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Quranic Concept of Defense of Islam

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Submitted by Wallace Edward Brand (United States), Apr 30, 2013 at 13:15

The surviving Boston Marathon bomber said his motive was "defense of Islam". If one takes this to mean he was motivated by US military action in the Middle East, that may be wrong. It may mean that putting obstacles to the spread of Sharah justifies an ATTACK, but that it is referred to as a defensive measure. According to JC Myer's excellent review of Pakistani General Malik's book, "The Quranic Concept of War with a preface by Pakistan's former Ambassador Brohi, "DEFENSE" may mean "ATTACK" under the Quranic Concept of War. "

Clausewitz tells us a lot about Western philosophy of war but we don't know very much about the Quranic concept of war. Pakistani General Malik has written a book on that subject. What is fascinating about it is the Islamic concept of just when it is that Muslims are fighting a DEFENSIVE war. It they believe a country is interfering with the spread of Shariah, under their philosophy of war, they are entitled to attack it, but they call it a DEFENSE of Islam. Before the captured Boston Marathon bombers was Mirandized, he said he was "defending Islam" You might think that he meant the West's defensive wars in the Middle East motivated his attack.

In the preface Ambassador Brohi implies that Malik's discussion, though a valuable new version, is an approach to a theme already well developed.

"Brohi then defines jihad, "The most glorious word in the Vocabulary of Is lam is Jehad, a word which is untranslatable in English but, broadly speaking, means 'striving', 'struggling', 'trying' to advance the Divine causes or purposes." He introduces a somewhat cryptic concept when he explains man's role in a "Quranic setting" as energetically combating forces of evil or what may be called, "counter-initiatory" forces which are at war with the harmony and the purpose of life on earth.16 For the true Muslin the harmony and purpose in life are only possible through man's ultimate submission to God's will, that all will come to know, recognize, and profess Moham- med as the Prophet of God. Man must recognize the last days and acknowledge tawhid, the oneness of God.

Brohi recounts the classic dualisms of Islamic theology; that the world is a place of struggle between good and evil, between right and wrong, between Haq and Na-Haq (truth and untruth), and between halal and haram (legitimate and forbid- den). According to Brohi, it is the duty of man to opt for goodness and reject evil. Brohi appeals to the "greater jihad," a post-classical jihad doctrine developed by the mystical Sufi order and other Shia scholars.

When a believer sees that someone is trying to obstruct another believer from travel- ing the road that leads to God, spirit of Jehad requires that such a man who is impos- ing obstacles should be prevented from doing so and the obstacles placed by him should also be removed, so that mankind may be freely able to negotiate its own path that leads to Heaven." To do otherwise, "by not striving to clear or straighten the path we [Muslims] become passive spectators of the counter-initiatory forces imposing a blockade in the way of those who mean to keep their faith with God.

This viewpoint appears to reflect the classic, collective duty within jihad doctrine, to defend the Islamic community from threats—the concept of defensive ji- had. Brohi is saying much more than that; however, he is attempting to delineate the duty—the proactive duty—to clear the path for Islam. It is necessary not only to defend the individual believer if he is being hindered in his faith, but also to remove the obsta- cles of those counter-initiatory forces hindering his Islamic development. This begs the question of what is actually meant by the initiatory forces. The answer is clear to Brohi; the force of initiative is Islam and its Muslim members. "It is the duty of a be- liever to carry forward the Message of God and to bring it to notice of his fellow-men in handsome ways. But if someone attempts to obstruct him from doing so he is entitled as a matter of defense, to retaliate." [footnotes omitted]

Submitting....

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