Top Muslim Authority Unwittingly Equates Jihad with Terrorism

Koran-bookA recent Arabic article appearing in Egypt’s Al Ahram newspaper titled “Is Terrorism Jihad?” written by Islamic law expert Dr. Abdul Fatah Idris offers important lessons—from the fact that jihad does involve subjugating non-Muslims to why the Western mentality is still incapable of acknowledging it.

Idris, professor and chairman of Al Azhar University’s Department of Comparative Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Sharia Law, is a well-reputed legal scholar.  He begins his article by defining terrorism and quoting several international bodies that, in his words

define terrorism as an act of violence or threat of violence coming from an individual either on his own volition or in participation with other individuals.  It targets people or organizations or places or means of transportation or the general public in order to threaten or cause injuries or deaths of the people or simply to cripple the effectiveness of international organizations or to cause the loss or damage of those places or properties or to tamper with transportation to interfere in the friendly relations between countries or between the inhabitants of several countries or to extort concessions from some countries.

The conspiracy to commit or to intend to commit or to participate in the committing or to incite the general public to commit the aforementioned crimes constitutes the crime of international terrorism.  The first clause of the Geneva Convention which was adopted by Suppression of Terrorism Conference held in Geneva in 1937 defines terrorism as a criminal act directed against a specific nation with the aims of creating a state of terror in the minds of specific people or a group of people or the general public.

Idris also mentions how “the Islamic Research Academy, in its report issued on November 4th, 2001, defines terrorism as terrorizing innocent people and the destruction of their properties and their essential elements of living and attacking their finances and their persons and their liberties and their human dignity without right and spreading corruption throughout the land” [emphasis added].

Note that, although he quotes from several international bodies, it is only the “Islamic Research Academy” that includes words like “innocent” and “without right,” both of which clearly leave much wiggle room to exonerate terrorist acts committed against those perceived as not being “innocent” or who it is a right to terrorize, which according to many Muslims, includes the West.

At any rate, in the context of the Muslim Brotherhood’s recent terrorist attacks throughout Egypt—including the destruction of over 80 Christian churches—Idris goes on to agree that

It is therefore correct to define what happened recently [in Egypt] as terrorism and it cannot be called, as some have done, a jihad or ribat in the path of Allah, for the difference between them is vast.  Terrorism is a crime, both according to Sharia and the law; and all international conventions consider it a crime and call on all people to fight against it through all means.

Up until this point, Idris defines and agrees with the international definition of terrorism, and portrays the actions of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (whom he never names) as terrorism.

So far so good.

However, Idris immediately makes a complete reversal in his follow-up sentences:

But jihad in the path of Allah, to make his word supreme, spread his religion, defend the honor of the Islamic nation [umma], and respond to the aggression against Muslims all around the earth—this is jihad: when a Muslim fights an infidel without treaty to make the word of Allah Most High supreme, forcing him to fight or invading his land, this is a permissible matter according to the consensus of the jurists.  Indeed, it is an obligation for all Muslims.  Now if the deeds of the jihad—including fighting the infidels and breaking their spine through all possible means—are permissible according to Sharia, then it is impossible to define those acts as terrorism, which Sharia-based evidence has made illegitimate. A large gap exists between them [jihad and terrorism].  And there is no connection between what is obligatory [jihad] and what is forbidden [terrorism]. [italics added for emphasis]

At this point, the befuddled Western reader may be at a loss to understand how, exactly, jihad—“according to the consensus of the jurists,” no less—is different from the aforementioned definitions of terrorism.

What’s needed here is for the non-Muslim to try to transcend his epistemology and think, for a moment, like an observant Muslim, especially in the context of two points:

1. According to Islamic doctrine, jihad, as Idris asserts, is an obligation for Muslims (offensive being communal, defensive being individual).  As this expert of Islamic jurisprudence states:  “But jihad in the path of Allah, to make his word supreme, spread his religion…  this is jihad: when a Muslim fights an infidel without treaty [e.g. dhimma pact] to make the word of Allah Most High supreme, forcing him to fight or invading his land…

2. In Islamic thinking, even offensive jihad—including “breaking [the infidels’] spine through all possible means”—is seen as something of an altruistic affair, for the good of the world.  More to the point, the ends justify the means.

Taking these two points together—(1) Allah commands Muslims to wage jihad and (2) it is good for all concerned, a means to a glorious end, i.e., “making Allah’s word supreme”—how can Muslims classify jihad as “terrorism,” even when, from a non-Muslim perspective, it seems identical to the international definitions of terrorism that Idris himself delineated and agreed with?

In short, jihad is not terrorism simply because Allah says so—even if the two, back in the real world, are identical.  In the words of Idris: “Now if the deeds of the jihad—including fighting the infidels and breaking their spine through all possible means—are permissible according to Sharia, then it is impossible to define those acts as terrorism.”

Three final thoughts:

1. Next time you wonder why “moderate” Muslims rarely if ever condemn the terrorism habitually committed in the name of their religion, you’d do well to remember Idris’ article and rationale.

2. Regarding what jihad really is, who do you think is more authoritative—a Sharia law instructor at the Islamic world’s most prestigious university, writing in Arabic to fellow Muslims, or, say, a Karen Armstrong writing best-selling fluff pieces about a benign and “misunderstood” Islam to a naïve Western public?

3. Why was Idris’ article left unreported?  Imagine the international outrage that would spark if a Christian theologian wrote in the New York Times—which is what Al Ahram is equivalent to in Egypt—that “it is an obligation” for Christians to wage “holy war” on non-Christians and “fight or invade his [non-Christian] land” to “make Jesus’ word supreme”?

And so we come back full circle to the lamentable fact that, while Islam’s commands are black and white, so easily ascertained and visible to all, the West still cannot accept reality—thanks in great part to its own endless assortment of liars, fools, and traitors.


Don’t miss Jamie Glazov’s video interview with Raymond Ibrahim about Islam’s new war on Christians:

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • truebearing

    “The ends justify the means,” the evil anti-ethic that justifies Islamic jihad/terror, and the same sociopathic rationalization that frees leftists from moral responsibility or a conscience.

    How is it that so many people manage to ignore the obvious when it comes to both religions?

    • concernedhousewife

      I will send them strong delusion so that they believe the lie !!

  • The March Hare

    How can the likes of Karen Armstrong study Islam and not conclude that they are out to conquer the world and institute Sharia law upon all of us. Is she actually an Islamic or just a dumb twit? With those kind of people to inform us, we are doomed.

    • Softly Bob

      Because like John Esposito she is a whore of Satan. Karen Armstrong is a former Catholic nun. I wouldn’t be surprised if she abandoned her faith and sold herself to the dark side.

    • glpage

      Useful idiot is the term Stalin applied to people like her.

    • Human

      Because in islam ,just like most other religions, it depends on which particular interpretation you follow. The consequence of this is that you and up with violent and non violent denominations that obviously cannot agree with each other but at the same time try to convince us it is their peaceful or hateful interpretation which is the only ‘true’ islam.

      Personally i discard all religion as fairy tales but as long as they do not try to push it down my throat i could not care less.

    • defcon 4

      Paid liar?

      • The March Hare

        One would almost conclude that.

  • N. Wasse

    Oh darn it I thought that jihad means “inner struggle” or what ever!

    • Moa

      There are two types of “jihad”:
      1) “jihad akhbar” – the Greater jihad – is the struggle to submit to Allah’s will. Submission to Allah’s will means things like preparing to become a shahid (martyr).

      2) “jihad asghar” – the Lesser jihad – this is the violent and non-violent attacks on non-Muslims. It is clear that the Qur’an mostly refers to this type of jihad.

      • N. Wasse

        There is only one type of jihad and it is al-Jihad fi sabeel Allah and the foundation of the doctrine of holy war in Islam stems from Q2:216
        As for the meaning of the word al-Jihad in Lisan al-Arab here is the meaning
        Use googletranslate and here is the meaning of the word al-Jihad from a modern Arabic dictionary

        Now you judge for yourself

        And for your information it is very clear that the al-jihad al-akbar hadith is regarded as a weak tradition and it is very clear that it is anachronistic

        The so called al-jihad al-akbar is really a very different Arabic word and it is al-ijtihad and no more

        • Moa

          Thanks for clarifying.

          “The Gates of Ijtihad are closed”, are they not?

          • N. Wasse

            In the theological sense the word al-ijtihad means trying to explain the words of Allah and it does not really mean an intelligent examination of the Qur’an but again this is Islam
            And did the gates of al-ijtihad close in the 10th century AD the answer is yes but again in Islam every thing is possible so if I’m being the kafir big time what I did in the previous post would be regarded as ijtihad if I happen (God forbid) to be Muslim

            The meaning of the word ijtihad really means striving to improve yourself and here from an Arabic dictionary and use googletranslate


            You see Muslims and Arab wannabes from Pakistan have no clue about the root system in Arabic grammar plus a big dose of ignorance and lies and Jihad becomes ijtihad

          • defcon 4

            That was an excellent exposition on al-ijtihad. I’ve read that the Sunnis have a separate doctrine governing lying that is not called Al Taqiyya (that being a Shi’a construct)?
            Am I at all right in this though?

          • N. Wasse

            Thank you. The real liars are Pakistanis. Never trust a Pakistani who tells you that he knows Arabic and they are all liars. Arabs have no hesitation to tell us that Jihad really means holy war and that al-Taqiyya means holy deception after all Muhammad was quoted as saying that war is deception

            Now the doctrine of holy deception is indeed al-Taqiyya and you will find it in the Qur’an. It was practiced by Shi’a Muslims when they are persecuted by Sunnis that does not mean that Sunnis do not use such doctrine as Raymond Ibrahim proved in his book al-Qa’eda reader and that Ayman al-Zawahiri tells Muslims in the west that they can use al-taqiyya to advance the cause of Allah and Islam in the west and do not forget that the 19 terrorists of the 9/11 atrocity looked and behaved like everyone else and they were all Sunni Muslims

            There is another word called al-kitman

            Again use googletranslate and this is what the terrorist group the Muslim Brotherhood uses in dealing with the outside world as well as with their own members and it really means to keep something as a secret
            I hope I helped

        • Moa

          With regard to “jihad akhbar” and “jihad asghar” you may want to check the following definitions out:

          Jihad is also recognized as taking many forms:

          • N. Wasse

            Well Shiekh al-Azhar must be a better authority on this matter and here is what he tells us about the jihad and the four stages of jihad


            Again use googletranslate and here is the text in Arabic or the four stages of jihad and no we are not talking about the bogus lose weight or befriend infidels #myjihad nonsense and again use googletranslate and read it and it is in black and white

            مراحل الجهاد في الاسلام

            والمتبع لمراحل تشريع الجهاد في الإسلام يعلم أنه مر بمراحل:
            المرحلة الأولى: مرحلة الكف والإعراض والصفح حيث كان القتال محرمًا، قال -تعالى-: (أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ قِيلَ لَهُمْ كُفُّواْ أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَاةَ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقِتَالُ إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَخْشَوْنَ النَّاسَ كَخَشْيَةِ اللّهِ أَوْ أَشَدَّ خَشْيَةً) (النساء:77).
            عن ابن عباس -رضي الله عنهما- أَنَّ عَبْدَ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنَ عَوْفٍ، وَأَصْحَابًا لَهُ أَتَوْا النَّبِيَّ -صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ- بِمَكَّةَ فَقَالُوا: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، إِنَّا كُنَّا فِي عِزٍّ وَنَحْنُ مُشْرِكُونَ، فَلَمَّا آمَنَّا صِرْنَا أَذِلَّةً، فَقَالَ: (إِنِّي أُمِرْتُ بِالْعَفْوِ، فَلا تُقَاتِلُوا) فَلَمَّا حَوَّلَنَا اللَّهُ إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ، أَمَرَنَا بِالْقِتَالِ، فَكَفُّوا، فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ -عَزَّ وَجَلَّ-: (أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ قِيلَ لَهُمْ كُفُّواْ أَيْدِيَكُمْ) (النساء:77)، (رواه ابن جرير والنسائي، وصححه الألباني).
            وقال ابن القيم -رحمه الله- عن هذه المرحلة: “والله -سبحانه- يأمرهم بالصبر والعفو والصفح حتى قويت الشوكة واشتد الجناح؛ فأذن لهم بالقتال، ولم يفرضه عليهم فقال: (أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ) (الحج:39)” انتهى.
            وهذه هي المرحلة الثانية: مرحلة الإذن بالقتال.
            ثم المرحلة الثالثة: وهي الأمر بالقتال لمن قاتلهم دون مَن لم يقاتل، وذلك بقوله -تعالى-: (وَقَاتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ) (البقرة:190).
            ثم المرحلة الرابعة: فرض عليهم قتال المشركين كافة بقوله -تعالى-: (وَقَاتِلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَآفَّةً) (التوبة:36)، وقوله -تعالى-: (فَإِذَا انسَلَخَ الأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُواْ لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ فَإِن تَابُواْ وَأَقَامُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَوُاْ الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّواْ سَبِيلَهُمْ) (التوبة:5)، وقوله -تعالى-: (قَاتِلُواْ الَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَلاَ بِالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَلاَ يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَلاَ يَدِينُونَ دِينَ الْحَقِّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ حَتَّى يُعْطُواْ الْجِزْيَةَ عَن يَدٍ وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ) (التوبة:29)، وقوله -تعالى-: (وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ) (الأنفال:39).
            وعن ابن عباس -رضي الله عنهما-، وأبي العالية، ومجاهد، والحسن، وقتادة، والربيع بن أنس، والسدي، ومقاتل بن حيان، وزيد بن أسلم: يعني حتى لا يكون شرك.
            وقال النبي -صلى الله عليه وسلم-: (أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَقُولُوا: لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللهُ، فَإِذَا قَالُوا: لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللهُ عَصَمُوا مِنِّي دِمَاءَهُمْ، وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلا بِحَقِّهَا، وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى اللهِ) (متفق عليه).
            وهذه المرحلة الأخيرة هي التي استقر عليها الأمر في معاملة المسلمين للكفار مِن جميع الأجناس -أهل الكتاب وغيرهم-، وقال أكثر السلف بنسخ آيات الموادعة والصفح والعفو.
            ولا يختلف العلماء مِن “المذاهب الأربعة”، وغيرهم على أنه يلزم المسلمين عند القدرة ابتداء الكفار بالقتال، ولو لم يقاتل الكفار المسلمين -وهذا جهاد الطلب-، مع لزوم جهاد الدفع بالإجماع.
            ورغم أن المستقر عند الفقهاء المرحلة الأخيرة؛ إلا أن عامتهم يصرح بأن حكم المراحل السابقة لم يزل بالكلية، بل يُعمل بها عند الحاجة.

  • N. Wasse

    I urge all the readers: Check Q 8:60 the Muslim Ulama called it “the terrorism verse” and I’m not kidding you. Allah is telling Muslims to terrorize his enemies
    Oh darn it but I thought that Islam is the religion of peace!

    • Moa

      Please also check “hadith Sahih Muslim 6985″ that calls for genocide of all Jews (including those in the USA).

      Also check out Qur’anic verses 5:9 and 5:29 which command subjugation of unbelievers until they pay the Muslim mafia-like tax called “jizya” (which Muslims already see Western foreign aid as jizya that Muslims are *owed*).

      Disgusting stuff.

  • Texas Patriot

    RI: “In Islamic thinking, even offensive jihad—including “breaking [the infidels’] spine through all possible means”—is seen as something of an altruistic affair, for the good of the world. More to the point, the ends justify the means.”

    So Muslims regard jihad as an act of love for the benefit of an unbelieving world? Is it any wonder that Western leaders have had no idea how to respond to it? The problem is that terror and violence in the name of love is inherently contradictory. And if the end result is perpetually warring factions of Muslims like we are now seeing in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, is it any wonder that Westerners don’t want that kind of love?

  • concerned

    can some good soul with knowledge of arabic translate it?

    • defcon 4

      Mr. Ibrahim just did. Oh wait, maybe you wanted a whitewashed version suitable for the enemedia.

    • N. Wasse

      You can use googletranslate

  • Texas Patriot

    If all the terror attacks we’ve seen over the last forty years have been made in the spirit of love, I’m sure Muslims are mystified that we don’t appreciate their sacrifices a lot more. Maybe they need some better PR. The Beatles had a hit with “All You Need is Love”. Why doesn’t someone try “All You Need is Jihad”?

    • defcon 4

      You realize what you propose amounts to renouncing islam right? The holiest man in islam is MUhammad and that is doctrine. Whatever he did was righteous and moral. That includes his actions in slaughtering, enslaving and expelling all the Jewish tribes that lived in Saudi Arabia.
      What if muslimes did renounce it? So what? How do you know they’re not lying it atypical muslime fashion?

      • Texas Patriot

        There are many questions regarding the authorship and the compilation of the book commonly thought of as the Koran. I had always heard that it was “dictated” word for word by God himself and that Muhammad was merely a scrivener writing down what God had said. That may not have been the case.

        Lately I have heard that the book we know today as the Koran was compiled from the notes of followers of Muhammad, after his death, and that there never was any original version actually written by Muhammad himself. These dicrepancies may provide Muslims with a legitimate argument for renouncing those provisions of the Koran that are incompatible with Western civilization and retaking the ones that are.

        As for your other arguments, I’m more concerned about those who refuse to renouce those parts of the Koran calling for violence against non-Muslims than those who are willing to do so.

  • RCraigen

    Hi Raymond. Very well put. Only one minor nitpick: You need to remember that you have a wide audience here, and not everyone will get the sense of your compact parenthetic clause in this passage:

    “jihad, as Idris asserts, is an obligation for Muslims (offensive being communal, defensive being individual).”

    For clarification, what Mr. Ibrahim is intending to explain is that there are (at least) two kinds of obligation, and (at least) two kinds of Jihad. First, “communal obligation” means that, under such-and-such circumstances, the WHOLE islamic community is obliged to ensure that a certain thing happens. Whereas “individual obligation” refers to something that, given some circumstance, every muslim INDIVIDUALLY is obliged to ensure happens.

    Now “offensive jihad” is the sort referred to in the fatwa where the cleric speaks of invading the territory of a non-muslim who is a nonagressor, but who has made no treaty for peace (essentially surrender to conditions of subjugation), forcing them to fight or be subjugated by violence. We haven’t seen a whole lot of large-scale offensive jihad since the expansion of the Islamic empires across Asia, Africa and parts of Europe, centuries ago. There is more and more, on a small scale, nowadays, and the “stealth jihad” in the West today generally falls under this category. There is a subtlety to “community obligation”: as long as someone in the community is “doing it” then it is not something all need to do. Thus if you neighbour goes off to Jihad, it suffices, as part of the community, for you to simply support him by whatever means you have. But if none of your neighbours do so, it is your job to either do so yourself on behalf of the community, or to press the community into Jihad action.

    “Defensive jihad” is the term for attacking such non-treaty nonmuslims who are invading (any!) “Islamic territory” (such as Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan) other than in a submissive fashion, or placing restrictions on muslims carrying out aspects of their religion (such as wearing face veils to vote or leaving a workplace in the middle of a shift to pray or restricting where prayers may take place). Thus, 9/11 was defensive jihad, and most of the extremist violence in Iraq — the “nonbeliever” refers also to muslims that one considers apostate, as shia vs sunni (mutually).

    Dr. I’s explanation, then, points out that offensive jihad (invading the non-muslim’s land) is an obligation for the entire community. So, if it ain’t happening, there should be continual unrest and agitation for it in the Islamic community until it happens. Whereas defensive jihad is individual, so nobody needs to consult with the community, and you get all these lone ranger attacks by muslims like Nidal Hassan at Ft. Hood who feel morally constrained to act out their jihad aggression against the “kuffar: (unbelievers invading islamic lands).

    Hope that helps.

  • Ross

    Very well worth reading. The media,for the most part, seem addicted to disinformation, or at least obscuring the connection between the islamists and their cries.

    Only today we had another silly story here in Indonesia in which ‘militants’ had a gunfight with the anti-terrorist Densus 88 unit and the Jakarta Globe, for one, failed even to say which cause these ‘militants’ were serving!

    • defcon 4

      Islamist: a neologism coined by islam0fascists to create the illusion of a peaceful islam.

  • Dallas25305

    Every muslim knows that Jihad is about robbing, raping and murdering infidels. They have been doing it since the 7th century. They were driven back for awhile thanks to Charles the hammer and European power. However since they now see the Western World including the U.S. is run by self hating, suicidal, Liberal Socialist pansies who have no will to live much less fight they have fired up what they believe will be the destruction of the West. With the moronic, racist, Stalinist, buffoon Obama running the U.S. into the ground you have to like their chances.

  • Texas Patriot

    The only thing I’m curious about in this otherwise excellent piece of journalism by Raymond Ibrahim is that the title states that the cleric “unwittingly” equates jihad terrorism. I don’t see anything unwittingly about it. He couldn’t be more clear. The purpose of jihad is to terrorize non-Muslims into submitting to Islam. More than likely the title is the handiwork of FPM editor David Horowitz who can’t seem to shake his Leftist proclivities for polemics, yellow journalism, and character assassination. What a pity.

    • JimT


      If you can’t hold yourself back from attacking people working to defend America from the Islamist threat over one word then you aren’t acting as a Patriot. This type of division is just what CAIR etc wants, weakening the US from within.

      “Unwitting” here seems to mean that Idris was attempting to present a reassuring statement to a Western audience, but instead reveals that Islam is hostile to the West, because this is a fundamental and essential part of Islam. Leftist readers will spin it, but Mr. Ibrahim reveals the truth.
      If real Americans insist on sniping blindly at each other over inevitable but trivial differences, the Left and whatever follows them wins.

      • Texas Patriot

        Make no mistake about it. I’m all about winning against the threat of global Islamic jihad now sweeping the planet. But I’ve never been of the view that underestimating your adversary is the way to win anything. My impression is that the learned cleric was speaking the truth about Islam, and there was nothing unwitting about it.

  • defcon 4

    I’m surprised ObamaYoMama hasn’t had anything to say about this article.

  • Omar Sharbash

    Most of the comments in response to the article are critical of the author and his point of view. It might mean something.