self actualizing believers.

Download the Full Article: Dogmatic Basis of Jihad And Martyrdom

William Gawthrop received his Masters of Science, Strategic Intelligence, from the National Defense Intelligence College and his Bachelor of Science, Law Enforcement, from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville Texas. He is also a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College and the United State Marine Corps Command and Staff College and served in Vietnam (Co H, 75th Infantry, First Cavalry Division). He is currently a Supervisory Intelligence Analyst with the United States Government.

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Yes, I was pretentious. The point was that just because I don't agree with a different point of view does not mean that I am coming with an uninformed perspective.

Ok your arguments are a little pretentious. But there are more than one versions of Islam, there is no deniability there.

Tukh...,
Apology accepted and I apparently overreacted. Nonetheless, I continue to see things very differently than you. I agree that agreement won't be forthcoming. I stand by my assertion that there are many Islams. Just because some of the followers of a given "Islam" don't see other versions as "Islam" does not mean that saying "Islams" is to utter an oxymoron. It is a proof. The sectarian violence and even the takfir, or pronouncing of heresy, within a sect or even a madhhab or school within a sect when views are not in agreement shows that there are many different and wholly incompatible versions of Islam. Thus: Islams. Many want to make only one Islam and accept only one Islam, but this is extremely exclusive. Others are more inclusive. Olivier Roy has advanced one theory about why religions are becoming so particularistic. In any case, I understand that saying "Islams" goes against the unity that Islam aims for. I understand the concept of one Islam, tawhid, and the ummah. I can actually talk to you about it in Arabic, although typing it out correctly would take me forever. I also understand the political and social aspects of the religion. I do understand how many of our opponents see the world. I do not say that political or social forces have hijacked the religion. I do not imagine that inside every Muslim is a Protestant capitalist waiting to get out. I do, however, believe that religion is, has, does, and will always adapt to the times and circumstances in which it lives. This is why it is so powerful. So it is not a matter of hijacking, it is a matter of religion doing what it has always done: speaking to the circumstances in which one lives and legitimating and making sense of one's set of beliefs. It does not live in a vacuum. It is an extremely potent force that colors every aspect of life for many, but as it does that, it can't help but be affected by the political, social, and economic forces at work around it. It is important to recall, too, that political activism in the region has not always been Islamist. There was a significant period in the last century when secular concepts of nationalism, communism, etc were in currency without such heavy religious overtones. One can also see how secular political concepts were then hit upon by activist clerics, in part to speak to the issues of the times and in part to compete with other ideological forces for the attention of the crowd. One needs a wider lens to really explain the phenomena in play here.

In sum, you think I'm wrong, I think you're wrong, but please understand that my views do not come from a casual acquaintance with Islam gained from one or two Bernard Lewis books. I have studied it academically and practically and I have engaged in extensive discussions and listening to people's views on their religion far away from America where everyone is eager either to piss you off or show you how they are just like you. I've spoken to them in their territory (I'm speaking here of experiences outside of combat zones), so it isn't all just from books either. i'm not saying that you necessarily do not have similar experiences, but don't discount my point of view as unlearned, which I still feel some of your terms lean towards. I have jettisoned my preconceptions and I really don't think I'm in need of any of your correctives.

"The primary issue I have with the comment you made is the methodological sleight of hand that determines that a "religion" has been high-jacked by outside forces (be they social, political, or economic)."

It's simply not reasonable to view it any other way. There are too many non-warlike Muslims, and too many warlike non-Muslims, for this theory to be worth more than the time it takes to discard it.

Sir,

I have offended you. That was not my intention. I would disagree with your first paragraph, agree to the second, disagree with the third (no offence was intended). The primary issue I have with the comment you made is the methodological sleight of hand that determines that a "religion" has been high-jacked by outside forces (be they social, political, or economic). My first corrective to such a stance would be to see the world as our opponent - or object of enquiry- sees it. That means jettisoning our preconceptions of what "religions" are and should be for the self-images of our objects of study. Muslims do not consider Islam to be a version of Protestantism 9i.e., about a purely personal relationship with the transcendental) nor do they accept that Islam is not also a social, political or economic force. The centrality of Islam in the narratives of martyrdom, for instance, and the paisn at which legal justification is sought should alert us to the centrality of the "religion". Thus should cue our analysis not our preconceptions. There are not many Islams (that's an oxymoron); there is one Islam (it has a relatively well-defined self-concept and doctrinal structure) which has varying permutations depending upon geography. I suspect, however, that agree between us won;t be forthcoming. If anything I hope you accept my apology for the unintended insult in my prior post.

Tukhachevskii,
Thanks for the insult. Your own tortured logic in paragraph two suggests you should work on your own intellect before insulting others. While the question in your mind may not be whether some or all "religions" or similar, yet secular ideologies have waged wars, this is actually a key point. If many religions and ideologies have driven warlike behaviors, and they have, then the question is not so much the warlike nature of a given religion, but how the religion intersects with social, political, and economic issues at a given time to produce warlike behaviors. "Islam" isn't. There are a myriad of Islams, some incredibly warlike, some completely pacifist. The question is how and why people use selective interpretations of a given religion or ideology to support their agendas. The answer is not in reading and understanding Islam or any other religion, it is in understanding what drives people to interpret a given religion or ideology in these ways.

My point, also, was that the "end of history" narrative, which has a long legacy in Western political thought, is teleological in its own way, which does explain some of the desperate nature of the clash and rhetoric that surrounds on both sides. This was in response to BZ's comment.

Just because I see things a bit differently does not mean I am uneducated or require "more learning" to have "sharper analysis." But I don't expect to open a mind like yours to an alternative viewpoint.

@ P. J. Munson & Anonymous,

Your arguments seems a lot like the following;
Liberal democracies go to war, Nazi germany went to war, Nazi Germany is a Liberal Democracy. OTOH, all states go to war, Nazi Germany went to war, therefore Nazi warfare was no different from that of other states.

The question is NOT wehter some or all "religions" have at some point in their history waged wars but RATHER whether some praxeological systems are inherently warlike. Once you learn to distinguish between the two qualitiative criteria your analysis will become sharper. The author has done a great service, but more remains to be done.

@ P. J. Munson & Anonymous,

Your arguments seems a lot like the following;
Liberal democracies go to war, Nazi germany went to war, Nazi Germany is a Liberal Democracy. OTOH, all states go to war, Nazi Germany went to war, therefore Nazi warfare was no different from that of other states.

The question is NOT wehter some or all "religions" have at some point in their history waged wars but RATHER whether some praxeological systems are inherently warlike. Once you learn to distinguish between the two qualitiative criteria your analysis will become sharper. The author has done a great service, but more remains to be done.

Islam does not want to overshadow other ideologies or religions. Islam gives us a code of life which is applicable to all. It is a code given by Allah Almighty. Allah cannot give two codes of life for his creation. Like all other prophets Muhammad PBUH is also the Prophet of God. A muslim has to have faith in all prophets if he has to remain a Muslim. Whereas others donot beleive in him despite the fact that different religions have the indications about Muhammad PBUH in their Holy Books. Therefore, I shall urge upon the readers in general and the author in particular to read and understand Islam before really commenting on it. Terrorists may be muslims but not the representatives of Islam. Terrorists exist in every religion. Should we equate every religion with those terrorists?

in the sufi tradition, jihad is a battle between the good and evil forces within your mind. it is an internal battle not an external one...

The link between a specific style of attack frequently employed by certain fringe elements who identify themselves as Islamist is self-evident. But jihad? Really? Is is just as self-evident that people don't need any particular religious motivation to fight. Frickin' Buddhists have been known to revolt. More often, what happens is that the devout will alter their beliefs as needed to support whatever action they've decided to take anyway.

Point 1 by BZ above sounds a bit like the narrative of the "end of history" democracy promotion change the world and there will be peace crowd. I understand that this narrative cannot be quite so simply summed up, but the point is that there is a lot of eschatological/teleological religious influence in secularized western political thought and there are a lot of people that believe in democracy as a cure all as fervently as some political Muslims believe in Islam.

Spot on. Finally someone willing and able to shrug of the shackles of our self-imposed political correctness...call and apple an apple I say. Now. perhaps someone should tell [url=]http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/07/master-narratives-of-islamist[/url]Abuo-Enien?

"Islamic dogma gives rise to a world view postulating perpetual, but not necessarily constant, war facilitated by the twin doctrines of jihad and martyrdom."

The above quote comes from this article's conclusion. I fear that the author, coming from a western and apparently military-centric logic system, espouses a theory of war here that embraces a Clausewitzian and perpetual conflict environment. That is not the issue. My concern is the author's assumption that Islamic ideology remains compatible in the overarching foriegn policy worldview; that Islamic theoretical concepts and ideological narrative accept a non-eschatalogical narrative. I would argue that they do not.

1. Islam, like most ideologies, is grounded in an eschatalogical narrative that is divine in nature (reference the work of Anatol Rapaport with non-Clausewitzian war theories). In a nutshell, there will be a climatic end-battle between the forces of good (Islam) and evil (dar al harb; everyone else) and that evil will ultimately be defeated; victors enjoy paradise with perpetual peace and prosperity. Most major monotheistic religions (current and extinct) offer a similar narrative and an eschatalogical divine logic.

2. Western political science and most military institutions agree upon a non-eschatalogical narrative where time continues as does conflict, society, and life. There is no 'final battle' from a divine, messionic, or other perspective. Clausewitz's trinity of people, the military, and government (yes-I am cribbing Dead Carl; those who recognise forgive me) continue on in perpetual (persistent) conflict. Conflict evolves, adapts, innovates- yet violence or the threat of violence to impose one's will remains as the meta-theme.

3. Both are useful war theories for the societies, organizations, individuals, or SWJ bloggers that subscribe to them- yet recognizing that one war theory is incompatible with another due to fundamental dissimilar logics is critical. In other words, you cannot subscribe to an ideology that espouses a final divine battle while also subscribing to a non-eschatalogical one;

4. Suicide bombers in Islam have some similarities to Japanese Bushido code and Kamakazee actions in WWII (and prior- but not with planes). But- that is another topic for another blog (or article...)

V/r
bz