After launching a successful terror attack to free a fellow jihadi that left several slain policemen in its wake last month, the militant commander of Kashmir’s Hizb al-Mujahidin—“the Party of Jihadis”—justified the murders by saying, “We love and hate for the sake of Allah.”
In this otherwise cryptic assertion lies the root of Islam’s conflict with the rest of the world. “Loving and hating for the sake of Allah” is one of several translations of the Islamic doctrine of al-wala’ wa al-bara’ (which since 2006 I have generally translated as “Loyalty and Enmity”).
The wala’ portion—“love,” “loyalty,” etc.—requires Muslims always to aid and support fellow Muslims (including jihadis, for example through funds or zakat). As one medieval Muslim authority explained, the believer “is obligated to befriend a believer—even if he is oppressive and violent toward you — while he must be hostile to the infidel—even if he is liberal and kind to you” (The Al Qaeda Reader, p. 64 ). This is a clear reflection of Koran 48:29: “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves.”
But it is the bara’—the “hate”—that so regularly manifests itself that even those in the West who are not necessarily acquainted with the particulars of Muslim doctrine sense it. For instance, in November 2015, after a series of deadly terror strikes in the West, then presidential candidate Donald Trump said, “I think Islam hates us. There’s something there that — there’s a tremendous hatred there. There’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There’s an unbelievable hatred of us.”
This “tremendous” and “unbelievable hatred” is not a product of grievances, political factors, or even an “extremist” interpretation of Islam; rather, it is a direct byproduct of mainstream Islamic teaching. Koran 60:4 is the cornerstone verse of this doctrine and speaks for itself.