Amerika

On Jihad and Holy War (Julius Evola)

(Revolt against the modern world, pages 118-120)

In the Islamic tradition a distinction is made between two holy wars, the “greater holy war” (el-jihadul-akbar) and the “lesser holy war” (el-jihadul-ashgar). This distinction originated from a saying (hadith) of the Prophet, who on the way back from a military expedition said: “You have returned from a lesser holy war to a great holy war.” The greater holy war is of an inner and spiritual nature; the other is the material war waged externally against an enemy population with the particular intent of bringing “infidel” populations under the rule of “God’s Law” (al-Islam). The relationship between the “greater” and “lesser holy war”, however, mirrors the relationship between the soul and the body; in order to understand the heroic asceticism or “path of action”, it is necessary to understand the situation in which the two paths merge, the “lesser holy war” becoming the means through which a “greater holy war” is carried out, and vice versa: the “little holy war”, or the external one, becomes almost a ritual action that expresses and gives witness to the reality of the first. Originally, orthodox Islam conceived of a unitary form of asceticism: that which is connected to the jihad or “holy war”.

The “greater holy war” is man’s struggle against the enemies he carries within. More exactly, it is the struggle of man’s higher principle against everything that is merely human in him, against his inferior natur and against chaotic impulses and all sorts of material attachments. This is expressly outlined in a text of Aryan warrior wisdom: “Know Him therefore who is above reason; and let his peace give thee peace. Be a warrior and kill desire, the powerful enemy of the soul.” (Bhagavadgita 3.43)

The “enemy” who resists us and the “infidel” within ourselves must be subdued and put in chains. This enemy is the animalistic yearning and instinct, the disorganized multiplicity of impulses, the limitations imposed on us by a fictitious self, and thus also fear, wickedness, and uncertainty; this subduing of the enemy within is the only way to achieve inner liberation or the rebirth in a state of deeper inner unity and “peace” in the esoteric and triumphal sense of the word.

In the world of traditional warrior asceticism the “lesser holy war”, namely, the external war, is indicated and even prescribed as the means to wage this “greater holy war”; thus in Islam the expressions “holy war” (jihad) and “Allah’s way” are often used interchangeably. In this order of ideas action exercises the rigorous function and task of a sacrifical and purifying ritual. The external vicissitudes experienced during a military campaign cause the inner “enemy” to emerge and put up a fierce resistance and agood fight in the form of the animalistic instincts of self-preservation, fear, inertia, compassion, or other passions; those who engage in battles must overcome these feelings by the time they enter the battlefield if they wish to win and to defeat the outer enemy or “infidel”.

Obviously the spiritual orientation and the “right intention” (niya), that is, the one toward transcendence (the symbols employed to refer to transcendence are “heaven”, “paradise”, “Allah’s garden” and so on), are supposed as the foundations of jihad, lest war lose its scared character and degenerate into a wild affair in which true heroism is replaced with reckless abandonment and what counts are the unleashed impulses of the animal nature.

It is written in the Koran: “Let those who would exchange the life of this world for the hereafter fight for the cause of Allah; whether they die or conquer, We shall richly reward them.” (Koran, 4:76) The presupposition according to which it is prescribed “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield strike off their heads, and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly” (Koran 47:4); or, “Do not falter or sue for peace when you have gained the upper hand” (Koran 47:37), is that “the life of this world is but a sport and a past-time” (Koran 47:37) and that “whoever is ungenerous to this cause is ungenerous to himself” (Koran 47:38). These statements should be interpreted along the lines of the evangelical saying: “Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it: but whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). This is confirmed by yet another Koranic passage: “Why is it that when it is said to you: ‘March in the cause of Allah.’ you linger slothfully in the land? Are you content with this life in preference to the life to come?” (Koran, 9:38) “Say: ‘Are you waiting for anything to befall us except victory or martyrdom?'” (Koran, 9:52).

Another passage is relevant as well: “Fighting is obligatory for you, as much as you dislike it. But you may hate a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not.” (Koran, 2:216). This passage should also be connected with the following one:

“They were content to be with those that stayed behind: a seal was set upon their hearts, leaving them bereft of understanding. But the Apostle and the men who shared his faith fought with their goods and their persons. These shall be rewarded with good things. They shall surely prosper. Allah has prepared them gardens watered by running streams, in which they shall abide forever. That is the supreme triumph.” (Koran, 9:88 – 9:89)

This place of “rest” (paradise) symbolizes the superindividual states of being, the realization of which is not confined to the post-mortem alone,as the following passage indicates: “As for those who are slain in the cause of Allah, He will not allow their works to perish. he will vouchsafe them guidance and ennoble their state; He will admit them to the paradise He has made known to them.” Koran (47:5-7). In the instance of real death in battle, we find the equivalent of the mors triumphalis found in classical traditions. Those who have experienced the “greater holy war” during the “lesser holy war”, have awakened a power that most likely will help them overcome the crisis of death; this power, having already liberated them from the “enemy” and from the “infidel”, will help them avoid the fate of Hades. This is why in classical antiquity the hope of the deceased and the piety of his relatives often caused figures of heroes and of victors to be inscribed on the tombstones. It is possible, however, to go through death and conquer, as well as achieve, the superlife and to ascend to the “heavenly realm” while still alive.

http://www.geocities.com/integral_tradition/jihad.html

ON THE ISLAMIC TRADITION
Julius Evola, Revolt Against The Modern World

Islam, which originated among the Semitic races also consisted of the Law and Tradition, regarded as a formative force, to which the Arab stocks of the origins provided a purer and nobler human material that was shaped by a warrior spirit. The Islamic law (shariah) is a divine law; its foundation, the Koran, is thought of as God’s very own word (kalam Allah) as well as a nonhuman work and an “uncreated book” that exists in heaven ab eterno. Although Islam considers itself the “religion of Abraham” it is nevertheless true that (a) it claimed independence from both Judaism and Christianity; (b) the Kaaba, with its symbolism of the center, is a pre-Islamic location and has even older origins that cannot be dated accurately; (c) in the esoteric Islam tradition, the main reference point is al-Khadir, a popular figure conceived as superior to an pre-dating the biblical prophets (Koran 18:59-81). In early Islam the only form of asceticism was action, that is, jihad, or “holy war”; this type of war, at least theoretically, should never be interrupted until the full consolidation of the divine Law has been achieved. Finally, Islam presents a traditional completeness, since the shariah and the sunna, that is, the exoteric law and tradition, have their complement not in vague mysticism, but in full-fledged initiatory organizations (turuq) that are categorized by an esoteric teaching (tawil) and by the metaphysical doctrine of the Supreme Identity (tawhid). In these organizations, and in general in the shia, the recurrent notions of the masum, of the double perogative of the isma (doctrinal infallibility), and of the impossibility of being stained by any sin (which is the perogative of the leaders, the visible and invisible Imams and the mujtahid), lead back to the line of an unbroken race shaped by a tradition at a higher level than both Judaism and the religious beliefs that conquered the West.

Julius Evola
On Islam and Tradition, (Revolt Agains The Modern World, pages 243 – 244)

Even though it began relatively recently, I will briefly refer to another tradition, Islam, which originated among the Semitic races and succeeded in overcoming those negative motifs. As in the case of priestly Judaism, the center in Islam also consisted on the Law and Tradition, regarded as a formative force, to which the Arab stocks of the origins provided a purer and nobler human material that was shaped by a warrior spirit. The Islamic law (shariah) is a divine law; its foundation, the Koran, is thought of as God’s very own word (kalam Allah) as well as a nonhuman work and an “uncreated book” that exists in heaven ab eterno. Although Islam considers itself the “religion of Abraham”, even to the point of attributing to him the foundation of the Kaaba (in which we find again the theme of the “stone”, or the symbol of the “center”), it is nevertheless true that (a) it claimed independence from both Judaism and Christianity; (b) the Kaaba, with its symbolism of the center, is a pre-Islamic location and has even older origins that cannot be dated accurately; (c) in the esoteric Islam tradition, the main reference point is al-Khadir, a popular figure conceived as superior to an pre-dating the biblical prophets (Koran 18:59-81). Islam rejects a theme found in Judaism and that in Christianity became the dogma and the basis fof the mystery of the incantation of the Logos; it retains, sensibly attenuated, the myth of Adam’s fall without building upon it the theme of “original sin”. In this doctrine Islam saw a “diabolical illusion” (talbis Iblis) or the inverted theme of the fall of Satan (Iblis or Shaitan), which the Koran (18:48) attributed to his refusal, together with all his angels, to bow down before Adam. Islam also not only rejected the idea of a Redeemer or Savior, which is so central in Christianity, but also the mediation of a priestly caste. By conceiving the Divine in terms of an absolute and pure monotheism, without a “Son”, a “Father”, or a “Mother of God”, every person as a Muslim appears to respond directly to God and to be sanctified through the Law, which permeates and organizes life in a radical unitary way in all of its juridicial, religious, and social ramifications. In early Islam the only form of asceticism was action, that is, jihad, or “holy war”; this type of war, at least theoretically, should never be interrupted until the full consolidation of the divine Law has been achieved. it is precisely through the holy war, and not through preaching or missionary endeavor, that Islam came to enjoy a sudden, prodigious expansion, originating the empire of the Caliphs as well as forging a unity typical of a race of the spirit, namely, the umma or “Islamic nation”. Finally, Islam presents a traditional completeness, since the shariah and the sunna, that is, the exoteric law and tradition, have their complement not in vague mysticism, but in full-fledged initiatory organizations (turuq) that are categorized by an esoteric teaching (tawil) and by the metaphysical doctrine of the Supreme Identity (tawhid). In these organizations, and in general in the shia, the recurrent notions of the masum, of the double perogative of the isma (doctrinal infallibility), and of the impossibility of being stained by any sin (which is the perogative of the leaders, the visible and invisible Imams and the mujtahid), lead back to the line of an unbroken race shaped by a tradition at a higher level than both Judaism and the religious beliefs that conquered the West.

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