Islamic Rulings on Warfare

Islamic Rulings on Warfare

Islamic Rulings on Warfare

Islamic Rulings on Warfare

Synopsis

The global war on terror (GWOT) and the battles with specific Islamist groups is, to some degree, a war of ideas. With a better understanding of Islamic concepts of war, peace, and Muslim relations with non-Muslims, those fighting the GWOT may gain support and increase their efficacy. The authors explain the principles of jihad and war and their conduct as found in key Islamic texts, the controversies that have emerged from the Quranic verses of war and peace, and the conflict between liberal or moderate Islamic voices and the extremists on matters such as the definition of combatants, treatment of hostages, and suicide attacks.

Excerpt

The United States no doubt will be involved in the Middle East for many decades. To be sure, settling the Israeli—Palestinian dispute or alleviating poverty could help to stem the tides of Islamic radicalism and anti-American sentiment. But on an ideological level, we must confront a specific interpretation of Islamic law, history, and scripture that is a danger to both the United States and its allies. To win that ideological war, we must understand the sources of both Islamic radicalism and liberalism. We need to comprehend more thoroughly the ways in which militants misinterpret and pervert Islamic scripture. Al-Qaeda has produced its own group of spokespersons who attempt to provide religious legitimacy to the nihilism they preach. Many frequently quote from the Quran and hadith (the Prophet Muhammad's sayings and deeds) in a biased manner to draw justification for their cause.

Lieutenant Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein and Dr. Sherifa Zuhur delve into the Quran and hadith to articulate a means by which Islamic militancy can be countered ideologically, drawing many of their insights from these and other classical Islamic texts. In so doing, they expose contradictions and alternative approaches in the core principles that groups like al-Qaeda espouse.

The authors have found that proper use of Islamic scripture actually discredits the tactics of al-Qaeda and other jihadist organizations. This monograph provides a basis for encouraging our Muslim allies to challenge the theology supported by Islamic militants. Seeds of doubt planted in the minds of suicide bombers might dissuade them from carrying out their missions. The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased to offer this study of Islamic rulings on warfare to the national defense community as an effort to contribute to the ongoing debate over how to defeat Islamic militancy.

DOUGLAS C. LOVELACE, JR.
Director
Strategic Studies Institute . . .

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