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Book Review: Islamic Jihad – A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery by M. A. Khan

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After recounting the ongoing, often-contradictory, debates surrounding the true nature of Jihad and what Muslims fundamentally believe about their creed in the first two chapters, Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery establishes, in the next, an ideal paradigm of Jihad with compelling references from the Quran (God’s words), as well as from the examples of how Prophet Muhammad had himself applied those divine commands of Jihad. With great insights and analyses, this book makes it crystal clear that the paradigmatic model of Jihad is overwhelmingly violent; and that it lies at the heart of Islam, as it says, “Violent Jihad is the heart of Islam; without it, Islam would, most likely, have died a natural death in the seventh century itself” (p. 79).

It clearly identifies, in this ideal model of Jihad, three major strands of Jihadi actions, namely forced conversion, imperialism and slavery — all of which are commanded by God and practiced by Prophet Muhammad. In accordance with the Muslim belief that the command of the Quran and actions of Prophet Muhammad are eternal in nature, it goes on to demonstrate in subsequent chapters (4–7) with compelling historical documentation that, those commands of Jihad were perpetuated by later Muslim holy warriors and rulers; and that this practice continues to this day, although in severely suppressed forms in Muslim societies.

In these latter chapters, the book first gives clear outlines of the Quranic commands of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery and their ideal models set by Prophet Muhammad. Thereafter, each chapter goes on to anecdote extensive historical examples of these practices exercised by Muslim invaders and rulers over the centuries. The tales recounted in these chapters entail mindless brutality perpetrated, in the name of Jihad, by Muslim invaders, which involved mass-slaughter of the vanquished, their mass-conversion at the point of the sword, the enslavement of mainly women and children in mind-boggling numbers, and the imposition of brutal imperial rule involving crushing economic exploitations and horrible persecution of non-Muslim subjects.

The chapter on Islamic imperialism also recounts how Muslim invaders have deliberately destroyed rich cultural heritage of many great civilizations of the pre-Islamic days as their God-ordained duty that “the vestiges of the pre-Islamic jahiliyah age must be replaced by the perfect religious, political and cultural civilization of Islam” (p. 164). The practice continues today, such as the destruction of Bamyan Buddha statues by the Taliban and attacks on similar structures of pre-Islamic heritage by fundamentalist Muslims in many Islamic countries.

The stories recounted are harrowing, heart-wrenching, jaw-dropping. Muslims from all over the world must read this book. They will be shocked by the scale of brutality their ancestors suffered at the hands of Islamic invaders — opposed to their false notion that Islam came to liberate them from tyranny, oppression and sinful religious practices. They will feel remorse and pain for the sufferings of their ancestors. No less pain would be felt by non-Muslim readers — say, those from India — whose forefathers suffered much more for their refusal to embrace Islam.

Muslim or Non-Muslim, everybody from India to Central Asia, to the Middle East, West Asia, Africa, Eurasia, Europe and even the United States will quickly able to realize how Islam had affected — nay, terribly brutalized — their ancestors by the instruments of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery, which they may be unaware of.

These ideal practices, enshrined in the doctrines of Jihad, were practiced well into the 20th century. Most interestingly and convincingly, this book makes it very clear that those Jihadi commands of Islam are not dead; Muslims still practiced them in one form or another — one may look the treatment of minorities in Muslim countries, say in Saudi Arabia. In Malaysia, non-Muslims are discriminated against to support Muslims from the toil of non-Muslims, the major taxpayers. These practices are, however, severely subdued, because, as suggests this book, that Muslims do not have power; and that international obligations, such as to the United Nations, to uphold human rights of all their citizens undermine Muslim nations’ mistreatment of their non-Muslim citizens.

On the basis of many ongoing examples of forced conversion (in Pakistan, Egypt etc.), expansion of Islamic imperialism or rule (creation of Pakistan, independence of Kosovo) and effort to do so (Kashmir, Chechnya, Mindanao, Thai South), plus the ongoing practice of slavery in some Muslim countries (Saudi Arabia, Mauritania etc.) and its intensification in the Sudan etc., this book makes abundantly clear that these cardinal commands of Jihad, eternal in nature, are very much alive. If Muslims gain power, say by changing demographics such as through their unbridled procreations — forced conversion, imperialism and slavery will most likely intensify as the book concludes:

The radical Islamic movements have been gaining fast ascendancy in the Muslim world, while the Sharia laws creeping into the legal system bit by bit even in the West. It remains to be seen whether or not the central professions of Jihad—forced conversion, imperialism and slavery along with economic exploitations and social disabilities of non-Muslims—return to the world-stage with its medieval glories.

This is a profound statement, which may sound ridiculous to many. But if people read this book carefully, they will give a second thought before dismissing the statement as preposterous, if at all.

This is a book everyone — Muslim and non-Muslim — must read, as the topic discussed profoundly affect a greater majority of the world population today, while it will, undoubtedly, affect the now-unaffected in a century if not in a few decades. Most of all, every politician and community leaders must read it in order to grasp the unbelievable resilience inherent in the doctrines of Jihad, which will make them realize the depth of the threat, posed by surging Islamic radicalism to the future of global humanity.

Huntington made a shocking statement in his Civilization Clash thesis in saying that “Civilization seems in many respects to be yielding to barbarism… a global Dark Age possibly descending on humanity”. Huntington puts multiple civilizations at fault for this likely downfall of the civilized humanity. If none else, the resurging radical Jihadism, which lies very much at the heart of Islam, would most likely make his prediction as reality. Read this book and grasp why.

If Muslims read this book, it will solve much, if not all, of today’s problem of Jihadi terrorism and Islamic intolerance, simply because they will find little reason to sacrifice their life for a fraudulent, violent, and inhuman creed. They may well leave this religion altogether.

Loaded with information of encyclopedic proportion, both theological and historical, on the spread of Islam, its practice of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery wherever Islam went, this book is a one-stop reference for the academicians, scholars, researchers and writers of Islam. Nonetheless, the book contains a few ignorable typos and comes without an index.

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About Muhammad Hussain

  • http://members.cox.net/journeyhome/index.htm Paul Burke – Author Journey Home

    I have always said there are only two tenants to live by and if we don’t follow them – then we will fight amongst ourselves and destroy the planet – the two tenants are as old as the hills but here they are, and they are all this world needs: “live and let live”, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – it’s time to bring back the golden rule – and teach it world wide.

  • Cane Cutter

    If this book is a must read for both Muslims and non-Muslims then it should be publicized on a grand scale across the World.
    People have a right to know the truth.