An exclusive, ongoing, multipart series, whose sole quest is to find a universally acceptable definition of Terrorism.
In the shadows of the proposed "War on Terrorism"
, the religion of Islam has become the center of contention, ‘controversy,’ for many around
the world. In this ‘controversy’ comes a multitude of misunderstandings. With this article, it is hoped that those, Muslim and non-Muslim, who read
the information herein will gain a better understanding of how Islam truly views terrorism. Terrorism is truly a universal phenomena and problem; it
has no ethnic, religious, cultural, or racial restrictive bounds or borders. Terrorism is truly a cancer to society. In such, the threat of terrorism
affects all of us, not some of us.
Islam is not only a religion or a way of life
, it is also an ideology. Islam is a religion in that it is based on the belief in God, just as
Christianity or Judaism. It is ideological in that it encompasses an ideological foundation with an intrinsic system of individual and societal laws.
Islam, as both a religion and an ideology, is solely based on the revelations (teachings) of the Prophet Mohammad. In such, these revelations embody
two distinct forms: the Qur’an
and the Sunnah
. The Qur’an
comprises verses or scripture compiled into chapters, whereas, the
comprises actions, endorsements, and statements made by the Prophet Mohammad. Theoretically, and from a legalistic religious standpoint,
for any view
to be considered an Islamic view
, it has to be validated through the Qur’an
and the Sunnah
The Noble Qur’an
Sunnah and Hadith
As indicated in the preceding articles, the definition of terrorism remains vague, and quite possibly shifts in definition as to suite the interests
of those who define it. Islam uses the Qur’an
to address and give explanation for such a definition.
Islamic View of Terrorism
Accordingly, Islam has a very detailed definition of terrorism. As indicated in the previous article Terrorism: Western Perspective
definition of terrorism is always evolving. In such, the Islamic definition is as follows:
An act carried out to achieve an inhuman and corrupt (mufsid) objective, and involving threat to security of any kind, and violation of
rights acknowledged by religion and mankind.
Clarity of the definition is presented as follows:
Towards a Definition of Terrorism
1) the term ‘human’ is used instead of ‘international’.
2) the epithet ‘corrupt’(mufsid) is used to mean an attribute accompanying inhuman objectives, or the spreading of corruption and given as an
imperative to avoid such objectives.
3) the use of “security of any kind” refers to various types of terrorism.
4) two criteria are given: religious and human, as part of belief and to generalize.
5) the fact that an operation may be viewed as violent does not constitute a condition for considering that act as a case of terrorism, as defined
a) acts of natural resistance exercised against occupying forces, colonizers and/or usurpers
b) acts of resistance against groups or factions as imposed on them by force of arms
c) acts rejecting dictatorships and other forms of repressive government types and efforts to undermine their respective institutions
d) acts of resistance against racial discrimination and attacks on the latter’s strongholds
e) acts of retaliation against any type of aggression, if there is no other alternative(s).
The definition does not apply to any democratic actions unaccompanied by terrorism even if it does not have humane objectives, nor does it
apply to individual destructive acts, if they have no social effect(s), as defined below:
a) acts of piracy on land, air, and sea.
b) acts against all colonialist operations, including wars and military expeditions or operations.
c) acts of all dictatorial acts against peoples and all forms
d) acts against all military methods contrary to human practices
e) acts against all types of pollution of geographical, cultural, and informational environments.
f) acts against all moves that undermine or adversely affect the condition of international or national economy, or shackling of socio-economic gaps
g) acts against all conspiratorial acts aimed at crushing the determination of nations for independence or liberation and/or imposing disgraceful
pacts on them.
With such an elaborate, ever-evolving definition, let us look at clarifying some Islamic legal terminology, their possible dichotomy (two-fold
meaning), and their differences. The word dar al islam
represents the realm of Islam, whereas, dar al zulm
represents the realm of evil.
Likewise, dar al kufr
represents the land of those who will go to hell (jahannam
) for deliberately rejecting the truth of Islam. The
word dar al ijaba
represents the land of those who have embraced Islam. Dar al da’wa
represents the land of those that require more
education of Islam. Where as, dar al taqwa
is representative of the land of those who stand in the gracious love of Allah. Islamic scholars
mention the word tawhid
, meaning Balance, Ying and Yang, equal amounts of diversity in the unity (equilibrium). With just a bit of exposure and
understanding into some of these words, we can determine that there are distinct opposites of meaning and interpretations. They are representative of
extremism, as they are equally represented in all societies and civilizations.
This brings us to the personal and state condemned Islamic word of hirabah
. A derivative of the noun harb
various meanings for "war" and "enemy", the word became synonymous with the demonization of all non-Muslims. Accordingly, extremists have come to
designate the entire world not believing in Islam or controlled by Islam as dar al harb
. Being distinctly opposite of dar al islam
meaning the House of Islam. Islam calls all terrorists mufsidoon
, likewise, an extremist would call them mujahideen
, implying Holy
warrior, or as shahidin
, implying martyrs. Hirabah
implies an Unholy War against society, whereas, Jihad
would imply Holy War.
Coverage of Islam
Muslim Law, Shari'ah/Fiqh
, and its inherent relation to Muslim International Law, stipulates that only
sovereign Muslim nations
or governments have the legal authority to declare Jihad, in any
given circumstance. Despite this expressly clear Muslim interpretation, there
are those, namely Yasir Arafat and Osama bin Laden, who have used the words jihad
(uprising) with 'righteous' impunity,
full well, that they stood in direct violation of Islamic Muslim Law, the Shari’ah/Fiqh.
Shari’ah and Fiqh
The Islam Project-Jihad versus Hirabah
Hirabah versus Jihad
In 1996, Osama Bin Laden issues his Declaration of Jihad
, and in 1998, issues his fatwa
against the United States (Saudi Arabia and
Israel). Many Muslim scholars and juris-consults (scholars of law), called Mufti
, have openly stated that Osama Bin Laden was not given license
to claim a fatwa
, moreover, he is not considered a Mufti
, nor the head of any sovereign Muslim nation or state, and had no authority to
claim or issue either a Jihad
. They have further stated that his so-called fatwa
is worth no more than the paper it
(implying doubt) have been written on and amounts to no more than the personal opinion of an ordinary rich and biased person. These same
Muslim scholars further mention that if
what he decrees against the US is truth
, these claims would amount to only crimes against
humanity and not
sanctioned by the Shari’ah/Fiqh
Osama bin Laden's Fatwa
Osama bin Laden
In short, terrorism and war, except defensive war, is expressly forbidden under Islamic Law. As to the use of suicide
bombings, this too, is
expressly forbidden under Islamic Law and is seen as a heinous crime and sin. Murder would likewise fall under the above clarifications. In the next
installment of this multipart series, the issue to be covered will be: "You Know It When You See It"?
ATS Discussion Related
The War on Terrorism is a War on Freedom
Related Sources of Interest
Osama Bin Laden
Muslims see wordplay
Bin Laden’s Fatwa: A Call to Harabah
Justifications for Violence in
What is Jihad
Suicide Bombers-What does Islam Say
Islam Denounces Terrorism
Muslims Against Terrorism
Terrorism and Islam
Muslims Condemn Terrorism
Only Love Can Defeat Terrorism
[Edited on 22-3-2004 by Seekerof]