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Nidal Hasan and Fort Hood: A Study in Muslim Doctrine (Part 2)

Click here to read part one.

Jihad

Amongst learned infidels, jihad is the most recognized and notorious of all Muslim doctrines. Literally meaning to “struggle” or “strive,” jihad can take on any form, though its most native and praiseworthy expression revolves around fighting, and killing, the infidel enemy — even if it costs the Muslim fighter (the mujahid) his life: “Let those who would exchange the life of this world for the Hereafter fight in the path of Allah; whoever fights in the path of Allah — whether he dies or triumphs — we shall richly reward him” (Koran 4:74). And “Allah has purchased from the faithful their lives and possessions, and in return has promised them the Garden. They will fight in the path of Allah, killing and being killed” (Koran 9:111).

The hadith also has its fair share of anecdotes advocating the “one-man jihad.” Zawahiri’s treatise, “Jihad, Martyrdom, and the Killing of Innocents,” (AQR p. 137-171), spends much time justifying the desperate solo jihad — otherwise known as the “martyrdom operation” — including by offering the following hadith: “A Muslim asked Muhammad, O Messenger of Allah! If I plunge myself into the ranks of the idolaters and fight till I am killed — what then, to heaven? He [Muhammad] said yes. So the man plunged himself into the ranks of the idolaters, fighting till he was slain” (AQR, p. 153).

The learned ulema agree. According to al-Qurtubi (d. 1273), “There is no wrong for a man to singlehandedly attack a mighty army — if he seeks martyrdom — provided he has the fortitude.” Others indicate that one of the reasons making the one-man jihad permissible is that it serves to “terrify the foe” (AQR, p. 155).

And there it is: When all else failed, when Hasan’s forthcoming deployment into Muslim land forced him to expose where his true loyalty (wala’) lies, pretense (taqiyya) gave way to full-blown struggle (jihad). Hasan, who sacrificed many years to become a psychiatrist and a U.S. Army major, in the clear words of the Koran “exchange[d] the life of this world for the Hereafter.” Evidence also indicates that he believed “martyrdom operations” were not only valid but laudable acts of courage, writing “YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE” (capitals in original). Zawahiri puts it more articulately: “The deciding factor is … the intention.” Is the mujahid killing himself “to service Islam [laudable martyrdom], or is it out of depression and despair [forbidden suicide]?” (AQR, p. 157).

(Unfortunately and, no doubt, much to Hasan’s chagrin, infidel medics ensured his failure to achieve martyrdom.)

The greatest proof that, at least in his own mind, Hasan was waging a jihad is the fact that he utilized that immemorial jihadi war cry — Allahu Akbar! — which has served to terrify the infidel denizens of the world for centuries. Here’s an example from Muslim history (circa the early 8th century): “The [non-Muslim] inhabitants of eastern Anatolia were filled with terror the likes of which they had never experienced before. All they saw were Muslims in their midst screaming ‘Allahu Akbar!’ Allah planted terror in their hearts. … The [non-Muslim] men were crucified over the course of 24 km” (from Tarikh al-Rusul wa al-Muluk).

Indeed, while the takbir (the formal term for “Allahu Akbar”) can be used in various contexts, it is by far primarily used in a jihadi context, past and present. Nearly 1,400 years ago, Muhammad and the early Muslims cried “Allahu Akbar” immediately before attacking their infidel neighbors; eight years before the Fort Hood massacre, Mohamed Atta cried “Allahu Akbar” immediately before flying a hijacked plane into one of the Twin Towers on 9/11. Even Bukhari, the most authoritative hadith compiler, has an entire chapter titled “The Recitation of Takbir [i.e., Allahu Akbar] in War.”

Yet confusion abides. An AP report writes: “As if going off to war, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan cleaned out his apartment, gave leftover frozen broccoli to one neighbor, and called another to thank him for his friendship — common courtesies and routines of the departing soldier. Instead, authorities say, he went on the killing spree that left thirteen people at Fort Hood, Texas, dead.” Contrary to the tone of this excerpt, Hasan’s actions were far from contradictory. After all, he was “going off to war.”

Wala’ wa bara, taqiyya, and jihad all help explain Hasan’s actions. Even so, other lesser-known aspects of Islam lend their support to the view that he was acting from an Islamic framework.

Sakina

Several people who encountered Hasan before, and even during, the time he went a-jihading note that he evinced an almost unnatural amount of calmness — certainly for one getting ready to go on a killing spree. No doubt, many will point to this as a sign that he was suffering from some sort of schizophrenic episode.

Yet the fact remains: according to jihadi lore, a feeling of tranquility and calmness is supposed to descend on the mujahid, especially during the most stressful moments of combat (see Koran 9:26 for confirmation). This is known as sakina (calmness, tranquility). Osama bin Laden himself often describes his experience of sakina during the Afghan-Soviet war: “Once I was only thirty meters away from the Russians and they were trying to capture me. I was under bombardment, but I was so peaceful in my heart that I fell asleep. Before a battle, Allah sends us sequina [sakina] — tranquility.” Of course, whether Hasan experienced “true” sakina, or whether he was merely affecting to himself, is irrelevant. Rather, the point here is that, once again, that which appears inexplicable or indicative of “mental instability” is easily explained from an Islamic paradigm.

Da‘wa

According to Sharia law, Muslims are not permitted to voluntarily reside in non-Muslim nations, such as America, except under certain circumstances. One of these is if the Muslim is actively engaged in da‘wa, that is, proselytizing; another is if he fights in the path of Allah, jihad. Both serve the same purpose: empowering Islam by numbers and territory, respectively. Merely living in infidel territory out of choice, however, because it offers a “better life,” is forbidden. (To get an idea of how serious a matter it is for Muslims to reside in non-Muslims nations, see some online fatwas.)

Accordingly, we find that the observant Hasan, prior to his jihadi spree, was engaged in da‘wa for years. In fact, he aggressively pursued it to the point that he was reprimanded by the authorities. Nor did he cease trying to proselytize — that is, trying to validate his living with infidels — until the day before he went on his rampage, when he gave his neighbor a copy of the Koran. Of course, many Westerners will project their notions of proselytism onto Hasan and see only a God-fearing man “altruistically” concerned for the souls of others. Unfortunately, even the business card he included with his Koran gifts is indicative of violence, as it stealthily introduces him as a “soldier of Allah.” Moreover, the “altruistic” interpretation fails to take into account the sort of legalism observant Muslims such as Hasan often adhere to: if he literally believed he was “exchanging this life for the Hereafter,” he most likely also believed that he had to justify his voluntary dwelling with infidels, hence the da‘wa.

* * *

Soon following the Fort Hood massacre, FBI agent Brad Garrett explained Hasan’s behavior as follows: “It’s one of those things that he obviously went to kill a lot of people [jihad] and commit suicide [martyrdom]. Maybe in his own mind that he’s saving future lives [Muslim loyalty].” Read with the bracketed Muslim concepts I supplied, Hasan’s actions become logical and consistent — again, from an Islamic doctrinal point of view, that is, from a point of view the West, especially its leaders, are loath to explore and alacritous to ignore.

For example, “U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat who is one of two Muslims serving in Congress, cautioned against focusing on the alleged shooter’s religion [and thus its doctrines] and instead said the discussion should be about mental health issues.”

Flagrant obfuscations aside, the facts remain: loyalty to Muslims and enmity for infidels (wala’ wa bara’), a secretive double life (taqiyya), violence in the name of Allah (jihad) — all these easily explain Hasan’s violent rampage in Fort Hood.

The ultimate lesson? So long as Muslim doctrines are downplayed in the West, so long will warning signs, even concrete intelligence, be ignored, so long will such seemingly inexplicable incidents occur, so long will the media continue grasping for straws and Americans be “completely blindsided,” so long will “Muslim grievance” be the default answer, so long will appeasement and concessions (domestically and internationally) be the only solution, so long will jihadis and Islamists grow emboldened and contemptuous, expecting more. Ad infinitum.

Conversely, if the Fort Hood massacre causes Americans to begin taking Islam’s doctrines more seriously, the thirteen slain, while dying tragically, will not have died in vain.