April 29, 2007
Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Quran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our hope. (Muslim Brotherhood)
Concerning the polytheists and the hypocrites, it was commanded in this chapter that Jihaad be declared against them and that they be treated harshly. (Sayyid Qutb, Milestones)
One of the challenges facing all students of Islam is to sort out the many different shades of Islam that have emerged since its founding under the charismatic leadership of the Prophet Muhammad in the year 622 in Medina, in what is now Saudi Arabia.
That history includes rapid territorial expansion in the first one hundred years, severe internal conflicts, the formation of two major branches with numerous subdivisions, and a series of setbacks and decline in the past 400 years.
After World War II Islam experienced a revival of militancy as it attempted to face the overwhelming forces of modernity. This revival was powerfully aided by the demise of the Western colonial overlords and the simultaneous flow of hundreds of billions of dollars to the Islamic oil-producing countries. The renewed militancy is directed especially at the Western democracies and the Jewish state established in 1948.
The volume of literature produced by Muslim as well as non-Muslim authors, now expanded and speeded up via the Internet, is massive and wide-ranging. What adds to the challenge is that these sources represent a wide range of viewpoints, often diametrically opposed. What really complicates matters is that the language and concepts of fundamentalist Muslims are very different from those steeped in the Western notion of freedom, truth and logic.
There are many compelling reasons why we should try very hard to understand that difference. In the following two articles I want to attempt to do that by taking a careful look at one of the major organizations that has been spearheading militant, that is, jihadist, Islam: the Muslim Brotherhood.
This Brotherhood has gained a lot of experience in waging jihad during its nearly 80 years of turbulent existence. It has also learned a lot of lessons in operating in the shadow of the openness and freedom within the Western democracies.
An Incubator of Jihad
it is a duty incumbent on every Muslim to struggle towards the aim of making every people Muslim and the whole world Islamic, so that the banner of Islam can flutter over the earth and the call of the Muezzin can resound in all the corners of the world: God is greatest [Allahu akbar]! (Quoted in Robert Spencer, Onward Muslim Soldiers, pp. 217, 218)