By Ayesha Jalal

The belief of jihad is important to Islamic religion and ethics, and but its meanings were hugely contested through the years. they've got ranged from the philosophical fight to stay a moral lifestyles to the political injunction to salary battle opposed to enemies of Islam. at the present time, greater than ever, jihad indicates the political competition among Islam and the West. because the line drawn among Muslims and non-Muslims turns into extra inflexible, Ayesha Jalal seeks to retrieve the moral meanings of this middle Islamic precept in South Asian background. Drawing on historic, criminal, and literary assets, Jalal lines the highbrow itinerary of jihad via numerous centuries and around the territory connecting the center East with South Asia. She finds how key options in sleek Islamic proposal resulted from historic imperatives. The social and political scene in India earlier than, in the course of, and after British colonial rule kinds the most backdrop. We adventure the jihad as armed war waged through Sayyid Ahmad of Rai Bareilly among 1826 and 1831, the calls to jihad within the nice uprising of 1857, the fusion of jihad with a strand of anti-colonial nationalism within the early 20th century, and the modern politics of self-styled jihadis in Pakistan, waging warfare to free up co-religionists in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Partisans of Allah surveys this wealthy and tumultuous historical past of South Asian Muslims and its serious contribution to the highbrow improvement of the main idea of jihad. interpreting the advanced interaction of ethics and politics in Muslim heritage, the writer successfully demonstrates the preeminent function of jihad within the Muslim religion at the present time. (20080621)

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The relation between the normative theory of jihad and its actual historical practice followed a somewhat different trajectory in the South Asian subcontinent than it did in West Asia. In the Arab lands tensions between Islamic law (fiqh) and religion in the broadest sense (din) that were caused by the imperatives of the wars of conquest had made the extrinsic features of being a Muslim more important than the spiritual and ethical struggle to be human. Some of the debates between legists (fuquha) and philosophers (falsuf ) in West and Central Asia were replicated in South Asia.

As a human being, a slave is a legal person. 6 Without erasing all differences between Muslims and non-Muslims, discrimination in matters to do with religion did not extend to the secular sphere of socioeconomic interactions. Such liberality of vision made Hanafi classics like Al-Hedaya essential reading for the more erudite among India’s Muslim rulers. In addition to authors of works on jurisprudence, court chroniclers employed the trope of jihad, along with its concomitants ghazi (warrior of the faith) and shaheed (martyr), to shower praise on royal patrons.

Akbar’s attempts to build bridges with non-Muslims in his empire did, however, provoke a withering critique from the Muslim theologian Sheikh Ahmad Sirhandi (1564–1624). War and peace, faith and ethics were matters of constant debate in precolonial India. Many of the key innovations in modern Islamic thought were fashioned in South Asia rather than West Asia. Muslim rulers in the subcontinent were not indifferent to the sharia, as is best illustrated by the Fatawa-i-Alamgiri, a late seventeenth-century compendium of Hanafi law, commissioned by Akbar’s greatgrandson Aurangzeb.

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