Understanding Our Neighbors – Jihad Basics: Drill Down on Doctrine

The made-up line, “Follow the money,” is the memorable phrase of Watergate-era American journalism. However, it was an organizing principle for intrepid reporters doggedly seeking the truth about political corruption in the 1976 movie, All the President’s Men. We need such an organizing principle now in our understanding of Jihad. Politicians and pundits, paying attention to political correctness (PC) and failing to do their homework, are unable to get the marbles out of their mouths to help us understand 13 years of war, recent spectacular violence in France, and cyber-attacks against US Central Command Social Media accounts.

“Drill down on doctrine” is not as sexy as “follow the money,” but it’s a fit for what we must do. Perhaps “drilling down on Islamic doctrine” can encapsulate several things:

  • we are not disparaging 1.6 billion Muslims
  • we are connecting Islamic doctrine to Jihadist inspiration, tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP)
  • we lament PC but we are undeterred examining the inspiration of those who seek to kill us

So what are jihadists’ inspirations to kill?

The Quran (divine inspiration), Sira (Mohammed’s biography) and Hadith (Mohammed’s traditions or exploits) form the basis of Islamic doctrine. The Sira and Hadith are about Mohammed and referred in the collective as the Sunnah. So Islamic doctrine focuses on Allah about 14% of all text and Mohammed about 86% of all text. The Sunnah for all practical purposes reaches divine level in the minds of many Muslims because the Quran repeatedly says in various ways that Mohammed is the perfect life example, especially in the more violent sections centered in Medina. All the jihadist violence which Westerners find senseless can be traced back to these source documents. Here are a few examples:

Inspiration: Shahada—short form state of faith, “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” The basis for the Shahada is Quran 3.18

Inspiration: “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.” Quran (2:216)

Tactic: “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. Quran (3:151) [NOTE: Instilling terror is a tactic employed by enemies—not the optimal name for a conflict]

Technique: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement” Quran (5:33)

Procedure: “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves” Quran (48:29)

There are two aspects to Islam, political and religious. We keep hearing about Islam as a religion of peace, but that ignores a political body of doctrine that relates to the unbeliever, the kafir. This is not really a nice word in the Quran since kafirs go to hell. Kafirs are the lowest and worst form of life according to the Quran. The Quran uses the word kafir to signify various negative qualities of a person, all of which assist in the precise defining of kafir: odious, mocked and punished. It goes downhill from there. Islamic political doctrine teaches that Muslims are to dominate the kafirs in all aspects of life. The majority of the Quran (~61%) and the Sira (~71%) are devoted to treatment of the kafir. The religion of peace is not dominant for its religious qualities whatever their merit but its political characteristics having to do with kafirs. When is the last time you heard about a church plant on the Arabian Peninsula? Why is the Voice of the Martyrs ministry so busy tabulating and documenting persecution stories in the Muslim 10/40 window? Answer: Muslim doctrine which guides the treatment of non-Muslims. So you are either in step with Mohammed as a Muslim saying the Shahada repeatedly, or you are a kafir. You choose.

An aspect of the religion of peace continuously over looked by political and media elite is the doctrine of abrogation which teaches that later pronouncements of the Prophet declare null and void his earlier pronouncements. Consider Quran 109.2 written in Mohammed’s Meccan period: “I do not worship what you worship, and you do not worship what I worship. I will never worship what you worship, and you will never worship what I worship. You to your religion, me to my religion.” This is what many people and, apparently, President Obama understand Islam to be, but they ignore the abrogation of this verse by a later verse from the Medina period: Quran 9.5, “When the sacred months are passed, kill the kafirs wherever you find them. Take them as captives, besiege them, and lie in wait for them with every kind of ambush. If they submit to Islam, observe prayer, and pay the poor tax, then let them go their way. Allah is gracious and merciful.”

Herein lies one source among several of unswerving jihadist bigotry. This contradiction is normal for the Quran and is addressed in the doctrine of abrogation, again, where the later verse is better or carries more weight than the earlier verse. The contradiction is overlooked at our own peril because Islam is dualistic. Dr. Bill Warner has accomplished groundbreaking work on Islamic dualism. He writes, “Since Allah is perfect and the Quran is the exact word of Allah, then both contradictory verses are true, but the later verse is better or stronger. This leads to dualistic logic where two contradictory facts can both be true” in the Muslim mind. In the Western mind, this is nonsense and Islamist supremacists exploit this dualism in all dimensions of fourth generation warfare characterized by blurring of lines between war and politics, combatants, and civilians.

Finally, Islam means submission and Muslim means one who has submitted. The only thing peaceful about jihad is the aftermath of 7th Century Mohammedan violence. Islamic doctrine makes clear that kafirs and their civilizations must be destroyed because every part of kafir culture according to doctrine is offensive to Allah. Mohammed’s success on the Arabian Peninsula depended on violence. According to how one counts and what one is looking for, the Quran contains up to 149 verses on justified violence. Mohammed’s followers today are following in his footsteps. Many jihadists are willing to die violently and, if necessary, kill you for their beliefs. If or when they come for you, are you prepared to die for your beliefs? Thousands of people have been forced to answer those questions in the wake of global jihad.


Photo by Amir Farshad Ebrahimi via Flickr

Carl Lammers
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