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Fitnah - The Word That Motivates Global Islamic Jihad

Fitnah - The Word That Motivates Global Islamic Jihad


Date Published: 
Monday, 16 February, 2015

The purpose of this article is to introduce the complex, abstract concept of fitnah to those in the non-Islamic world who are concerned about the apparent rising tide of global violence associated with Islam.

After several years of intense study and discussion with colleagues, I have come to believe that fitnah is the most essential motivational component of Islamic theology. It is the cornerstone of an adversarial, confrontational worldview that inevitably leads to a state of perpetual conflict with the non-Islamic world.

In fact, fighting against the multi-faceted threat of fitnah is such an essential part of a Quran-based worldview that it is both the strategy and tactics and the “beating heart” of the global Islamic movement, the GIM.

Removing fitnah from the world is so fundamental to Islamic ideology that every primary source contains extensive references to the concept.

It also follows, that if fitnah is the gravitational force behind the GIM, then some essential tactical elements, or operative verbs, must also be understood. For this reason, two of these key tactical verbs – qital and kharaj, or “kill/slaughter/slay” and “displace/expel/drive out,” respectively – are discussed in this article.