Chapter

Islam and Holy War

Reuven Firestone

in Jihād

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154948
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849239 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195154948.003.0002
Islam and Holy War

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This chapter examines the preconceived notions about the various topics and subtopics to be studied and establishes the approach employed. From the conquest of Spain in the early 8th century to the siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Turks in 1683, Islam represented a threat to the existence of Christendom. Islam's achievement in all scientific and intellectual fields during its heyday in the Middle Ages caused a reaction in the West that considered Islam as cruel, evil, and uncivilized. Although holy war is defined most broadly as any religious justification for engaging in war, it does not necessarily presume a connection of military activity to religious purposes, though it is often the case. The particular expressions of holy war found in the Islamic world tend to be referred to in the West as jihād. Jihād derives from the root j.h.d, meaning to strive, exert oneself, or take extraordinary pains.

Keywords: Islam; holy war; jihād; jahada; Islam

Chapter.  2660 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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