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Striving in the Path of GodJihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought$
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Asma Afsaruddin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730933

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730933.001.0001

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Modern and Contemporary Debates on Jihād and Martyrdom II

Modern and Contemporary Debates on Jihād and Martyrdom II

Privileging History, Context, and Polysemy

(p.236) IX Modern and Contemporary Debates on Jihād and Martyrdom II
Striving in the Path of God

Asma Afsaruddin

Oxford University Press

In sharp contrast to most of the modern thinkers and activists we focused on in the previous chapter, the scholars and activists discussed in this chapter are distinguished by their inclination to engage the concept of jihād in a more diachronic and holistic manner and to emphasize its historically-conditioned multi-layered significations through time. The scholars discussed from this group include Muhammad ’Abdūh, Jamāl al-Banna, and Muhammad Sa’īd Ramadān al-Būtī from the pre-September 11 period. From after the September 11 period, the chapter goes on to survey a growing corpus of works in Muslim-majority societies which are vigorously arguing against contemporary militant and extremist understandings of jihād. Amog these works is an influential treatise written by the prominent Egyptian cleric and scholar ’Alī Jum’a. The chapter then proceeds to focus on three contemporary thinkers and writers who emphasize non-violent approaches to conflict resolution: Jawdat Sa’īd, Wahiduddin Khan, and Fethullah Gülen. This pacifist or near-pacifist strain is genuinely a modern development within Islamic thought and tradition and is grounded in a recuperation of the Qur’anic emphasis on ṣabr as the most important dimension of jihād broadly conceived.

Keywords:   jihād, ṣabr, ’Alī Jum’a, Jawdat Sa’īd, Wahiduddin Khan, and Fethullah Gülen

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