Thursday, July 06, 2006

Jihad and Martyrdom

Near the beginning of Khalid Blankinship's The End of the Jihad State, he discusses the doctrine of jihad as laid out in the hadith, particular those in the eighth-century work al-Jihad, by Ibn al-Mubarak. While most deal with the term in a military sense, there are plenty of alternatives. The best kind of jihad, according to a canonical hadith, is building a mosque to promote Islam. Performing the pilgrimage to Mecca is considered jihad, as is internal struggle, though the hadith which calls that the "greater jihad" was not accepted by the medieval hadith scholars who composed the canonical collections.

There are also lots of ways to achieve martyrdom. One can be a martyr of you undertake a journey for the sake of religion and die during it. People were also considered martyrs of they died of plague, drowning, a collapsing building, abdominal disease, being burned alive, being eaten, or falling off a mountain. Women could also become martyrs if they died as virgins or while pregnant or giving birth.

(Crossposted to American Footprints.)


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