Ramadan, jihad and terrorism
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is upon us. According to the High Judicial Court of Saudi Arabia, based on sightings of the new crescent moon, Ramadan began on Saturday May 27, but in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India it started on Sunday.1 It will continue till approximately June 24, when the holiday of Eid al-Fitr will be celebrated to mark its end.
During Ramadan able-bodied Muslims fast during daylight, and are only allowed two meals– Sohour before sunrise and Iftar following sunset.2 During daylight Muslim are also prohibited from “drinking, smoking, or having sex” and “try to avoid evil thoughts and deeds.” They also perform special nightly prayers called Taraweeh and recite the Koran. Beyond commemorating Allah’s initial revealing of the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad, Ramadan and its observances are intended to strengthen Muslim’s piety, humility, moral self-restraint and consideration of the needy and less fortunate.
The observance of Ramadan is not limited to Muslim nations but to any place in the world where Muslims reside. In Western nations, with increasing Muslim populations has come greater acceptance and celebration of Islamic practices such as Ramadan (at least among a certain segment of Western societies). For instance in Canada the national postal agency Canada Post has unveiled two new stamps commemorating the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.3 Canada Post’s statement on its new stamps read “Together the Eid, Diwali and Hanukkah stamps build on the tradition of Christmas stamps and depict our pride in Canada being a land of diverse faiths, customs and celebrations.”
There is nothing wrong with acknowledging minority communities and respecting the good aspects of their cultural and religious practices. But it is one thing to be accepting and respectful towards other cultures and quite another to blindly venerate them. In the West the latter blindness is commonplace due to the in vogue ideology of multiculturalism, which essentially assumes that minority, or more accurately put non-Western cultures, are beyond reproach.
It could be asked who are we to judge other cultures? Does not our own culture have many failings worthy of criticism and condemnation? Is not what we consider good a product of our own ethnocentrism, and not applicable to another culture which developed under different conditions and therefore has a different conception of what is good or bad? For this reason are not all cultures inherently valid and equivalent, with neither being better or worse than the other (with the exception of Western civilization which multiculturalists seem to despise4)?
With such a mentality common in the West, it is little wonder that the Muslim observance of Ramadan is becoming more accepted, as evinced by Canada Post’s new Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha commemorative stamps. Unfortunately this acceptance is based on a misconception of Ramadan–one which I suspect is actively promoted by many Muslim clerics and, through ignorance or duplicity, by Western leaders.
Many believe Ramadan is a time for pious Muslims to strengthen moral self-restraint, humility, charity and faith in Allah. But it is also a time to follow the will of Allah, which includes waging jihad against the infidels (kufar). Furthermore, the qualities fostered by Ramadan are not only ends in themselves, but are also meant to strengthen a Muslim’s ability to wage jihad. Many in the West do not realize this, but to Muslims, especially ardent Islamists, Ramadan is a time for jihad.5
The Islamist take on Ramadan
Many will immediately think that I myself am mischaracterizing Islam when I make such a statement. After all how could a great religion such as Islam inherently espouse violence. I must have conjured up such a defamation in a fit of Islamophobia.
No, all I have done is read what many Muslims have said in regards to Ramadan and jihad, and I have had the sense to take seriously what they have said. Lets start with the Taliban’s take on Ramadan (emphasis mine):6
“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…”
Egyptian cleric and Al-Azhar lecturer Dr. Fuad Mukheimar has called Ramadan “The Month of jihad.”7 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:7
“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.”
Muslim Brotherhood member Muhammad Badi’ admonished:7
“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:7
“[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:8
“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:8
“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.”
On June 8 of last year’s Ramadan, two Palestinian cousins, Haled and Muhammad al-Mahmara, machined-gunned to death four Israelis.9 The day before this attack there was an article on a Hamas website that called for jihad and martyrdom during Ramadan.10 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.”
The recently elected political chief of Hamas, Ismail Haniya has stated:11
“Yes, we are a people that yearn for death, just as our enemies yearn for life. We yearn for martyrdom for the same goal for which our leaders died, just as the others love their seats of power. We do not demand jobs or seats [of power]. [You can] take all the jobs and all the seats and leave us the homeland.
Anyone who studies the history of Islam discovers that most of the great victories and decisive battles took place in the blessed month of Ramadan — beginning with the Battle of Badr, followed by the conquest of Mecca, the Battle of Hittin, the Battle of Ein Jalut, the conquest of Andalusia, and the 1973 war… Even the mujahideen in Palestine — Allah has granted them success in the holy month of Ramadan, crushing their enemy, thus pleasing the hearts of the believers…”
Children in Palestine are also being taught about the link between Ramadan and jihad. According to a grade 6 Palestinian Islamic Studies textbook Ramadan is “the month of jihad, power and action.”12
Last May ISIL issued a statement in 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.”13
A day before Ramada started this ISIL released a message urging followers to carry out “all-out war” against the West during the holy month.14 The message also urged:
“Muslim brothers in Europe who can’t reach the Islamic State lands, attack them [the infidels] in their homes, their markets, their roads and their forums. … Do not despise the work. Your targeting of the so-called innocents and civilians is beloved by us and the most effective, so go forth and may you get a great reward or martyrdom in Ramadan.”
Islamic battles during Ramadan
Studying Islamic history demonstrates that many important battles fought by Islamic armies occurred during the holy month of Ramadan. Here are just some of the important Islamic battles that were waged during Ramadan.
623 AD: the companion and uncle of the Prophet, Hamza ibn abdul-Muttalib, also known as the Lion of Allah, conducted the first military expedition ordered by Muhammad, which was against the Quraysh tribe.15
624 AD: the Quraysh tribe were defeated by the Prophet Muhammad and his forces in the historically significant Battle of Badr, which helped to establish Islam.
630 AD: Muhammad captured the holy city of Mecca from the Quraysh tribe, a seminal event in Islamic history.
631 AD: Muhammad participated in his last battle, that of Tabouk against recalcitrant Arab tribes.
636 AD: the Caliph Omar entered into Palestine.
641 AD: Omar advanced into Egypt.
644 AD: the armies of Muhammad ibn Al-Qasim defeated the Indians and took control of the Indus valley.
710 AD: 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.
732 AD: the forces of Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi were defeated by Charles Martel and his Frankish and Burgundian troops in the historic Battle of Tours.16
827 AD: Asad ibn al-Furat invaded Sicily.17
838 AD: the forces of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mu’tasim were victorious over the Byzantines in the Battle of Amorium.
1250 AD: the Crusader forces of Louis IX were defeated during the Battle of Al-Mansoura.
1260 AD: 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.
1268 AD: the Mamluks led by Baibars captured Antioch from the crusaders.15
1973 AD: 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, which included celebrated Caliphs and even the revered Prophet Muhammad himself (I guess he did not receive the memo that Ramadan is a month of peace and goodwill). From the conquest of Mecca, the advances into Palestine, Egypt, Turkey, India and the beginning of the conquest of al-Andalus, all these events and many more have occurred during the holy month of Ramadan.
Based on the interpretations of numerous Muslim leaders (from the Muslim Brotherhood to Al Azhar to Hamas to the Taliban and ISIL)–interpretations well supported by Islamic history and the behavior of key Muslim figures (such as numerous Caliphs and even the revered Prophet himself)–the connection between jihad and Ramadan is undeniable.
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 precedents found in the history of their religion and are merely emulating their exemplar the Prophet Muhammad.
While in the good old days the Muslim umma had the power to successfully wage conventional warfare (i.e. send large well equipped and trained armies into the field), their modern Islamist descendants do not have such military strength and are therefore forced to rely on the tactic of terrorism to strike at the infidel. For this reason during the previous Ramadan ISIL carried out 393 attacks in 16 countries during the month.18
This year’s Ramadan is shaping up to be no different, with already, as of June 3, 149 people having been killed in numerous attacks around the world.19 On May 30 an ISIL suicide bomber struck an ice cream shop in a Shiite area in Baghdad killing at least 15 and wounding 30.20 The next day a massive truck bomb was detonated in Kabul’s diplomatic district killing at least 90 and wounding 400.21
On June 1 a car bomb explosion killed two people in Qatif Saudi Arabia.22 On the same day a lone gunman attacked a casino in Manila killing 36 people.23 According to the Philippines’ government the attack was not Islam related as the shooter was just a heavily indebted gambling addict, but ISIL has claimed responsibility for the attack.
In Germany on June 2 the Rock am Ring music festival was temporarily halted over “concrete” concerns of a terrorist threat.24 Thankfully the threat was unfounded and the festival was allowed to resume with its 90,000 attendees. The next day a funeral was targeted in Kabul with a series of explosions killing at least 20 people.25 The most recent example of Ramadan terrorism was the London bridge attacks, in which people were ran down by a van and stabbed by numerous men killing at least 7 and wounding 48.26
This violence should come as no surprise to anyone, but unfortunately it does. Even a Muslim such as Harun Khan the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said in a statement denouncing the London bridge attacks: “That this should happen in this month of Ramadan, when many Muslims were praying and fasting only goes to show that these people respect neither life nor faith.”26
I am not sure if Mr Khan is practicing taqiyya27 in an attempt to deceive the ignorant and gullible Western infidels or maybe he is not knowledgeable about the ideology and history of his religion, but his shock and dismay are misplaced. He may genuinely be against violence during Ramadan, but unfortunately as has been demonstrated in this post, many of his fellow Muslims are not, and actually consider violence to be mandated by Allah.
Until we in the West actually understand what many Muslims believe and take their beliefs seriously, we will never be able to deal with problems currently besetting us.
 http://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/05/27/Fast-facts-on-Ramadan-as-Muslims-worldwide-begin-holy-month-.html , http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/muslim-holy-month-of-ramadan-begins-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=113561&NewsCatID=393
 Here are just a few recent examples of multicultural intellectuals’ disdain for their own Western culture. https://www.infowars.com/cultural-journalist-sweden-doesnt-deserve-to-celebrate-its-own-national-day/ , https://www.infowars.com/anthropologist-says-white-genocide-is-a-good-plan/ Newly elected President of France, Emmanuel Macron, has even gone so far as to say that “there is no such thing as French culture.” http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/05/29/collapse-france-paul-craig-roberts/
 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/26/islamic-state-calls-all-out-war-west-start-ramadan-manchester/ , http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/20674/ISIS-calls-on-followers-to-wage-all-out-war-on-the-West-during-Ramadan
 http://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/06/04/What-happened-on-the-ninth-day-of-Ramadan-throughout-history-.html , https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/4/6246/Muslim-Sicily-The-rise-and-fall-of-Islam-in-Italy
 http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/huge-blast-rocks-kabul-diplomatic-area-170531040318591.html , https://www.debka.com/newsupdate/20707/Casualty-toll-from-Kabul-bombing-rises-to-90-killed-400-wounded
 http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/dozens-dead-gunman-storms-manila-casino-170602035440300.html , http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2017/06/02/-Philippine-casino-violence-not-terrorism-looks-Caucasian-.html , https://www.dailysabah.com/asia/2017/06/04/philippine-casino-attacker-was-indebted-gambler-not-terrorist-say-police , http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-02/gunman-kills-36-robbery-manila-casino