As of the eighteenth day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan this year, the jihad death toll is 355 infidels murdered in 94 jihad attacks around the world.
Those who are puzzled as to how all this killing could take place during what is supposed to be a holy month should remember: because Ramadan is the month in which Muslims redouble their efforts to obey Allah, Ramadan is also quintessentially the month of jihad.
Fighting and killing infidels is, after all, commanded in the Qur’an (cf. 2:191. 4:89, 9:5, 9:289, 47:4, etc.). Thus killing infidels during Ramadan is, for the killers, a holy and sacred act. A jihad group explained it back in 2012:
The month of Ramadan is a month of holy war and death for Allah. It is a month for fighting the enemies of Allah and God’s messenger, the Jews and their American facilitators.
This is not the prevailing view among non-Muslims in the West. Even President Trump, in his 2018 Ramadan message, stated:
Ramadan is a time of self-reflection intended to deepen one’s spiritual growth and renew a sense of appreciation for the many blessings God provides. In this spirit of thanksgiving and reflection, those observing Ramadan can strengthen our communities, help those in need, and serve as good examples for how to live a holy life.
The paradox here is that both Trump and the jihadis are correct. Ramadan is indeed “a time of self-reflection intended to deepen one’s spiritual growth and renew a sense of appreciation for the many blessings God provides.” Yet for that very reason, given the contents of the Qur’an and Sunnah, Ramadan is also “a month of calamity everywhere for nonbelievers.”
Islam’s core beliefs make it clear that the latter statement is closer to the truth. During Ramadan, Muslims are exhorted to renew and deepen their devotion to Allah. Hence it is a time when they are supposed to grow more generous and kind — toward their fellow Muslims. However, the Qur’an says: “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves” (48:29). If the Ramadan imperative is to become more devout, the Muslim who applies himself diligently to the Ramadan observance will simultaneously become both more merciful to his fellow Muslims and more severe against the unbelievers.
Throughout the history of Islam, we can see jihad being waged with extra ferocity during Ramadan.
In my new book The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS, I recount the harrowing story of the centuries-long and excruciatingly devastating Islamic jihad against India. During Ramadan in 1504, the Delhi sultan Sikandar Lodi, in the words of the contemporary Muslim historian Niamatullah:
… raised the standard of war for the reduction of the fort of Mandrail; but the garrison capitulating, and delivering up the citadel, the Sultan ordered the temples and idols to be demolished, and mosques to be constructed.
[H]e moved out on a plundering expedition into the surrounding country, where he butchered many people, took many prisoners, and devoted to utter destruction all the groves and habitations; and after gratifying and honouring himself by this exhibition of holy zeal he returned to his capital Bayana.
Yes, plundering, butchering, and destroying temples was, as far as Niamatullah was concerned, an “exhibition of holy zeal.” Niamatullah wrote admiringly of Sikandar Lodi:
[T]he Islamic sentiment [in him] was so strong that he demolished all temples in his kingdom and left no trace of them. He constructed sarais, bazars, madrasas and mosques in Mathura, which is a holy place of the Hindus and where they go for bathing. He appointed government officials in order to make sure that no Hindu could bathe in Mathura. No barber was permitted to shave the head of any Hindu with his razor. That is how he completely curtailed the public celebration of infidel customs. If a Hindu went there for bathing even by mistake, he was made to lose his limbs and punished severely. No Hindu could get shaved at that place. No barber would go near a Hindu, whatever be the payment offered.
Murdering infidels thus doesn’t contradict the spirit of Ramadan; it embodies it. The Kavkaz Center, a website operated by Chechen jihadists, explained in a 2010 article that the idea of Ramadan as a time for warfare against infidels went back to Muhammad’s time:
The month of Ramadan in the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and the righteous ancestors was a month of forthcoming. The greatest battles during the lifetime of the Prophet (pbuh) occurred in this blessed month, the month of jihad, zeal and enthusiasm.
It is, therefore, certain that there will be more jihad terrorism during this Ramadan, and some of it may be committed by Muslims in the United States.
It would be dangerous, suicidal folly for infidels to pretend that Ramadan is simply a month for renewing one’s piety, and that it is not the month of jihad. It is because Ramadan is a time for renewing one’s piety that the jihad rages even more fiercely this month than it usually does.