Saturday, December 24, 2011

Khaled Ahmed: Muslim view of 'decline'

Khaled Ahmed.

The Muslim resistance to mutation as a project of survival and its literalist insistence on a permanently settled dogma has forced them to think of changing the world. The idea is to change the world, not change according to the world. There are two doctrines that spring from this feeling of decline: ‘dawa’, that is, proselytising non-Muslims till they can’t think differently and thus contribute to the universal consensus based on unrevised tenets; and jihad, by which the Muslims mean war.

Jihad is an abstraction and peace-loving Muslims often explain it not as war but as efforts made in the way of achieving obedience to Allah. John Esposito, a British author considered sympathetic to Islam, once tried to register the peaceful meaning of jihad on a BBC discussion with a broad spectrum of Muslim scholars from the Islamic world. He was shocked to hear that the dominant Quranic sense of jihad was ‘qital’ (homicide) not ‘juhud’ (effort). Some new Muslim authors have recommended that jihad be added to the Five Pillars of Islam which are: ‘Kalima’, namaz, zakat, fasting during Ramazan and Hajj.

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