• ISIL and the (Im)permissibility of Jihad and Hijrah: Western Muslims between Text and Context

    Mizan: Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations (view group) , Tazeen Ali, Evan Anhorn
    Michael Pregill
    Mizan: Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations
    Islam, Violence--Religious aspects, Islam and politics
    Item Type:
    ISIS, Islamic extremism, Caliphate, Religion and violence, Islamic political thought
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    In this paper, we draw attention to the ways in which theology operates within, and indeed proceeds from, generative social contexts. Beyond a concern for correct interpretation of scripture, categories of religious permissibility and impermissibility are socially constituted—they define boundaries of inclusion or exclusion that establish specific relationships to hegemonic Western societies. To examine these relationships, we will consider the charismatic critique of the Islamic State, as well as the institutional response of North American Muslim scholars, through an analysis of textual interpretations for the obligation of hijrah (emigration) and jihad proposed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its supporters. Drawing from Weber’s analysis of charisma, we contend that the ideology of ISIL and its style of argumentation play upon Muslim anxieties over their national belonging in the West. This resonance is seen through a close reading of the ISIL promotional magazine Dabiq and the way in which its authors imagine their Western audiences. Against ISIL’s claims, the argument for the impermissibility of this jihad by leading Western Islamic scholars and organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is also considered. In the North American construction of an Islamic legal discourse on the impermissibility of joining ISIL, Muslim minorities’ anxieties over national belonging are again highly relevant. We argue that, while coming to opposite conclusions, both Western Islamic scholars and ISIL ideologues rely upon constructions of Western Muslim anxiety as much as the Islamic tradition for staging their arguments. These legal arguments can only be understood by contextualizing these debates as a part of a broader contest over Islamic authority and institutionalization in the West.
    This is a stable archival PDF of an open-access, peer-reviewed journal article originally published at www.mizanproject.org/journal/.
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    Last Updated:
    2 years ago


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