The jihadist mentality

I’ve been looking at Andy Bostom’s forthcoming book, Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, a collection of primary and secondary sources about jihad, many of them appearing in English—and in many cases in any Western language—for the first time. The sources leave no doubt about the military, conquering, enslaving character of the jihad to which Muslims are called, and about its centrality in Islam. As Ibn Warraq writes in the Forward [readable online], it is remarkable and instructive that these important writings were not brought to light by any of the renowned doyens of Islam scholarship we’re always hearing about, but by a self-taught amateur in the field whose real profession is as a research medical doctor.

Here are two e-mails I wrote to Dr. Bostom last night about the book.


The quote of the 10th century Maliki [one of the four schools of medieval Islamic scholarship] jurist on p. 27 of your book had me laughing out loud in amazement. The sheer unembarrassed baldness in the way he says,

We Malikis maintain that it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah…. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax, short of which war will be declared against them.

I’m bowled over by his flat unquestioned assumption that everyone must yield to us, or we make war on them. It is literally a war against the whole world. And where does this idea come from? It comes from the “M” man himself. The whole religion is the projection of the personality of that one man, of his will to power, his sense that he was God’s Prophet, and that everyone must yield to him or die. That man created a nation of one billion clones of himself. That’s what we’re facing. That’s why I say that the key to understanding Muhammad is that he was a successful Hitler.

This psychological formation of theirs, their attitude of superiority, their assumption that they are endowed by their Creator with absolute rights over all humanity, is engrained in the Muslims’ essence, in the character of every Muslim, whether it is conscious or not.

This is why I believe it is ultimately hopeless to get the Muslims to speak the truth critically about Islam, as several writers on our side hope. It’s like fighting the tide. You can’t do it. The ONLY thing is for us to remove them physically from the Dar al-Harb or get them to leave voluntarily. Yes, we must speak the truth about them, but that is for OUR sake, not for theirs, both to enlighten ourselves about their nature and the ineluctable threat they pose, AND to inform them that we understand the threat they are to us and that this is why we must take the actions we must take. I believe in maximum clarity on these issues. But it is not in the hope of changing them. It is in the hope of changing ourselves, so that we will take action to save ourselves.

BTW, you may wonder, why did this quote excite me so much, since the description of the choice presented to the infidels (conversion, poll tax, or war) is of course familiar and constantly repeated in books on Islam?

I think it was because, instead of being a summary or paraphrase of the idea, it was coming in this Islamic scholar’s own words, it had an immediacy, a genuineness, showing his ingrained attitude of absolute superiority toward all non-Muslims, which is the nature of Islam itself.


I love the phraseology of these people. Here’s another quote, from the 12th century Hanafi jurist that you also quote on p. 27:

It is not lawful to make war upon any people who have never before been called to the faith, without previously requiring them to embrace it, because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith, and also because the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to the call …

I’m struck by the way it starts off with that assuring-sounding disclaimer of any aggressive intent, but which is then is immediately followed by the phrase “without previously requiring them to embrace it.” Oh, I see. You can’t launch unprovoked war on people, UNLESS the bastards have refused to surrender to you and become Muslims!

This is paradigmatic of the way Muslims speak, even today. They always start off with some general, benign-sounding statement abjuring violence or terrorism, and then get to the exceptions and qualifications which show that they are in fact at war with the entire human race.

These people are just amazing.

Another point. His insistence that he wants infidels to understand that “we are attacking them for the sake of religion, not property or slaves.” This undercuts the Islam-apologist line that the Islam conquests had nothing to do with religion, but that they were only waged to gain wealth for the community. Which is such a crock. How can you separate the two? Allah commanded the booty-gathering raids along with everything else. So how are the raids and conquests any less a part of the religion than all the rest of it? It’s all one piece.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 13, 2005 09:27 AM | Send

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