The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict between Islam and Christianity

By M. J. Akbar | Go to book overview

13

ISLAM IN DANGER ZONE

The Muslim League has given you a goal which in my judgment is going to lead you to the promised land where we shall establish our Pakistan. People may say what they like and talk as they like. Of course he who laughs last, laughs best.

[Jinnah in a speech to the All India Muslim Students’ Federation on 26 December 1941]

How did a non-practicing, chain-smoking Muslim lawyer, who liked a drink, barely knew the basics of Islam, could speak no language other than English, preferred to dress in an immaculate suit, almost settled down in England, snubbed mullahs for dreaming of an Islamic state, abhorred Gandhi for his hymn-chanting politics, and dreamt of becoming an Indian Ataturk, single-handedly create Pakistan? Pakistan was meant to be a solution to the problems between Hindus and Muslims. Why did India and Pakistan sink into such bitter hatred, and start a war that became a school for terrorism?

Mohammad Ali Jinnah was born nine weeks before his birthday. He came into the world on 20 October 1875 as Mohammad Ali Jinnahbhai. After his first encounter with the western world, at the élitist Christian Mission High School, Christmas seemed a better birthday and so he amended the date to 25 December 1875. His name also sounded too native, so he chopped off the bhai suffix. When he was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in London in 1893 he took his degree as Jinnah.

His three great interests as a student in London were law, which he studied; theatre, which he frequented; and politics, which he fancied. Jinnah was superb in whatever he chose to do. Those who underestimated his

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The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict between Islam and Christianity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • 1 - Chapter and Verse 1
  • 2 - The Joys of Death: a Bargain with Allah 12
  • 3 - Rebellions in the Dark of the Night 26
  • 4 - A Map of Islam 40
  • 5 - Circle of Hell 52
  • 6 - Allah! Muhammad! Saladin! 67
  • 7 - The Doors of Europe 83
  • 8 - Jihad in the East: a Crescent Over Delhi 99
  • 9 - The Holy Sea: Pepper and Power 113
  • 10 - The Bargain Goes Sour 131
  • 11 - The Wedge and the Gate 145
  • 12 - History as Anger, Jihad as Non-Violence 160
  • 13 - Islam in Danger Zone 177
  • 14 - Jinnah Redux and the Age of Osama 189
  • Glossary 214
  • A Suggested Reading List 218
  • Thumbnail Sketches 228
  • Index 251
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