War and Fantasies

The Saudi Solution

Jihad in the KoranHaving killed, enslaved or exiled those who would not submit to Allah’s Will on the Peninsula, Islam embarked on a war of conquest, taking Jerusalem only eight years after the surrender of Mecca. Today, followers of the Prophet continue the tradition of seeking to establish God’s kingdom on Earth through violence, with Wahhabism being the driving ideology. John L. Esposito, author of Unholy War; Terror in the Name of Islam, describes Wahhabism this way:

Wahhabi theology sees the world in white and black categories—Muslim and non-Muslim, belief and unbelief, the realm of Islam and that of warfare. They [Wahhabi believers] regard all Muslims who [do] not agree with them as unbelievers to be subdued (that is, fought and killed) in the name of Islam.

One of the first to embrace Wahhabi theology was Muhammad Ibn Saud (d. 1765), a local Arab tribal chief. Ibn Saud used the ultra-conservative Wahhabi movement, according to Esposito, “to legitimate his jihad to subdue and unite the tribes of Arabia, converting them to this puritanical version of Islam.”

Ibn Saud still serves as an example for the current rulers of Saudi Arabia who, like their honoured ancestor, look to the teachings of Ibn Abd al-Whahhab for guidance. Wahhabi theologians have interpreted Verse 9:5, The Verse of the Sword, as a command from God to wage a non-stop aggressive campaign to establish His Kingdom on Earth. The Ottoman Empire, in 1818, put a stop to Saudi ambitions to spread their fundamentalist version of Islam through violence, forcing a change in tactics. The war against the unbelievers could also be fought with wealth.

61:10 O believers, shall I show you a trade which will deliver you from a very painful punishment?

61:11 Believe in Allah and His Messenger and struggle in the Cause of Allah with your possessions and yourselves. That is far better for you, if only you knew.

While Saudi Arabia does not have the military might today, Al Qaeda notwithstanding, to spread its puritanical, backward version of Islam by force, it does have the money, and the Koran says that spending your money, i.e., possessions, to spread Islam gets you a free pass into Paradise; all is forgiven.

61:12 He will then forgive your sins and admit you into the Gardens, beneath which rivers flow, and into fine dwellings in the Gardens of Eden. That is the great triumph.

With the discovery of oil and the wealth that came with it, the House that Muhammad Ibn Saud built has been able to spread the Word far and wide by funding Islamic schools on the Wahhabi model, the most notorious being in Pakistan, which gave birth to the Taliban.