Saturday, April 15, 2006

Karsh Sums Up History of Islamic Imperialism

Efraim Karsh, whose book on the history of Islamic imperialism is about to be published by Yale, has a brilliant short piece in the latest Commentary. An excerpt:
“I was ordered to fight all men until they say, ‘There is no god but Allah.’” With these farewell words, the prophet Muhammad summed up the international version of the faith he brought to the world.
Does anyone know where Karsh got this quote? The only similar thing I recall is the online USC translation of Sahih Bukhari*, Volume 1, Book 2, number 24:
I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform a that, then they save their lives an property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.
(my emphasis) To continue the Karsh excerpt:
As a universal religion, Islam envisages a global political order in which all humankind will live under Muslim rule as either believers or subject communities. In order to achieve this goal, it is incumbent on all free, male, adult Muslims to carry out an uncompromising “struggle in the path of Allah,” or jihad. As the 14th-century historian and philosopher Abdel Rahman ibn Khaldun wrote, “In the Muslim community, the jihad is a religious duty because of the universalism of the Islamic mission and the obligation [to convert] everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.”
Karsh’s article is an extremely useful short summary of the whole history of Islamic imperialism. Take a look.

*According to the University of Southern California website, Compendium of Muslim Texts:

"...Bukhari's collection is recognized by the overwhelming majority of the Muslim world to be one of the most authentic collections of the Sunnah [life] of the Prophet... The Sunnah is the second source of Islamic jurisprudence, the first being the Qur'an. Both sources are indispensable; one cannot practice Islam without consulting both of them."


ajm said...

The reference given in his book for that quote is:
Muhammad ibn Umar al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Maghazi (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), Vol. 3, p. 1113

omar malomaari said...

To ajm:
Thanks very much. I meant to put your website in my links list, not sure if I did, but if not I'll do it now.

That reference is extremely helpful. - Omar

ajm said...

An excellent review of Karsh's new book by Andrew G. Bostom on

omar malomaari said...

To ajm:
Thanks very much, I'll have a look. I have Bostom's Legacy of Jihad and read his articles whenever I see them. - Omar