The Legacy of Jihad in Historical Palestine (Part I)

(article by Andrew G. Boston on The American Thinker)

[Part II of this article appears tomorrow]

Violent jihad warfare on infidels is the norm, not the exception, in Islamic history. Once successful, jihad leads to the imposition of humiliating, degrading, violent, and expensive oppression under dhimmitude, the institutionalized imposition of lowly status upon those who refuse to abandon their faith and adopt Islam. Among the worst victims of jihad and dhimmitude have been the Jews and Christians who lived in historic Palestine.

Edward Said’s ridiculous polemic, The Question of Palestine, quotes the following observation by a Dr. A. Carlebach published in Ma’ariv (October 7, 1955).

The danger stems from the [Islamic] totalitarian conception of the world… Occupation by force of arms, in their own eyes, in the eyes of Islam, is not at all associated with injustice. To the contrary, it constitutes a certificate and demonstration of authentic ownership. [1]

Said cites Carlebach with ostensibly self-evident derision. Unwittingly, Said thus reveals his own belligerent obliviousness to Carlebach’s acute perceptions about the ugly realities of jihad war, the resultant imposition of dhimmitude, and their brutal legacy in historical Palestine and the greater Middle East.

As elucidated by Jacques Ellul, the jihad is an institution intrinsic to Islam, and not an isolated event, or series of events:

.. .it is a part of the normal functioning of the Muslim world… The conquered populations change status (they become dhimmis), and the shari’a tends to be put into effect integrally, overthrowing the former law of the country. The conquered territories do not simply change ‘owners’. [2]

The essential pattern of the jihad war is captured in the great Muslim historian al-Tabari’ s recording of the recommendation given by Umar b. al-Khattab to the commander of the troops he sent to al-Basrah (636 C.E.), during the conquest of Iraq. Umar reportedly said:

Summon the people to God; those who respond to your call, accept it from them, (This is to say, accept their conversion as genuine and refrain from fighting them) but those who refuse must pay the poll tax out of humiliation and lowliness. (Qur’an 9:29) If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency. Fear God with regard to what you have been entrusted. [3]

Jihad was pursued century after century, because jihad, which means “to strive in the path of Allah,” embodied an ideology and a jurisdiction. Both were formally conceived by Muslim jurisconsults and theologians from the 8th to 9th centuries onward, based on their interpretation of Qur’anic verses and long chapters in the Traditions (i.e., “hadith”, acts and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, especially those recorded by al-Bukhari [d. 869] and Muslim [d. 874] ). [4]

Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), jurist (Maliki), renowned philosopher, historian, and sociologist, summarized these consensus opinions from five centuries of prior Muslim jurisprudence with regard to the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad:

In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the [Muslim] mission and [the obligation to] convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force… The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense… Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations. [5]

Indeed, even al-Ghazali (d. 1111), the famous theologian, philosopher, and paragon of mystical Sufism, (who, as noted by W.Montgomery Watt, has been ”.. .acclaimed in both the East and West as the greatest Muslim after Muhammad.. .” [6]), wrote the following about jihad:

…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/or drown them…If a person of the Ahl al- Kitab [People of The Book -Jews and Christians, typically] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked…One may cut down their trees… One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide…they may steal as much food as they need… [7]

By the time of the classical Muslim historian al-Tabari’s death in 923, jihad wars had expanded the Muslim empire from Portugal to the Indian subcontinent. Subsequent Muslim conquests continued in Asia, as well as Eastern Europe. The Christian kingdoms of Armenia, Byzantium, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, and Albania, in addition to parts of Poland and Hungary, were also conquered and Islamized.

Arab Muslim invaders engaged, additionally, in continuous jihad raids that ravaged and enslaved Sub-Saharan African animist populations, extending to the southern Sudan. When the Muslim armies were stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683, over a millennium of jihad had transpired. These tremendous military successes spawned a triumphalist jihad literature. Muslim historians recorded in detail the number of infidels slaughtered, or enslaved and deported, the cities and villages which were pillaged, and the lands, treasure, and movable goods seized. Christian (Coptic, Armenian, Jacobite, Greek, Slav, etc.), as well as Hebrew sources, and even the scant Hindu and Buddhist writings which survived the ravages of the Muslim conquests, independently validate this narrative, and ,complement the Muslim perspective by providing testimonies of the suffering of the non-Muslim victims of jihad wars. [8]

To continue reading, click here.

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