22.12.10

The Origin of Jihad: In Search of Booty

One aspect of Arab society during the time when Muhammad was in Medina consisted of raiding caravans, and it was viewed more as a sport than a declaration of battle. Most Arabs did not engage in fierce fighting because it was more rewarding to surprise a rival and take off with his possessions. The Arabs had a special name for this practice called "razzia" (Arabic ghazwa). Muhammad enjoyed raiding Meccan caravans especially when they were returning with precious goods from Syria.

Unfortunately, when Muhammad continued to steal Meccan goods, the people of Mecca went to battle against Muhammad and his Muslims. During March of 627 A.D., the Meccans lost to Muhammad's infantry which consisted of about a third less soldiers than the Meccan force. But after the victory, Muhammad had a problem. His soldiers expected to continue the practice of razzia, but Muhammad couldn't have Muslims raiding the caravans of other conquered Arabs who were converted to Islam.

The solution was to use the concept of "holy war" or "jihad," which was basically a razzia. Muhammad cleverly reworked the meaning of "jihad" to be raids against non-Muslims outside of Arabia. His raiding parties grew so large that he implemented an administration that oversaw the operations. Muhammad's soldiers would continue the practice of raiding and pillaging any non-believers with the hope of not only strengthening their allegiance to Allah, but also obtaining booty in the process.

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Known Terrorist Groups

Al-Qaida has cooperated with a number of known terrorist groups worldwide including:

  • Armed Islamic Group
  • Salafist Group for Call and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group
  • Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Egypt)
  • Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya
  • Jamaat Islamiyya
  • The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
  • Bayt al-Imam (Jordan)
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Kashmir)
  • Asbat al Ansar
  • Hezbollah (Lebanon)
  • Al-Badar
  • Harakat ul Ansar/Mujahadeen
  • Al-Hadith
  • Harakat ul Jihad
  • Jaish Mohammed - JEM
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
  • Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan
  • Laskar e-Toiba - LET
  • Moro Islamic Liberation Front (the Philippines)
  • Abu Sayyaf Group (Malaysia, Philippines)
  • Al-Ittihad Al Islamiya - AIAI (Somalia)
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
  • Islamic Army of Aden (Yemen)
  • Armed Islamic Group
  • Salafist Group for Call and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group
  • Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Egypt)
  • Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya
  • Jamaat Islamiyya
  • The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
  • Bayt al-Imam (Jordan)
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Kashmir)
  • Asbat al Ansar
  • Hezbollah (Lebanon)
  • Al-Badar
  • Harakat ul Ansar/Mujahadeen
  • Al-Hadith
  • Harakat ul Jihad
  • Jaish Mohammed - JEM
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
  • Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan
  • Laskar e-Toiba - LET
  • Moro Islamic Liberation Front (the Philippines)
  • Abu Sayyaf Group (Malaysia, Philippines)
  • Al-Ittihad Al Islamiya - AIAI (Somalia)
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
  • Islamic Army of Aden (Yemen)
  • Jihad and the Internet

    Let’s not fool ourselves. Whatever threat the real Afghanistan poses to U.S. national security, the “Virtual Afghanistan” now poses just as big a threat. The Virtual Afghanistan is the network of hundreds of jihadist Web sites that inspire, train, educate and recruit young Muslims to engage in jihad against America and the West. Whatever surge we do in the real Afghanistan has no chance of being a self-sustaining success, unless there is a parallel surge — by Arab and Muslim political and religious leaders — against those who promote violent jihadism on the ground in Muslim lands and online in the Virtual Afghanistan.

    Thomas L. Friedman
    New York Times
    15 Dec 2009

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