Underestimating the determination and might of our enemies has caused us much trouble * Muslims are commanded to wage holy war against idolaters and confront them with the choice of converting to Islam, or dying by the sword * The famous slogan “Islam spread by the sword” is not merely descriptive, but prescriptive * Many Muslim religious leaders have ruled that it is obligatory for every Muslim to fight the State of Israel and destroy it * The only way to prevent war with the Muslims is to defeat them decisively.
The War against Muslims
In these days, when the people of Israel find themselves in a difficult war with Hamas in Gaza, with Hezbollah armed to the teeth in the north and Iran giving them full support, it is fitting to examine the culture of Islam, since the roots of the war originate there. For over a hundred years, the Arabs have been fighting us in the Land of Israel, and most Arabs and Muslims support our enemies, despite having no other grounds for conflict with us. It is important to note that even those from the Muslim culture who are not religiously observant, are still influenced by the Muslim culture, therefore, it is important to understand it, in order to contend with the enemy, and defeat it. Underestimating the determination and might of our enemies has caused us much trouble, and from now on, in order to defeat them, we must treat them with utmost seriousness.
Islam – The Might of Allah
Around fourteen hundred years ago, close to six hundred years after the founding of Christianity, the religion of Islam was founded by Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, in the Arabian Peninsula. Although inspired by the faith of Israel Islam is free from idolatry, in terms of consciousness, it involves subtle corporealization, since according to the pure Jewish faith the Divine is not to be defined in any way, and all the Divine attributes, such as kindness, might, and compassion, are an emanation revealed to us, but the Divine itself transcends all definition. And although in principle Islam agrees with this, in practice, it tends to define Allah according to the attribute of judgment and might, and relates to him as an omnipotent warrior whom all must surrender to, and absolutely accept His dominion.
The Commandments Express Submission to His Might
Since the primary manifestation of Allah is might, the Muslim believer must gird himself with might and be a soldier in Allah’s army, in order to subdue his evil inclination before him, and in order to fight the infidels and subdue them before him. The five primary commandments of Islam also primarily express the honor of Allah, and submission to him: 1) The declaration of faith in Allah and his prophet Muhammad; 2) Prayer to him five times a day; 3) Fasting during all the days of the month of Ramadan, in order to strengthen faith and subdue the evil inclination; 4) The pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia; 5) Zakat – the giving of an annual tithe of two and a half percent of one’s property to the Caliph, so he may fulfill the word of Allah with it, give charity to the poor from it, and lead the jihad to establish Islam’s dominion in the world.
The commandment of prayer can serve as an example of the unique character of Islam. In Judaism, the essence of prayer is the Amidah (lit., standing), because the supplicant must stand before God in his full stature, and ask Him to help him participate in bringing God’s blessing to the world. To that end, he asks God for wisdom, healing, economic blessing, the building of Jerusalem, and the redemption of Israel. By contrast, in the text of Muslim prayer there are no requests, only the repetition of a short creed of faith in Allah and acceptance of his dominion. And the essence of it is the submission to God manifested in repeated bowing, with the face pressed to the ground, expressing the believer’s willingness to negate his unique individuality before him. Thus, the Muslim faith negates the uniqueness and autonomy inherent in every created being, leaving the power of human choice one task: to accept the dominion of Allah, and submit to him.
A Militant Religion – Jihad
A man of the West might think that submission to Allah gives rise to weakness, but this submission to the Omnipotent imbues the Muslim with tremendous might in his battle with his evil inclination and with the infidels, thus enabling the Muslims to conquer great lands.
Moreover, since the dominant aspect of Allah is power and might, the commandment second in importance only to the five commandments expressing man’s personal submission to God, is the commandment of jihad, in order to eradicate idolatry from the world, and make all men into Muslims, that is, those who submit to Allah. To that end, one must wage holy war against idolaters and confront them with the choice of converting to Islam, or dying by the sword.
The warriors, who are Allah’s representatives and emissaries, must follow his ways, and fight with tremendous might in order to forcibly subdue those who do not surrender to his dominion, and one who dies in battle is called a “shahid,” who has testified to Allah’s sovereignty with self-sacrifice, and is assured the greatest reward in paradise. Around this idea, Muhammad succeeded in subduing and uniting all the Arab tribes, and his tremendous success proved the truth of his prophecy to his believers. After he died, his successors set out with vigor to conquer the world, and make it Muslim. In thirty years, the first caliphs succeeded in conquering all the lands of the Middle East and parts of North Africa. In the next sixty years, they conquered all of North Africa and Spain in the west, and in the east, they reached as far as India.
The Sword Expresses the Faith
Power and the sword have a central status in the Muslim religion, because they emphasize the tangible might of the religion, and magnify the greatness and dominion of Allah. Therefore the famous slogan “Islam spread by the sword” is not merely descriptive, but prescriptive. Therefore, when Islam conquers peoples who are idolaters, they must be demanded to convert to Islam, or be killed. Even when it may be hoped that in the coming years they will be convinced to convert to Islam, one must not wait for that, but rather, Islamic law must be imposed upon them by force of arms, thus expressing the absolute sovereignty of Allah.
Even in the calls of the muezzin day and night, from the minaret adjacent to the mosque towering above the surroundings, in addition to their primary purpose of indicating the time for prayer, there is also an expression of the supremacy of the religion over the environs, towards both Muslims, and others. With the might of this faith, the Arabs succeeded in founding a nation of valiant, dedicated, and stubborn warriors, conquered many lands, and imposed Islam upon many nations for over a thousand years.
The Duty of War
According to the Muslim conception, the world is divided into two parts: “Dar al-Islam” – the part already conquered by Islam, and “Dar al-Harb“- the place of war, which is obligatory to conquer and Islamize its inhabitants, and after its conquest it becomes Muslim holy land (waqf), which it is absolutely forbidden to cede under any circumstances. And even if they lost control over it for hundreds of years, it is still considered holy Muslim land that they have a supreme duty to restore to Muslim control. Even when the Muslims weaken, it is forbidden for them to cede land that belonged to Islam, because no believer may surrender to any person other than Allah. Although in times of distress Muslims are permitted to sign a temporary cease-fire, they must gain strength until they can reconquer the territories that belonged to Islam, and continue fighting for the dominion of Islam over all the inhabitants of the earth.
Attitude Towards Judaism
Based on simple acceptance of the fundamentals of belief, reward and punishment in the Bible, Muhammad harshly criticized the Jews and claimed against them – how dare they rebel against the God who chose them from all peoples, took them out of Egypt with signs and wonders, split the sea for them, gave them the Torah, and bequeathed to them the good land. And no matter how much He punished them, and forgave them again and again, they continued to betray Him, until He brought upon them all the severe punishments written in the Torah and Prophets, and punished them with the harshest punishment of all – exile, and degradation.
At first, Muhammad hoped that the Jews would accept his words, and crown Islam as the religion continuing the divine revelations of the Torah. But when they refused to do so, he saw it as a continuation of their rebellion against God and became their enemy, thinking it was Allah’s will that they be severely punished and degraded for rebelling against Him.
In general, Muslim law differentiates between idolaters, who if they do not convert to Islam must be killed, and the Jews and Christians, who are people of the book and believe in one God, who even if they do not convert to Islam are not to be killed, but must be punished and degraded for not accepting Islam. Many pogroms occurred in Muslim lands following what was perceived by Muslims as violation of the laws of degradation imposed upon the Jews. Although in principle, Christians and Jews have equal status, the attitude towards Jews is harsher, because according to Islam, the Jews rebelled against Allah, and it is his will that they be punished.
The War against the State of Israel
In recent generations, after God saw the poverty of His people, and gave strength to those who immigrated to settle in the land, and the exiles began to gather, and by God’s kindness we merited to establish the State of Israel, great anger awakened in the Muslim world at Israel, and the Jews. The Muslim principle requires degrading the Jews and proving thereby that Islam superseded Judaism, and the Jews resuming acting like masters, is seen as defiance of Islam. Moreover, the State of Israel arose on land conquered by the Muslims 1300 years prior, which since then has been seen by them as Muslim holy land, and they are obligated to destroy the State of Israel, and return its territory to Islam.
Based on this position, many Muslim religious leaders have ruled that it is obligatory upon every Muslim to fight the State of Israel and destroy it, and have expressed intense hatred of all Jews, and yearned for their destruction. By contrast, there have been Muslim leaders who recognized Israel’s might, and agreed that as long as Muslims lack the power to defeat Israel, the obligation is not to fight Israel, but to act to weaken it, and when that becomes possible, the obligation to fight the State of Israel and destroy it, will resume. Children are educated from a young age that even if a hundred years will pass that the Muslims cannot conquer the State of Israel, they will not give up their aspiration to destroy the State of Israel, and punish the Jews for conquering it from the Muslims.
The Way to Prevent War
The only way to prevent war with the Muslims, is to decisively defeat them, until it is clear to them that they have no chance of defeating us, for then, even according to Muslim law, they are exempt from the duty of war, for Heaven hints to them that the time has not come to fulfill the duty of jihad.
Perhaps then, the good voices within Islam will prevail, interpreting jihad as the inner battle against the evil inclination, rather than the conventional interpretation of violent war. And the words of commentators who say that the derogatory words about Jews apply only as long as the punishment of exile for past sins remains in force, but when the Jews return to their land, that is the will of God fulfilling His ancient promise to His people Israel.
This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper and was translated from Hebrew.