DIGGING ISLAMIC ROOTS OF JIHAD TO UNVEIL THE TRUTH
Islam, like all the great world religions and their scriptures, off er a universal message, a discourse that can speak to all times and places. Believers of this religion, in every age and situation, fi nd teachings, principles, and values that give them meaning and guidance. The Quran and the Sunnah, or prophetic example, provides a theology for peace, for living in a world of diverse nations and peoples. They also provide guidelines on how to fi ght the enemy as well as how to fi ght against corruption and oppression. This paper attempts to draw a careful line between Jihad, self-defense and aggression, resistance and rebellion, reform and terrorism. Little has been done to study the formation and evolution of the notion of divinely sanctioned war in Islam or to critically examine the spectrum of Islamic views on the subject. Classical Islamic tradition has developed its own canonical view on the formation and evolution of holy war and, with some small variation among the legal schools, a more or less standard view on the meaning and application of divinelysanctioned war in general. Scholarly studies of holy war in Islamic civilization have tended to accept uncritically, or at least not challenge, these standard views. The main theme of this writing is to critically examine the origin of the holy war phenomenon in Islam in order to describe and explain the early importance of holy war and its implications for contemporary Muslim societies.
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