Are violent jihadis an enduring feature of modern international affairs, or do they hold in their own doctrines the seeds of self-destruction? Historical precedent suggests the latter. Jihadi ideologues have formulated an individualist-centered Islam to mobilise Muslims far and wide, youths above all, to join a global jihad. However, the duty and right to an individually initiated jihad constitutes just one side of this do-it-yourself Islam; the other is the duty to protect the purity of doctrinal beliefs against any perceived deviation by even their fellow jihadis. This book explores the religious philosophy underlying jihadism, as set against the background of the Kharijites, the first counter-establishment movement in Islam, whose idealistic and individualistic practice of Islam inevitably led them to deploy takfir against each other and thereby to self-destruct. By investigating the links between Kharijism and jihadism, Lahoud argues that the same doctrinal beliefs that appear to unite today's jihadis will also be the cause of their downfall.
Nelly Lahoud is an Assistant Professor of Political Theory, including Islamic Political Thought, at Goucher College and an Associate at the International Security Program - Initiative on Religion in International Affairs, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. In 2005, she was a Rockefeller Fellow in Islamic studies at the Library of Congress. Her publications include Political Thought in Islam: A Study in Intellectual Boundaries and co-editor (with A.H. Johns) of Islam in World Politics London/New York: Routledge, 2005.
INTRODUCTION: Is Jihadism on the Path of Self-Destruction? Jihadism: the calling of a Physician with the fixations of a hypochondriac Jihadism: Reclaiming Islam and Losing Muslims Jihad as an individual duty (fard' 'ayn) Regretful Takfiris 1 Past and Present Jihadis Why the Kharijites and Why Now? The 'Kharijites' as a Contentious Label a- Jihadis as Kharijites b- Non-Jihadis as Kharijites Beyond Polemics The Jihadis 2 Contesting Islam: The Kharijites The Rise of the Kharijites a- Loyalty to God Alone b- Khuruj (rebellion) The Kharijites and the Authorities The Kharijites' Islamic Exceptionalism a- Egalitarianism b- Individualism versus Institutionalism/Legitimism c- Islamic Exceptionalism From Exceptionalism to Extreme Exceptionalism: Second-Generation Kharijites a- Believers versus Community b- Takfir Over-Qualified Muslims Past and Present 3 Islam Re-considered: Islamism and Jihadism Islam and Hierarchy of Knowledge Decentralization of Islam Islamism and Jihadism: Islamization versus Jihadization of Islam * H'asan al-Banna * Sayyid Qut)b From Islamization to Jihadization of Islam The Route to Jihadism Jihadi Ideologues * 'Abdallah 'Azzam * Dr Fad'l * Abu Muh'ammad al-Maqdisi Conclusion 4 Why Jihad and not Democracy? Qualifying the Question in the Title Islamist Discourses on Democracy The Jihadis' Rationale against Democracy An Unholy Alliance: Democracy & Authoritarianism * Ayman al-Z'awahiri on the Muslim Brotherhood * Al-Qa'ida on Hamas Doctrinal Solutions Why is democracy a religion? Why Jihad? Past and Present Jihad Concluding Remarks 5 Takfir and Jihad against Muslim Infidels Islam Giveth, Islam Taketh Away: the Intellectual Foundation of takfir Ayman al-Z)awahiri on wala' and bara' The Union that was not Meant to be The Islamic credibility of the Shi'a in the eyes of the jihadis Jihadism in Iraq Post al-Zarqawi The Islamic Credibility of the Taliban in the Eyes of the Jihadis Jihadi Leadership and the Future of Jihadism Dr Fad'l Abu Muh*ammad al-Maqdisi Jihadism and Leadership Conclusion CONCLUSION