Jihad and Misconceptions -reflections

On the word “Jihad” and love of Jihad for the sake of Allah

Topics below

  1. Introduction
  2. Counterterror Adviser (John Brennan ) Defends Jihad as “Legitimate Tenet of Islam’ Published May 27, 2010
  3. USA prints textbooks to support Jihad in Afghanistan and Pakistan
  4. The word “Allah” in Arabic language in the phrase “for the sake of Allah”
  5. On meaning of Jihad in Islamic Scriptures and usage:
  6. “Mesirut-Nefesh” in Judaic traditions: the willingness to risk life – whether one’s own or that of another.
  7. SHORT Excerpt from a book on Jihad
  8. Excerpt from another book on Jihad

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Introduction

The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him:

“رأس الأمر الإسلام، وعموده الصلاة، و ذروة سنامه الجهاد”

“Islam is the nucleus and its pillar is the prayer and its pinnacle is Jihad.”

[Reported by at-Tirmidthi, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Abi Shaibah, and verified by the collection of its pathways by Sheikh al-Albani in as-Silsilah as-Sahihah no. 1122, Sahih al-Jame’ no.5136, and others.]

Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لا هجرة بعد الفتح ولكن جهادٌ ونِيَّة، وإذا استُنفِرْتُم فانْفِروا

“There is no emigration (Hijrah) after the conquest, but Jihad and intention (Niyyah), and if you are called forth for military campaign then (form troops and) proceed.”

[Reported by al-Bukhari no.2783 and Muslim no. 1353]

Jihad is one of the religious obligations that will remain forever mandatory on the Muslims to defend Islam from the onslaughts of its enemies who wish to harm Islam, hinder the call to Islam, and to harm the Muslims, and who seek to occupy their lands and steal their wealth and honor.

Allah the Almighty and Majestic said:

﴿كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَكُمْ وَعَسَى أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ وَعَسَى أَنْ تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا

وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ ﴾

“Fighting is ordained for you though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike something that is good for you and that you like a thing that is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (2:216) And Allah the Exalted said:

﴿ أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَايَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ كَمَنْ آَمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآَخِرِ وَجَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَا يَسْتَوُونَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ *  الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ *  يُبَشِّرُهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ بِرَحْمَةٍ مِنْهُ وَرِضْوَانٍ وَجَنَّاتٍ لَهُمْ فِيهَا نَعِيمٌ مُقِيمٌ  *  خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ عِنْدَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ ﴾

“Do you consider the providing of drinking water to pilgrims and the maintenance of Al‑Masjid‑al‑Haraam (at Makkah) as equal to the worth of those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and strive and fight in the Cause of Allah? They are not equal before Allah! And Allah guides not those people who are wrong‑doers. * Those who believed and emigrated and strove hard and fought in Allah’s Cause with their wealth and their lives are far higher in degree with Allah. They are the successful. * Their Lord gives them glad tidings of a Mercy from Him and that He is pleased (with them) and of Gardens (Paradise) for them wherein are everlasting delights. * They will dwell therein for ever. Verily, with Allah is a great reward. (9:19-22).

The Prophet himself was the first Mujahid – and he is forever our perfect model. Even if he had to proceed alone in Jihad he courageously would have, since he was the most brave of all men, nevertheless the strong faith and bravery of the companions urged them to accompany him in all his battles to secure the superiority of Allah’s Word and spread the Message of Islam. They were the first and foremost to obey the commands of Allah and to follow the living example of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Allah the Exalted said:

﴿ فَقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَا تُكَلَّفُ إِلَّا نَفْسَكَ وَحَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَكُفَّ بَأْسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَاللَّهُ أَشَدُّ بَأْسًا وَأَشَدُّ تَنْكِيلًا ﴾

“So fight (O Muhammad) in the cause of Allah. You are not held responsible except for yourself, and encourage the believers (to fight with you also) that perhaps Allah will restrain the violent might of those who disbelieve. And Allah is greater in might and stronger in (exemplary) punishment.”  (4:84) And Allah the Exalted said:

﴿قُلْ إِنْ كَانَ آَبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَاؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُوا حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ اللَّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ ﴾

“Say (O Muhammad) If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, the wealth which you have obtained, the commerce wherein you fear a decline, and the dwellings with which you are pleased, are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and Jihad in His path, then wait until Allah executes His command.  And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.” (9:24) And He the Exalted said:

﴿ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمُ انْفِرُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ اثَّاقَلْتُمْ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ أَرَضِيتُمْ بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الْآَخِرَةِ فَمَا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآَخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ * إِلَّا تَنْفِرُوا يُعَذِّبْكُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا وَيَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ وَلَا تَضُرُّوهُ شَيْئًا وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ﴾

“O you who believe, what is the matter with you when you are told to go forth in the path of Allah, you rather adhere heavily clinging to the earth?   Are you more content with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter?  But what is the enjoyment of this worldly life compared to the Hereafter except a paltry little. * If you do not go forth He will punish you with a painful punishment and will replace you with another people, and you will not harm Him at all. And Allah is Ever Capable over all things.” (9:38-39) And Allah the Exalted said:

﴿يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلَا يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لَائِمٍ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴾

“ O you who believe, should anyone of you apostate from His religion, Allah will bring forth (in place of them) a people He loves and who love Him: humble toward the believers yet powerful against the disbelievers; they strive in the path of Allah and do not fear the blame of the critic.  That is the great favor of Allah that He bestows upon whom He wills. And Allah is All-Encompassing and All- Knowing.” (5:54) And Allah the Almighty and Majestic says:

﴿ فَلْيُقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يَشْرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا بِالْآَخِرَةِ وَمَنْ يُقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَيُقْتَلْ أَوْ يَغْلِبْ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا *وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ نَصِيرًا * الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ الطَّاغُوتِ فَقَاتِلُوا أَوْلِيَاءَ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّ كَيْدَ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا ﴾

“So let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world to gain the Hereafter.  And whoever fights in the cause of Allah and is killed or achieves victory, then We will bestow upon him a great reward. * And what is the matter with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah, and (assist) the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, O Our Lord, take us out of this city of the oppressive people and appoint from Yourself for us a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?’ Those who believe fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of Taghoot (Satan, idols, tyrants etc). So fight you against the friends of Shaitan (Satan); indeed is the deceits of Satan are ever feeble.” (4:76)]

The generality of Jihad is an individual obligation by one of the following categories according to one’s abilities and the need: either by one’s heart, or tongue, or hand, or property. The command to wage Jihad with one’s property and self is frequent in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and it is confirmed in the narration of Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

جاهدوا المشركين بألسنتكم، وأنفسكم، وأموالكم، وأيديكم

“Struggle in Jihad against the polytheists and idolaters with your wealth, your selves, your properties, and your tongues.” [Reported by Abu Da`ud no. 2504, an-Nasa`e no. 3098, and Ahmad 3/153, and this wording is his. Al-Albani declared it authentic in Sahih Sunan Abi Da`ud 2/475] [1]

 


[1] I only found this narration by this wording in the additions of Abdullah ibn Imam Ahmad, and Sheikh al-Arna`ut deemed it authentic. The version of Abu Da`ud and others reads:

(جاهدوا المشركين بأموالكم وأنفسكم وألسنتكم )

“Struggle (in Jihad)  against the polytheists and idolaters with your wealth, your selves and your tongues.”

[Reported by Ahmad, Nasa`e, ad-Daarami, and others and verified by Al-Albani. In Sahih al-Jame’ no. 5401, 3090]

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US Counterterror Adviser (John Brennan) Defends

Jihad as “Legitimate Tenet of Islam”

Published May 27, 2010

| FOXNews.com

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan speaks to reporters in the White House Jan. 7. (AP Photo)

The president’s top counterterrorism adviser on Wednesday called jihad a “legitimate tenet of Islam,” arguing that the term “jihadists” should not be used to describe America’s enemies.

During a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, John Brennan described violent extremists as victims of “political, economic and social forces,” but said that those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described in “religious terms.”

He repeated the administration argument that the enemy is not “terrorism,” because terrorism is a “tactic,” and not terror, because terror is a “state of mind” — though Brennan’s title, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, includes the word “terrorism” in it. But then Brennan said that the word “jihad” should not be applied either.

“Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children,” Brennan said.

The technical, broadest definition of jihad is a “struggle” in the name of Islam and the term does not connote “holy war” for all Muslims. However, jihad frequently connotes images of military combat or warfare, and some of the world’s most wanted terrorists including Usama bin Laden commonly use the word to call for war against the West.

Brennan defined the enemy as members of bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network and “its terrorist affiliates.”

But Brennan argued that it would be “counterproductive” for the United States to use the term, as it would “play into the false perception” that the “murderers” leading war against the West are doing so in the name of a “holy cause.”

“Moreover, describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie propagated by Al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism — that the United States is somehow at war against Islam,” he said.

The comment comes after Brennan, in a February speech in which he described his respect for the tolerance and devotion of Middle Eastern nations, referred to Jerusalem on first reference by its Arabic name, Al-Quds.

“In all my travels the city I have come to love most is al-Quds, Jerusalem, where three great faiths come together,” Brennan said at an event co-sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Islamic Center at New York University and the Islamic Law Students Association at NYU.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/05/27/counterterror-adviser-defends-jihad-legitimate-tenet-islam/

He said as in official white house transcript:

“…The President’s strategy is absolutely clear about the threat we face.  Our enemy is not “terrorism” because terrorism is but a tactic.  Our enemy is not “terror” because terror is a state of mind and as Americans we refuse to live in fear.  Nor do we describe our enemy as “jihadists” or “Islamists” because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenant of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.

Indeed, characterizing our adversaries this way would actually be counterproductive.  It would play into the false perception that they are religious leaders defending a holy cause, when in fact they are nothing more than murderers, including the murder of thousands upon thousands of Muslims.  This is why Muslim leaders around the world have spoken out—forcefully, and often at great risk to their own lives—to reject al Qaeda and violent extremism.  And frankly, their condemnations often do not get the recognition they deserve, including from the media….”

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-assistant-president-homeland-security-and-counterterrorism-john-brennan-csi

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USA prints textbooks

to support Jihad in Afghanistan and Pakistan

(See it all for yourself: books, pamphlets, documents, etc )

The USA openly printed millions of textbooks

to support the Jihad in Afghanistan and Pakistan

against the Soviets and Afghan Communists


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The books written with the purpose of ideological propaganda….We come across the following examples in math book:


– If out of 10 atheists, 5 are killed by 1 Muslim, 5 would be left.
– 5 guns + 5 guns = 10 guns
– 15 bullets – 10 bullets = 5 bullets, etc.

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From U.S.

the ABC’s of Jihad

Violent Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate Afghan Education Efforts

By Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway

Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, March 23, 2002; Page A01

In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code.

As Afghan schools reopen today, the United States is back in the business of providing schoolbooks. But now it is wrestling with the unintended consequences of its successful strategy of stirring Islamic fervor to fight communism. What seemed like a good idea in the context of the Cold War is being criticized by humanitarian workers as a crude tool that steeped a generation in violence.

Last month, a U.S. foreign aid official said, workers launched a “scrubbing” operation in neighboring Pakistan to purge from the books all references to rifles and killing. Many of the 4 million texts being trucked into Afghanistan, and millions more on the way, still feature Koranic verses and teach Muslim tenets.

The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books “are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy.” Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.

Organizations accepting funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development must certify that tax dollars will not be used to advance religion. The certification states that AID “will finance only programs that have a secular purpose. . . . AID-financed activities cannot result in religious indoctrination of the ultimate beneficiaries.”

The issue of textbook content reflects growing concern among U.S. policymakers about school teachings in some Muslim countries in which Islamic militancy and anti-Americanism are on the rise. A number of government agencies are discussing what can be done to counter these trends.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush have repeatedly spotlighted the Afghan textbooks in recent weeks. Last Saturday, Bush announced during his weekly radio address that the 10 million U.S.-supplied books being trucked to Afghan schools would teach “respect for human dignity, instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.”

The first lady stood alongside Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai on Jan. 29 to announce that AID would give the University of Nebraska at Omaha $6.5 million to provide textbooks and teacher training kits.

AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.

“It’s not AID’s policy to support religious instruction,” Stratos said. “But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.”

Some legal experts disagreed. A 1991 federal appeals court ruling against AID’s former director established that taxpayers’ funds may not pay for religious instruction overseas, said Herman Schwartz, a constitutional law expert at American University, who litigated the case for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ayesha Khan, legal director of the nonprofit Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the White House has “not a legal leg to stand on” in distributing the books.

“Taxpayer dollars cannot be used to supply materials that are religious,” she said.

Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.

During that time of Soviet occupation, regional military leaders in Afghanistan helped the U.S. smuggle books into the country. They demanded that the primers contain anti-Soviet passages. Children were taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles and land mines, agency officials said. They acknowledged that at the time it also suited U.S. interests to stoke hatred of foreign invaders.

“I think we were perfectly happy to see these books trashing the Soviet Union,” said Chris Brown, head of book revision for AID’s Central Asia Task Force.

AID dropped funding of Afghan programs in 1994. But the textbooks continued to circulate in various versions, even after the Taliban seized power in 1996.

Officials said private humanitarian groups paid for continued reprintings during the Taliban years. Today, the books remain widely available in schools and shops, to the chagrin of international aid workers.

“The pictures [in] the texts are horrendous to school students, but the texts are even much worse,” said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, an Afghan educator who is a program coordinator for Cooperation for Peace and Unity, a Pakistan-based nonprofit.

An aid worker in the region reviewed an unrevised 100-page book and counted 43 pages containing violent images or passages.

The military content was included to “stimulate resistance against invasion,” explained Yaquib Roshan of Nebraska’s Afghanistan center. “Even in January, the books were absolutely the same . . . pictures of bullets and Kalashnikovs and you name it.”

During the Taliban era, censors purged human images from the books. One page from the texts of that period shows a resistance fighter with a bandolier and a Kalashnikov slung from his shoulder. The soldier’s head is missing.

Above the soldier is a verse from the Koran. Below is a Pashtu tribute to the mujaheddin, who are described as obedient to Allah. Such men will sacrifice their wealth and life itself to impose Islamic law on the government, the text says.

“We were quite shocked,” said Doug Pritchard, who reviewed the primers in December while visiting Pakistan on behalf of a Canada-based Christian nonprofit group. “The constant image of Afghans being natural warriors is wrong. Warriors are created. If you want a different kind of society, you have to create it.”

After the United States launched a military campaign last year, the United Nations’ education agency, UNICEF, began preparing to reopen Afghanistan’s schools, using new books developed with 70 Afghan educators and 24 private aid groups. In early January, UNICEF began printing new texts for many subjects but arranged to supply copies of the old, unrevised U.S. books for other subjects, including Islamic instruction.

Within days, the Afghan interim government announced that it would use the old AID-produced texts for its core school curriculum. UNICEF’s new texts could be used only as supplements.

Earlier this year, the United States tapped into its $296 million aid package for rebuilding Afghanistan to reprint the old books, but decided to purge the violent references.

About 18 of the 200 titles the United States is republishing are primarily Islamic instructional books, which agency officials refer to as “civics” courses. Some books teach how to live according to the Koran, Brown said, and “how to be a good Muslim.”

UNICEF is left with 500,000 copies of the old “militarized” books, a $200,000 investment that it has decided to destroy, according to U.N. officials.

On Feb. 4, Brown arrived in Peshawar, the Pakistani border town in which the textbooks were to be printed, to oversee hasty revisions to the printing plates. Ten Afghan educators labored night and day, scrambling to replace rough drawings of weapons with sketches of pomegranates and oranges, Brown said.

“We turned it from a wartime curriculum to a peacetime curriculum,” he said

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A5339-2002Mar22?language=printer

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The Jihad Schoolbook Scandal…

Why has the US been Shipping Muslim Extremist

Schoolbooks into Afghanistan…for 20 Years?

And why is President Bush hiding it?

By Jared Israel [Posted 9 April 2002]

=======================================

Have you heard about the Afghan Jihad schoolbook scandal?

Or perhaps I should say, “Have you heard about the Afghan Jihad schoolbook scandal that’s waiting to happen?”

Because it has been almost unreported in the Western media that the US government shipped, and continues to ship, millions of Islamist (or Islamic fundamentalist) textbooks into Afghanistan.

Only one English-speaking newspaper we could find has investigated this issue: the Washington Post. The story appeared March 23rd. [1]

Washington Post investigators report that during the past twenty years the US has spent millions of dollars producing fanatical schoolbooks, which were then distributed in Afghanistan.

“The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then [i.e., since the violent destruction of the Afghan secular government in the early 1990s] as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books…”
Washington Post, 23 March 2002
See footnote [1]

According to the Post the U.S. is now “…wrestling with the unintended consequences of its successful strategy of stirring Islamic fervor to fight communism.”

So the books made up the core curriculum in Afghan schools. And what were the unintended consequences? The Post reports that according to unnamed officials the schoolbooks “steeped a generation in [Islamist] violence.”

How could this result have been unintended? Did they expect that giving fundamentalist schoolbooks to schoolchildren would make them moderate Muslims?

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Let’s be reasonable

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Nobody with normal intelligence could expect to distribute millions of violent Islamist schoolbooks without influencing school children towards violent Islamism. Therefore one would assume that the unnamed US officials who, we are told, are distressed at these “unintended consequences” must previously have been unaware of the Islamist content of the schoolbooks.

But surely someone was aware. The US government can’t write, edit, print and ship millions of violent, Muslim fundamentalist primers into Afghanistan without high officials in the US government approving those primers.

So if the books weren’t supposed to be Islamist, that is if their fanatical content contradicted US policy in Afghanistan, shouldn’t the mass media and top politicians, such as President George Bush, now be calling for an investigation? Shouldn’t they be demanding to know the identity of the official or officials who subverted the intended US policy by flooding Afghanistan with jihad primers?

Indeed, considering the disastrous consequences, shouldn’t US officials and the media be questioning the very practice of violating the sovereignty of other countries by distributing millions of Islamic fundamentalist schoolbooks?

Yet using the media search engine, Lexis-Nexis, we could find no evidence that any mainstream Western newspaper, other than the Washington Post, nor any TV station or government leader ever questioned, let alone denounced, the export of millions of Islamist schoolbooks to Afghanistan.

Quite the contrary.

For example here’s what the Boston Globe wrote in an article about the obstacles to education in Afghanistan, a year after the US invasion:

“The obstacles to accomplishing that goal are enormous. What few schools impoverished Afghanistan once had – about 2,000 – are now all virtually destroyed, pummeled by gunfire or turned into refugee camps. Teachers here have not been paid for months, even years. Those schoolbooks that still exist are pro-Taliban screeds and deemed unusable.
– Elizabeth Neuffer in the Boston Globe, March 17, 2002 [2]

The article implies that the unusable textbooks were produced by and for the Taliban – “pro-Taliban screeds.”  The author, Elizabeth Neuffer, is the Globe’s UN Bureau Chief. Surely she must know that the textbooks in question were made in USA and that the US is continuing to ship Islamist textbooks into Afghanistan. Instead of exposing the scandal that the US promotes Muslim fanaticism in Afghanistan, she misrepresents the books and misleads her readers.

Other newspapers spun more elaborate lies. Here is the Daily Telegraph from Sydney, Australia:

[Daily Telegraph excerpt starts here]

“AFGHAN children ran, skipped and dawdled to their classrooms like pupils everywhere yesterday for the start of a new school year — with girls and women teachers back in class and subjects like math replacing the Islamic dogma of the Taliban.

“In a symbolic break from a war-scarred past, children opened new textbooks written by Afghan scholars based at universities in the US.

“There are even pictures of people — images banned by the fundamentalist Taliban.”

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), March 25, 2002 [3]

[Daily Telegraph excerpt ends here]

By beginning the article with the irrelevant but cheery image –  “Afghan children ran, skipped and dawdled…[etc].” – the Telegraph prepares us for an upbeat news experience. We are not disappointed. We are told that in the new textbooks:

“There are even pictures of people — images banned by the fundamentalist Taliban.”
Daily Telegraph See footnote [3]

Again we get the impression that the Taliban were responsible for the bad old texts but due to the US invasion “children opened new textbooks…”.

Unfortunately, as the Washington Post investigators reported:

“Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code.” — Washington Post, March 23, 2002

Other than their objections to the human face, the Taliban were perfectly happy with the US-produced primers.

As if presenting evidence of a sea change, the Telegraph tells that now Afghan children have schoolbooks “written by Afghan scholars based at universities in the US.”

Similarly, an article five weeks earlier in the Omaha World-Herald declares that, “Afghanistan stands at least a chance of hauling a modern, healthy society up out of the ashes of war and oppression,” partly because University of Nebraska at Omaha “officials and staffers” will be “cranking up their presses in neighboring Pakistan” to churn out schoolbooks, all funded by “a $ 6.5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development [AID].” [4]

Neither newspaper mentions that the bad old schoolbooks “were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies.” — Washington Post, March 23, 2002)

What about the US government? Have any US congressmen demanded an investigation to find out who in the US government was involved in the production of jihad primers that “steeped a generation in [Islamist] violence”?

No they have not.

=====================

Speaking of forked tongues…

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What about George Walker Bush?

You may recall that George and Laura Bush have made passionate speeches denouncing Islamic fundamentalism. At first Mr. Bush told us we needed to attack Afghanistan in order to stop Mr. bin Laden. But later on he and Laura Bush told us we were fighting to crush the vicious fundamentalists.

Has George Bush said anything about the textbooks?

Yes, Mr. Bush talked about the jihad primers in a March 16th radio broadcast. He held nothing back:

“And before the end of the year, we’ll have sent almost 10 million of them [that is, new textbooks] to the children of Afghanistan. These textbooks will teach tolerance and respect for human dignity instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.”
[My emphasis — J.I.]

– George W. Bush, “Weekly Radio Address,” March 16, 2002 [5]

Note the phrase, “instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.”

So according to Bush, Afghan school children won’t have to contend with bad schoolbooks anymore because finally the US has taken charge, replacing those other guys, those evil educators who published textbooks “indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.”

The amazing thing is not only that he tells such total lies but that he delivers them with such righteous indignation.

What about the new textbooks? Will they “teach tolerance and respect for human dignity” as Honest George promises?

To be precise (which may be unwise in today’s world) how will the new textbooks that George Bush Junior is shipping into Afghanistan differ from the old ones? You know, those old books that were also designed at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and paid for by the US government agency, AID? You know, those old, un-American books that George Bush Junior attacked for “indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry”? Those terrible old books that were shipped into Afghanistan by Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior?

Here’s the Washington Post again:

“On Feb. 4, [Chris Brown, head of book revision for AID’s Central Asia Task Force] arrived in Peshawar, the Pakistani border town in which the textbooks were to be printed, to oversee hasty revisions to the printing plates. Ten Afghan educators labored night and day, scrambling to replace rough drawings of weapons with sketches of pomegranates and oranges, Brown said.”
[My emphasis — J.I.]

– Washington Post, March 23, 2002

So it appears that the only change is that some violent pictures have been removed from the printing plates and some fruit has been added. There is no indication that the texts have been changed.

What does a non-fundamentalist Afghan educator think about the new schoolbooks?

“‘The pictures [in the old schoolbooks] are horrendous to school students, but the texts are even much worse,’ said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, an Afghan educator who is a program coordinator for Cooperation for Peace and Unity, a Pakistan-based nonprofit.’”
[My emphasis — J.I.]

Washington Post, March 23, 2002

So the United States government is right now shipping into Afghanistan millions of Islamic Fundamentalist schoolbooks whose texts, according to a non-Fundamentalist Afghan educator, are not just “horrendous,” they are “much worse.”

Is it possible that this is all a terrible mistake? That Mr. Bush and US AID just don’t know what’s in the new schoolbooks?

Apparently not.

According to the Washington Post, the “White House defends the religious content” of the schoolbooks. And as for US AID, the Agency for International Development, which pays for the books:

‘It’s not AID’s policy to support religious instruction,’ Stratos said. ‘But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.’”
Washington Post, March 23, 2002

So because education is predominantly secular it’s OK for the schoolbooks to be entirely fundamentalist. Likewise, since marriage is predominantly monogamous it’s OK to cheat. And since banks are predominantly places where people deposit money, it’s OK to rob a bank.

Got it?

Mr. Bush describes the texts of the old books as “indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.” But note, having been republished in the new books, these exact same texts have been reborn. Now they are “religious instruction” (says US AID) and “religious content” (says the White House). It’s a modern miracle.

Reading these news reports and statements one might feel a certain sympathy for citizens of the US and allied countries, required to hold in their minds at one time a) the conviction that Mr. Bush is sincerely fighting Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan and b) the knowledge that the US is spending millions of dollars to indoctrinate Afghan school children with Islamic fundamentalism.

Not to worry. This problem has been solved by the US and allied mass media, which, with the exception of the Washington Post, have never told their readers and viewers who it was that produced the old books or what it is that’s in the new ones.

Even the Washington Post has pulled its punches. For example, consider the headline of the March 23rd article, the only one that deals critically with the jihad primers.

Here’s the headline. (Headlines are quite important because with any given article, most people only read the headline.)

“From U.S., the ABC’s of Jihad; Violent Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate Afghan Education Efforts.”

“Violent Soviet-Era textbooks.” This phrase doesn’t even make it clear that the books were shipped in by the US government! They could have been hateful Russian books.

And the phrase “Complicate Afghan Education Efforts” sounds like the books are hindering current US attempts at effecting progressive change. Nobody would guess from this headline that US AID has been forcing Islamic fundamentalist texts on Afghan kids for 20 years or that they’re still importing the same texts today, minus the guns and with more fruit.

In the body of the article the Post asserts without evidence that steeping “a generation in [Islamist] violence” was an “unintended consequence” of giving Afghan children violent Islamist schoolbooks.

“Unintended consequence” is fast becoming the US Establishment’s favorite excuse for the many disasters of its foreign policy. “We didn’t know. We weren’t prepared. We used old maps. We didn’t see the train. We thought there were tanks in the refugee column. Who could have expected this to happen?” and on and on.

But does the case of the Islamist textbooks involve unintended consequences? Doesn’t it in fact appear to be deliberate policy?

Now wouldn’t it be considerate if they told us: what’s the policy?

– Jared Israel
Editor, Emperor’s Clothes

* Footnotes & Further Reading follow the Appeal *

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Emperor’s Clothes Needs Your Help!
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Footnotes…

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1) Washington Post, March 23, 2002, “From U.S., the ABC’s Of Jihad; Violent Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate Afghan Education Efforts.” a
http://emperors-clothes.com/news/abc.htm

2) The Boston Globe March 17, 2002, Sunday, Third Edition Focus; Pg. E1 “The Task: Educating A Generation Of Women, And Quickly With A Female Literacy Rate Of Less Than 4 Percent, Teachers Face Obstacles Even With The Taliban Gone” By Elizabeth Neuffer (The Globe’s United Nations Bureau Chief)

3) The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), March 25, 2002, Monday * World; Pg. 19, “Girls’ Return Spells Out School Changes – War On Terror: A Nation’s Hope”
By Alexandre Peyrille And Mehrdad Balali In Kabul

4) Omaha World-Herald, February 8, 2002 Friday Sunrise Edition Editorial; Pg. 6b

5) March 16, 2002 Saturday, FDCH Political Transcripts, “George W. Bush Delivers Weekly Radio Address”

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… And Further Reading

=====================

* ‘Congressman: U.S. Set Up Anti-Taliban to be Slaughtered‘. Congressional testimony suggests US covertly supported Taliban.
http://emperors-clothes.com/misc/rohr.htm

* ‘Washington’s Backing of Afghan Terrorists: Deliberate Policy’ From “Washington Post‘ with EC introduction. http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/anatomy.htm

* ‘Taliban Camps U.S. bombed in Afghanistan Were Built by NATO’
From ‘N.Y. Times’. U.S. and Saudi aid to Afghan-based terrorists totaled $6 billion plus. http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/camps.htm

* ‘Excerpts from News Reports – Bin Laden in the Balkans’ Bin Laden is still aiding some U.S.-sponsored forces in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. http://emperors-clothes.com/news/binl.htm

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Under “Windfalls of War” title

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Center for Afghanistan Studies

Omaha, NE 68182-0006

Phone: (402) 554-2376

Fax: (402) 554-3681

http://www.unomaha.edu/~world/cas/

Profile

Company Principals

Contract History

Political Contributions

Background

The University of Nebraska at Omaha is home to the Center for Afghanistan Studies, which was established in 1972 and is currently the only academic program in the United States exclusively concerned with Afghanistan affairs. It receives almost all of its funding from outside sources; the university pays for several employees’ salaries.

From its start until 1978, UNO participated in an exchange program with Kabul University. But after the 1978 pro-Soviet coup, the Afghanistan programs stopped.

It wasn’t until 1984 that the Center received its first USAID contract to provide educational training programs and facilities to Afghan refugees. The Center continued the educational programs until the mid 1990s, receiving more than $60 million from USAID.

Although USAID funded the Center’s educational and training efforts in Afghanistan, the CIA helped to design and implement the overall program in an effort to strengthen resistance against the Soviet occupation.

“The CIA was involved in a kind of covert assistance to the resistance to fight against Soviets,” Raheem Yaseer, assistant director, told the Center for Public Integrity.

The Center, with USAID funding, established offices in Pakistan to train and educate Afghan refugees, who had formed seven mujahedeen resistance groups. Yaseer said the Center’s educational work helped the resistance against the Soviet occupation.

“We helped all of these seven parties with school supplies, developing curriculum, paying teachers, teacher training and manpower training,” Yaseer said. “They were taught about love for the country, love for freedom, hating the Soviet occupier.”

The Soviets left Afghanistan in February 1989.

In October 1997, Gouttierre told the Omaha World Herald that the CIA was involved in the overall program but did not directly provide money to him or the Center.

For 10 years, the Center received most of its Afghanistan education project funding from USAID. But after Congress ended government-sponsored aid to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, USAID stopped funding the Center. Still, it wasn’t without funding for long.

In 1997, Unocal, an American oil company, stepped in with an offer.

Unocal hoped to facilitate a business relationship with the Taliban in order to promote a natural gas pipeline project. The company was the development manager for the seven-member Central Asia Gas pipeline consortium that also included Saudi Arabia’s Delta Oil, Indonesia Petroleum, three other companies and the Turkmenistan government.

Unocal offered the Center an up-to-two-year contract worth as much $1.8 million to train Afghan men to build pipeline, which would run from Turkmenistan through a Taliban-controlled portion of Afghanistan to Pakistan, where it would be marketed. The pipeline could also be extended into India.

“For its land-locked Central Asian neighbors, Afghanistan is a strategically located ‘commerce corridor’ to the Arabian Sea,” Marty Miller, Unocal’s vice president, said in prepared testimony for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1997. He testified at a hearing before the subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asia Affairs when the CentGas project was still underway.

“They [Unocal] wanted to pave the road and create a good feeling,” Yaseer told the Center for Public Integrity. “They gave us about $900,000 [up to $1.8 million for two years] to conduct man power training and train people in crafts, carpentry, masonry, electric and building.”

As the Center for Afghanistan Studies began training civilian men, it also invited key Afghan officials to visit the university. In December 1997, Unocal sponsored a meeting that brought Taliban ministers to the United States, including the minister of mines and industry, the minister for culture and information and the minister for planning. The Taliban’s U.N. representative also joined the visiting group. During their stay, they went to Unocal’s facilities in Texas, visited the State Department and toured the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In May 1998, two Taliban ministers again visited the university on a Unocal-funded trip. Public outrage over the partnership soon erupted.

On June 1, 1998, women’s rights organizations, including the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women and the Women’s Alliance for Peace and Freedom in Afghanistan, voiced their concern at a Unocal stockholders meeting. Newspapers nationwide covered the issue. Four days later, Unocal announced it would not renew its contract with the Center.

On Aug. 7, 1998, al Qaeda operatives bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa. Soon, Unocal announced that it would put the pipeline plan on hold.

In a press release announcing the withdrawal from the project, Unocal said it would, however, continue to provide “humanitarian support and skills training to Afghanistan through CARE and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.” The oil company added that neither program was designed to provide pipeline construction skills training.

The Center trained 400 Afghan men before Unocal unexpectedly pulled out of the contract.

“They were hot for it then, but they gave up,” Yaseer said of Unocal. “But [the 400 Afghan men] all have their own businesses now, so it was a useful program.”

Yaseer said the Center hopes to work with whomever ends up building the pipeline by training Afghans in vocational skills. He said the pipeline project is very complicated now because more companies are interested in being part of the consortium.

“If American companies get it, probably we will have a chance,” he said. “We will just be interested in training in vocational skills and increasing their chances of getting employment with the pipeline.”

Although the 1997 contract with Unocal ended, public scrutiny and questions about the university’s connections to the Taliban continued, especially after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks.

On January 29, 2002, as the U.S. bombing campaign on Afghanistan slowed down, USAID awarded the Center $6.5 million to provide books and training for Afghanistan’s interim government to resume schooling. The Center, which has a textbook publishing operation in Pakistan, was to print 8 million books and train 4,000 teachers for an estimated 750,000 students by the schools’ starting date, March 23.

USAID employee Chris Brown told the Omaha World Herald that the Center was uniquely positioned to meet the textbook challenge. After USAID stopped funding the Center in 1994, Thomas E. Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of Afghanistan Studies at UNO, had continued to raise money privately in order to keep the Pakistan publishing operation open. Thus, in 2002, the Center was already prepared and ready to start printing the textbooks.

However, the content of the books, which UNO developed in the 1980s with USAID funding, had to be censored. Critics contended the books’ content, which included drawings of guns, bullets and mines, promoted and strengthened an era of jihad violence. So before distributing any more of the books to Afghan students, workers at the Pakistan operation started a “scrubbing” effort to remove violent pictures and references.

Yaseer said the Center printed and delivered about 15 million books on time.

But even without the violent images, the content of the books sparked controversy because they still contained Muslim tenets and verses from the Koran. Organizations that receive USAID funding must prove that tax dollars will not be used to advance religion. A U.S. federal appeals court had previously ruled in a 1991 case that taxpayer funds could not be used for religious instruction, even overseas. But according to the Washington Post, the Bush White House defended the religious content, saying its presence was necessary because Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture. USAID officials also publicly defended the religious material.

In 2003, the Center lost the USAID contract for Afghan educational textbooks and teacher training. The money went, instead, to Creative Associates International Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based, private company.

“We were very disappointed,” said Center director Thomas Gouttierre, whose organization has been involved in Afghanistan education projects since 1973. “We invested our hearts in Afghanistan over a long period of time.

“Maybe it’s possible that AID was looking for a different approach that they thought would be provided by a for-profit. The trends seems to be in favor of for-profits.”

Yaseer said efficiency and quality are secondary to politics in the process of selecting companies and organizations to perform work in Afghanistan. “It depends on who knows who in the administration, USAID and the State Department,” said Yaseer, who worked as an English professor at Kabul University during the Soviet occupation.

“Universities try their best to recruit professionals, but these belt[way] bandits look for surcharges and just grab anybody that comes in handy.”

Though the Center did not get a new contract, Yaseer said it had money left over from the 2002 contract and received a no-cost extension from USAID to continue training teachers from its office in Afghanistan.

“I don’t think that we’re going after that particular [contract] again,” Gouttierre said. “Afghanistan is going through some changes.”

Gouttierre, the Center’s director, lived and worked in Afghanistan for 10 years as a Peace Corps volunteer and Fulbright fellow. He also coached the Afghan National Basketball team and served as senior political affairs officer for the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission to Afghanistan in 1996 and 1997. Gouttierre met Yaseer in Kabul in 1964.

Gouttierre was also a member of the Afghanistan Relief Committee, a private, tax-exempt group founded by former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Robert Neumann and former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Adolph Dubs’ wife, Mary Ann Dubs, in 1980 to help Afghan refugees.

The Boston Globe reported in 2001 that “The Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha has longstanding ties with Washington policymakers and collaborates regularly with intelligence.” Gouttierre told the paper in a Nov. 25, 2001 interview, “We’re at war. I’m an American, and the American government is leading this war. If we have some knowledge or analysis that could be of advantage, we should be forthcoming.”

In 2001, UNO spent a total of $60,000 lobbying Congress, the White House and other agencies on budget and appropriations, science and technology, and education. In 2002, UNO spent a total of $120,000 lobbying Congress, the White House and other agencies on the same issues. For its lobbying efforts in both years, UNO hired Washington, D.C.-based firm Van Scoyoc Associates Inc.

Afghanistan contracts

The State Department is funding two of the Center’s current projects in Afghanistan.

Under a $512,000, 11-month State Department contract, the Center is bringing female Afghan teachers to the United States for training. In October 2002, a group of 13 Afghan teachers, all women, spent five weeks in Nebraska and one week in Washington, D.C. A second group of 12 female teachers is expected to arrive in the States October 29, 2003.

The State Department also gave the Center $60,468 in July 2003 to re-establish the Afghan Fulbright exchange program, an international educational exchange program that President Harry Truman signed into law in 1946. The contract calls for the Center to recruit and prepare 20 to 40 Afghan college graduates who will come to the U.S. to study at various universities for six months to one year. It has been 24 years since Afghans had access to the Fulbright program.

The Center for Afghanistan Studies is also using USAID money, remaining from a $6.5 million contract it received in 2002, to continue its field office in Kabul, which “has a small staff which can be readily incorporated into projects intended for reconstruction of Afghan education at the present or in the future,” according to the Center’s Web site. Currently, the field office staff is training teachers.

Government ties

Thomas E. Gouttierre, the director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies, is an old friend of Zalmay Khalilzad, President’s Bush’s nominee as ambassador to Afghanistan and a former paid adviser to Unocal. While working for the Cambridge Energy Research Associates, Khalilzad conducted risk analysis for Unocal for the proposed pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan. Gouttierre also coached Khalilzad’s basketball team at Habibia high school in Afghanistan. That team, as well as teams from various Afghan colleges, helped to form the Afghan National Basketball Team in the early 1970s.

During the December 1997 Taliban visit to the United States, Khalilzad joined the group for its trip to Unocal’s facilities in Texas. In 1997, Khalilzad, Gouttierre and Marty Miller, Unocal vice president, testified together before the Senate Foreign Relations Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs subcommittee.

In July 1999, Gouttierre gathered with a dozen Afghan leaders for a confidential meeting, after which he submitted the first of eight classified reports to the State Department.

Peter Tomsen, a former U.S. ambassador to Armenia who teaches courses in American foreign policy and Eurasia at UNO, was President George W. Bush’s special envoy on Afghanistan with the rank of ambassador from 1989 to 1992. He was also the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the State Department, United States deputy chief of mission to China from 1986 to 1989 and the director of the State Department’s Office of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldive Affairs from 1983 to 1985.

In October 2001, Tomsen told the Chicago Tribune that when UNO hosted Afghan and sometimes Taliban officials’ visits, it served as a neutral ground where Afghan leaders, who often disagreed with one another, could informally give information to the U.S. government. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Since 1986, spanning the early years of post-Soviet occupation to the oppressive regime of the Taliban, the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the Omaha commuter campus has served as a back door for U.S. intelligence efforts to expose Afghan leaders to American ideas and democracy.”

Thomas E. Eighmy, research associate for the Center for Afghanistan Studies, is a retired USAID officer.

Ronald Roskens, who is a former UNO chancellor , was the director of USAID in the first Bush administration.

—Brooke Williams

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http://projects.publicintegrity.org/wow/bio.aspx?act=pro&ddlC=61

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<> “A” is for Allah, “J” is for jihad

By Davis, Craig
Publication: World Policy Journal
Date: Monday, April 1 2002

http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/workplace-health-safety/1089578-1.html

afgh-Textbook jihadPicture above is translated as follows: {ONE EXAMPLE OF THOUSANDS}

“Jihad – Often many different wars and conflicts arise among people, which cause material damages and loss of human life. If these wars and disputes occur among people for the sake of community, nation, territory, or even because of verbal differences, and for the sake of progress…”

This page is from a third-grade language arts textbook dating from the mujahidin period. A copy of the book was purchased new in Kabul in May 2000.

http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/articles/wpj02-1/Davis.pdf

Selected quotes

….In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Education Center for Afghanistan, located in Peshawar, Pakistan, and operated by the Afghan mujahidin (holy warriors), published a series of primary education textbooks replete with images of Islamic militancy. These schoolbooks provided the mujahidin (who, after a ten-year struggle, drove the Soviet occupying forces from Afghanistan in 1989) with a medium for promoting political propaganda and inculcating values of Islamic militancy into a new generation of holy warriors prepared to conduct jihad against the enemies of Islam. Consider the following introduction to the Persian alphabet in a first-grade language arts book:

Alif [is for] Allah.
Allah is one.

Bi [is for] Father (baba).
Father goes to the mosque…

Pi [is for] Five (panj).
Islam has five pillars…

Ti [is for] Rifle (tufang).
Javad obtains rifles for the Mujahidin…

Jim [is for] Jihad.
Jihad is an obligation. My mom went to the jihad. Our brother gave water to the Mujahidin…

Dal [is for] Religion (din).
Our religion is Islam. The Russians are the enemies of the religion of Islam…

…..

One of the responsibilities of the mujahidin-operated Education Center for Afghanistan

was to write, print, and distribute textbooks. The ECA was funded by the Education Program for Afghanistan at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), under a $50 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development that ran from September 1986 through June 1994……

This essay is drawn from a longer, unpublished analysis, “Nationalism, Revolution, and Jihad: Images

of Violence in Afghan Primary Education Textbooks,” the research for which was made possible by

a David L. Boren graduate fellowship. The author would like to thank Jamsheed Choksy, Paul Losensky, and M. Nazif Shahrani for their comments and insights.

http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/articles/wpj02-1/Davis.pdf

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Soviet-era textbooks still controversial

MATTHEW HANSEN / The Associated Press | Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2007 7:00 pm |

The title of this story from a Dari language textbook is “Jihad.” An excerpt from the book’s next page reads, “Jihad is the kind of war that Muslims fight in the name of God to free Muslims and Muslim lands from the enemies of Islam. If infidels invade, jihad is the obligation of every Muslim.”

Fifth-grade Afghan refugees once learned the Pashto language from characters named Maqbool and Basheer.

Dick and Jane, this duo was not.

In one story, the fictional friends see a group of Afghan mujahedeen cleaning their weapons as they prepare to fight the Soviet army.

Maqbool tells Basheer they should help the rebel fighters ready their machine guns. Basheer concurs. Soon they are meeting with a mujahedeen commander.

“We want you to help clean the weapons and fight the Russians in jihad,” he tells Maqbool and Basheer.

The youngsters agree. Now, presumably, they are soldiers themselves.

The story, and many like it, appear in the millions of textbooks written, printed and distributed  during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The books taught reading and math and sought to turn children against the Red Army and the Afghan communist government.

The textbooks’ publisher: The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Center for Afghanistan Studies, operating inside Pakistan on a U.S. government grant.

To the center’s longtime director, the textbooks are byproducts of a dark era when Russian bombs killed Afghan schoolchildren and rebel forces fought to save their country.

Exiled Afghan education officials, not UNO officials, wrote the books, Thomas Gouttierre says.

The center’s sole interest, according to him, was to deliver education to children who weren’t getting any.

“I won’t apologize in 2005 for something done in 1988,” he says. “At the time, Afghans were being killed. It would’ve been nice if they wrote, ‘We love you, Russian brother; please don’t kill us.’

“That’s not reality.”

Critics including Nebraskans for Peace and an Afghan education official think Gouttierre’s center should apologize for its part in producing books that glorified rebel fighters and taught students their faith compelled them to fight communism.

Such Cold War-inspired propaganda encouraged violence against the so-called “Enemies of Islam,” says Mark Vasina, president of Nebraskans for Peace.

Years later, Islamic extremists — some of them educated in American-financed schools and armed with American weapons — decided the real enemy of Islam was in fact the United States, he says.

“We should understand quite well that the job of textbooks is to teach the children to love peace,” says Abdul Nabi Wahidi, an Afghan education official now in charge of textbook content.  “It was completely against education to try to get the children to fight, and to give them words which stoked their anger.”

The UNO center published an estimated 15 million textbooks in the years after it won $60 million in grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development, a branch of the State Department, to educate Afghan children.

Leaders from seven exiled political parties wrote the books, according to Gouttierre. The authors used content they’d smuggled out of the country when the Russians invaded.

They then sprinkled in violent imagery — bombs, overturned tanks, AK-47s and swords — and anti-Soviet rhetoric that often urged schoolchildren to take up arms.

“Just as school boards in America have control over the content of curriculum, so too did the Afghan Ministry of Education have control over its textbooks,” NU Regent Howard Hawks wrote in response to a Nebraskans for Peace complaint this year.

Anti-communist rhetoric was erased from the books after the Soviets retreated in 1989, says Raheem Yaseer, the Center for Afghanistan Studies’ assistant director.

The books occasionally surfaced in Afghan schools during the 1990s  because various groups, including the Taliban, stole the content and reprinted it illegally, he says.

They surfaced even after the Clinton administration cut nearly all funding of Afghan education, including UNO’s  project, in 1995.

“That was disastrous,” Yaseer says. “The new textbooks were not finished. But we had to leave, because the money was gone.”

The center again published textbooks after the fall of the Taliban, printing millions more that bore little resemblance to the Soviet-era books. That effort again was cut short when the latest U.S. government book contract was awarded to Creative Associates and not UNO.

The center is still firmly entrenched in the book business, though, thanks mainly to printing presses that crank out campaign posters, women’s magazines and Dari-English dictionaries  in Kabul.

The Afghan Educational Press is an offshoot of the Center for Afghanistan Studies, Yaseer says.

All of its profit is reinvested into the business, in part because the UNO center itself can’t legally profit from the venture, Yaseer says.

The money has allowed the press to upgrade old machines and up the number of printing presses to 25.

A cafeteria serves 70 employees food, and a dormitory houses workers who must stay overnight on the property. Many of the employees are transported by seven company vehicles, including two buses.

UNO does not legally own any of the equipment or employ any of the workers, yet the head of the press reports to Yaseer, he says.

“It’s a strange arrangement, but it works.”

Nebraskans for Peace leaders say they don’t understand why UNO still permits a printing operation in Kabul. They’ve asked the regents to review the board’s oversight policy.

“Such a policy should, among other things … prohibit university involvement in militant, religious and gender-biased propaganda at home or abroad,” Vasina wrote in a letter to the regents.

Gouttierre says he met with the  Nebraskans for Peace leadership earlier this year, but no resolution came from the meeting.

“I guess they’ve beaten the same dead horse for years and years,” he says. “This is the dead horse they like to beat the most.”

http://www.journalstar.com/special-section/news/article_4968e56a-c346-5a18-9798-2b78c5544b58.html

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Debate on textbooks, Pakistani style

Author: Khaled Ahmed
Publication: The Friday Times
Date: April 16, 2004

….Dr AH Nayyar replied that Pakistani course books were not like this in the past, which clearly meant that the Islamic content in the books after 1979 was not a part of our thinking after 1965 and even after 1971. He disclosed that during the American jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan the Americans got the University of Nebraska to write up courses on jihad for textbooks in Afghanistan. Now the Bush administration was once again approaching the University of Nebraska to fashion a new curriculum to take jihad out of the Afghan textbooks. He said it was not SDPI that was trying to take out Islam from textbook at the behest of the United States. He said SDPI had not taken any funds from America for the study conducted; the funding had in fact come from Holland. Qasimi retorted that now the Americans wanted jihad out of Pakistani textbooks……

http://www.hvk.org/articles/0404/61.html

<> Another sample below (from hostile investigative report- article- INNOCENCE LOST )

afgh-text-3

http://vidyaonline.org/arvindgupta/afghan.pdf

<> Islamic Blowback Part Two?

Najum Mushtaq | August 7, 2006

Editor: John Feffer, IRC Foreign Policy In Focus

“…The classical and well-documented example is that of the Afghan Islamic movements who overthrew the Soviet forces after a jihad inspired and orchestrated by Pakistan’s Islamic-minded, U.S.-sponsored military dictator, Ziaul Haq. Special textbooks were published in local Afghan languages, designed by the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha under a USAID grant in the early 1980s. Written by American Afghanistan experts and anti-Soviet Afghan educators, they aimed at promoting jihadi values and militant training among Afghans. USAID paid the University of Nebraska $51 million from 1984 to 1994 to develop and design these textbooks, which were mostly printed in Pakistan. Over 13 million were distributed at Afghan refugee camps and Pakistani madrasas (religious seminaries where Muslim priests are educated and trained) where students learned basic math by counting dead Russians and Kalashnikov rifles. After the war ended, these textbooks were still used in Afghan schools. Even the Taliban found them suitable.

Similarly, Palestinian and Egyptian Islamic movements were once beholden to Washington as counterweights to the socialist, secular Arab nationalism of Yasser Arafat and Gemal Abdul Nasir. The fundamentalist Wahhabi Saudi kingdom, the single largest source of support and succor to movements of “Islamic renewal” (including many of the institutions identified by the USIP report as “America’s most obvious allies and potential partners”) remains a close American ally even today. If anything, the unruly movements of jihad and Sharia implementation are a direct product of America’s policy of containing and countering communism, which in the process squeezed out the liberal, democratic, and secular discourse from Muslim societies….”

So, the United States is breaking no new ground as it adopts the policy of funding religious textbook reform, strengthening “moderate” Islamic movements, and other charitable, literary, and educational institutions identified by the USIP as capable of and eager to reclaim the Islamic heritage from the extremists….

http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3414

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Jehad and The Curriculum

Beena Sarwar April 2, 2004

Tags: education , curriculum

Pakistan’s so-called religious parties are up in arms at the rumour that references to Jehad are to be removed from Pakistani textbooks – biology, for example. Never mind the relevance of jehad (and that too, a particular kind of jehad) to biology;

The Pakistan government’s policy of appeasement continues. “I am a fundamentalist,” declared Federal Education Minister Zubeida Jalal in a television discussion recently (‘Capital Talk’, Geo TV, March 25, 2004), meaning that she believes in the fundamentals of Islam. “But I am not a terrorist.” Good for her. However, the point is not what her personal beliefs are, but what kind of beliefs the Pakistani education system is inculcating.

Those who blew themselves up at the Quetta Imambargah, taking dozens of innocent lives with them, would also undoubtedly affirm that they are devout Muslims, and deny that they are terrorists. But actions speak louder than words, and those who think that by killing others they are participating in a jehad, obviously have a very narrow and distorted view of Jehad, its principles and its true spirit. Where does this view come from?

The idea of Jehad was incorporated into the Pakistani Curriculum after the start of the Afghan war. This “is not a coincidence”, as Pakistani academic A.H. Nayyar notes. At that point it suited Washington, and its most allied of allies, Pakistan, to encourage and glorify the “Mujahideen”, or holy warriors, in the war against the Soviets – and an American institution of higher education was asked to formulate textbooks for Pakistani schools accordingly, says Dr Nayyar. “The institution was University of Nebraska at Omaha, which has a center for Afghan studies which was tasked by CIA in the early eighties to rewrite textbooks for Afghan refugee children. The new books included hate material even in arithmetic. For example, if a man has five bullets and two go into the heads of Russian soldiers, how many are left, kind of stuff. This was exposed in a research thesis from the New School, New York in about 2002.”

Since the Soviets are no more, the “Mujahideen” have not only mutated into “Taliban” but have also outlived their usefulness, the same American university has been given an additional grant to “re-re-write textbooks, taking out material on jehad, etc”, as announced by none Laura Bush, wife of US President George W. Bush in early 2002, adds Dr Nayyar. “But the funny thing is that the books of early eighties were very acceptable to the Taliban, except figures and pictures. So they continued with them, only blackening the pictures. After the rout of the Taliban, because the new books could not arrive in time, the Karzai government (read the Americans) was forced to use the earlier books already available, but perhaps now perhaps the newer books have arrived in sufficient quantity to make the older books redundant.”….

http://www.chowk.com/articles/7298

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Can Pakistan Work? A Country in Search of Itself

Pervez Hoodbhoy

“….The U.S. response has been a series of flips and flops, largely determined by immediate political needs rather than long-term strategic thinking. President Jimmy Carter imposed sanctions on Islamabad but waived them following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. A series of presidential waivers allowed U.S. economic and military assistance to continue flowing through 1990, as a reward for Pakistan’s anti-Soviet efforts in Afghanistan. This was despite the fact that Pakistan disclosed in 1984 that it could enrich uranium for nuclear weapons and in 1987 that it could assemble a nuclear device. Even as the president of the United States solemnly informed Congress that Pakistan was not seeking to make nuclear weapons, anyone in Islamabad or Rawalpindi could hail a taxicab and ask to be taken to what was (and is) known as the “bomb factory.” Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Washington toughened its stance on Pakistan’s nuclear program and, after the 1998 nuclear tests (which were in response to similar moves by India), imposed harsh new sanctions. But soon after September 11, 2001-when Islamabad regained the strategic significance it had lost at the end of the Cold War-Washington dropped all nuclear-related sanctions, in part as a reward for Musharraf’s decision to join the U.S.-led coalition against the Taliban.

Throughout this period, it was never a secret that Pakistan was and continues to be host to an array of radical Islamist groups. These pathological social and religious formations have a variety of aims-some target the American empire, whereas others focus on the more limited goal of “liberating” Kashmir or eliminating religious rivals-but all trace their origins to the U.S.-backed Afghan jihad, which over the course of a decade profoundly affected Pakistani society, culture, and politics and unleashed developments that would have dire consequences down the road. “During the first Afghan war, the [Inter-Services Intelligence agency’s] strategy was to support hard-line Islamic groups, and with American concurrence, the ISI characterized the war against the Soviet intruders as a religious struggle against atheistic communism,” Cohen writes. “Again with American encouragement, young Muslims were recruited to the ’cause’ from the Arab and Islamic world, inadvertently creating a cohort that was to eventually form al Qaeda.”

Cohen uses the words “concurrence” and “encouragement,” but these are unsatisfactory descriptions: it is clear who the senior partner in this arrangement was. As the junior partner, Pakistan received a support package from Washington that included help with organization and logistics, military technology, and ideological support for sustaining and encouraging the Afghan resistance. Of these, the last was by far the most important, serving as it did to attract men and materiel from the Arab world and beyond to the jihad in Afghanistan.

CIA funds went to buy advertisements inviting hardened and ideologically dedicated men to fight in Afghanistan, and a $50 million U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grant, administered by the University of Nebraska, Omaha, paid for textbooks that exhorted Afghan children “to pluck out the eyes of their enemies and cut off their legs.” These were approved by the Taliban for use in madrassas (Islamic schools) and are still widely available in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Radical Islam went into overdrive as its superpower ally, the United States, funneled support to the mujahideen. Ronald Reagan feted jihadist leaders on the White House lawn, and the U.S. press lionized them. When Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in the face of the U.S.-Pakistani-Saudi-Egyptian alliance in 1988, a chapter of history seemed complete. But the costs of this victory revealed themselves over the course of the next decade. By the mid-1990s, it was clear that the victorious alliance had unleashed a dynamic beyond its control….”

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/60285/pervez-hoodbhoy/can-pakistan-work-a-country-in-search-of-itself?page=show

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The Jihad Schoolbook Scandal…

Why has the US been Shipping Muslim Extremist

Schoolbooks into Afghanistan…for 20 Years?

And why is President Bush hiding it?

By Jared Israel [Posted 9 April 2002]

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Have you heard about the Afghan Jihad schoolbook scandal?

Or perhaps I should say, “Have you heard about the Afghan Jihad schoolbook scandal that’s waiting to happen?”

Because it has been almost unreported in the Western media that the US government shipped, and continues to ship, millions of Islamist (or Islamic fundamentalist) textbooks into Afghanistan.

Only one English-speaking newspaper we could find has investigated this issue: the Washington Post. The story appeared March 23rd. [1]

Washington Post investigators report that during the past twenty years the US has spent millions of dollars producing fanatical schoolbooks, which were then distributed in Afghanistan.

“The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then [i.e., since the violent destruction of the Afghan secular government in the early 1990s] as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books…”
Washington Post, 23 March 2002
See footnote [1]

According to the Post the U.S. is now “…wrestling with the unintended consequences of its successful strategy of stirring Islamic fervor to fight communism.”

So the books made up the core curriculum in Afghan schools. And what were the unintended consequences? The Post reports that according to unnamed officials the schoolbooks “steeped a generation in [Islamist] violence.”

How could this result have been unintended? Did they expect that giving fundamentalist schoolbooks to schoolchildren would make them moderate Muslims?

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Let’s be reasonable

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Nobody with normal intelligence could expect to distribute millions of violent Islamist schoolbooks without influencing school children towards violent Islamism. Therefore one would assume that the unnamed US officials who, we are told, are distressed at these “unintended consequences” must previously have been unaware of the Islamist content of the schoolbooks.

But surely someone was aware. The US government can’t write, edit, print and ship millions of violent, Muslim fundamentalist primers into Afghanistan without high officials in the US government approving those primers.

So if the books weren’t supposed to be Islamist, that is if their fanatical content contradicted US policy in Afghanistan, shouldn’t the mass media and top politicians, such as President George Bush, now be calling for an investigation? Shouldn’t they be demanding to know the identity of the official or officials who subverted the intended US policy by flooding Afghanistan with jihad primers?

Indeed, considering the disastrous consequences, shouldn’t US officials and the media be questioning the very practice of violating the sovereignty of other countries by distributing millions of Islamic fundamentalist schoolbooks?

Yet using the media search engine, Lexis-Nexis, we could find no evidence that any mainstream Western newspaper, other than the Washington Post, nor any TV station or government leader ever questioned, let alone denounced, the export of millions of Islamist schoolbooks to Afghanistan.

Quite the contrary.

For example here’s what the Boston Globe wrote in an article about the obstacles to education in Afghanistan, a year after the US invasion:

“The obstacles to accomplishing that goal are enormous. What few schools impoverished Afghanistan once had – about 2,000 – are now all virtually destroyed, pummeled by gunfire or turned into refugee camps. Teachers here have not been paid for months, even years. Those schoolbooks that still exist are pro-Taliban screeds and deemed unusable.
– Elizabeth Neuffer in the Boston Globe, March 17, 2002 [2]

The article implies that the unusable textbooks were produced by and for the Taliban – “pro-Taliban screeds.”  The author, Elizabeth Neuffer, is the Globe’s UN Bureau Chief. Surely she must know that the textbooks in question were made in USA and that the US is continuing to ship Islamist textbooks into Afghanistan. Instead of exposing the scandal that the US promotes Muslim fanaticism in Afghanistan, she misrepresents the books and misleads her readers.

Other newspapers spun more elaborate lies. Here is the Daily Telegraph from Sydney, Australia:

[Daily Telegraph excerpt starts here]

“AFGHAN children ran, skipped and dawdled to their classrooms like pupils everywhere yesterday for the start of a new school year — with girls and women teachers back in class and subjects like math replacing the Islamic dogma of the Taliban.

“In a symbolic break from a war-scarred past, children opened new textbooks written by Afghan scholars based at universities in the US.

“There are even pictures of people — images banned by the fundamentalist Taliban.”

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), March 25, 2002 [3]

[Daily Telegraph excerpt ends here]

By beginning the article with the irrelevant but cheery image –  “Afghan children ran, skipped and dawdled…[etc].” – the Telegraph prepares us for an upbeat news experience. We are not disappointed. We are told that in the new textbooks:

“There are even pictures of people — images banned by the fundamentalist Taliban.”
Daily Telegraph See footnote [3]

Again we get the impression that the Taliban were responsible for the bad old texts but due to the US invasion “children opened new textbooks…”.

Unfortunately, as the Washington Post investigators reported:

“Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code.” — Washington Post, March 23, 2002

Other than their objections to the human face, the Taliban were perfectly happy with the US-produced primers.

As if presenting evidence of a sea change, the Telegraph tells that now Afghan children have schoolbooks “written by Afghan scholars based at universities in the US.”

Similarly, an article five weeks earlier in the Omaha World-Herald declares that, “Afghanistan stands at least a chance of hauling a modern, healthy society up out of the ashes of war and oppression,” partly because University of Nebraska at Omaha “officials and staffers” will be “cranking up their presses in neighboring Pakistan” to churn out schoolbooks, all funded by “a $ 6.5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development [AID].” [4]

Neither newspaper mentions that the bad old schoolbooks “were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies.” — Washington Post, March 23, 2002)

What about the US government? Have any US congressmen demanded an investigation to find out who in the US government was involved in the production of jihad primers that “steeped a generation in [Islamist] violence”?

No they have not.

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Speaking of forked tongues…

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What about George Walker Bush?

You may recall that George and Laura Bush have made passionate speeches denouncing Islamic fundamentalism. At first Mr. Bush told us we needed to attack Afghanistan in order to stop Mr. bin Laden. But later on he and Laura Bush told us we were fighting to crush the vicious fundamentalists.

Has George Bush said anything about the textbooks?

Yes, Mr. Bush talked about the jihad primers in a March 16th radio broadcast. He held nothing back:

“And before the end of the year, we’ll have sent almost 10 million of them [that is, new textbooks] to the children of Afghanistan. These textbooks will teach tolerance and respect for human dignity instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.”
[My emphasis — J.I.]

– George W. Bush, “Weekly Radio Address,” March 16, 2002 [5]

Note the phrase, “instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.”

So according to Bush, Afghan school children won’t have to contend with bad schoolbooks anymore because finally the US has taken charge, replacing those other guys, those evil educators who published textbooks “indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.”

The amazing thing is not only that he tells such total lies but that he delivers them with such righteous indignation.

What about the new textbooks? Will they “teach tolerance and respect for human dignity” as Honest George promises?

To be precise (which may be unwise in today’s world) how will the new textbooks that George Bush Junior is shipping into Afghanistan differ from the old ones? You know, those old books that were also designed at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and paid for by the US government agency, AID? You know, those old, un-American books that George Bush Junior attacked for “indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry”? Those terrible old books that were shipped into Afghanistan by Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior?

Here’s the Washington Post again:

“On Feb. 4, [Chris Brown, head of book revision for AID’s Central Asia Task Force] arrived in Peshawar, the Pakistani border town in which the textbooks were to be printed, to oversee hasty revisions to the printing plates. Ten Afghan educators labored night and day, scrambling to replace rough drawings of weapons with sketches of pomegranates and oranges, Brown said.”
[My emphasis — J.I.]

– Washington Post, March 23, 2002

So it appears that the only change is that some violent pictures have been removed from the printing plates and some fruit has been added. There is no indication that the texts have been changed.

What does a non-fundamentalist Afghan educator think about the new schoolbooks?

“‘The pictures [in the old schoolbooks] are horrendous to school students, but the texts are even much worse,’ said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, an Afghan educator who is a program coordinator for Cooperation for Peace and Unity, a Pakistan-based nonprofit.’”
[My emphasis — J.I.]

Washington Post, March 23, 2002

So the United States government is right now shipping into Afghanistan millions of Islamic Fundamentalist schoolbooks whose texts, according to a non-Fundamentalist Afghan educator, are not just “horrendous,” they are “much worse.”

Is it possible that this is all a terrible mistake? That Mr. Bush and US AID just don’t know what’s in the new schoolbooks?

Apparently not.

According to the Washington Post, the “White House defends the religious content” of the schoolbooks. And as for US AID, the Agency for International Development, which pays for the books:

‘It’s not AID’s policy to support religious instruction,’ Stratos said. ‘But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.’”
Washington Post, March 23, 2002

So because education is predominantly secular it’s OK for the schoolbooks to be entirely fundamentalist. Likewise, since marriage is predominantly monogamous it’s OK to cheat. And since banks are predominantly places where people deposit money, it’s OK to rob a bank.

Got it?

Mr. Bush describes the texts of the old books as “indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.” But note, having been republished in the new books, these exact same texts have been reborn. Now they are “religious instruction” (says US AID) and “religious content” (says the White House). It’s a modern miracle.

Reading these news reports and statements one might feel a certain sympathy for citizens of the US and allied countries, required to hold in their minds at one time a) the conviction that Mr. Bush is sincerely fighting Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan and b) the knowledge that the US is spending millions of dollars to indoctrinate Afghan school children with Islamic fundamentalism.

Not to worry. This problem has been solved by the US and allied mass media, which, with the exception of the Washington Post, have never told their readers and viewers who it was that produced the old books or what it is that’s in the new ones.

Even the Washington Post has pulled its punches. For example, consider the headline of the March 23rd article, the only one that deals critically with the jihad primers.

Here’s the headline. (Headlines are quite important because with any given article, most people only read the headline.)

“From U.S., the ABC’s of Jihad; Violent Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate Afghan Education Efforts.”

“Violent Soviet-Era textbooks.” This phrase doesn’t even make it clear that the books were shipped in by the US government! They could have been hateful Russian books.

And the phrase “Complicate Afghan Education Efforts” sounds like the books are hindering current US attempts at effecting progressive change. Nobody would guess from this headline that US AID has been forcing Islamic fundamentalist texts on Afghan kids for 20 years or that they’re still importing the same texts today, minus the guns and with more fruit.

In the body of the article the Post asserts without evidence that steeping “a generation in [Islamist] violence” was an “unintended consequence” of giving Afghan children violent Islamist schoolbooks.

“Unintended consequence” is fast becoming the US Establishment’s favorite excuse for the many disasters of its foreign policy. “We didn’t know. We weren’t prepared. We used old maps. We didn’t see the train. We thought there were tanks in the refugee column. Who could have expected this to happen?” and on and on.

But does the case of the Islamist textbooks involve unintended consequences? Doesn’t it in fact appear to be deliberate policy?

Now wouldn’t it be considerate if they told us: what’s the policy?

– Jared Israel
Editor, Emperor’s Clothes

* Footnotes & Further Reading follow the Appeal *

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Emperor’s Clothes Needs Your Help!
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Footnotes…

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1) Washington Post, March 23, 2002, “From U.S., the ABC’s Of Jihad; Violent Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate Afghan Education Efforts.” a
http://emperors-clothes.com/news/abc.htm

2) The Boston Globe March 17, 2002, Sunday, Third Edition Focus; Pg. E1 “The Task: Educating A Generation Of Women, And Quickly With A Female Literacy Rate Of Less Than 4 Percent, Teachers Face Obstacles Even With The Taliban Gone” By Elizabeth Neuffer (The Globe’s United Nations Bureau Chief)

3) The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), March 25, 2002, Monday * World; Pg. 19, “Girls’ Return Spells Out School Changes – War On Terror: A Nation’s Hope”
By Alexandre Peyrille And Mehrdad Balali In Kabul

4) Omaha World-Herald, February 8, 2002 Friday Sunrise Edition Editorial; Pg. 6b

5) March 16, 2002 Saturday, FDCH Political Transcripts, “George W. Bush Delivers Weekly Radio Address”

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… And Further Reading

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* ‘Congressman: U.S. Set Up Anti-Taliban to be Slaughtered‘. Congressional testimony suggests US covertly supported Taliban.
http://emperors-clothes.com/misc/rohr.htm

* ‘Washington’s Backing of Afghan Terrorists: Deliberate Policy’ From “Washington Post‘ with EC introduction. http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/anatomy.htm

* ‘Taliban Camps U.S. bombed in Afghanistan Were Built by NATO’
From ‘N.Y. Times’. U.S. and Saudi aid to Afghan-based terrorists totaled $6 billion plus. http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/camps.htm

* ‘Excerpts from News Reports – Bin Laden in the Balkans’ Bin Laden is still aiding some U.S.-sponsored forces in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. http://emperors-clothes.com/news/binl.htm

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Jihad and Jihadism

by Abid Ullah Jan

(Monday, July 5, 2004)


“In short, Jihadism have two variant meanings in the contemporary world. It is a label for the enemies of the US occupations in its imperial quest for global domination. Jihadism could suddenly change from a demonizing label to become a “holy war” sponsored by the US in case, say France occupies Saudi Arabia or Kuwait tomorrow. It would become a legal, compulsory, communal effort to redeem the territories occupied by France.”

 


Jihad in its various forms and stages is obligatory upon Muslims. Jihadism is a product of US opportunism. Jihad is always for self-actualisation, eradication of mischief and eliminating oppression with a focus on spiritual aspect at all levels. Jihadism is a double edge sword used for self aggrandisement and expansion of the American rule through the use of lies and indiscriminate force with a narrow focus on worldly gains only.

 

For Muslims, it was a Jihad in Afghanistan. However, for the US, with no relation to Islam and sympathy for Muslims whatsoever, it was simply promotion of violence to weaken an arch enemy, the Soviet Union. It was pure Jihadism, a selective practice and policy without any concern for the people under occupation.

Today, Jihadism and Jihadists are mere labels that the US uses as a bogyman to criminalise resistance to its illegitimate occupations and to justify the policy of total domination through its “war on terrorism.”

The purpose of sponsoring Jihadism in Afghanistan was not to spread Islamic faith, defend Muslims or reap rewards in the hereafter. If it were Jihad based on the Islamic concept, it should have been launched and sponsored by the US simultaneously in Kashmir, Palestine and Afghanistan. Relying on Jihadism then and now is simply to extend sovereign American power.

There is no concept of Jihadism in Islam. In the strict dictionary sense, as a suffix, -ism means “action, process; practice”. As a noun, “ism” means a “doctrine; theory; system of principles”. In the real world the meaning of -ism is not as simple. There is a concept of oppression associated with -ism. It needs a thorough examination to understand how -ism related oppression affects oppressed people and if there is any place for it in Islam. There is a concept of power — power-over and power-with — associated with “ism.”

When a person or a group of people has power over another person or group, the person or group with power-over

a) can control or make the other group do something, whether that group wants to or not

b) have more privilege ¾ status, social recognition, and freedom to do what they want than the other group

c) have more resources or wealth and receive better treatment than the other group

d) have the authority to define or describe the other group.

Here comes the concept of oppression: the “ism.” The “power-over” that one group uses against another is oppression, equivalent to “ism,” as in “racism,” “sexism,” or “adultism.” Oppression, or “ism,” is a name for how the powerful use that power to control the weak ¾ hurt them, make them feel bad, or get something from them ¾ or receive better treatment and more resources than them; all for the worldly objectives.

Of course any group or nation can hurt or mistreat the other. Any people can be prejudiced about the other, making stereotypical assumptions about each other. What makes mistreatment into oppression is prejudice plus power. Prejudice is one of the products of Nationalism and Patriotism. The reason there is no place for any ism in Islam is that there is no place for prejudice in Islam.

The Qur’an describes origin of prejudice (15:33, 15:39-40, 2:34); warns of division on the basis of prejudice (3:103, 42:13, 6:159, 8:46, 21:93, 35:28, 49:10 ); forbids not to mock, judge or hurt another because you think you are better than the other (49:11, 31:18) and advises to discern people by piety, not prejudice (49:13).

Since prejudice plus power is considered equal to an “ism,” Jihadism is considered Muslims’ prejudice against non-Muslims combined with the military power-over non-Muslims. It is considered just like prejudice against young people plus power-over that makes adultism, or prejudice against people of color plus power-over that makes racism. The same negative simplicity is applied to the term Islamism which means Islam’s inherent prejudice against non-Muslims which is combined with the religious and military power-over to oppress and dominate all others.

The US apparently supported the Islamic concept of Jihad against the Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan. Yet very few know that it was simply the US sponsorship of Jihadism (American prejudice against communism combined with military and economic muscle to over-power the Soviet Union) that started long before there was a need for Muslims to join Jihad.

In an interview with the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, the former national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, made a stunning confession:

“According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet Army invaded Afghanistan, December 24, 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the President in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention… We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.” [1]

Earlier, the former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs, From the Shadows, that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahideen in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. The question is: From where did come these Mujahideen when there was no time for Jihad indeed?

Having encouraged the Soviets to invade Afghanistan — just like luring Saddam into Kuwait — the US armed itself with a pretext for motivating, mobilizing and arming a population for Jihadism against the occupation forces, which they rightly considered as Jihad.

An aspect of the US Jihadism was to produce — which are now called — Jihadists through extensive dozes of Jihad to children under the guise of education. The Washington Post’s Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway report about this process of spreading, what the US now labels as “Jihadism”:

“In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation. The “Primers”, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books…” [2]

Unlike the ongoing efforts to eliminate the Islamic concept of Jihad from school curriculum around the Muslim world, Stephens and Ottaway identify how the US governmental and educational organizations were involved in actually developing Jihad-focused textbooks. They write:

“Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID [Agency for International Development] grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.”

Under this Jihadism project, the images and talk of resistance to occupation were craftily intermingled with regular education:

“Children were taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles and land mines, agency officials said. They acknowledged that at the time it also suited US interests to stoke hatred of foreign invaders.”

An examination of a textbook produced shocking results:

“An aid-worker in the region reviewed an unrevised 100-page book and counted 43 pages containing violent images or passages.”

The writers of the Washington Post story go on to provide an appalling example of the material:

“One page from the texts of that period shows a resistance fighter with a bandolier and a Kalashnikov slung from his shoulder. The soldier’s head is missing. Above the soldier is a verse from the Koran. Below is a Pashtu tribute to the mujaheddin [sic], who are described as obedient to Allah. Such men will sacrifice their wealth and life itself to impose Islamic law on the government, the text says.”

The United States’ Jihadism successfully transformed Afghan children into true freedom fighters. None of the present analyst, obsessed with using the word Jihadism and Jihadists, wrote a single word to condemn the US ways to promoting violence. Many of the presently labeled “Jihadists” live on from that period to join or morally support the resistance against new occupations.

When it was Jihadism on the part of the US, almost all Muslims accepted it as the US role in Islamic Jihad. Now, that the US considers Muslims Jihad as Jihadism and terrorism, no one is ready to point out that it is the extension of the same Afghan resistance which the US is reaping at a much higher cost than its cost of cultivation.

In the Muslim world, resistance to the US occupation is as much Jihad today as it was in the 80s. The same requests for God to avenge the occupiers’ actions pour down from mosque minarets, and according to Neil MacFarquhar of the New York Times (April 24, 2004), “some women university students wear Osama bin Laden T-shirts under their enveloping robes” — not for what the US blames him, but for his logic of calling the oppressed into action: to resist occupations. The calls to resist oppression are based in Islamic teachings, which the US sponsored Jihadism inculcated in Muslim mind for so long to its own disadvantage.

Now that the US comes to reap the whirlwind, many Americans consider attacks on US occupation forces a shocking and unsettling crime. Many thousand civilians were killed in Mujahideen attacks on Kabul and other cities where people chose not to leave their homes. The Saudi Interior Ministry then chose not to issue statements like these: “May God curse you, you vermin, you people of filth and not Jihad.”

Muslims could never launch such an effective campaign for Jihad as the US did for Jihadism. Most of those who resist the Anglo-American occupations today rely on the same momentum of 1980s and the same theological underpinnings to justify their actions against occupation.

At the government levels, Muslim countries have quickly shifted from American Jihadism to American anti-Jihad mode for their own sustainability. Saudi Arabia was one of the Chief financer of Jihad in Afghanistan. Now, for the advisor to the Saudi ambassador to Britain Mujahideen are mere “jihadis.” Musharraf claims to be fighting Jihadists for the interest of Pakistan.

Pakistan has not only sealed its border but is also acting like an occupying force in its own land to subdue any assistance to the freedom fighters in Afghanistan. On the other hand, Saudi officials say they are ensuring that the border with Iraq is sealed. They have installed heat sensors to detect movement.

The US and its allies in Jihad against the Soviet Union have a troubled history with preaching Jihad in the past and facing Jihad in the present. Actually, Jihad was officially sanctioned by almost all governments around the world against the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan. They thought they could rid themselves of the Red Menace, but instead their sponsorship of some basic principles of resisting injustice and oppression has now started to haunt them.

To discredit resistance in Iraq and turn it into a global threat, American analysts don’t hesitate to call it a movement for establishing Khilafah. Robert Spencer writes: “Iraq is just one battlefield of many: Muslim militants all over the world are moved today to murder and mayhem for the sake of the caliphate.” [3]

In his latest column, Spencer argues: “If he [Bush] began to use the word ‘jihad’ the way those he identifies as terrorists and evildoers do, he could in one stroke remove charges of opportunism and lack of focus from the Democrats’ arsenal. For this is in fact the war we’re in: a war against people who identify themselves as jihadis, not as terrorists.” [4]

In other words, freedom fighters’ war to end Soviet Union’s occupation in Afghanistan was Jihad and the US war against the same freedom fighters is a “war on terror… a defensive action against global jihadists.” [5]

Identifying Jihadists and terrorists is further simplified in the light of Ronald Reagan’s definition of communists. Spencer believes, a Jihadist is “someone who reads the Qur’an and Sunnah” and anti-Jihadist is “someone who understands how these Islamic texts are used to recruit and motivate terrorists.” [6] Going by the same definition, the US officials were the greatest Jihadists — immersed in Jihadism — who used Islamic text better than anyone else to motivate and recruit what the Soviet Union considered as terrorists.

In short, Mujahideen, greeted in the White House, were the force to achieve freedom in Afghanistan. Now, a 180-degree turn shows “freedom is under attack by the warriors of jihad.”

Jihadism and Islamism are the weapons for what the US analysts are bent on proving as the US war with Islam. They proudly quote former Muslims, such as Ibn Warraq: “There are very useful analogies to be drawn between communism and Islam,” says Ibn Warraq. “Communism has been defeated, at least for the moment; Islamism has not, and unless a reformed, tolerant, liberal kind of Islam emerges soon, perhaps the final battle will be between Islam and Western democracy.”

It is encouraging that Ibn Warraq didn’t use any prefix with Islam, such as “fundamentalist,” “extremist,” or “radical” Islam. It is a straight forward war with Islam and those Muslims “who read the Qur’an and Sunnah.” This must be enough to give an idea that Jihadism was used as an ideological tool to intensify war against the Soviet Union. It is now used as a demonising label to consolidate occupation and eliminate any resistance.

In short, Jihadism have two variant meanings in the contemporary world. It is a label for the enemies of the US occupations in its imperial quest for global domination. Jihadism could suddenly change from a demonizing label to become a “holy war” sponsored by the US in case, say France occupies Saudi Arabia or Kuwait tomorrow. It would become a legal, compulsory, communal effort to redeem the territories occupied by France.

The path away from state-terrorism, conquest and enslavement lies in the US government forthrightly acknowledging the historic role of its Jihadism, followed by apologies to Jihadism’s victims, developing a base for nonviolent resolution of the global issues with justice and (the hardest part) actually ceasing to wage wars, which are no more than Jihadism through GIs and allies — a struggle in the cause of worldly gains at the expense of innocent lives.

Unfortunately, such a process of redemption is not now under way; the US Jihadism will probably continue until the war lords in Washington are defeated by the superior wisdom of the American public. Only when the US Jihadism is defeated will ordinary Americans finally find their voice and truly begin the hard work of moderating America.

Notes:

[1]. Blum, Bill (translater), “Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski”, January 15-21, 1998, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/konformist/message/2429.

[2]. Stephens, Joe and David B. Ottaway, “From the USA, the ABCs of jihad”, Washington Post, March 23, 2002.

[3]. Robert Spencer, “The War is Over; The Jihad Isn’t,” FrontPageMagazine.com, August 18, 2003.

[4]. Robert Spencer, “Jihad: The Real Terrorist Enemy,” FrontPageMagazine.com, February 19, 2004.

[5]. Ibid. Spencer, Feb 19, 2004.

[6]. Ibid. Spencer, Feb 19, 2004.

Author’s latest book, “The Musharraf Factor: Leading Pakistan to Inevitable Demise,” is now available.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0973368713/mmn-20/

Also see: .
http://icssa.org/musharraf_factor2.html

Source: by courtesy & © 2004 Abid Ullah Jan

http://usa.mediamonitors.net/Headlines/Jihad-and-Jihadism

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CIA Agent Sees Dead People

CIA Agent Sees Dead People
Written by Peter Chamberlin
Monday, 07 January 2008 13:32

“….The United States’ Jihadism successfully transformed Afghan

children into true freedom fighters…”

Then we have secretive American government figures, like Congressman Charlie Wilson and Zbigniew Brzezinski (the self-proclaimed father of the anti-Soviet jihad idea) traveling to the secret camps in Pakistan to cheer the Afghans on, telling them “God is on your side,” as seen in the following:

i.e. on you tube

Following historical video clip:

“God is on your side!”

Zbigniew Brzezinski talking to the Mujahedeen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaiJtLrEwVU

Also see

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaiJtLrEwVU&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.atlanticfreepress.com%2Fnews%2F1%2F3198-cia-agent-sees-dead-people.html&feature=player_embedded

http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/news/1/3198-cia-agent-sees-dead-people.html

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Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.


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Front row: Pakistani President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq  (left) and  President Carter (right). Zbigniew Brzezinski is in the center of the  back row.Front row: Pakistani President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq (left) and President Carter (right). Zbigniew Brzezinski is in the center of the back row. [Source: Wally McNamee / Corbis]National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski writes a memo to President Jimmy Carter about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which has just begun (see December 8, 1979). Brzezinski focuses on fears that success in Afghanistan could give the Soviets access to the Indian Ocean, even though Afghanistan is a landlocked country. He suggests the US should continue aid to the Afghan mujaheddin, which actually began before the war and spurred the Soviets to invade (see 1978 and July 3, 1979). He says, “This means more money as well as arms shipments to the rebels and some technical advice.” He does not give any warning that such aid will strengthen Islamic fundamentalism. He also concludes, “[W]e must both reassure Pakistan and encourage it to help the rebels. This will require a review of our policy toward Pakistan, more guarantees to it, more arms aid, and alas, a decision that our security problem toward Pakistan cannot be dictated by our nonproliferation policy.” Carter apparently accepts Brzezinski’s advice. Author Joe Trento will later comment, “With that, the United States agreed to let a country admittedly in turmoil proceed to develop nuclear weapons.” [Trento, 2005, pp. 167-168] Trento and fellow author David Armstrong will add: “Once [Pakistan] became a partner in the anti-Soviet Afghan campaign and the Carter administration adopted a more lenient view of Pakistan’s nuclear activities, the [procurement] network [run by A. Q. Khan] expanded its operations dramatically. It would soon evolve into a truly global enterprise, obtaining the vast array of sophisticated equipment with which Pakistan would eventually build a bomb.” [Armstrong and Trento, 2007, pp. 99]

Entity Tags: James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr., David Armstrong, Joseph Trento, Zbigniew Brzezinski

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, A. Q. Khan’s Nuclear Network, War in Afghanistan

http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=zbigniew_brzezinski

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An interesting guy,

some more from him on current affairs:

Saturday, January 02, 2010

17 notes about Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “Hope to Audacity” article in Foreign Affairs

Zbigniew Brzezinski represents views very close to the mainstream US foreign policy communities’ understanding of the world. This is especially true under a Democratic president, but the differences between US Democrats and US Republicans on foreign policy are so small that I do not think they are meaningful outside of the United States. Neocons do not dispute Brzezinski’s basic assumptions. As an example, there is not much practical difference in policy between late George W. Bush in 2007 and Barack Obama in 2008. Obama has not even given a foreign policy speech that George W. Bush could not have given with fairly minor revisions. Brzezinski’s article (text) puts a wide range of these views in one place and I think it can be instructive to examine them. I have to point out that this article was written before early December so there may have been developments that Brzezinski could not have been aware of when he wrote. Quotes from Brzezinski’s article are numbered and bold.

1)
• Islam is not an enemy, and the “global war on terror” does not define the United States’ current role in the world;
• the United States will be a fair-minded and assertive mediator when it comes to attaining lasting peace between Israel and Palestine;

This is a good place to start. Most Americans do not understand that Brzezinski’s first statement simply is not true. Most Americans would like it to be true. And in fact, given the limits to the American ability to examine America’s own basic consensus premises, it appears true. But it is not true. The US really is at war in a very real sense against Islam.

There need not be a war between the US and Islam. The US could support one state that accepts all refugees and guarantees individual rights to Jewish people which would end the need for a host of policies undertaken by the US in the region that harm mostly Muslims, but also non-Jewish Christians, non-religious people and followers of other religions in the region. But the US does not support a one state solution. The US today does not seem capable of even envisioning a one state solution which would mean the failure of the Zionist project. As long as this is the case, the US will, naively and to some degree unknowingly, continue to wage war against the non-Jewish people of Israel’s region.

The United States is participating and in many ways enabling the starvation of 1.5 million people in Gaza. That is what enemies do. There is a long list of provocations the US implements in the Middle East. The list includes efforts to deny political representation to huge populations of countries in Israel’s region. It includes multiple sanctions, it includes the two occupations the US is now implementing and it includes the current destabilization of Pakistan.

The US mainstream consensus accepts as a basic premise that there must be a Jewish state in Palestine. Given that constraint, US efforts are both reasonable and necessary. When Brzezinski uses the term “fair minded” he implicitly includes his premise that there must exist a Jewish majority state in that term. This is a failure on Brzezinski’s part to perceive that there can be a different understanding of fairness than his own.

Hamas must be starved out of office or they would set a precedent that would threaten the security of Israel as a Jewish-majority political entity. Dictators should be supported, because they are “good for the region“. Countries that are not good for the region must be punished. The US can and should occupy countries that otherwise would use their resources to threaten the status of Jewish majority Israel or its supporters. Massive bribery that distorts the entire political system of a country is acceptable and preferable to that country following the preferences of its population which would be to leave alone elements of their societies that would strike back against Israel or its supporters.

If you are unable, as Brzezinski, Obama and most members of the US foreign policy are unable, to question the cosmic necessity of the existence of a Jewish state, then the US is making reasonable and fair efforts to bring about peace and coexistence. If you are able to question the necessity of a Jewish state in Palestine, then the US is siding with injustice and in doing so imposing entire swathes of needless and unprovoked misery on a tremendous number of Muslim people.

With Brzezinski’s premises, the US is not at war with Islam. For people who do not accept his premise that there must be a Jewish state, the US is at war with Islam, at least in Israel’s greater region. The general US failure to question the premise that there must be a Jewish majority state in Palestine comes from the fact that supporters of Israel have successfully established the threat to falsely accuse anyone who examines that premise of being an anti-Jewish bigot. We’ll come back to this because it is very interesting how much the US as a nation pays for this established threat of false accusations of anti-Semitism. Of course the non-Jewish people of the Middle East pay an immeasurably higher price.

2)
As a result, his grand redefinition of U.S. foreign policy is vulnerable to dilution or delay by upper-level officials who have the bureaucratic predisposition to favor caution over action and the familiar over the innovative. Some of them may even be unsympathetic to the president’s priorities regarding the Middle East and Iran.

I read this and think Dennis Ross. But Hillary Clinton herself and others in the Obama administration are far more strident in their inclination to put US resources at the disposal of the objective of securing Israel’s status as a Jewish majority state that can threaten but cannot be credibly threatened by its neighbors. It is really difficult to put responsibility for the Obama administration policies, or the failure of their implementation anywhere but on Obama himself.

3)
It is not fashionable to say this, but it is demonstrably true that — deservedly or not — much of the current hostility toward the United States in the Middle East and the Islamic world as a whole has been generated by the bloodshed and suffering produced by this prolonged conflict. Osama bin Laden’s self-serving justifications for 9/11 are a reminder that the United States itself is also a victim of the Israeli-Palestinian conundrum.

What an interesting statement by Brzezinski. Actually, this statement alone left me no choice but to write a blog post about Brzezinski’s article. Yes. Much of the current hostility against the US is generated directly or indirectly by the conflict over Zionism.

The first thing I want to look at is “deservedly or not”. This is a reflection back to Brzezinski’s premise that there must be a secure Jewish-majority state, so US actions to ensure the security of Israel do not deserve to create hostility, regardless of the misery those actions may cause. If you do not accept the premise that there must be a secure Jewish majority state, then the US has the option of not starving the people of Gaza, but instead of demanding Hamas to recognize Israel, demanding that they respect the rights of Jewish individuals, which Hamas likely would do. By Brzezinski’s view of the world, the US has no choice and does not deserve the hostility it has attracted. By the view of the world that is free from his false premise, the US has a choice and has deliberately decided to harm the non-Jewish people of the region.

If the question is deservedly or not, the answer is deservedly. Brzezinski is unable to see that, as are most of his colleagues in the US foreign policy establishment. But the people of the region are able to understand that. This divergence in perceptions threatens to become increasingly expensive for the United States.

Then I want to look at “It is not fashionable to say this”. How cute. No, it is not fashionable to say it at all. And it is not fashionable for a reason. The true statement that Israel imposes heavy costs on the United States often leads supporters of Israel to accuse the maker of that statement of anti-Jewish bigotry. This accusation of anti-Semitism is often false, but a false accusation of bigotry can still exact a psychic cost on its target. The avoidance in the background of potential false accusations of anti-Semitism has distorted US foreign policy in very basic and harmful ways.

Lastly and least important, Bin Laden is self serving only in the sense that the ideology for which he sacrificed a life of wealth and comfort is himself. But Brzezinski is correct that Bin Laden has stated clearly that 9/11 was in retaliation for acts the US commits in the name of protecting Israel. If the US had advocated a one state solution in the 1990s, the US would not have been the target of 9/11 if that attack happened at all and the huge expense of invading Afghanistan would have been avoided.

4)
First, Palestinian refugees should not be granted the right of return to what is now Israel, because Israel cannot be expected to commit suicide for the sake of peace. The refugees will have to be resettled within the Palestinian state, with compensation and maybe some expression of regret for their suffering. This will be very difficult for the Palestinian national movement to swallow, but there is no alternative.

There is an alternative. It is really an unexamined, false and very destructive premise that allows Brzezinski to believe there is not. Politically-White South Africa committed suicide for peace. The post World War II world has seen many examples of political entities committing suicide for peace.

“This will be very difficult for the Palestinian national movement to swallow”. Umm. Yes. And what if they do not? What if the Palestinians vote against this condition that Brzezinski admits would be very difficult to swallow? Then the US is justified in continuing to starve anyone in the region who does not accept Israel as a Jewish-majority state? Then if the US continues to pay billions in annual bribes to autocratic Arab dictators to repress their populations, any hostility that engenders will be undeserved?

This is an example of how Brzezinski’s premise that there must be a Jewish-majority state truly limits his ability to understand the people of the Middle East. It is as if there is a physical barrier preventing him from seeing past that question. The Palestinians just have to accept that there cannot be a right to return for people who aren’t Jewish. They just have to, and because of his premises, no further discussion is needed. These blinders systematically cause Western analysts to crash into unexpected behaviors of non-Jewish people in the region when they try to put their ideas in place in the real world.

5)
Third, a settlement must be based on the 1967 lines, but with territorial swaps that would allow the large settlements to be incorporated into Israel without any further reduction of the territory of the Palestinian state. That means some territorial compensation for Palestine from parts of northern and southern Israel that border the West Bank. It is important to remember that although the Israeli and Palestinian populations are almost equal in number, under the 1967 lines the Palestinian territories account for only 22 percent of the old British mandate, whereas the Israeli territories account for 78 percent.

It is interesting that Brzezinski knows that Jewish people have 78 percent of the territory for a smaller proportion of the population but is unable to draw what for every non-Jewish person in the region – whether Arab, Persian, Copt, Druze or whatever, whether Muslim, Christian, Zoroastrian, atheist or whatever – is an obvious implication: that Zionism as applied in and before 1948 and as is maintained today is fundamentally an injustice that cannot be rectified in a way satisfactory to those Jewish people who would benefit from the injustice persisting, if those Jewish people have the option of just maintaining the injustice in place. Just another example of his unexamined, false and destructive premise that there must be a Jewish majority state.

6)
Fourth, the United States or NATO must make a commitment to station troops along the Jordan River. Such a move would reinforce Israel’s security with strategic depth. It would reduce Israel’s fears that an independent Palestine could some day serve as a springboard for a major Arab attack on Israel.

Wow. Now it is a testament to the pliancy of Mahmoud Abbas that this is even under discussion. But this is the first time I’m really examining the idea of US bases in Palestine to be held indefinitely regardless of the wishes of the people of Palestine. This is a move towards classical colonialism, the thing is that colonialism has been discredited not because of the recognition of the inherent value of man, but because it does not pay. The cost of these troops, if history is a guide, would vastly outweigh any benefit the US would get from having them there.

More generally, Brzezinski’s conception of the concessions the Palestinians would have to make for a two state solution are enough that they would not in the end be a solution at all. We’d be left with Palestinians told that they would starve if they do not vote for this arrangement – which alone would render the outcome illegitimate for many people in the region. But to ensure that the Palestinians are unable to continue to resist, Jordan still has to remain under its US-supported colonial rulers. Egypt has to continue under its dictator. When the Palestinians vote wrong, once again they’ll have to starve. The provocations against the non-Jewish people of the region would continue, and the impulse to respond would continue.

The costs the US would be required to expend for dealing with regional responses to Israel would continue to increase and this Jewish-majority Israel would still be threatened by other states in the region breaking its monopoly on the threat to use nuclear weapons. Brzezinski’s conception of a two state solution is not easy to distinguish from what we see today, so that even if it was to be reached, it would still be unfashionable but true to say that Jewish-majority Israel still deservedly creates costly-to-manage regional hostility against the US as its supporter.

7)
[On the subject of Iran]
Without quite saying so, he has basically downgraded the U.S. military option, although it is still fashionable to say that “all options remain on the table.” But the prospects for a successful negotiation are still quite uncertain.

Obama has not downgraded the option, but left it in the same position it occupied when he came into office. Bush late in his term continued to say all options remain on the table, but is widely known to have vetoed any military option. The fact of the matter is that by 2007, Iran had achieved, partly because of the US positions in Iraq and Afghanistan “escalation dominance” in which as hostilities ratchet up in plausible scenarios, the US would end up hurt enough that the US would regret the conflict as much or more than Iran.

I’m not sure why the US insists on saying publicly that there is a military option on the table, maybe it makes US politicians feel strong or virile. Nobody believes it anywhere, while saying it strengthens hard-liners in Iran.

8)
The United States has to be realistic when discussing this aspect, since the clock cannot be turned back: the Iranians have the capability to enrich uranium, and they are not going to give it up. But it is still possible, perhaps through a more intrusive inspection regime, to fashion a reasonably credible arrangement that prevents weaponization.

True, the United States at this point cannot prevent Iran from continuing to enrich. Further, Iran can develop, as is its right, the ability to build a weapon if it felt it needed to in an emergency. Further still, Iran developing that ability threatens Israel whose strategic doctrine, in the opinion of Israelis, depends on Israel being able to issue overwhelming and unanswerable threats to its neighbors.

But while everyone knows Iran cannot be coerced or forced to give up enrichment, Barack Obama is not willing to say so. Iran will not commit to a more intrusive inspection regime before Obama commits to Iran enriching uranium. Where Obama is stuck is that to make the concession to reality that he cannot prevent Iran from becoming nuclear capable, he would have to take a position that could call into question his commitment to the security of Israel as a Jewish state. In the US foreign policy community, to lack a commitment to Israel’s security threatens to provoke the accusation of anti-Jewish bigotry.

We possibly will see sanctions against that harm the lives of Iranian people in tangible ways, that make it more difficult to find a job or that increase the rate of inflation throughout Iran’s economy and causing Iranians relying on their savings to do with less because Barack Obama would be made uncomfortable by false accusations of anti-Semitism. Brzezinski may believe that hostility that results from this is undeserved, or that the deservedness of such hostility is questionable. Few in Iran or the wider region would agree.

9)
Iran’s credibility was undermined by the convoluted manner in which Tehran complicated a promising compromise for a cooperative Iranian-Russian-French arrangement for processing its enriched uranium.

I think almost everyone in the US foreign policy community wrongly interprets what happened with this deal. The deal as presented – Iran shipping out almost all of its uranium at once instead of in pieces – is only beneficial to the West if the West does not intend to return fuel until Iran suspends enrichment. Otherwise, one batch or many lead to identical outcomes. Iran was not going to stop enrichment, so since the US would not relent on its insistence that there be one batch, the deal died. Brzezinski can think what he wants about Iranian credibility, but it was a bad deal.

10)
The position of Russia is ambiguous since as a major energy supplier to Europe, it stands to benefit financially from a prolonged crisis in the Persian Gulf that would prevent the entrance of Iranian oil into the European market. Indeed, from the Russian geopolitical perspective, a steep rise in the price of oil as a result of a conflict in the Persian Gulf would be most economically damaging to the United States and China — countries whose global preeminence Russia tends to resent and even fear — and would make Europe even more dependent on Russian energy.

This is a very interesting issue that I’ve thought about but never fully fleshed out. To the degree Russia and even China see themselves as rivals of the United States, watching the US sink resources into the Middle East, trying to pin down every non-Jewish person in the region while Russia and China get to position themselves as the good side must seem only partially bad. If the US was to make the mistake of allowing its hostility with Iran to escalate to full scale war, it could be good for Russia the way the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was good for the US and China.

It is difficult to figure out exactly what motivates Russia in this situation, but Russia may well quietly hope the US falls deeper in and remains engaged longer in the project of making the Middle East safe for Zionism in all of the forms this project takes. China’s motivations may be similar. If the US looks like it really would go to war, I’m not sure it could count on Russia or China to prevent it.

11)
Should the United States’ long-term goal be the evolution of Iran into a stabilizing power in the Middle East? To state the issue even more sharply and simply: Should its policy be designed to encourage Iran to eventually become a partner of the United States again — and even, as it was for three decades, of Israel?

This is a very important point. Westerners really have to stop this. The Shah’s foreign policy was not normal. The Shah’s foreign policy is not a model for modern Iran to emulate. The Shah was a pro-US stooge dictator who followed US commands because his rule depended on the US for legitimacy rather than the views of those he ruled. I often see the sentiment expressed that Iran has “historically” had good relations with Israel. Iran is a majority Muslim country. It’s good relations with Israel were very ahistorical. Presenting it as something to return to is an insult to the Iranian people.

To make the point again, one day Egypt will overthrow Mubarak and whoever else the US has propped up to replace him. When that happens, do not tell a democratic Egypt that since it had good relations with Israel under Mubarak, who depended on the US Congress allocating him an allowance, the democratic Egypt might have the same relations.

One day Palestine will have a leader who is able to win an election against organized opposition. When that happens, do not tell a democratically endorsed Palestinian leader that he should replicate the good relations with Israel that existed under Israel’s chosen puppet Abbas.

This should be common sense and I’m always stunned when I see this idea that Iran had good relations with Israel under the Shah presented as if that is meaningful. But for Brzezinski, with Brzezinski’s unexamined, false and destructive premise that there must be a Jewish state, it seems the Shah pursued a reasonable foreign policy while the Islamic Republic is mysteriously and unexplainably hostile to Israel. This premise is a real problem for his analysis.

12)
The Taliban are not a global revolutionary or terrorist movement, and although they are a broad alliance with a rather medieval vision of what Afghanistan ought to be, they do not directly threaten the West.

Good and not often mentioned point about the Taliban. The Taliban never hated the US and never had any interest in attacking the United States. But the Taliban did, accurately, see the US as engaging in a war against Muslims and allowed Bin Laden’s group to organize on its territory. Any Muslim controlled territory would do that, unless the US has some form of leverage.

What that means is that because the US supports Israel, it now has a national security objective in acquiring leverage over every Muslim-majority territory. It is a process that in itself creates more provocations against the Muslim world that create still more impulse for responses. This is a spiral that ends with the entire Muslim world colonial zed or the US unable to afford to continue. Bin Laden’s calculation in orchestrating the 9/11 attack is that it is more likely to end with the second.

13)
Additionally, the United States needs to develop a policy for gaining the support of Pakistan, not just in denying the Taliban a sanctuary in Pakistan but also in pressuring the Taliban in Afghanistan to accommodate. Given that many Pakistanis may prefer a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to a secular Afghanistan that leans toward Pakistan’s archrival, India, the United States needs to assuage Pakistan’s security concerns in order to gain its full cooperation in the campaign against the irreconcilable elements of the Taliban.

Pakistan is a case of another country that does not intrinsically hate the US, but that left to its own devices does not mind providing resources for parties that would punish the US and West for their attacks on the Muslim world. Bribing the corrupt leader Zardari to prosecute a war against the Taliban in which the people of Pakistan otherwise would not engage just continues the cycle.

14)
The consequences of a failed peace process in the Middle East, a military collision with Iran, and an intensifying military engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan all happening simultaneously could commit the United States for many years to a lonely and self-destructive conflict in a huge and volatile area. Eventually, that could spell the end of the United States’ current global preeminence.

This dramatic conclusion is true, except that what Brzezinski considers a successful peace process would, for the purposes he’s trying to achieve of ending the US war against Islam, still be a failed peace process. The US has to begin looking to the resolution in South Africa for an example of an outcome that treats every individual equally, allows a right to return regardless of ethnicity and does not require a spiraling cycle of increasingly emotive provocations and increasing responses between the US or the West and the Muslim world.

The US was in a position of relative power in 1945 that has never been seen before in history, and the US had the right to use that power as it saw fit. One way the US has been using its power is managing the project of keeping a region of over 200 million non-Jewish people unable to pose a threat to the political majority status of 5 million Jewish people in Palestine. Today the US has a far smaller margin of power over its rivals while the over 200 million people who have to be subjugated are growing more resourceful and capable. Those non-Jewish people of the region are also increasingly coming to understand the role the US plays and becoming more inclined to strike against the US directly.

The process by which the US is losing its position is certainly accelerated by the inability of its foreign policy establishment to question the necessity of a Jewish majority state in Palestine. There is a remaining question of will this process be arrested or will it continue to its conclusion. Arresting it sooner is better for the interests for the over 300 million US citizens as well as the hundreds of millions of people in Israel’s extended region. But this is a choice the US can only make for itself.

15)
[On US domestic problems that interfere with the formulation and application of good foreign policy]
The first is that foreign policy lobbies have become more influential in U.S. politics. Thanks to their access to Congress, a variety of lobbies — some financially well endowed, some backed by foreign interests — have been promoting, to an unprecedented degree, legislative intervention in foreign-policy making. Now more than ever, Congress not only actively opposes foreign policy decisions but even imposes some on the president. (The pending legislation on sanctions against Iran is but one example.) Such congressional intervention, promoted by lobbies, is a serious handicap in shaping a foreign policy meant to be responsive to the ever-changing realities of global politics and makes it more difficult to ensure that U.S. — not foreign — interests are the point of departure.

I have to say that I find lobbies, including the pro-Israel lobby that I sometimes see humorously described (with capitalization) as “The Lobby”, are over-estimated in their importance in distorting US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. Of course, any argument that lobbies have no effect are wrong, but given Brzezinski’s premises, if he was put into power and every lobby dismantled, he would make the same mistakes Obama is making. In a long essay, Brzezinski makes a minor mention of lobbies, which is about right. The real problem is not the lobby, but the premises upon which foreign policy conclusions are generally constructed in the US.

16)
The resulting polarization not only makes a bipartisan foreign policy less likely, but it also encourages the infusion of demagogy into policy conflicts. And it poisons the public discourse. Still worse, personal vilification and hateful, as well as potentially violent, rhetoric are becoming widespread in that realm of political debate that is subject to neither fact checking nor libel laws: the blogosphere.

Hahaha.

Seriously though, there was once a far higher barrier preventing non-specialists from getting information about foreign policy. Specialists who become familiar with the Middle East for many reasons tend to be more stridently pro-Israel than the US lay population. In the terms of this essay, specialists accept the unexamined, false and destructive premise that there must be a Jewish-majority state in Palestine more uncritically than the vast majority of Americans who have never put much thought into the matter.

Here we have a situation where, if information can be spread quickly enough, non-specialists who are able to examine premises the specialists are blind to, just may be able to prevent the US from harming a lot more people while wasting a huge amount of resources and spiraling towards irrelevance.

17)
Last but not least, of the large democratic countries, the United States has one of the least informed publics when it comes to global affairs. Many Americans, as various National Geographic surveys have shown, are not even familiar with basic global geography. Their knowledge of other countries’ histories and cultures is not much better. How can a public unfamiliar with geography or foreign history have even an elementary grasp of, say, the geopolitical dilemmas that the United States faces in Afghanistan and Pakistan? With the accelerating decline in the circulation of newspapers and the trivialization of once genuinely informative television reporting, reliable and timely news about critical global issues is becoming less available to the general public. In that context, demagogically formulated solutions tend to become more appealing, especially in critical moments.

The insularity of Americans, which I guess comes from the historical lack of threats since the US is oceans away from its rivals, has allowed the US to develop in a naive and uninformed way. The oceans are becoming smaller though. US citizens are becoming more informed. I have not seen a poll, but I’d guess more Americans can identify every Middle East state, not only Iraq and Afghanistan – but Egypt, Saudi Arabia and more than could just ten years ago in 2000. The US will never be a country of foreign affairs students, but no country is. I think information has the potential to be a strong, not a weak point for the creation and application of US foreign policy in the future.

So what we’ve seen in Brzezinski’s essay is that in defense of Obama’s policy he shows the failures of analysis that he shares with Obama and most of the US foreign policy establishment. On the other hand, he is unusually candid about the challenges the US faces, even if as of today, he would not be prepared to meet those challenges.

Posted by Arnold Evans at 4:00 PM

3 comments:

Lysander said…

Thanks, Arnold. That was very good reading.

What are your thoughts on Iran’s counter ultimatum? That is, accept our version of the swap by end of January or we will make our own uranium. It was announced in a press conference by the Foreign Minister so it sounds like they really mean it.

January 2, 2010 11:08 PM

Arnold Evans said…

Iran does fetishize independence. Going to 20% will end all argument that Iran could go to bomb grade. Once it goes, Iran will keep a stock. This could be a significant escalation.

I figure Iran’s end game is having three or four bombs worth of LEU at 3.5% and one or two at 20%, in different places and if it has to Iran will be making its own fuel until Arak comes on line.

The US, by refusing to get of no enrichment is going to leave Iran with a much more formidable weapons option than it could have gotten.

January 2, 2010 11:29 PM

lidia said…

“the way the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was good for the US and China”

You are right, I only have to add that Russia has NOT organised trap for USA in the ME (unlike Brzezinski’s trap for USSR in Afghanistan). USA did it all single-handed (and by trapping USSR in Afghanistan as well)

January 3, 2010 1:54 PM

http://mideastreality.blogspot.com/2010/01/17-notes-about-zbigniew-brzezinskis.html

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From Publishers Weekly

Put the Tom Clancy clones back on the shelf; this covert-ops chronicle is practically impossible to put down. No thriller writer would dare invent Wilson, a six-feet-four-inch Texas congressman,liberal on social issues but rabidly anti-Communist, a boozer, engaged in serial affairs and wheeler-dealer of consummate skill. Only slightly less improbable is Gust Avrakotos, a blue-collar Greek immigrant who joined the CIA when it was an Ivy League preserve and fought his elitist colleagues almost as ruthlessly as he fought the Soviet Union in the Cold War’s waning years. In conjunction with President Zia of Pakistan in the 1980s, Wilson and Arvakotos circumvented most of the barriers to arming the Afghan mujahideen-distance, money, law and internal CIA politics, to name a few. Their coups included getting Israeli-modified Chinese weapons smuggled into Afghanistan, with the Pakistanis turning a blind eye,and the cultivation of a genius-level weapons designer and strategist named Michael Vickers, a key architect of the guerrilla campaign that left the Soviet army stymied. The ultimate weapon in Afghanistan was the portable Stinger anti-aircraft missile, which eliminated the Soviet’s Mi-24 helicopter gunships and began the train of events leading to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and its satellites. A triumph of ruthless ability over scruples, this story has dominated recent history in the form of blowback: many of the men armed by the CIA became the Taliban’s murderous enforcers and Osama bin Laden’s protectors. Yet superb writing from Crile, a 60 Minutes producer, will keep even the most vigorous critics of this Contra-like affair reading to the end.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

September 7, 2009 at 6:47 am

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Jihad on Trial in North Carolina’s Triangle Terror Takedown:

Since the Arabic word “Jihad” is being brandished about in sensationalist news items and the indictments, perhaps it is better to be intelligent and well informed, and not just follow what has been said and cherry picked by some for their negative shock appeal.   Intelligent analysis and reason is better than sheer emotion and the quick resultant knee jerk reflexive actions without correct knowledge.

Daniel Boyd has said, according to secret wiretaps presented in court: “I love Jihad. I love to stand there and fight for the sake of Allah.”

Secondly, many people say many things in the privacy of their own homes and cars and among family and friends, and even publicly, but lets be straightforward here and realize that to say “I love Jihad” is not a crime.  Daniel Boyd’s love of “Jihad” stems from teenage involvement fighting “evil empire” of the communist Soviets and their local communist war lord puppets. The training camps he attended were in the years when the US government officials were openly and repeatedly praising the “Mujahedeen” (from the word Jihad) as freedom fighters.

So what does this word “Jihad” mean?

What are the various contexts in which the word is used?

Please read below for a preliminary primer, and use your God-given reasoning power, without bias and presupposed assumptions.

Below:

from AFGHANISTAN PHOTO gallery
[ http://www.afghan-web.com/gallery/%5D

http://www.afghan-web.com/gallery/mujahidshadow.jpg

SAS veteran TOM CAREW, who trained the mujahideen in their fight against the Russians in the 1980s, recalls…”For the Afghanis …  Every man is a fighter. There is little distinction between a mujahideen and a civilian.  War is a way of life.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/1341387/Every-Afghani-man-is-a-fighter-war-is-a-way-of-life.html

The word “Allah” in Arabic language in the phrase

“for the sake of Allah”

To begin with, let’s get a main point straight since some try to confuce English speakers and make that Allah is some god other than the One and Only God of the Universe.

The word “Allah” is the proper name of The One God. Literally it is made up of the letters “al” which is the definite article “the,” and “ilah” the word for god or God (according to context). Thus the word “Allah” is “al-ilah” and literally “The God,” as in the Arabic phonetic construction (ال + إله = اللَّهُ). Of course the meaning is the One and Only God and the One Lord and Creator and Sovereign of the creation.

In the other Semitic languages the word for God is closely related to what we have mentioned about Arabic. The Aramaic word for God is “alah.”   In Hebrew the word for God or god is (אל) (el) and “Elah,” (or Eloh) and the plural form is (אלוהים) (elohím).

El is mentioned in the New Testament when Jesus, peace be upon him and may he be cleansed of all falsehoods attributed to him, cried out as in the Gospel: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” [Matthew 27: 46]

It is instructive to note that the Arab Christians say as their Trinitarian creed dictates that their savior Jesus is “Ibn Allah” and this is how their scholars have translated the Bible into Arabic. This literally means the “son of Allah,” with Allah being God the “Father” of the trinity. Of course Muslims and Jews consider this statement and the Trinitarian creed erroneous and blasphemy. Even some Christians reject trinity. This is not our line of investigation since the point here is only to show that the word “Allah” means “The God” and not some idol or pagan deity as some have absurdly tried to propagate maliciously.  The Arabic translation of Bible uses the name “Allah” to refer to God in Genesis 1:1: “Fee al-badi’ khalaqa Allahu as-Samaawaat wa al-Ard…” In the Hebrew the word in Genesis 1:1 is “elohim.”

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On meaning of Jihad in Islamic Scriptures and usage:

Jihad a maligned and misused word around which so many misconceptions swirl: often translated as “Holy War,” an enduring legacy of the crusades.

The Arabic word “Jihad” is from the three letter Arabic root (J-H-D) and the verb Jahada mean endeavor, exertion, and struggle. The addition of the vowel ‘alif’ as in Jaahada adds to the meaning that the endeavor, exertion, and struggle, is against another entity. This entity may be the enemy within – selfish desires from within the soul – or the enemy outside, those aggressive enemies that must be engaged justly and proactively by commanding the good, prohibiting the evil, and by struggle to defend against their attack.

Many acts of obedience wherein one struggles against himself and hardships are included in Jihad when done “fi sabeelillah” (for the sake of Allah).  As the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said when asked permission by a young man to go for Jihad:

“Are your parents alive?” He replied in the affirmative. The Prophet said to him, “Then exert yourself in their service (fa fi hima fa-Jaahid).” Reported by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.

And in another narration Abu Hurairah said, may Allah be pleased with him, said the following: “We were with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, when a young man came upon us from Thaniyyah and when we saw him we said: If only this young man would use his youth and energy and strength in the path of Allah (i.e. in Jihad).  The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, heard what we said and replied: “Whoever strives for his parents, is in the path of Allah, and whoever strives for his dependents, is in the path of Allah, and whoever strives for himself to sustain himself legally, is in the path of Allah, and whoever strives just to make more, is in the path of the Taaghoot. (Satan, idol, tyrant, sorcerer, etc)” And in another version “…the path of the Shaitan (Satan)”

[Reported by Abu Nuaim, Bazzar and others, and verified by al-Albani for combination of pathways and testifying information in as-Silsilah as-Sahihah no. 2232]

Here on can see that a Muslim may use this word Jihad in these every day peaceful contexts.

These are of course faithful Muslim parents who call him to Monotheism and good and not to disobey Allah, for Allah the Exalted said about disbelieving parents that their “Jihad” is calling to idolatry and polytheism:

“But if they (both) strive with you (Jaahadaaka) to make you join in worship with Me others of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them yet behave kindly with them in the world, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience.” [Qur`an: Surah Luqman (31:15)]  And Allah the Exalted said:

“And whoever strives (Jaahada) only strives for [the benefit of] himself. Indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.” [Qur`an: 29:6]

Another manner of peaceful Jihad is by conveying the meanings of the Qur`an as Allah said in a verse revealed in Makkah before the permission given to fight in the Madinah period:

“So do not obey the disbelievers and strive against them (Jaahid-hum) with it (the Quran) a great striving.”  [Qur`an: 25:52]

Many of the Qur`anic commentators mention that this is the Jihad by the Qur`an, inviting them to read the revelation from God.

And in the general comprehensive sense of Jihad Allah said:

“And those who strive (Jaahadu) for Us, We surely will guide them to Our ways, and indeed Allah is with the doers of good.”  [Qur`an:29:69]

To paraphrase the renowned Muslim jurist and scholar, Ibn Qayyim, in his famous categorization of Jihad in the Islamic usage, with some additions for further clarification, [Refer to Ibn Qayyim’s Zaad al-Ma’aad 3/10-13] we can say that according to the scriptural proofs of the Qur`an and the Sunnah, Jihad is of four kinds:

  1. Jihad an-Nafs (Jihad against one’s own self);
  2. Jihad ash-Shaitan (Jihad against the Satan);
  3. Jihad al-Kuffar wal-Munafiqeen (Jihad against the disbelievers and the   hypocrites);
  4. Jihad Ahl-al-Baghe wa Ahl-al-Bid’ah (Jihad against people of aggression and rebellion and against people of innovation).

Jihad an-Nafs (Jihad against one’s own self) is of four kinds as well:

1) Striving to learn the teachings of Islam;

2) Striving to make oneself act in accordance with what one has learned;

3) Striving to call others to Islam and teaching those who do not know about Islam;

4) Striving to bear patiently all the difficulties involved in calling people to Allah and all the insults and harm of people, bearing all this for the sake of Allah.

If a person achieves all these four levels, then he will be one of the “Rabbaniyyeen” (learned men of religion who practice what they know and patiently and expertly teach and preach to others).  The Salaf as-Salih (righteous predecessors) were agreed that the scholar does not deserve to be called ‘Rabbani’ unless he knows the truth, acts in accordance with it, teaches it to others, and bears hardships patiently and steadfastly. Whoever teaches, acts in accordance with his knowledge, and has knowledge will be deemed great in Allah’s Paradise.

The basis of this Jihad is found in many narrations for instance to cite just one in the words of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, when he said:

“Do you not want me to inform you who is the believer? The believer is the one who the people feel secure about in their properties and selves, and the Muslim is the one who the Muslims are safe from his tongue and hand, and the “Mujahid” is the one who struggles with himself for obeying Allah and the Muhajir is the one who leaves the mistakes and sins.”

[Reported by Imam Ahmad and declared authentic by Sheikh al-Albani in Silisilah as-Sahihah no 549.]

Jihad ash-Shaitan (Jihad against Satan) is of two types:

1) Warding off the doubts that the Satan whispers and instigates to undermine firm faith;

2) Striving against Satan to ward off the corrupt and evil desires that Satan provokes into the soul of man.

The first Jihad leads to certainty of faith, and the second is followed by patience: two traits necessary for leadership.  Allah the Exalted said:

“And We made from among them leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our signs.” [Qur`an: 32:24]

Allah tells us that leadership in religion is attained through patience and certainty of faith. Patience wards off desires and certainty wards off doubts. Allah the Exalted said:

“Verily the Satan is your enemy so take him as your enemy. He only calls his party to be of the inhabitants of the Blazing Hellfire.” [Qur`an: 35:6]

Jihad al-Kuffar wal-Munafiqeen (the disbelievers and the hypocrites) is of four kinds:

1) with the heart;

2) with the tongue;

3) with one’s wealth;

4) with oneself and body.

When this Jihad is against the disbelievers, it is primarily physical fighting and just warfare, according to strict rules of conduct and behavior since noncombatants may not be targeted, etc.  When Jihad is against the hypocrites who call themselves and feign to be Muslims, it is primarily commanding the good, forbidding the evil, words of reproach against their wickedness, and enforcing Allah’s just punishments upon criminals according to judicial procedures and principles of Islamic court producing protecting the innocent until proven guilty.

Jihad Ahl-al-Baghe wa Ahl-al-Bid’ah (Jihad against people of aggression and rebellion and against people of innovation) is of three kinds in terms of one’s ability:

1) If possible, to wage Jihad with one’s hand (physical Jihad by stopping them and fighting) if one is able to;

2) If that is not possible, then it should be with one’s tongue (i.e., by speaking out);

3) If that is not possible, then it should be with one’s heart (i.e., by hating the evil and feeling that it is wrong).

As Allah says about the Muslims who transgress and whom we must fight in order that they return to the ruling of Allah:

“And if two parties or groups among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both, but if one of them rebels against the other, then fight against the one which rebels until it complies with the Command of Allah; then if it complies, make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are equitable. The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion).  So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” [Qur`an: 49:12]

And this is according to abilities as in the famous narration:

“Whoever sees an evil act should change it with his hands, and if he is unable (to use his hand) then with his tongue, and if he is unable then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.” [Reported by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others]

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“Mesirut-Nefesh in Judaic traditions:

the willingness to risk life –

whether one’s own or that of another.

A somewhat parallel idea to the violent form of  “Jihad” which is also a form of worship offered sincerely to  God Almighty and Majestic, is found in Judaic law and called

mesirut-nefesh, “physical martyrdom, selfless dedication, self- sacrifice, and the willingness to risk life – whether one’s own or that of another.”

This concept and related concepts are often cited in the defense of Israel and the protection of settler rights in settlements upon the Holy Land of Greater Israel.   The idea of mesirut-nefesh and related are outside our scope here, and a few quotes will be cited to introduce the idea and related concepts to encourage further investigation.

For instance, the famous Jewish scholar Yosef Eliyahu Henkin was “vigorously opposed Zionism, but once the State of Israel was established he declared the need to support its continued existence, and denounced those who tried to undermine it. In 1959 he wrote: I was shocked to read in Chomoteinu (Cheshvan 5719) the slanderous notion that we are required to give our lives to frustrate and resist the efforts of the State of Israel in its struggle against those who would rise up against them. This was stated as a psak din based on “Israel is restricted from rebelling against the nations.” (Ketubot 111a) […] but once done, though the admonition was ignored, we are required to support them with mesirut nefesh. […] Once the state was declared, anyone who plays into the hands of the nations of the world even where there is no imminent danger, is clearly an informer and pursuer (rodef). All the more when there is danger to destruction of life in so doing…”

[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yosef_Eliyahu_Henkin ]

The “rodef” reference above is significant since in Jewish law: “killing another person is permitted is the case of a rodef (aggressor), who may be killed in order to save the life of oneself or another. This permits self-defense and wartime killings in Judaism.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pikuach_nefesh

Note that  “rabbis debated before the 1995 assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin whether he should be subjected to “din rodef” – the Jewish law of rodef, which literally means one who chases and refers to a license to kill someone who intends to kill someone else” ….

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=445708

The assassin, Yigal Amir, subsequently justified his actions partly on the basis of din rodef, under the assumption that making concessions to the Palestinians would endanger Jewish lives.

See Stern, Jessica. “Talking with Jewish Extremists“. PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/israel/extreme/nameof.html. Retrieved on 21 August 2006. Excerpted from Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill, ISBN 0-06-050533-8.

Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodef

And in 30/06/2004 … a high ranking “rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem, Rabbi Avigdor Neventzal, stirred controversy when he said: “It should be known that anyone who wants to give away Israeli land is like a rodef, and certainly land should not be given to idol worshipers.”

A “rodef,” is the person who can be killed according to Jewish law.

Even more significantly “The Yesha rabbi’s committee chairman, Rabbi Dov Lior, said Tuesday that secular Zionism has reached the end of its way, and that the settlers are today’s Hasmonaens.  Lior said that religious Zionism educates its sons to serve in the army and obey orders, but when orders opposing the way of the Torah are given, like uprooting settlements and giving land to strangers, “the Knesset, government and even the High Court of Justice have no say.”

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=445708

Food for thought and reflection

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Short excerpt from Book on Jihad

Note: (for footnotes scroll down to bottom of page)

First Topic: Meaning of Jihad in the Arabic Language and Legal Islamic Terminology

In the Arabic language Jihad (الجهاد) means utmost exertion and striving with one’s power by word or deed. In the Islamic legal terminology it means to exert oneself in fighting against the disbelievers, or rebels, or apostates, or others like them.

Second Topic: The ruling about Jihad in the path of Allah the Exalted

Jihad is a collective community obligation (Fardh-al-Kifaayah) upon the Muslims. If some of them perform it sufficing the need then the remaining believers are not sinful (otherwise they all remain sinful until this obligation is fulfilled). Allah the Exalted said:

{وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُواْ كَآفَّةً فَلَوْلاَ نَفَرَ مِن كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ طَآئِفَةٌ لِّيَتَفَقَّهُواْ

فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنذِرُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُواْ إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ}

In three circumstances Jihad becomes an individual’s obligation (Fardh-al-Ain):

The First: If the individual male adult Muslim happens to be present at the time when the two sides meet in combat. Allah the Exalted said:

{ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِذَا لَقِيتُمْ فِئَةً فَاثْبُتُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلَحُونَ}

“O you who believe when you encounter a troop (of the enemy) stand firm and remember Allah much that you may be successful.” (8: 45) And Allah the Exalted said:

{ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِذَا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ زَحْفاً فَلاَ تُوَلُّوهُمُ الأَدْبَارَ، وَمَن يُوَلِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ دُبُرَهُ

إِلاَّ مُتَحَرِّفاً لِّقِتَالٍ أَوْ مُتَحَيِّزاً إِلَى فِئَةٍ فَقَدْ بَاءَ بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَمَأْوَاهُ جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ}

“O you who believe when you meet those who disbelieve in battle formation, do not turn to them your backs (fleeing), and whoever turns his back to them on such a day, unless redeploying for war or joining another company, then Allah’s anger descends (upon him), and his refuge is Hell, and what a wretched destination it is!” (8:15-16) The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, mentioned as one of the greatly destructive sins, fleeing from the battlefield. [1]

The second: If the enemy attacks, occupies or surrounds the land, then the people of that land must fight, repel and expel the enemy. The other Muslims must aid those people if they are unable to expel the enemy forces, and this obligation begins with those that are nearest to the land, and then those after them in nearness, and so on, as Allah the Exalted said:

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ قَاتِلُواْ الَّذِينَ يَلُونَكُم مِّنَ الْكُفَّارِ وَلِيَجِدُواْ فِيكُمْ غِلْظَةً وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ}

“O you who believe fight those of the disbelievers that are closest to you and let them find severity in you, and know that Allah is with the righteous.” (9:123)

The third: If the leader of the Muslim land seeks the Muslims to come forth for Jihad, as Allah the Exalted said:

{انْفِرُواْ خِفَافًا وَثِقَالاً وَجَاهِدُواْ بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ}

“Go forth, whether light or heavy, and strive (Jaahidu) with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah.  That is better for you, if you only knew.” (9: 41) And Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لا هجرة بعد الفتح ولكن جهادٌ ونِيَّة، وإذا استُنفِرْتُم فانْفِروا

“There is no emigration (Hijrah) after the conquest, but Jihad and intention (Niyyah), and if you are called forth for military campaign then (form troops and) proceed.” [Reported by al-Bukhari no.2783 and Muslim no. 1353]  And Allah the Exalted said:

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمُ انفِرُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ اثَّاقَلْتُمْ إِلَى الأَرْضِ

أَرَضِيتُم بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الآخِرَةِ فَمَا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الآخِرَةِ إِلاَّ قَلِيلٌ}

“O you who believe, what is the matter with you when you are told to go forth in the cause of Allah, you adhere heavily to the earth?  Are you content with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter?  The enjoyment of the worldly life is only trivial compared to the Hereafter.” (9:38)

The generality of Jihad is an individual obligation by one of the following categories according to one’s abilities and the need: either by one’s heart, or tongue, or hand, or property. The command to wage Jihad with one’s property and self is frequent in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and it is confirmed in the narration of Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

جاهدوا المشركين بألسنتكم، وأنفسكم، وأموالكم، وأيديكم

“Struggle in Jihad against the polytheists and idolaters with your wealth, your selves, your properties, and your tongues.” [Reported by Abu Da`ud no. 2504, an-Nasa`e no. 3098, and Ahmad 3/153, and this wording is his. Al-Albani declared it authentic in Sahih Sunan Abi Da`ud 2/475] [2]

Third Topic: The Grades of Jihad in the Path of Allah

Jihad has four grades: Jihad an-Nafs (Jihad against one’s own self); Jihad ash-Shaitan (Jihad against Satan); Jihad al-Kuffaar wal-Munaafiqeen (Jihad against the disbelievers and the hypocrites); Jihad As-haab azth-Zthulm wal- Bid’ah wal-Munkaraat (Jihad against people of oppression, innovation, and atrocious wrongdoings).

The First Grade: Jihad an-Nafs (Jihad against one’s own self) is of four kinds:

1)      Striving to learn the teachings of Islam, and the guidance by which there is happiness and success in this life and in the Hereafter.

2)      Striving to make oneself act in accordance with what one has learned since knowledge without action either harms someone or does not benefit.

3)      Striving to call others to Islam and teaching those who do not know about Islam;

4)      Striving to bear patiently all the difficulties involved in calling people to Allah and all the insults and harm of people, bearing all this for the sake of Allah. Those that have correct knowledge and action and patience will be highly regarded by Allah the Exalted.

The Second Grade: Jihad ash-Shaitan (Jihad against Satan) is of two types:

1)      Jihad in warding off the doubts that that Satan whispers and instigates to undermine firm faith;

2)      Striving against Satan to ward off the corrupt and evil desires that Satan provokes into the soul of man.

The first Jihad is after certainty of faith, and the second is after patience (two traits necessary for leadership). Allah the Exalted said:

{وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ}

“And We made from among them leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our signs.” (32:24) The Satan is the worst of lethal enemies, as Allah the Exalted said:

{إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّا إِنَّمَا يَدْعُو حِزْبَهُ لِيَكُونُوا مِنْ أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ}

“Verily the Satan is your enemy so take him as your enemy. He only calls his party to be of the inhabitants of the Blazing Hellfire.” (35:6)

The Third Grade: Jihad al-Kuffaar wal-Munaafiqeen (the disbelievers and the hypocrites) is of four kinds: with the heart; with the tongue; with one’s wealth; with oneself and body.  When this Jihad is against the disbelievers it is primarily physical fighting and just warfare, whereas Jihad against the hypocrites who call themselves and feign to be Muslims is primarily by the tongue (commanding the good, forbidding the evil, words of reproach against their wickedness). [3]

The Fourth Grade: Jihad Ahl-al-Baghi wa Ahl-al-Bid’ah (Jihad against people of aggression and rebellion, and against people of innovation) is of three kinds in terms of one’s ability:

1)      If it is possible, to wage Jihad with one’s hand (physical Jihad by stopping them and fighting them);

2)      If that is not possible, then it should be with one’s tongue (i.e., by speaking out);

3)      If that is not possible, then it should be with one’s heart (i.e., by hating the evil and feeling that it is wrong).

And this is according to abilities as in the famous narration:

من رأى منكم منكرًا فليغيره بيده، فإن لم يستطع فبلسانه فإن لم يستطع فبقلبه وذلك أضعف الإيمان

“Whoever sees an evil act should change it with his hands, and if he is unable then with his tongue, and if he is unable then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.” [Reported Muslim no. 49]

These are thirteen levels of Jihad and the best Muslim according to Allah is the one who completes all these levels. In the sight of Allah the grade of the creature is according to his accomplishment in the levels of Jihad.  The most complete and noble creature before Allah is Muhammad, the final Prophet and last Messenger, peace and blessing be upon him, because he was perfect in these levels of Jihad and he truly strived and fought in the path of Allah as is the right and due of Allah – may the perfect salutations of prayer, peace and blessings be upon him as long as the nights follow the days.  [Refer to Ibn Qayyim’s Zaad al-Ma’aad 3/10-13]

The Jihad against the external enemy is a branch extending from the root which is the Jihad against the internal enemy within the Mujahid’s soul, as the Prophet said in the narration of Fadhaalah ibn Ubaidullah, may Allah be pleased with him:

ألا أخبركم بالمؤمن؟ من أمنه الناس على أموالهم وأنفسهم، والمسلم من سلم الناس من لسانه ويده، والمجاهد من جاهد نفسه في طاعة الله، والمهاجر من هجر الخطايا والذنوب

“Do you not want me to inform you, who is the believer? The Mu`min (believer) is the one from whom the people feel secure in their properties and selves, and the Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the other Muslims are safe, and the Mujahid is the one who struggles with himself for obeying Allah and the Muhajir (Emigrant) is the one who leaves the mistakes and sins.” [Reported by Imam Ahmad 2/21, al-Haakim 1/11 who declared it authentic with adth-Dthahabi concurring, and al-Albani said that the narration of Ahmad is authentic. See his book entitled as-Silsilat-al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah no 549.] Thus the Jihad against the self is precedent before the Jihad against the external enemy, and it is the root source from which it springs. The person who doesn’t struggle and fight against himself initially in order to obey Allah’s laws and commands and to refrain from all that is forbidden for the sake of Allah, will not be able to fight the external enemy.  How can he fight against this external enemy while the internal enemy that remains constantly within him is dominant and in control of him? These are two of his enemies (his own internal enemy in himself and the external enemy of the disbeliveers and hypocrites), yet there is a third enemy that he must confront in order to confront these two: the Satan. He tempts man, trying to hinder him from engaging these two enemies by all means to strike fear and terror into his heart and forsakenness, whispering incessantly that there are too many difficulties and hardships in this Jihad which causes pain and takes him away from his luxuries and pleasures. He will never be able to take a step in the Jihad against these two (the internal and the external enemy) unless he engages this Prime Enemy, the Satan, since fighting him is the first step after which he can fight against the other two. [Refer to Ibn Qayyim’s Zad al-Ma’ad 3/6]

Fourth Topic: The Wisdom of Legislation of Jihad

Allah the Almighty and Majestic has clarified the goal and objective of the legislation of  Jihad, when He the Exalted said:

{وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّهِ فَإِنِ انتَهَوْاْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ}

“And fight them until there is no trial and civil strife and the religion is entirely for Allah. And if they cease then Allah is Omniscient about all that they do.”  (8:39) And He the Exalted said:

{وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِلَّهِ فَإِنِ انتَهَواْ فَلاَ عُدْوَانَ إِلاَّ عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ}

“Fight them until there is no civil strife and the religion is for Allah, and if they cease then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.” (2:193)

Thus we can identify the goals and wisdom of Jihad in the following points:

1.      First: Making the Word of Allah Supreme.

This is by the narration of Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, may Allah be pleased with him:

جاء رجل إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال : الرجل يقاتل للمغنم والرجل يقاتل للذكر والرجل يقاتل ليرى مكانه

فمن في سبيل الله ؟ قال : من قاتل لتكون كلمة الله هي العليا فهو في سبيل الله

“A man came to the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, and asked: ‘A man fights for war booty, another fights for fame, and a third fights for showing off, which one of them fights in Allah’s Cause?” The Prophet said: ‘Whoever fights that Allah’s Word should be superior, fights for the sake of Allah.”   [Reported by al-Bukhari no. 2810. and Muslim no 1904]

2.      Second: To Aid the Oppressed.

Allah the Exalted said:

{وَمَا لَكُمْ لاَ تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاء وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ

رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَـذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا}

“And what is the matter with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and for the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, ‘Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people, and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?” (4:75)

3.      Third: To repel Aggression and protect Islam.

Allah the Exalted said:

{الشَّهْرُ الْحَرَامُ بِالشَّهْرِ الْحَرَامِ وَالْحُرُمَاتُ قِصَاصٌ فَمَنِ اعْتَدَى عَلَيْكُمْ فَاعْتَدُواْ عَلَيْهِ

بِمِثْلِ مَا اعْتَدَى عَلَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ}

“The sacred month is for the sacred month and for violations there is legal retribution. So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you,

and fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who fear Him” (2:194) And Allah the Exalted said:

{ أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلا أَن يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ وَلَوْلا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ

فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ}

“Permission (to fight) has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is able to give them victory. “Those who have been evicted from their homes without right, only because they say, ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ Was it not that Allah blocks some people by means of some others, many monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques would have been demolished wherein the name of Allah is mentioned frequently. Allah will surely support (to victory) those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is All-Powerful and Exalted in Might.” (22: 40-41)


[1] This is mentioned in the famous narration wherein the Prophet said, peace and blessings be upon him:

اجتنبوا السبع الموبقات، قيل: يا رسول الله، وما هن؟ قال: الشرك بالله ، والسحر، وقتل النفس التي حرَّم الله إلا بالحق،

وأكل مال اليتيم، وأكل الربا، والتولي يوم الزحف، وقذف المحصنات الغافلات المؤمنات

“Avoid seven destructive sins. They asked what are they O Messenger of Allah? He said: Idolatry; sorcery; killing someone who it is unlawful to kill except by justification; devouring the money of the orphan; taking usury and interest, fleeing the day of march for battle, and falsely accusing the unsuspecting chaste women.” [Reported by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others]

[2] I only found this narration by this wording in the additions of Abdullah ibn Imam Ahmad, and Sheikh al-Arna`ut deemed it authentic. The version of Abu Da`ud and others reads:

(جاهدوا المشركين بأموالكم وأنفسكم وألسنتكم )

“Struggle in Jihad against the polytheists and idolaters with your wealth, your selves and your tongues.” Reported by Ahmad, Nasa`e, ad-Daarami, and others and verified by Al-Albani. In Sahih al-Jame’ no. 5401, 3090]

[3] Actions are also necessary, and enforcing Allah’s just punishments upon criminal action is one of the greatest deterrents from hypocrisy gaining ascendancy in a society.

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Virtues of Jihad and the Mujahideen

The Eminent Sheikh Abdul Aziz ibn Abdullah ibn Baaz

(May Allah’s mercy be upon him)

فضل الجهاد والمجاهدين

تأليف سماحة الشيخ عبدالعزيز بن عبدالله بن باز رحمه الله

(1) Virtues of Jihad and the Mujahideen

All praise is for Allah who commanded the believers to strive and fight for His cause, promising them great reward and clear victory, and I testify that LA ILAAHA ILLALLAH (there is no god except Allah) alone without partner, who said in his Noble Book (the Qur`an):

( وَكَانَ حَقّاً عَلَيْنَا نَصْرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ )

“…and it was the right upon Us to support the believers (to victory).” [Surat-ar-Room (30:47)]

And I testify that Muhammad is Allah’s Slave (Abd), Messenger (Rasool) and His friend (Khaleel). He is the best of those that struggle (in Jihad), the most truthful in fighting, the most sincere and beneficial to all the people, may the prayers, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and upon his pure family and noble companions- those who sold themselves to Allah in pledge of allegiance, and fought for the sake of Allah until the religion was manifest and supreme and the believers were empowered and the idolaters were humbled. May Allah be pleased with them, and honor them their final abode, and may Allah make us of the followers of them in excellence.

Jihad for the sake of Allah is of the best forms of worship to approach near to Allah, and is one of the greatest acts of obedience to Allah. Nay, indeed we can even say that is absolutely the best thing to approach near to Allah for those who draw near to Him, and the best of obligations in which the believers may compete with each other to perform better than the other. The reason for this is that Jihad contains assistance to the believers, and making Allah’s religion supreme, thwarting the disbelievers and hypocrites, facilitating the call to Islam in the world, removing the people from the darkness of oppression to enlightenment, and propagating the excellence of Islam and the just Islamic Law among the people along with other great benefits and good consequences for the Muslims.

There are many sacred verses of Allah’s Book, the Qur`an, and the Prophetic narrations of the Sunnah about the virtues of Jihad and the Mujahideen to encourage the noble people, and incite the depths of the souls to participate in this way and fight truthfully against the enemies of Allah.

Jihad is a collective community obligation (Fard-al-Kifaayah) upon the Muslims wherein if some of them fulfill the requirements then this suffices the community of believers (and if not, they all are sinful). In some circumstances it becomes an individual obligation (Fard-al-Ain) to perform wherein it is not allowed for a believer to evade his duty except with a legitimate excuse. It becomes an individual obligation if the leader of the Muslim land seeks the Muslims to come forth for Jihad, or if the enemy attacks, occupies or surrounds the land, or if that individual happens to be present at the time of actual combat. The proofs of the sacred verses of the Qur`an and Sunnah in this regard are well known (and detailed in the relevant books of jurisprudence and commentaries of the Qur`an and Sunnah).

One of the places of Allah’s clear Book about Jihad is the saying of Allah the Most Exalted:

( انْفِرُوا خِفَافاً وَثِقَالاً وَجَاهِدُوا بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنْفُسِكُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ * لَوْ كَانَ عَرَضاً قَرِيباً وَسَفَراً قَاصِداً لَاتَّبَعُوكَ وَلَكِنْ بَعُدَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الشُّقَّةُ وَسَيَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ لَوِ اسْتَطَعْنَا لَخَرَجْنَا مَعَكُمْ يُهْلِكُونَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ * عَفَا اللَّهُ عَنْكَ لِمَ أَذِنْتَ لَهُمْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَتَعْلَمَ الْكَاذِبِينَ * لا يَسْتَأْذِنُكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ أَنْ يُجَاهِدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالْمُتَّقِينَ * إِنَّمَا يَسْتَأْذِنُكَ الَّذِينَ لا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَارْتَابَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ فَهُمْ فِي رَيْبِهِمْ يَتَرَدَّدُونَ )

“Go forth, whether light or heavy, and strive (Jaahidu) with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah.  That is better for you, if you only knew. Had it been a near gain and a moderate and easy trip, they (the hypocrites) would have followed you, but the journey was distant to them with difficulties.  And they will swear by Allah, ‘If we were able, we would have gone forth with you,’ they destroy themselves (by these false oaths) and Allah knows that indeed they are liars. May Allah pardon you ([O Muhammad) since you gave them permission (to remain behind). (You should not have done so) until it was evident to you who were truthful and you knew the liars. Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day would not ask permission of you to be excused from striving and fighting with their wealth and their lives. And Allah knows those who truly fear Him. Only those ask permission from you who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and whose hearts have doubted: in their doubt they are wavering undecidedly.” [Surat-at-Taubah: (41-45)]

In these noble verses Allah commands the believers to participate in the Jihad “light and heavy” meaning as young men and elders, and to fight for the sake of Allah with their properties and their selves. Allah the Almighty and Majestic informs them that this is best for them in this life and the Hereafter. The Allah tells them about the situation of the hypocrites who have evil intentions and are slow to respond or avoid the call of Jihad, and that this is certain destruction for the believers when he said, “…Had it been a near gain and a moderate and easy trip…” Then Allah reproaches His Prophet, peace be upon him, with a sublime reproach[1] for allowing those that sought to excuse themselves from Jihad with His saying, “May Allah pardon you ([O Muhammad) since you gave them permission (to remain behind)….” Here Allah the Almighty and Majestic says that if he had not allowed them to excuse themselves, this would expose the truthfulness of the True and the deceitfulness of the Liars. Then Allah reminds the believers that the true believer in Allah and the Last Day does not seek excuses for leaving Jihad except for legitimate reasons because the depths of his sincerity in faith of Allah and the Last Day prohibit this, and propel him to participate in the Jihad with the other believers. Allah the Glorified says that the only thing that incites these people to seek to excuse themselves from Jihad is their lack of faith in Allah and the Last Day, their plaguing doubts about what the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, informed us concerning Jihad (through the revelations from Allah the Exalted in the Qur`an and Sunnah). In these verses is the greatest encouragement and incitement to participate in Jihad for the sake of Allah, along with the greatest form of condemnation for avoiding performance of one’s duty in participation.

Allah the Exalted also said about the virtues and merits of the Mujahideen:

( إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ وَعْداً عَلَيْهِ حَقّاً فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْأِنْجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللَّهِ فَاسْتَبْشِرُوا بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُمْ بِهِ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ )

“Verily Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties so that they will receive the Paradise in compensation. They fight in Allah’s Cause killing others and being killed. It is a promise in truth that is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an, and who is truer to His covenant than Allah? Therefore rejoice in the bargain and pledge that you have concluded, for indeed that is the supreme success.” [Surat-at-Taubah (9:111)]

In this noble verse we find the strong encouragement from Allah to participate in the Jihad for the sake of Allah, the Almighty and Majestic, by the clarification that the believer has sold himself and his properties to Allah, the beloved and glorified, and that Allah has accepted this contract and has made His Paradise the price to be paid for buying it from His faithful. He informs them that they kill others and are killed (as martyrs). He then reminds them that this contractual bargain is in the noblest of His Books, the Torah (revealed to Moses), the Injeel (Gospel, revealed to Jesus) and the Qur`an (revealed to Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon them all). [2] He then explains that no one is more trustworthy to fulfill his promise than Allah so that the believers will feel secure and soothed about this promise and what they have spent and contracted in the bargain, the ‘sale item’ which is their souls and properties for the sake of Allah the glorified, given in sincerity and truthfulness and with wholehearted purity, and to feel secure and soothed about their “wages” and what they have ‘bought,’ and for which they ‘contracted’ to receive in the world of this life (victory and war spoils) and the Hereafter (Paradise). Then Allah the Most Majestic commands the believers to be happy about this bargain since it contains great success, praiseworthy security, victory and assistance for His faithfuls who fight the disbelievers and hypocrites humiliating and subduing them, the victory of Allah’s friends and allies, the believers, over them and the opening of the way for the invitation to Islam to spread over the inhabited world.

And also Allah the Almighty and Majestic said:

( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا هَلْ أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَى تِجَارَةٍ تُنْجِيكُمْ مِنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ * تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنْفُسِكُمْ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ * يَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَيُدْخِلْكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَمَسَاكِنَ طَيِّبَةً فِي جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ * وَأُخْرَى تُحِبُّونَهَا نَصْرٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَفَتْحٌ قَرِيبٌ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ )

““O you who believe, shall I guide you to a transaction that will save you from a painful punishment? (That) you believe in Allah and His Messenger and strive in the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives.  That is the best for you, if you only knew. He will forgive your sins and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow and into pleasant dwellings in gardens of perpetual bliss.  That is the great attainment.” [Surat-as-Saff (61:10:13)]

These verses of Allah’s Book are proof that faith in Allah and the Messenger and in Jihad are a bargain that brings salvation from the painful punishment on the Day of Resurrection. This is the greatest of encouragements and incentives to faith and Jihad. It is known that faith in Allah and His Messenger includes monotheism and worshiping Him sincerely without any idolatry just as it includes fulfilling of the obligations and refraining from all that is prohibited. Jihad is one of these obligations because it is one of the great indicators of Islam and most important obligations, yet Allah singled it out for special mention to indicate its especially great importance and stimulate our souls towards it since it has great benefits and praiseworthy results, as some were mentioned before. The Allah reminds them that Allah has promised the believers and Mujahideen forgiveness and good residences in the honorable abode of Paradise, to persuade them with even greater attractions for Jihad and intensify their desire to participate in their duty and compete with one another and hasten to service with their brother believers. Then Allah the glorified informed us about one of the rewards of the Mujahideen in the life of this world – victory over their enemies and near approaching conquest for the faithful, and this all is the epitome of encouragement and attraction and

The verses about the merits and virtues of Jihad and the Mujahideen and which encourage Jihad are extremely numerous, yet these few examples we have cited should be sufficient here as therapy (for our souls) and motivation for our desires, impelling us to participate in this honorable station and noble activity seeking to reap the great beneficial and good consequences. From Allah we seek Aid, and He alone is the Helper.

There are so many narrations of the Sunnah of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, about the merits of Jihad and the Mujahideen and warning against leaving and avoiding it, that it is impossible to enumerate them all.   Many are so well known that it is almost unnecessary to mention them but for the sake of remembrance we will cite a few of them so that the believer in truth striving for the cause of Allah will know some of what Allah’s Messenger and Prophet said about Jihad, may the perfect prayers, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, about the subject of the merits of Jihad and the status of the Mujahideen.

In the two authentic collections of narrations of al-Bukhari and Muslim, on Sahl ibn Sa’ad may Allah be pleased with him, who narrated that the Prophet said, peace and blessing be upon him:

( رباط يوم في سبيل الله خير من الدنيا وما عليها, وموضع سوط أحدكم من الجنة خير من الدنيا وما عليها,

والروحة يروحها العبد في سبيل الله أو الغدوة خير من الدنيا وما عليها )

“To stand as a guard (protecting the Muslims) for the sake of Allah for one day is better than the world and whatever is on its surface. The place in Paradise as small in size as that occupied by the whip of one of you is better than the world and whatever is on its surface.  A morning’s journey or an evening’s which a slave (of Allah) travels for the sake of Allah is better than the world and whatever is on its surface.”

And Abu Hurairah narrated, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said:

( مثل المجاهد في سبيل الله – والله أعلم بمن يجاهد في سبيله – كمثل الصائم القائم , وتكفل الله للمجاهد في سبيله

إن توفاه أن يدخله الجنة أو يرجعه سالما مع أجر أو غنيمة )

“The example of a ‘Mujahid’ for the cause of Allah – and Allah knows best who really strives in His cause – is like a person who fasts and prays continuously. Allah guarantees that He will admit the ‘Mujahid’ for His Sake into Paradise if he is killed, or that he will return him to his home safely with the rewards and the war booty.” Reported by Muslim (and others). In another wording of the narration of Muslim, he said:

( تضمَّن الله لمن خرج في سبيله لا يخرجه إلا جهاد في سبيلي , و إيمان بي وتصديق برسلي فهو علي ضامن أن أدخله الجنة , أو أرجعه إلى مسكنه الذي خرج منه نائلًا ما نال من أجر أو غنيمة )

“Allah guarantees (saying that) the one who precedes out for the sake of Allah with firm faith in Me (Allah), and confirming the truth of My Messengers, then it is an obligation (which I place on Myself) to have him enter Paradise or to have him return to his home from which he departed with what he achieved of the reward and the war spoils.”

And Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said:

( ما من مكلوم يكلم في سبيل الله إلا جاء يوم القيامة وكلمه يدمي , اللون لون الدم والريح ريح المسك )

“No person is wounded for the sake of Allah except that he will come on the Day of Resurrection and his wound gushing blood that has the color of blood but the fragrance of perfume musk.” Agreed upon (as authentic by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

And Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said:

(جاهدوا المشركين بأموالكم وأنفسكم وألسنتكم )

“Struggle in Jihad against the polytheists and idolaters with your wealth, your selves and your tongues.” Reported by Ahmad and Nasa`e (and also ad-Daarami, an-Nasa`e and others, and verified by Al-Albani). [3]

In the two authentic collections of narrations of al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, was asked

أي العمل أفضل قال ( إيمان بالله ورسوله ) قيل ثم ماذا ؟ قال ( الجهاد في سبيل الله ) قيل ثم ماذا ؟ قال ( حج مبرور ) .

“Which act of worship is best? He said: ‘Belief in Allah and His Messenger.’ It was asked: Then what? He said: ‘Jihad for the sake of Allah.’ He was asked, Then what? He said: ‘Pilgrimage (Hajj) that is accepted due to its goodness.’”

And Anas Ibn Malik narrated, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said:

( ما اغبّرت قدما عبد في سبيل الله فتمسه النار )

“The person whose two feet become covered with dust in the path of Jihad will not have the fire of Hell touch him.” Reported by al-Bukhari in authentic collection.

He also reported on Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said:  

من مات ولم يغز ولم يحدث نفسه به مات على شعبة من نفاق ) .

“Whoever dies without participating in military expedition (Ghazwa or Jihad) or speaking to himself about participation then he dies upon a branch of hypocrisy.”

Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said that he heard the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, say:

( إذا تبايعتم بالعينة , وأخذتم أذناب البقر , ورضيتم بالزرع , وتركتم الجهاد ,

سلط الله عليكم ذلا لا ينزعه شئ حتى ترجعوا إلى دينكم )

“If you buy and sell by a bargain of al-‘Einah[4], follow the tails of cows, become pleased in agriculture and leave Jihad, then Allah will impose dishonor and meekness upon you which will not be lifted from you by anything except that you return to your religion.” Reported by Ahmad and Abu Da`ud. It was verified as authentic by Ibn al-Qattaan, and al-Haafizth said in Buloogh al-Maraam that the narrators are trustworthy.

The narrations of the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, about the merits of Jihad and what Allah has prepared for the truthful Mujahideen of high stations and immense rewards, and also about the severe warning against leaving and avoiding it, are numerous.  In the last two narrations, and others of similar meaning, we find the indication that leaving Jihad and not even speaking to oneself about participation in it is a branch of hypocrisy, and that being preoccupied by business, agriculture and interest based transactions rather than Jihad is the reason for the dishonor and submissiveness of the Muslims and the domination of the enemies over them. This truly is the harsh reality we face nowadays. It shows that we will not be released from this pitiful state of affairs until we return to our straightforward obedience to Allah’s commands and to Jihad in the path of Allah.[5]

We ask Allah to confer his favor by returning all the Muslims to His religion in spirit and practice, and rectify our leaders and their advisers, and assemble them as a unified front upholding the Word of Allah, and guide them to the proper understanding of jurisprudence in the religion, and inspire them for Jihad for His sake, the Lord Sovereign of the Universe, such that they gain their honor and come out of their submission and contempt. May Allah decree for them victory over His and their common enemies, indeed He is All-Able.

(2) Purpose of Jihad

Jihad is of two types:

1)      Jihad at-Talab (Jihad of Offence);

2)      Jihad ad-Difa’a (Jihad of Defense). [6]

Both are for the propagation of the religion of Allah, calling the people to Islam and releasing them from the darkness and injustice to the light and justice, to make Allah’s Religion Supreme in the world and exclusively for Him. [7] As Allah the Almighty and Majestic said in His Book in Surat-al-Baqarah:

( وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِلَّهِ … )

“And fight them until there is no trial and civil strife and the religion is for Allah.” (2:193) And He said in Surat-al-Anfaal:

( وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّهِ … )

“And fight them until there is no trial and civil strife and the religion is entirely for Allah.” (8:39)

And Allah the Almighty and Majestic said in Surat-at-Taubah:

( فَإِذَا انْسَلَخَ الْأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدْتُمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُوا لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ

فَإِنْ تَابُوا وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّوا سَبِيلَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ )

“And when the sacred months have lapsed then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush.  But if they repent, establish prayer and give charity, let them go on their way.  Indeed Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (9:5) And there are numerous verses of the Qur`an about this meaning.

The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said:

( أمرت أن أقاتل الناس حتى يشهدوا أن لا إله إلا الله , أن محمدا رسول الله , ويقيموا الصلاة , ويؤتوا الزكاة ,

فإذا فعلوا ذلك عصموا مني دماءهم , وأموالهم إلا بحق الإسلام وحسابهم على الله عز وجل )

“I have been commanded to fight people till they testify LA ILAAHA ILLALLAH (there is no god except Allah) and MUHAMMADUR RASOOLUHU (Muhammad is His Messenger) and they establish Salah (Prayer), and pay Zakah (charity); and if they do this, their blood (life) and property are secured except when justified by law, and it is for Allah to call them to account.” The authenticity of this narration by Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him is agreed upon by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.

In the two authentic collections of narrations of al-Bukhari and Muslim, Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet said, peace and blessing be upon him:

( أمرت أن أقاتل الناس حتى يشهدوا أن لا اله إلا الله وأني رسول الله فإذا قالوها

عصموا مني دماءهم وأموالهم إلا بحقها وحسابهم على الله )

“I have been ordered to fight against people until they testify that LA ILAAHA ILLALLAH (there is no god except Allah) and that ANNI RASOOLULLAH (I am the Messenger of Allah), and if they say it, they will have gained protection from me for their lives and properties, except by the right of Islam (i.e. unless they do acts that are punishable in accordance with Islamic law) and their reckoning will be with Allah.” Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim and others.

In the authentic collections of narrations of Muslim, Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, also said that the Messenger said, peace and blessing be upon him:

( أمرت أن أقاتل الناس حتى يقولوا لا اله إلا الله ويؤمنوا بي وبما جئت به )

“I have been commanded to fight against people until they say LA ILAAHA ILLALLAH (there is no god except Allah) and believe in me and what I have brought (the revelation and law from Allah).

Also in the authentic collection of Muslim, on Tariq ibn Ashyam al-Ashja’e, may Allah be pleased with him, who said that the Messenger said, peace and blessing be upon him:

( من وحد الله وكفر بما يعبد من دون الله حرم ماله ودمه وحسابه علي الله عز وجل )

“Whoever worships Allah alone (wahhad-Allah) and rejects (kafara) that which is worshiped other than Allah, Allah will make his blood and wealth protected and sacred, and his accounting will be on Allah the Almighty and Majestic.”

Similar meanings are numerous in the prophetic narrations, and these texts of the Qur`an and Sunnah clearly indicate the obligation to fight the disbelievers and polytheists in Jihad. Fighting them means to engage them until they worship Allah alone without partner and believe in the Message of His Messenger Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and follow what he brought, after conveying Islam to them and inviting them to accept Islam, and after they have stubbornly remained upon their disbelief. Their blood and their properties will not become sacred  and protected except by this, and this ruling is general concerning the Jihad at-Talab and Jihad ad-Difa’a. The only people exempted from this ruling are those that accept to pay the Jizyah [8] and abide by its conditions, according to the saying of Allah the Exalted:

( قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ لا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلا بِالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَلا يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَلا يَدِينُونَ دِينَ الْحَقِّ

مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حَتَّى يُعْطُوا الْجِزْيَةَ عَنْ يَدٍ وَهُمْ صَاغِرُون )

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who do not make unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful, and who do not adopt the religion of truth, of those who were given the Scriptures (the Jews and Christians) until they give the Jizyah willingly while they are humbled.” [Surat-at-Taubah (9: 29)

It is confirmed that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, took the Jizyah from the Magians of Hijr and thus these three groups of disbelievers, the Magians, Jews and Christians, are confirmed by explicit textual evidence that Jizyah is to be taken from them. Therefore it is obligatory on the Muslims to fight them and wage Jihad on them until they accept Islam or give the Jizyah, subdued and submissive. As for the other people, it is obligatory to fight them until they accept Islam in the most correct of the two opinions of jurisprudence, because the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, fought the Arabs until they entered into Islam in groups and he did not seek to take Jizyah from them. If it were allowed to take it from them to protect their blood and properties, he would have clarified this, and if this had happened in his time, it would have been reported. Some of the eminent scholars say that it is allowed by the evidence of the famous narration of Buraidah in Sahih Muslim, [9] and the details of this issue with each side’s proofs and legal arguments are mentioned in the books of jurisprudence – those who seek these details they will certainly find them. From among the kinds of disbelievers that are exempt from being engaged in combat are women, children and elder men and their likes, since they are not of those who fight. This is conditional upon that they don’t participate (physically) or assist in the combat with their judgments and strategic planning, as is well known by its scriptural proofs of the Qur`an and Sunnah. [10]


[1] Each instance of Allah’s rapprochement of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, in the Qur`an is an eternal lesson for him and all the believers: they gives us specific lessons; they protect the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, generally from mistakes; they complete the attribute of infallibility of his sacred mission from Allah to mankind. Therefore all the reproaches are gentle, wise and sublime.

[2] Jihad was legislated for the Prophets of Allah from the time of Moses, peace be upon him, to propagate the Word of Allah, to protect the believers, and to punish the disbelievers. Previous to this Allah would send His punishment personally upon the disbeliever as salvation for His faithful and as glorification of His Exalted Name. The glory of Allah’s kingdom of the “People of the Book” after Moses, peace be upon him, reached its zenith at the time of Prophet and King Solomon, peace be upon him, and declined thereafter through degeneration into disobediences and idolatries.  Jesus, peace be upon him, will participate in Jihad in his second coming as promised. His followers degenerated into the idolatries of trinity, saint worship and giving their king the exclusive rights of Allah, along with many other innovations.  The Jihad of Allah’s Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him, and his followers is essentially the same as that of Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them, as any unbiased study of the Torah, Gospel and Qur`an bears testimony. Jihad is for establishing the true monotheistic religion of Allah – Islam – and its triumph over the falsehood and oppressions of idolatry, tyranny, and hypocrisy in their ranks.

[3] Fighting with properties is to spend for the cause of Allah, and with the bodies is preparation and engagement in combat. As for struggle with the tongue, this includes speeches and writings as indicated  in narrations like what the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said to his companion, the poet Hassan ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him:

” يا حسان أجب عن رسول الله الهم أيده بروح القدس “

“O Hassan!  Answer them about the Messenger of Allah.  O Allah! Aid him with the Holy Spirit (Jibreel).” [Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim]  And in another narration:

“اهجو قريشا. فإنه أشد عليهم من رشق بالنبل… إن روح القدس لا يزال يؤيدك، ما نافحت عن الله ورسوله…”

“…recite challenging poetry to Quraish since it is harder on them than firing arrows…Verily the Holy Spirit is with you as long as you defend Allah and His Messenger.” [Reported by al-Bukhari]  And in a more detailed narration he commanded Hassan, saying:

“أﺬهب إلى أبي بكر ليحدثك حديث القوم وأيامهم وأحسابهم ثم اهجهم وجبريل معك “

“Go to Abi Bakr and have him teach you the traditions and ways of these people and their histories (in war etc) and their lineages, and then propagate (your poetry) against them, and may the Holy Spirit (Jibreel – Gabriel) be with you.” [Reported by al-Haakim and verified by al-Albani]   The word used here is “Hija`a,” which is a genre of poetry for mockery, satirizing, attacking your opponent to break their spirit and demoralize them and boost of morale among the troops. Today we may call it psychological warfare and ideological warfare, since excellent poetry for the Arabs was the epitome of intellectual power and skill.

[4] Al-‘Einah is a kind of dealing in buying and selling wherein the buyer buys a certain commodity on deferred payment and then sells the same back to the one he bought from for less price but against immediate payment so that he has cash in his hand.

[5] The evils and deceits inherent in Riba (interest and usury) are the basis of many corruptions in the modern world’s financial and economic systems in industry, business and agriculture where the profit motive and greed is idolized and exploitation of natural resources and the workers, especially the ‘have not’ classes, and peoples runs amok. Traditional pre-modern economies are often free of this evil or at least recognize it as an evil. This modern “Riba” based system is well documented to structurally increase the richness of the rich and the poverty of the poor by: 1) giving unfair advantage to the large owners, privileged classes and corporate interests, and 2) thwarting just and sustainable development, especially for the lower classes and in the third world; and 3) leading the world to self destruction economically, socially and environmentally.  Islam with wisdom prohibits Riba categorically as a great evil and inherently unjust. Allah warned in the Qur`an those that do not desist of the declaration of “Warfare from Allah and His Prophet” (Surat-al-Baqarah). The Muslims collectively have great wealth but unfortunately huge sums of it are used for iniquity and within the unjust financial Riba based systems. Indeed the Prophet spoke the truth, peace and blessing be upon him, when he said:

إن لكل أمة فتنة  وفتنة أمتي المال

“For every Ummah (nation and community) there is a trial, and the trial of my Ummah is wealth.” [Reported by Tirmidhi, and authenticated by Sheikh al-Albani] And he also said:

أبشروا وأملوا ما يسركم فوالله ما الفقر أخشى عليكم ولكني أخشى أن تبسط الدنيا عليكم كما بسطت على من كان قبلكم

فتنافسوها كما تنافسوها فتهلككم كما أهلكتهم

“Rejoice and hope for that which will please you. By Allah, it is not poverty that I fear for you, but I fear that this world will be opened up with its wealth for you as it was opened to those before you; and that you will vie with one another over it as they competed with one another and that eventually it will ruin you as it ruined them.” [Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim]

[6] The Arabic word “Talab” is translated here as offense to correspond to defense, but the meaning is not offensive in the sense of aggression since Jihad is never naked aggression, as Allah says:

( وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلا تَعْتَدُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ )

“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not commit aggression. Indeed Allah does not like aggressors.” [Surat-al-Baqarah (2:190)] This verse prohibits aggression, and the next verse stresses that any advance is only against the oppressors, as Allah said :

{وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِلَّهِ فَإِنِ انتَهَواْ فَلاَ عُدْوَانَ إِلاَّ عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ}

“Fight them until there is no trial and civil strife and the religion is for Allah, and if they cease then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.” (2:193) Thus Jihad at-Talab is to seeking to spread the Word of Allah to the other countries, peoples and lands, and if the leaders of those countries reject to allow this peaceful spread, suppress Islam and oppress the people, then the Muslims engage them in combat. If the leader accepted Islam he is offered to remain the governor with all due rights and responsibilities.  Jihad of Defense of course is to defend against aggression and attack.

[7] We have witnessed that groups of people of the disbelievers in some remote regions of the world say to those who come to proselytize peacefully among them, in statements like: “This is very good! Why didn’t you come sooner to tell us about this truth and guidance?”  As the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

ليبلغن هذا الأمر ما بلغ الليل والنهار ولا يترك الله بيت مدر ولا وبر الا أدخله الله هذا الدين

بعز عزيز أو بذل ذليل عزا يعز الله به الإسلام وذلا يذل الله به الكفرا

“This religion will reach every place that sees night and day. Allah will not leave a house made of mud nor (a tent of) camel wool, except that Allah will make this religion enter it, either by the might of the mighty or the humility of the humble: the mighty through whom Allah will give might and honor to the religion of Islam, and the humble through whom Allah will humiliate the disbelief.”  Reported by Imam Ahmad, Ibn Habbaan and Haakim and others and authenticated by Sheikh Al-Albani in his as-Silsilah Sahihah no.3.

[8] Jizyah is a contractual tax that the non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic State willingly pay for the services of protection and for exemption from military service and from payment of Zakah (obligatory charity paid by wealthy Muslims).

[9] For the significance this narration will be mentioned in full here. Imam Muslim, Imam Ahmad, the four reporters of the Sunan (Abu Da`ud, at-Tirmidthi, an-Nasa`e, and Ibn Majah) and many others report on Buraidah, may Allah be pleased with him, who said:

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا أمر أمير على جيش أو سرية أوصاه خاصته بتقوى الله ومن معه من المسلمين خيرا ثم قال ( اغزوا باسم الله وفي سبيل الله قاتلوا من كفر بالله اغزوا ولا تغلوا ولا تغدروا ولا تمثلوا ولا تقتلوا وليدا وإذا لقيت عدوك من المشركين فادعهم إلى ثلاث خصال ( أو خلال ) فأيتهن ما أجابوك فاقبل منهم وكف عنهم ثم ادعهم إلى الإسلام فإن أجابوك فاقبل منهم وكف عنهم ثم ادعهم إلى التحول من دارهم إلى دار المهاجرين وأخبرهم أنهم إن فعلوا ذلك فلهم ما للمهاجرين وعليهم ما على المهاجرين فإن أبوا أن يتحولوا منها فأخبرهم أنهم يكونون كأعراب المسلمين يجري عليهم حكم الله الذي يجري على المؤمنين ولا يكون لهم في الغنيمة والفيء شيء إلا أن يجاهدوا مع المسلمين فإن هم أبوا فسلهم الجزية فإن هم أجابوك فاقبل منهم وكف عنهم فإن هم أبوا فاستعن بالله وقاتلهم وإذا حاصرت أهل حصن فأرادوك أن تجعل لهم ذمة الله وذمة نبيه فلا تجعل لهم ذمة الله وذمة نبيه ولكن اجعل لهم ذمتك وذمة أصحابك فإنكم أن تخفروا ذممكم وذمم أصحابكم أهون من أن تخفروا ذمة الله وذمة رسوله وإذا حاصرت أهل حصن فأرادوك أن تنزلهم على حكم الله فلا تنزلهم على حكم الله ولكن أنزلهم على حكمك فإنك لا تدري أتصيب حكم الله فيهم أم لا

“When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would delegate anyone as commander of an army or detachment he would exhort him with departing words of counsel to fear Allah and to be good and just to the Muslims who were with him. He would say: ‘Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Go for battle but do not embezzle the war spoils, do not break your pledge, do not mutilate (the dead) bodies, and do not kill the children. When you meet your enemies who are idolaters and polytheists, invite them to three options and if they respond to any one of these, accept it from them and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam: if they respond to you, accept it from them and cease fighting against them. Then invite them to change from their lands to the land of Emigrants (Muhaireen, meaning Madinah) and inform them that if they do this, they shall have all the privileges and obligations of the Emigrants. If they refuse to change then inform them that they will have the status of Bedouin Muslims being subjected to the Commands of Allah (of Islamic Law) like other Muslims but will not receive any share from the spoils of war or the Faiy (booty that comes without fighting) except when they physically participate with the Muslims (in battle against the disbelievers). If they refuse to accept Islam, then demand from them the ‘Jizyah’ (special payment of compensation for protection by the state). If they agree to pay this, accept it from them and hold back your hands. If they refuse to pay the Jizyah, then seek Allah’s aid and fight them (i.e. the third choice). When you lay siege of a fort, and those that are besieged appeal to you for protection in the name of Allah and His Prophet, do not accord to them the guarantee of Allah and His Prophet, but accord to them your own guarantee and the guarantee of your companions, for it is a lesser sin that the security given by you or your companions be violated than that the security granted in the name of Allah and His Prophet be violated. When you besiege a fort and those besieged want you to lift the siege and be liberated in accordance with Allah’s Command (Hukm), do not let them come out from the siege in accordance with Allah’s Command but do so upon your own command, for you do not know whether or not you will be correct in assessing correctly and executing Allah’s Command with regard to them.” This important narration contains many crucial points of jurisprudence and for our discussion indicates that possibly other than the three groups confirmed from whom Jizyah was taken (Jews, Christians and Majus), may be offered the option of paying the Jizyah, and Allah knows best.

[10] This is only natural because they have become thereby combatants and if they are left unchecked, they will wreck destruction on the ranks of the Mujahideen.

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