The Stages of Jihad
By Wolfgang Bruno
Danish translation: Stadier af jihad
Source: Wolfgang Bruno, March 13, 2005
Published on July 2, 2012

When Dutch Islam critic Theo van Gogh was murdered, comments were made that “jihad had arrived” in the Netherlands. Physical fighting is indeed the primary meaning of the concept jihad, and should be undertaken if one is able. Jihad as Holy War is the geographical expansion of Islamic rule by force of arms. It does not always mean killing those who are conquered, but it does mean the acknowledgment of Islam's supremacy. However, if that is not yet possible then jihad should be with one's tongue, by speaking out. Simply put, jihad is anything undertaken to advance the spread of Islam, peaceful or not. Which means that jihad is always present, even if there should be an absence of violence. Da’wah, missionary work and calling to Islam, is also part of jihad, and is utilized until such a time that physical jihad is made possible through greater numbers. Until then, it is important to make sure that non-Muslims are not fully aware of the real Islamic agenda. This is where deception comes in.

Islam allows deception in war in order to attain victory, and Muhammad himself said "War is deceit". "Taqiyya", with origins in Shi’a Islam but now practiced by non-Shi’a as well, is deliberate dissimulation to protect Islam. “Kitman” consists in telling only a part of the truth. A good example of the use of “kitman” is when a Muslim maintains that “jihad” really means “an inner, spiritual struggle,” and fails to add that this definition is based on one single, “weak” hadith of doubtful authenticity. There are nearly 200 references to jihad in the most standard collection of hadith, Sahih al-Bukhari, and all assume that jihad means warfare. Muhammad himself gave the best example of kitman in the early days of Islam, when the number of Muslims was still small. The command to fight the infidels openly was delayed until the Muslims become strong, but when they were weak they were commanded to endure and be patient.

Allah changed his instructions over time according to this principle. A good example is the case of alcohol consumption. Early on, the consumption of alcohol was permitted (2:219), then restricted (4:43) and eventually banned (5:90). There is no disagreement among Muslims that the latter revelation cancels out the earlier ones (2:106), rendering them invalid, and alcohol is thus prohibited. The Koran includes many such abrogated verses. The early Koran of the Mecca period presented religious tolerance as a divine command simply because Muslims had not yet acquired the physical power to compel conversion. But when Islam became more powerful after the flight to Medina, the "verses of the sword" were conveniently revealed to the Prophet, verses that sanction and indeed command violence, historically Islam's preferred method of expansion.

Calls to "fight and slay the idolaters wherever you find them" (9:5), "smite at their necks" (47:4), "make war on the unbeliever in Allah, until they pay tribute" (9:29), "Fight until the religion be all of it Allah's" (8:39) or "announce painful punishment to those who disbelieve" (9:3) all contradict "There is no compulsion in religion" (2:256). Note that sura 9 was the last or second last chapter to be revealed to Muhammad. It is also the most aggressive and intolerant sura in the Koran, replacing all the peaceful ones made at times of Muslim weakness. Offensive jihad, attacking, is now fully permissible in Sunni Islam.

Mark Gabriel, now Christian, is an ex-Muslim and former professor of Islamic history at Al-Azhar University in Egypt. His books can give an easy and basic introduction to Islamic concepts, also for those who don’t share his religion. In "Islam and Terrorism" he divides jihad into three stages: The weakened stage, when Muslims are a small minority, the preparation stage and the jihad stage, when Muslims are a large minority with real power. Notice that full-scale, armed jihad can be launched even when Muslim are a minority. They can then wage a jihad to cut off a part of the country for themselves. This is what happened to India when the Muslim minority created Pakistan. And this is what may happen to nations such as France in the not too distant future. Muslims make up 10% of the population in France today, but one in three of newborn babies. When their proportion reaches 15, 20 or 30 percent, France may break down in civil war, as Lebanon did. French Muslims have so far accepted the banning of the veil in schools. This indicates that they still don’t feel strong enough to wage armed rebellion against the state. It probably also means that they judge time to be on their side, demographically speaking. The clashes in Holland recently could be viewed as passing from the weak stage to the preparation stage, with more open Muslim assertiveness. The fact that this happens already when they make up 6% of the population may be due to what Muslim perceive to be a weak response from the Dutch.

However, even when Muslims make up only a very small part of the population, they can affect discourse about Islam. One of the first things Muhammad and his companions did in Medina was to launch an assassination campaign against people such as Asma bint Marwan and Abu Afak, to intimidate critics into submission. Muslims now follow the pattern of their prophet from 1400 years ago, his sunna. Both the Italian translator and the Norwegian publisher of Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” were nearly killed for taking part in “blasphemy” against Islam. The Japanese translator of the book was stabbed to death in July 1991. In the USA, Steven Emerson received death threats for his work “Jihad in America”, whereas the controversial Islamic reformer Rashid Khalifa was declared an apostate and murdered in 1990 in Tuscon, Arizona. In all of these countries, Muslim made up 1-2 % of the population, or even less. The more recent example of Theo van Gogh further demonstrates how toxic even a minor Muslim presence can be.

As ex-Muslim Muhammad bin Abdulla puts it in the book "Leaving Islam”: “Islam has two sets of teeth, like elephants. One is ivory. The other set of teeth is hidden inside its jaws and is used to chew and crush. All those sweet peace talks of Islam relate to the time and place of weak Islam in early years. But whenever and wherever Muslims were and are strong, they have another set of cruel laws and conduct”. Today, in the West, we are witnessing the Islamic stage of weakness, but the stage of violent jihad is coming sooner or later. The reality is exactly the opposite of what multiculturalists claim, who think clashes with Muslims will diminish in time as we “get used to” each other. They won’t. They will become more dangerous, as Muslims grow bolder and work to silence the media and moderates while supporting terrorism. If we fail to understand this, the War against political Islam in 2020 won’t be in Tehran, Riyadh or Baghdad. It will be in Paris, London and Amsterdam, and maybe in Montreal, Sydney, Detroit and New Jersey, too.