ISIS: “Holy war is an integral part of Islam”


The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has released a video response to the terrorist attacks in Brussels. The attacks were carried out in ISIS’s name by an independent network of Muslim terrorists. The video both endorsed their action, and repeated ISIS’s frequent call for more of what the ISIS leader calls “volcanoes of jihad.”

ISIS’s video statement reminded Muslims of the duty of jihad. “Every Muslim who is well aware of the history of Islam, knows that the holy war against infidels is an integral part of Islam,” according to the video.

They’ve got a point.

The word jihad occurs in the Koran in 164 separate verses. Jihad as war is set apart from the tribal warfare common to Mohammed’s lifetime, and sanctified as a special and divinely-blessed activity. It is both a duty and an opportunity to gain in divine favor, and to enrich one’s self through the seizing of the goods of non-Muslims who do not yet submit to Islam.

Islam’s greatest philosophers endorsed this position. Avicenna, the Persian philosopher frequently cited by Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike, wrote of jihad in this way. Jihad was in a class of beneficial acts, he said, that were good not only for the soul but for “worldly benefits,” because you got to plunder the enemy. (This is in his Metaphysics of the Healing, Book Ten, Chapter Three, if you are following along at home.) He went on to write that, “as for enemies and those who oppose the law, [the legislator] must decree waging war against them and destroying them — after calling on them to accept the truth — and [decree] that their property and women must be declared free for the spoil.” (That’s in Book Ten, Chapter Five.)

Likewise, in Reliance of the Traveler: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, Ahamd ibn Naqib al-Misri states that “Jihad means to wage war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.”

This has been a consistent feature of the writings of the finest minds in Islam for a thousand years, in other words. They are the ones behind Islamic reformer Sultan Shaheen’s remarks that “For hundreds of years now, major Muslim theologians have been engaged in creating a coherent theology of intolerance and violence in order to expand the Islamic reach.” He clarified, “Luminaries of Islam have established a theology which primarily says that Islam must conquer the world.”

That’s all ISIS is saying. When are we going to be honest about the depth of the problem?