Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in the Crusader Period

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in the Crusader Period

Article excerpt

The Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in the Crusader Period. By Suleiman A. Mourad and James E. Lindsay. Brill Academic Publisher: Leiden, 2015. 221 pp. euro98, $133.

One of the more pernicious and prevalent post-9/11 myths is that one of Islam's most fundamental concepts, jihad, has been distorted by "violent extremists" who have "hijacked the religion." In this fairy-tale view, jihad is above all a struggle for self-betterment that al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, Boku Haram, and others have twisted and deformed. Mourad of Smith College and Lindsay of Colorado State University provide an excellent antidote to this ahistorical nonsense by offering a serious primer on the historical codification of jihad and its subsequent application in response to the Crusaders.

The first part of the book deals with Islamic literature on jihad and the role of Muslim scholars in elucidating and disseminating the concept. The authors then focus on the Forty Hadiths for Inciting Jihad compiled not long after the Second Crusade by Ibn Asakir, "one of the most celebrated scholars of medieval Islam, both in his own time and in subsequent centuries." The actual text of the Forty Hadiths is presented in both Arabic and English, offering the reader the chance to read firsthand what kind of statements concerning jihad are attributed directly to Muhammad, all of which are deemed by Sunnis as sahih or "authentic."

The hadiths, and the worldview they have engendered, speak for themselves: "Lining up for battle in the path of God [jihad] is worthier than 60 years of worship." "If he dies or is killed, all his sins are forgiven . …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.