* By Jalal Tagreeb
There are various types of jihad (struggle) in Islam. Which type a Muslim should engage in depends on his particular situation. For example, members of Hamas’ military division, including the Nukhba (elite) forces, adopt jihad of the sword, which is physical struggle and fighting against the enemies of Islam (e.g., military actions). The political division of Hamas adopts jihad of the tongue, which is a form of intellectual jihad, where a Muslim uses his eloquence, presentation and speech skills to spread the word of Islam and to defend it. This is sometimes called jihad by “word” and includes media and debates.
Muslim scholars and apologists adopt jihad of the “word” because it fits their area of specialisation. The battlefield of jihad of the sword is some territory where military actions take place either in an open space or within and between buildings, even underground. The battlefield of jihad by “word” is social media, e-forums, journals, magazines and places where debates take place.
From the Islamic point of view, these types of jihad are equivalent, that is, they are exactly the same and a Muslim is asked by Islamic Shari'a (law) to prepare very well and put maximum effort into becoming as strong as he can to perform jihad. Shari'a strictly forbids a Muslim to surrender or flee the “battlefield” when engaging a non-Muslim. These kinds of Islamic rules gives the Muslim the feeling of invincibility and the only outcome will be victory, except that the opposite usually happens!
The Muslim's tragedy is compounded in that he plummets from a very high spiritual point to an extremely low one, and sees his Islamic values and vows crashing in front of him. This collapse is sufficient to strip him of all his values and principles, leaving him empty and lost. This much is clearly written on the faces of the recently-captured Hamas fighters from the Nukhba forces. As POWs of the IDF, their fit and strong bodies now sport semi-transparent white nylon suits, leaving them shocked and disappointed. They followed the instructions according to their religion, and the expected outcomes did not materialise.
The IDF was very professional in the capturing and treatment of Hamas fighters. They identified who of the detained fighters participated in the 7 October attack (circled in red). Their exposure, being stripped to their underwear and in semi-transparent suits, are well-understood as part of the detention procedure (precaution against concealed weapons, explosive belts, etc), as well as, of course, the dismantling of their invincible egos.
Notably, the heroes were captured around the date of Saddam Hussein’s capture (13 December 2003) and the date Hamas was founded (10 December 1987). It will be interesting to see how and when the IDF will capture Yahya Sinwar (the Hamas leader in Gaza).
Surprisingly, Hamas leaders and senior officers, and especially Sinwar, did not learn from what happened to Saddam Hussein, who thought that he was an Arab man-of-steel who could stand up to the West and Israel. Saddam spent more than thirty years to acquire a nuclear bomb and become superior over the West (mainly Britain as the former colonial power). He aspired to the world. He had read the history very well, yet thought he was different and invincible.
Although Saddam was a symbol of defiance and arrogance, and promised never to surrender, Britain and America did not drop a nuclear bomb on him, they did something better and more effective than that.
The man-of-steel, the supremely powerful and disciplined dictator, was destroyed by less than one minute of video showing his capture after his defeat and immediate medical examination. He insisted on maintaining a haughty pride throughout, but the white, kafir, American medic said “Open Wide. Now say Ahhh…,” stuck a tongue depressor in his mouth and shone a light to examine his tonsils!
After having his wild beard shaved off, he was cleaned up, and made fit to appear before his new masters, the Americans. Many Arab countries did not see this as a brutal treatment of a ruler, but rather as a behaviour correction of an arrogant dictator and a well-done job by Britain and America.
This video was more effective in collapsing the folly of the proud than a nuclear bomb.
The ultimate setback for Saddam was his capture and lock-up in a cell in his palace by the Americans who were supported by his ex-colonial administrator! This is the best punishment he could ever receive for his iniquities. It was a tremendous win in the battle against dictatorship in the Middle East, and a good lesson for other dictators.
Saddam Hussein was captured by the U.S. Delta force on 13 December 2003. The operation was launched after gaining actionable intelligence identifying Saddam’s likely whereabouts (a tunnel with a dead end, a spider hole). So, how Saddam was captured? On 12 December, the US army raided a house in Baghdad that served as an insurgent headquarters, and netted Saddam’s comrade. Early the next morning, he revealed where Saddam may be found.
I remember reading an article in 2003 reporting that President George W Bush had asked the US head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, Paul Bremer, to immediately deliver the captured Saddam Hussein to the White House. According to the American version of the story, Saddam was taken, in complete secrecy, to a place in the US capital. Bush had wanted Saddam Hussein handcuffed in an iron cage, and to present him to the world in a great reveal during his speech. However, General Colin Powell, together with most of the Pentagon, would not acquiesce, arguing that it would be a provocation to all Arab peoples. Saddam Hussein was returned to Baghdad, after which the news of his capture was announced. Saddam’s transfer to the American capital was neither confirmed nor denied.
I have seen the impact of Saddam's capture on those who supported his ideas, and I could tell that it was a great blow that had killed the passion in those fanatics who still followed him. We have seen when people traded high fives following his capture, pro-Saddam people walked away, went home and closed their doors. The Americans put that bag on his head; finally, the curtain fell on an era. If Saddam was exposed in the way President Bush had wanted, maybe it would have put an end to people around the world who adhere to the Saddam approach. Either way, it was good that they broadcast his capture in the media.
How can Yahya Sinwar be captured?
A senior Hamas commander told the UK's Daily Mail that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar had “destroyed” the lower levels of Hamas. If people from Hamas can help the IDF locate and capture Sinwar alive, a win condition can be achieved and the war can then stop after freeing all Israeli hostages.
Some believe that Hamas must be completely defeated and we should all unite efforts to achieve this goal. This is a good opportunity, since they started all the trouble. There should be no change of mind this time. In other words, do not stop until the mission is fully accomplished and the defeat is fully admitted by Hamas. The job must be finished this time, exactly as in the case of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Today Israel is fighting a similar battle to what Sri Lanka fought against the LTTE between 1983 and 2009. The approach Sri Lanka adopted in defeating LTTE might be used as an effective reference on how to defeat Hamas.
How was the LTTE defeated?
The Sri Lankan government focused on gaining support from people, following which they turned towards the diplomatic arena, where they succeeded in getting the LTTE banned from thirty-two countries. It was the end of external funding and material support to LTTE from foreign countries. This political victory led to over 6,000 LTTE members leaving the organisation, from whom the government managed to glean sufficient intelligence to learn their plans and hiding places, locate their leaders, and much more besides. In addition, the political victory opened the way for other countries, such as the U.S., to support Sri Lanka through providing it with the needed military equipment to track and detain remaining LTTE members. In the end, the LTTE had no choice but to admit defeat and surrender unconditionally.
Arabs have difficulty accepting that the right of Israel to exist, and its superiority in the region in every respect, are beyond question. Anyone who acts against this reality acts against the civilisation of the Middle East. Historically, Israel has existed since 2000 BCE (approximately). So, Israelis are the landlords. It is rather unfortunate that Arabs learned this fact the hard way. Israel is a wise power in the region. This should be acknowledged and respected.
It is better for all that there is a strong Israel. If Israel lays down her arms, the Arabs will invade her; if Arabs lay down their arms, Israel will not invade them. Those Arabs who claim that the end of Israel is near indulge in wishful thinking. Yet, Israel could be in a much better position than at present: she has political support; the U.S., as well as many Arabs and ex-Muslims are supporting her in eliminating Hamas. Former Muslims who know Islam from the inside have dedicated themselves to the permanent security of Israel.
Jalal Tagreeb is a freelance researcher and translator from the Levant. A Muslim apologist from a pious family, his studies in Islamic history and literature went into preparing debates against secularists and Christians. When, after two decades, Jalal was finally ready, his opponents simply devastated him. Now, in his own words, he tells about jihad by word (jihad of the tongue)!
Unknown author - US Army photo, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3124109
Dan Palraz - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=126894737
Times of Israel
24 December 2023 at 15:59 Ben Dor A wrote:
Dear Anjuli Pandavar
Thank you for your post on the this issue.
The only way to totally destroy a terrorist organization is by stopping the flow of cash.
Regretfully many Western countries including the US, Canada, Australia and NZ are funding these terrorist organizations and UNRWA which is part of Hamas ISIS.
Israel is not Sri Lanka and Hamas ISIS are not the LTTE.
What the Sri Lankan government achieved with that terrorist organization, Israel cannot achieve with the Palestinian terrorist organizations as long as they have so many nations donating $ billions to them even though everyone knows that most of this cash goes to terror.
Terror against the Jews.
Another factor in the Islamic mindset is the shame factor. Read attached essay.
And let's not forget what happened to the US in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They spent over a $ trillion, thousands of American deaths and it was a total flop.
Ben Dor A.
24 December 2023 at 17:52 Anjuli Pandavar wrote:
I, too, disagree with Tagreeb's drawing equivalence between Hamas and the LTTE, and between Israel and Sri Lanka. I know of other writers who draw the same equivalence. The value in this piece is in the role of humiliation in the Arab Muslim psyche, and for that reason I considered it worth publishing. When the first pictures emerged of POWs the IDF is taking in Gaza, there was (probably still is) objection to those POWs being in their underwear. Yes, it is an operational necessity to protect soldiers, but it is also, even if not necessarily intended that way, an important psychological strike for the IDF. Humiliation of the non-Muslim is right at the heart of Islamic doctrine:
Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low. (Qur'an 9:29)
Tafsir (exegesis) Jalalayn explains this verse:
Fight those who do not believe in God, nor in the Last Day, for, otherwise, they would have believed in the Prophet (s), and who do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden, such as wine, nor do they practise the religion of truth, the firm one, the one that abrogated other religions, namely, the religion of Islam – from among of those who (min, `from', explains [the previous] alladhna, `those who') have been given the Scripture, namely, the Jews and the Christians, until they pay the jizya tribute, the annual tax imposed them, readily (`an yadin is a circumstantial qualifier, meaning, `compliantly', or `by their own hands', not delegating it [to others to pay]), being subdued, [being made] submissive and compliant to the authority of Islam.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir expands:
until they pay the Jizyah, if they do not choose to embrace Islam, with willing submission, in defeat and subservience, and feel themselves subdued. disgraced, humiliated and belittled. Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to honour the people of Dhimmah [Jews and Christians] or elevate them above Muslims, for they are miserable, disgraced and humiliated.
Despite my disagreement with some of the content of this article, I thought it important to publish it in light of the near-universal inability of non-Muslims to understand the centrality of humiliation in the Muslim psyche. To be humiliated is to be equal to a Jew or a Christian, and conversely, to be equal to a Jew or a Christian is to be humiliated.
The catastrophe of mass Muslim immigration to the West lies in the resulting destruction of Western culture. That is true, but no less true is our mistaken assumption that Muslims will not integrate (or, in the Israeli context, coexist) because "we don't do enough" to help them integrate. Integration/coexistence is the last thing on earth they want. Integration means being reduced to equality with infidels, "the lowest of created beings," in other words humiliation. If equality with non-Muslims is humiliating, how much more so defeat at their hands? Being supremacists, Muslims have no mechanism for coping with this. Therein lies the permanent solution.
The article describes what happened to Arab Muslims who overlooked all of Saddam Hussein's excesses because he, in their eyes, humiliated the leaders of the infidel West as well as those Muslims who have "become like them" by befriending them. This has nothing whatsoever to do with how any individual Muslim behaves. Unfortunately, this is the wall that the Western mind cannot breach.
On the point of funding that you raise, this is why it is a mistake to see the problem as one of a terrorist organisation. Even with no organisation and without a penny in their pockets, they would still be doing whatever they can to kill Jews. The Palestinian kid who darts out of an ally to attack a Jewish person with a knife does not get a single penny from international donors and does not have to belong to any terrorist organisation, or learn anything from Palestinian textbooks, for that matter. He will already be set on his course in madrassa by the age of six.
Certainly, stopping the cash will make running terrorist organisations much more difficult and restrict their destructiveness, but the underlying motivation will remain and it is only a matter of time before they find a way around such impediments. Remember that their religion encourages them to "give of their money and their blood." This reality did not apply to the LTTE, even if Palestinian terrorists adopted some of LTTE's tactics.
How the US abandoned Afghanistan was a disaster, but I would not describe the enterprise as a whole as a flop. Iraq was far from a flop. I would argue that it was a success. The whole effort unravelled after the toppling of Saddam because the West does not understand the time horizons on which Muslims operate and that they are a fundamentally different kind of people to those who grew up under freedom. We can go into that another time.
Increasing numbers of former Muslims go to great pains to make Western people understand that Islam and Muslims are not what Western people think they are. We are talking about a late-antique totalitarian system and people who think in a hybrid antique-mediaeval-modern way. The way you and I make sense of reality is not the way they make sense of reality.
I've not read the honour-shame article, for which thank you very much. It is good that Western scholars are exploring this. It is the gateway to understanding the domination-subjugation ethos that gives rise to honour-shame. I look forward to reading it and perhaps reviewing it.
Best regards, and thanks again,