Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward
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From New York Times bestselling author and former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi comes this personal, challenging, and respectful answer to the many questions surrounding jihad, the rise of ISIS, and Islamic terrorism.
San Bernardino was the most lethal terror attack on American soil since 9/11, and it came on the heels of a coordinated assault on Paris. There is no question that innocents were slaughtered in the name of Allah and in the way of jihad, but do the terrorists’ actions actually reflect the religion of Islam? The answer to this question is more pressing than ever, as waves of Muslim refugees arrive in the West seeking shelter from the violent ideology of ISIS.
Setting aside speculations and competing voices, what really is jihad? How are we to understand jihad in relation to our Muslim neighbors and friends? Why is there such a surge of Islamist terrorism in the world today, and how are we to respond?
In Answering Jihad, bestselling author Nabeel Qureshi (Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus) answers these questions from the perspective of a former Muslim who is deeply concerned for both his Muslim family and his American homeland.
my response was to try and find a way to say they were, despite appearances, defensive battles. The raids I dismissed as historically uncertain, the battle of Badr an attempt to reclaim what Meccans had stolen, the battle of Tabuk a preemptive strike under threat of Roman attack. But these were my knee-jerk responses to defend the teachings I had inherited, and they were implausible at best. When considering the big picture, such explanations are wholly indefensible. The early Muslim community
insistence upon peace is consistent with the foundations and origins of the Islamic faith. I have attempted to address that question head-on in this book: No, it is not. Muhammad engaged in many battles, both offensive and defensive, both provoked and unprovoked, leading the Muslim community in eighty-six raids and battles during the last nine years of his life. The Quran’s final commands are found in surah 9, chronologically the last major chapter of the Quran, and they are the most violent
principle of Tawhid, the absolute oneness of God. Tawhid emphatically denies the Trinity, so much so that it is safe to say the doctrine of God in Islam is antithetical to the doctrine of God in Christianity. Not just different but opposed. This last difference is profound. The Trinity teaches that God is not a person, but three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit. To assert that the God of Islam is the same person as the God of Christianity becomes almost nonsensical at this point, as the
New Testament and firmly established centuries before the advent of Islam. The earliest Christians were all Jews, incorporating their encounter with Jesus into their Jewish theology. Nothing of the sort is true of Muhammad, who was neither a Jew nor a Christian. Islam did not elaborate on the Trinity but rejected and replaced it. Additionally, Volf’s assumption that Jews did not in the past worship something like the Trinity is debatable. Many Jews held their monotheism in tension with a belief
intricate laws to their followers. Yet Jesus did none of these things. In the four accounts of Jesus’ life that we have in the Gospels, Jesus never led an army, never struck a man, and never even wielded a sword. In fact, his teaching on violence was clearly the opposite. The only place in the Gospels where we might expect Jesus to fight, during his arrest in the garden of Gethsemane when his disciples were willing to fight for him, Jesus gave them this command: “Put your sword back in its place