Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Jihad. Les Textes Fondateurs De I'islam Face À la Modernité

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Jihad. Les Textes Fondateurs De I'islam Face À la Modernité

Article excerpt

Jihad. Les textes fondateurs de l'islam face à la modernité. By JohanBourlard. Preface by MarieThérèse Urvoy. Paris: Studia Arabica VT, Editions de Paris, 2008. 194 pp. euro20.

In a short, dense book, historian Bourlard provides the public with clear and valuable information on the roots of jihad in the founding texts of Islam, a subject of obviously central importance these days. Bourlard's study benefits from objectivity, brevity, and clarity while providing a profusion of sources.

Le Jihad is needed because the public largely sees jihad as a Muslim version of the Christian crusade. In fact, jihad and crusade are radically different ideologically, if not actually opposed, emerging from two different world-views. Contrary to the concept of crusade, jihad is an unending commitment to God that permeates an all-encompassing Muslim religious and legal view of the non-Muslim world.

This hegemonic understanding emerges from Muhammad, whose words and deeds establish forever the immutable, perfect, and divinely inspired conduct that every Muslim must emulate in deeds and words. As Bourlard explains, over two hundred verses in the Qur'an mandate jihad, and these are then underscored in the Surma and the biographies.

Bourlard argues that the jihadist outlook is intrinsic to the whole body of Muslim and Islamic religious, legal, and foundational teachings. Muslim scholars disagree about the means to be employed for achieving the jihadist goal, whether by war or da 'wa (proselytism), but they never disagree on jihad's aim, which is Islamization of the entire world. …

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