Ramadan: a time for jihad
In the early hours of Sunday morning Omar Mateen, an American citizen of Afghani heritage, stormed a gay nightclub in Orlando and machine-gunned to death at least 50 people and wounded over 50 others. While the President of the US may be unable to vocalize the motivation behind the attack–admitting that it was an act of terror but claiming there is “no definitive judgement on the precise motivations” of the slaughter–it was a clear act of Islamic terrorism.
First of all Mateen was a known person to US authorities having been interviewed and investigated by the FBI twice before on suspicions of his association with a known Jabat al-Nusra suicide bomber and due to reports by a former co-worker that Mateen had made “homophobic and racial comment” and that he “talked of killing people.”[3,4] His father has also shown sympathy for the Taliban. As for the killing spree itself, just before it Mateen called 911 to express his allegiance to ISIL and during it he is reported to have yelled the ubiquitous cry of the jihadi, “Allahu Akbar.” Furthermore ISIL gave prior forewarning that they would attack Florida as they released such a threat just a few days before the massacre at the gay nightclub. Anyone who is surprised by Mateen’s actions or is unsure of his motivations, needs to get their head out of their ass.
Alongside the shock and despair resulting from this heinous attack, some may be confused by its timing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Isn’t Ramadan a month of day-time fasting meant to engender a sense of reflection and peace? And shouldn’t a devout Muslim such as Mateen or a fundamentalist group such as ISIL abstain from terrorist attacks during such a time? Does ISIL’s use of violence during Ramadan evince they are not true adherents of the Islamic faith? However, those who believe that Ramadan and terroristic violence are incompatible are simply ignorant of Islamist doctrine and of Islamic history.
In fact Ramadan is seen by a variety of Sunni Islamist groups–such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, ISIL, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood and others–as a time for jihad, not the personal jihad of striving against temptation but the jihad of physical war and conquest. Here is the Taliban’s take on Ramadan (emphasis mine):
“In life we encounter misfortunes and difficulties that cannot be repulsed except through patience and forbearance, and by understanding that this month is the month of patience, steadfastness, fasting, mercy and charity.
During Ramadan the Koran was revealed… a book of unlimited miracles that does not wear out from repeated readings…
Yet there is an aspect of Ramadan that people disregard, namely that Ramadan is the month of steadfastness, jihad, conquests and victories. We find that, when Ramadan arrives, many Muslims take it as an opportunity to rest. They forget or ignore [the fact] that Ramadan is a month of jihad, steadfastness and conquests. Many of the famous battles between the Muslims and infidels took place during Ramadan…”
Those unfamiliar with Islamic history may not know the important Ramadan battles that the Taliban author is alluding to.[8,9,10] There is the historically significant Battle of Badr, fought in 624, in which the Prophet Muhammad and his forces defeated those of the Quraysh tribe. Six years later Muhammad captured the holy city of Mecca from the Quraysh tribe. Then in 631 he participated in his last battle, that of Tabouk against recalcitrant Arab tribes. The first two of these battles were essential in the establishment of Islam, but all three were significant because they occurred during the month of Ramadan and also involved the Prophet Muhammad himself. I guess the Prophet did not receive the memo that Ramadan is a month of peace and goodwill.
The Muslim penchant to wage important battles during Ramadan did not end with the passing of Muhammad. In 636 the Caliph Omar entered into Palestine, then in 641 his forces advanced into Egypt. Important events relating to both of these conquests occurred during Ramadan. These Ramadan conquests continued. In 644 the armies of Muhammad ibn Al-Qasim defeated the Indians and took control of the Indus valley. In 710 Tarif ibn Malik Al-Berberi, a general of Tariq bin Ziyad, successfully landed Omayyad forces on the coast of southern Spain, marking the start of the conquest of al-Andalus.
If a correlation between Ramadan and Islamic battles and conquests is not becoming evident, here are some more examples. In 838 the forces of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mu’tasim were victorious over the Byzantines in the Battle of Amorium. In 1250 the Crusader forces of Louis IX were defeated during the Battle of Al-Mansoura. Then in 1260 during the Battle of ‘Ain Jalout the Mamluks of Egypt defeated the fearsome Mongols, putting an end to the latter’s rampage through the Middle East. In modern times on October 6, 1973 at the Battle of Al-‘Ubour the Egyptian army overwhelmed the Israelis and crossed the Suez Canal, briefly retaking the Sinai Peninsula.
These are just some of the important battles and conquests of Islam that occurred during Ramadan. As such based on Islamic history and the behavior of key Muslim figures, such as numerous Caliphs and even the revered Prophet himself, there is much precedent for the waging of jihad during Ramadan, contrary to what those who believe or advocate otherwise. The Islamists are well aware of this precedent.
Egyptian cleric and Al-Azhar lecturer Dr. Fuad Mukheimar has called Ramadan “The Month of jihad.” He rationalized the connection between jihad and fasting as both being “continuous commandment[s]” from Allah. Another Al-Azhar lecturer and Muslim Brotherhood member Hussein Shehata believes, “Fasting [during Ramadan] is one of the most powerful means to educate the human spirit for jihad. Fasting involves a spiritual effort to act in a way contrary to what is accepted, and to completely abandon desires… It also schools the Muslim in patience, resilience, endurance, and sacrifice, which are all traits of the jihad fighter.”
Another brotherhood member Muhammad Badi’ admonished:
“Allah the Almighty wanted the [Ramadan] fast to coincide with fighting, so that the Muslims would win and deal their enemies a crushing blow that the world would speak of… Allah did not mandate [the fast] of Ramadan so that [we] sit idly and avoid jihad, action, and da’wa for the sake of Allah. The fast is not intended to be an excuse to avoid one’s obligations at work or one’s social commitments. Rather, it is a month of action and movement, of conquests and victories – the month in which most of the defeats of the nation’s enemies occurred.”
If the authority of such Muslims is not enough for you then here is the one time Mufti of Egypt Ali Gum’a’s take:
“[Throughout the history of] Islamic civilization, Ramadan has been not only a month of worship and of growing close to Allah the Almighty, but also a month of action and jihad aimed at spreading this great religion. When the soul grows stronger and the spirit soars, it inevitably affects the body, which [also] grows stronger – [for] the body is the mirror of the soul. That is why, throughout [Muslim] history, Ramadan has been a month of great conquests, which were an important factor in spreading Islam, [with] its righteousness and tolerance, across the world.”
So in effect fasting and reflection serve to strengthen the spirit of a Mujahadeen, preparing him battle and increasing his chances of success. Furthermore both fasting and jihad are obligations mandated by Allah, obligations which are not antithetical or exclusive to one another but are synergistic and go hand in hand.
Hamas has also been well aware of the connection between Ramadan and jihad. On the Hamas website Palinfo.com an article stated that:
“During Ramadan, the Palestinians welcome resistance to the occupation and carry it out with a different flavor that reflects courage, investment [of efforts], and a natural willingness for sacrifice during this most important month for all Muslims. Ever since the first intifada, martyrdom operations, stabbing and shooting attacks have had a special character during the month of Ramadan.”
In an article by professor Islamic University of Gaza, Dr. Dardah Al-Sha’er he writes:
“Ramadan influences a person’s will both psychologically and emotionally, and drives him to stand fast, because he is in a state of confronting the transient temptations of life. This is automatically expressed in resistance. If [people] manage to resist themselves and their desires, they can resist their enemies. The scope of resistance increases substantially during Ramadan. Additionally, Ramadan has [always] been a month of victories for Muslims and continues to be one.”
Just recently there was a Ramadan terrorist attack in Israel in which two Palestinian cousins machined-gunned to death four Israelis. The day before this attack there was an article on a Hamas website that called for jihad and martyrdom during Ramadan. The article stated “Ramadan is the month of jihad, fighting, and fasting. Therefore, after the jihad fighter dedicates himself to the study of Islam by day he sets forth to defend his homeland, Palestine, by night. This month has seen the actualization of exceptional Islamic victories.” I guess the al-Mahmara cousins were convinced by such arguments.
With all this in mind is it any wonder that ISIL issued a statement in May describing Ramadan as “the month of conquest and jihad” and for its followers to “get prepared, be ready … to make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers … especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America.” There should be no befuddlement arising over the relationship of jihad and Ramadan. As has been shown by numerous examples taken from Islamic history, some of which involve the Prophet Muhammad himself, it is clear that jihad against the infidels has been successfully waged during Ramadan. From the conquest of Mecca, the advances into Palestine, Egypt, Turkey, India and the beginning of the conquest of al-Andalus, they have all occurred during Ramadan. In addition, the Islamists see fasting and the obedience engendered during the holy month as conducive to the successful waging of jihad and also that the observance of Ramadan is no excuse for torpidity with respect to the obligation of jihad.
I am sure that the ‘moderate’ Muslims, will have a rationalization for all of the jihad that occurred during Ramadan. Invariably they will say that such wars and conquests were defensive in nature. All I can is that to me it is inconceivable and asinine that a religious system originating in the deserts of Arabia could spread by the sword westward to Spain and eastward to India solely as the result of defensive warfare. Furthermore, I am sure that ISIL and other jihadi groups believe that their current actions and terrorist attacks are defensive in nature (If only we would stop provoking them).
Ultimately for the Islamist there is no incompatibility between violent jihad and the faithful observance of Ramadan. ISIL and their Sunni ideological brethren are merely following the precedences found in the history of their religion and are merely emulating their exemplar the Prophet Muhammad. Mateen’s attack is seen as merely another great success to add to the annuals of jihad.
The West is ignorant of Islam, of its history and of the ideology of its radical adherents. For this reason many are shocked by the actions of ISIL, such as a law enforcement official who “Never in all my years of training, and being involved in several investigative units, to include the FBI Task Force, would we have ever guessed a LGBT club be a target of an terrorist attack.” Imagine that such invalids are tasked with countering ISIL!
But Mateen’s Ramadan killing spree at a gay nightclub should not be of any surprise. All one has to do is study the history of Islam and study and take seriously what the Islamists themselves have to say. Unfortunately, based on such knowledge it is likely more jihad inspired carnage will occur during the remaining weeks of Ramadan.
 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3637414/Everyone-running-Gunman-bursts-gay-nightclub-Florida-shoots-20-people-taking-hostages.html , http://www.debka.com/article/25477/Orlando-massacre-50-dead-in-ISIS-Ramadan-terror
 http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8251/orlando-shooting , http://shoebat.com/2016/06/12/we-warned-you-three-days-ago-that-a-massacre-by-muslims-in-florida-was-coming-and-no-one-listened-americans-should-care-more-about-gun-rights-more-than-they-care-about-the-massacre-god-bless-gun-rig/
 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/16635/-Orlando-killer-swore-allegiance-to-ISIS-chief-before-attack , http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/12/florida-gay-nightclub-shooting-injuries-reported-at-pulse-orland/ , http://www.debka.com/article/25479/US-intelligence-misses-cues-to-terror—again