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Shi'a Pundit

Devoted to the viewpoint of Islam of Muhammad SAW and Amir ul-Mumineen, Ali ibn Abi Talib SA, in the Shi'a Fatimi Ismaili Dawoodi Bohra tradition.

February 26, 2003

Interpretations of Jihad.

A Muslim Under Progress has devoted a lot of thought to the concept of Jihad in a two-part series. In the first part, he ultimately disagrees with me about the meaning of jihad. It certainly won't come as a surprise to anyone that I remain unconvinced. This is why:

1. He agrees with the notion that of the Qur'an intended for jihad to mean qitaal, it would have used the word. The Qur'an supercedes all other authorities.

2. He believes that my interpretation is not valid because I represent a minority within a minority. Islam itself teaches that Truth is universal, my minority status is irrelevant when discussing the merits of my rational argument.

3. Having dismissed my interpretation, he invokes the Hanafi interpretations. Note that Hanafi himself was taught at the feet of Jafar al-Sadiq, the great Imam, descended from Ali AS, whose writings are at the core of the Ismaili interpretations. Therefore he has achieved little to advance his main point, apart from merely illustrating the existence of alternate interpretations of jihad.

I also want to point out that the ayats of the Qur'an that he referred to which ostensibly support the war interpretation of jihad, actually do no such thing. I am willing to do a joint discussion on specific ayats' meanings. The important thing to remember is to NOT take ayats out of context, but look at them as integral pieces of a larger pattern. Nowhere in the Qur'an is an offensive campaign ever justified.

A Muslim Under Progress then lays out an analysis of "just war" from a Muslim perspective. Despite my disagreement with him on part one, I found this to be an excellent and carefully-thought-out analysis. The points are well-supported by Qur'anic references and it provides a valuable perspective. It is important to note that this technically has nothing to do with jihad. As to my own agreement, there are issues of contention, but his writing warrants a more thorough and considered response than what I can provide at this moment. I need to re-read the piece myself and reflect more on what he is trying to say.

(note: underprogress's permalinks are broken, until he republishes his archives. Go to the main page and scroll down.)

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About Shi'a Pundit

Shi'a Pundit was launched in 2002 during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The blog focuses on issues pertaining to Shi'a Islam in the west and in the Islamic world. The author is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. Bohras adhere to the Shi'a Fatimi tradition of Islam, headed by the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS).

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