Chapter 3: Jihad
by Serge Trifkovic
Webmaster note: As of July 2006 I think this is the best book on Islam
to date. Every adult should read this book in order to understand the threat
of Islam per se, not just "radical Islam" (as opposed to the mythical "peace-loving
nature of 'true' Islam"). Dr. Trifkovic, a courageous Serbian Orthodox Christian,
is a leading authority on Islam. This is the sequel to his first book on Islam,
Sword of the Prophet,
also published by Regina Orthodox Press.
Jihad, war in the path of Allah with the objective of converting, killing, or else
subjugating and taxing the "infidel" was in Muhammad's view the most important work
a man could perform, in addition to having faith and performing a blameless pilgrimage.
The doctrine of jihad was also Muhammad's most significant single contribution to
world history. It defined Islam in its earliest days. And Jihad has defined the
relations between Islam and other religions and cultures ever since. It continues
to define the mindset of Islam today.
Muhammad's followers and successors were prone to war by custom and nature, accustomed
to living by pillage and the exploita-tion of settled populations. Theirs was an
"expansionism denuded of any concrete objective, brutal, and born of a necessity
in its past."  Islam provided a powerful ideological justification for those
warsa justification that was inherently global in scope and totalitarian
in nature. It shifted the focus of attention of the tribesmen from their internecine
feuds to the outside world. The enormous aggressive energy and hunger for loot was
henceforth to be directed outward.
The view of modern Islamic activists, that "Islam must rule the world and until
Islam does rule the world we will continue to sacrifice our lives,"  has been
solidly rooted in traditional Islam ever since the early divine sanction of violence
that came to Muhammad in Medina: "O Prophet! Rouse the Believers to the fight,"
the Kuran orders, and promises that twenty Muslims, "patient and persevering," would
vanquish two hundred unbelievers; if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand. 
Allah further orders the faithful to fight the unbelievers and be firm with them,
 "and slay them wherever ye catch them."  The end of the fight is possible
only when "there prevail justice and faith in Allah"everywhere. 
Such scriptural basis made Islam different from Judaism and Christianity in creating
the foundations for a theocratic universal state with unlimited aspirations. From
Muhammad's second year in Medina on, Islam combined the dualism of a universal religion
and a universal state and became "Islam's instrument for carrying out its ultimate
objective by turning all people into believers." 
Even in the absence of an active military campaign against dar al-harb
at any given moment in time, Islam postulates the funda-mental illegitimacy of its
existence and the embrace of a permanent "rejection of the other" by every bona
fide Muslim as a divine obligation. Jihad did not necessarily mean permanent fighting,
but it did mean a permanent state of war and permanent instability wherever Muslim
populations began to gain a foothold.
In addition to the verses of the Kuran, there are dozens of hadiths with
Muhammad's assurances that Allah guarantees to all jihadi warriors instant paradise
in case of martyrdom, or "reward or booty he has earned."  To be a Muslim was
a win-win proposition. Muhammad assured his troops of rewards in hereafter and profit
in this life:
Jihad is the best method of earning, both spiritual and temporal. If victory is
won, there is enormous booty and conquest of a country, which cannot be equaled
to any other source of earning. If there is defeat or death, there is ever-lasting
Paradise and a great spiritual benefit. This sort of Jihad is conditional upon pure
motive i.e. for establishing the kingdom of Allah on earth. 
Only after the universal Islamic Empire is established, the notion of an "inner"
jihadthat of one's personal fight against his ego and sinful desiresmay
become prominent, but it was predicated on the assumption that the external, real
jihad "in the path of Allah" was nearing its completion.
The concept of spiritual struggle was never meant to replace, let alone abrogate
the original, warlike meaning. Furthermore, all jihad is "defensive jihad" once
it is accepted that the legal formulation of the relationship of Muslims to others
is based on the principle that Islam is a universal message which the whole of mankind
must accept or else submit to.
Since no political system or material power is allowed to put hindrances in the
way of preaching Islam, any such "hindrance" constitutes an act of "aggression"
and Islam has no recourse but to remove them by force. 
Muhammad may not have performed any miracles in his lifetime, but his followers
took the victorious spread of Islam by the invading Arab armies, starting at Badr,
as a sure sign of divine favor. Following the first four caliphs, the conquered
lands were turned into an Arab empire ruled by Muslim warriors who lived entirely
on the spoils of war, that is, the poll and land taxes paid by the subjugated peoples.
"My livelihood is under the shade of my spear," that is, from booty and poll tax,
Muhammad declared, and the faithful followed his example.  All conquered lands
were duly transformed into the House of Islam, where umma had been established,
while the rest of the world belonged to the House of War inhabited by Harbis.
As for remaining unconquered lands and cultures, the House of Islam is in a state
of permanent war with the lands that surround it. The never ending war can be interrupted
by truces, but peace will only come with the completion of global conquest.
There is an intermediate stage known as Dar al Sulhwhen the Muslims
are a minority community and need to adopt temporarily a peaceful attitude in order
to deceive their neighbors. Mecca before Muhammad's move to Medina is the model
for which the Muslim diaspora in the Western world provides contemporary example.
The model was provided by Muhammad, who accepted a truce with Mecca when he was
in an inferior position but broke it as soon as his recuperated strength
allowed. Then he offered his pagan compatriots the choice of conversion or death.
The final objective all along is Dar al Islam, where Muslims dominate and
infidels are converted or massacred: "fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find
them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem
[of war]; but if they repent, and establish regular Prayers and practice regular
Charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
This, "the Verse of the Sword" (9:5) allows only one way out for pagans to be spared
from being slain: to become Muslims. Islamic scholars agree that this single verse
abrogates 124 earlier versesthe ones that are quoted most regularly by Islam's
apologists to prove its tolerance and benevolence as a "religion of peace."
"People of the book" had the third option of paying the poll taxa crushing
burden for mostwith a trembling hand: "Declare war upon those to whom the
Scriptures were revealed but believe neither in Allah nor the Last Day, and who
do not forbid that which Allah and His Apostle have forbidden, and who refuse to
acknow-ledge the true religion until they pay the poll-tax with a hand of humility
and are totally subjugated." 
The entire Sura 9 has been accordingly called "a chapter of war proclamations."
Thereafter the Muslims were obliged to wage war against all unbelievers.
They could contemplate tactical ceasefires, but never its complete abandonment short
of the unbelievers' abject submission. This is the real meaning of Jihad.
Its meaning as the obligatory and permanent war against non-Muslims
has not changed since Muhammad: "Those who believe fight in the cause of God." 
For the fallen and victorious alike, the rewards are instant and plentiful: "Let
those fight in the cause of God who barter the life of this world for that which
is to come; for whoever fights on God's path, whether he is killed or triumphs,
we will give him a handsome reward."  The firm promise of instant bliss remains
to this day a powerful incentive to would-be martyrs from Iraq's markets to London's
mass transit system.
The conquered peoples were "protected persons" only if they submitted to Islamic
domination by a "Contract" (Dhimma), paid poll taxjizya
and land taxharaj to their masters. Any failure to do so was the
breach of contract, enabling the Muslims to kill or enslave them and confiscate
The cross could not be displayed in public, the people of the book had to wear special
clothing, and they were not allowed to carry weapons. They had to take in Muslim
travelers, especially soldiers on a campaign. 
The resulting inequality of rights in all domains between Muslims and dhimmis
was geared to a steady erosion of the latter communities by the attrition and conversion.
By the time Timur's invasions at the end of the 14th century the Christians became
a minority in their own lands where no other religion had been known until the Muslim
conquest. They endured for centuries lives of quiet desperation.
In the conquered lands the dynamics of Islamization were at work, different in form,
perhaps, between Spain and Syria, but always following the same pattern determined
by the ideology and laws of jihad and Sharia, and leading to transformation of native
Christian majorities into religious minorities. The initial choice
of the vanquished was not "Islam or death" but "Islam or super-tax." But over time
Sharia ensured the decline of all other religions it was "tolerating" such as Eastern
Christianity. The sapping of the captives' vitality and capacity for renewal was
the long term norm.
It is remarkable that in this age of rampant victimology the persecution of Christians
by Muslims has become a taboo subject in the Western academe. A complex web of myths,
outright lies, and deliberately imposed silence dominates it. Thirteen centuries
of religious discrimination, causing suffering and death of countless millions,
have been covered by the myth of Islamic "tolerance" that is as hurtful to the few
descendants of the victims as it is useless as a means of appeasing latter-day jihadists.
The silence and lies, perpetrated by the Western academe and media class, facilitates
the perpetuation of religious discrimination and persecution even today.
The cover-up is not new. Writing more than six decades ago, Arthur Jeffery dismissed
as "the sheerest sophistry" the tendency apparent in his own time that sought to
explain away Muhammad's warlike raids as "defensive wars" or to interpret Jihad
as merely a bloodless striving in missionary zeal for the spread of Islam: "The
early Arabic sources quite plainly and frankly describe the expedi-tions as military
expeditions, and it would never have occurred to anyone at that day to interpret
them as anything else." 
Contemporary apologists for Islam in the academe have moved on, however, and now
routinely make claims that would have been considered eccentric if not openly fraudulent
only a generation ago. Their "Islam is peace" mantra invokes the alleged Kuranic
quote, "If you kill one soul it is as if you have killed all mankind," but without
Allah's essential proviso, "unless it be . . . for spreading mischief," i.e., resisting
Muslim rule. They assert that the usual modus operandi of the early Muslims
should be judged in its "context," that this was "normal behavior" at the time.
The same understanding, however, is not extended towards those Europeansoften
coarse and decidedly unpleasant characters that joined the Crusadeswho attempted
to turn the tables and take the battle back into the enemy camp, and whose actions
those same Western friends of Islam so sternly condemn today.  Their assurance
that only the "spiritual" definition of Jihad is the real one, practiced by "most
Muslims," amounts to distorting the well documented history of centuries of very
physical "striving" by generations of Muslim warriors.
The reality of militant jihad as a centuries-long religious and legal institution
of Islam has a rock-solid rooting in its scriptures, traditions, and in all four
schools of Sunni jurisprudence.  Even the renowned master of the allegedly peaceful
and tolerant Sufi sect, al-Ghazali (d. 1111) opined that "one must go on jihad (i.e.
warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year... One may use a catapult against
them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and
children. One may set fire to them and drown them."
One of the most prominent Islamic jurists and philosophers of all time, Ibn Khaldun,
summed up the "consensus" that is valid to this day. He defined holy war as a religious
duty based on the universal-ism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert
all men to Islam by persuasion or force. He readily concedes that the holy war is
not a religious duty for other religions, but explains that unlike them "Islam is
under obligation to gain power over all other nations."
The apologists assert that Muslims are called by the Kuran to strive for peace,
but the "peace" that is believers are called upon to implement is impossible unless
it is established under an all-pervasive Islamic rule. Such "peace," resulting from
jihad, does not only have the meaning of the absence of war, it is also a state
of security that is attainable only once Islam defeats all infidels, kills, converts
or subjugates them, and conquers their lands. This is a concept of peace "completely
different from the Enlightenment concept of eternal peace that dominates Western
thought. Only when the entire world is a Dar al-Islam will it be a Dar
a-Salam, or House of Peace." 
This is exactly the same definition of "peace" as that used by the Soviet empire
in the period of its external expansion (1944-1979): it is the objective, but it
is fully attainable only after the defeat of "imperialism as the final stage of
capitalism" and the triumph of the vanguard of the proletariat in the whole world.
* Please note that the footnote numbering does not follow the book's numbering.
1. Ibn Warraq (1995), p. 219.
2. Al-Badr spokesman Mustaq Aksari, CNN, September 19,2001
7. Majid Khadduri, quoted in Bostom (Ed), op. cit, p. 311.
8. E.g. as quoted in The Dictionary of Islam by Thomas Patrick Hughes:
"God is sponsor for him who goeth forth to fight on the road of God. If he be not
killed, he shall return to his house with rewards and booty, but if he be slain,
he shall be taken to Paradise."
"I swear by God I should like to be killed on the road of God, then be killed and
brought to life again, then killed again and then brought to life again, so that
I may obtain new rewards every time."
"Guarding the frontiers of Islam for even one day is worth more than the whole world
and all that is in it."
"The fire of hell shall not touch the legs of him who be covered with the dust of
battle in the road of God."
"This religion will ever be established, even to the Day of Resurrection, as long
as Muslims fight for it."
"In the last day the wounds of those who have been wounded in the way of God will
be evident, and will drop with blood, but their smell will be as the perfume of
"Being killed in the road of God covers all sins, but the sin of debt."
"He who dies and has not fought for the religion of Islam... [is] a hypocrite."
"Fighting in the road of God, or resolving to do so, is a divine duty. When your
Imam leader. orders you to go forth to fight, then obey him."
9. Mishkat II, p. 253
10. Cf. Sayyid Qutb quoting Ibn Qayyim in Bostom (Ed.), op. cit.
11. This Hadith has been removed from the Internet version of Sahih Bukhari (Vol.
IV-88), but it can be found in the print version translated by Muhammad Muhsin Khan.
15. A host of additional petty rules were either enacted or adopted that were meant
to humiliate non-Muslims. Some of them were summarized in the "Pact of Umar," in
which the Christians were forced to solemnly declare, inter alia, "we shall show
deference to the Muslims and shall rise from our seats when they wish to seat down...
We shall not ride on saddles. We shall clip the forelocks of our head. We shall
not display our crosses or our books anywhere in the Muslims' thoroughfares or in
their marketplaces... we shall not build our homes higher than theirs." Disobedience
meant death: "Anyone who violates such terms will be unprotected. And it will be
permissible for the Muslims to treat them as rebels or dissenters: it is permissible
to kill them." That "protection" was also abolished if the dhimmis resisted Islamic
law, gave allegiance to non-Muslim power, harmed a Muslim or his property or committed
16. Quoted in Andrew Bostom (Ed.),
The Legacy of Jihad, Amhrerst, New York: Prometheus, 2005, p. 25. This
exceptionally valuable collection of extracts and documents dating back to the earliest
days of Islam contains hitherto unavailable texts in English by a number of Islamic
scholars and scholars of Islam.
17. Notably e.g. Muhammad : A Biography of the Prophet by Karen Armstrong.
18. I.e. Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Shafi'i. For relevant quotes by a representative
of each school cf. Bostom (Ed.), op. cit, p. 27.
19. Bassam Tibi of Gottingen University, as quoted in "Islamic Scholar Warns U.S.
of 'Two-Faced' Muslims." NewsMax.com Wires, June 20, 2002.
20. As per Ayatollah Khomeini, "those who study jihad will understand why Islam
wants to conquer the whole world: all the countries conquered by Islam or to be
conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation."
Defeating Jihad: How the War on Terrorism Can Be Won - in Spite of Ourselves,
by Serge Trifkovic. View the full table of contents and short chapter summaries
at Regina Orthodox Press. Posted with the publisher's
permission on July 28, 2006.