The Qurʾān on War: A New Reading

Reuven Firestone

in Jihād

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154948
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849239 | DOI:
The Qurʾān on War: A New Reading

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This chapter offers a new reading based on a different method of analysis. Rather than categorizing verses according to where they fit in the traditional “evolutionary theory” of warring in the Qurʾān, it groups them according to the following: verses expressing nonmilitant means of propagating or defending the faith; verses expressing restrictions on fighting; verses expressing conflict between God's command and the reaction of Muḥammad's followers; and verses strongly advocating war for God's religion. Taken together, the verses in the four categories point out that pre-Islamic fighting was non-ideological and was conducted either for material gain or revenge. Fighting in the fully developed Islamic system became a highly ideological issue despite the added benefit of material gain in the form of spoils. The transition was difficult and not entirely successful.

Keywords: Qurʾān; nonmilitant verses; pre-Islamic fighting; Islamic fighting; fighting restrictions

Chapter.  11053 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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