Jim Wagner
Islam for Dhimmis—Part I
A non-alphabetical glossary of traditional Islamic terms
By Jim Wagner
May 27, 2024

The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding. – Albert Camus

What follows is Part I of the vocabulary of Islam as I acquired it bit by bit from my studies. Part II will follow shortly.

Perhaps nothing in our modern world is as poorly understood as Islam. And lacking basic knowledge, we are sorely tempted to seek shortcuts to that understanding. Thus, we attempt to comprehend the religion of Muhammad in simple and familiar terms—assuming, for example, that it is a belief parallel to Christianity or Judaism and sharing similar core values of compassion and love. After all, does not the word Islam mean “peace?”

Islam: The word Islam, in fact, does not mean peace. It means “submission,” submission to Allah, and by extension to his faithful followers. Regarding non-Muslims, Allah himself commanded, “… kill them wherever you find them…. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah and worship is for Allah alone.” – Quran 2: 191-193. Islam is thus inherently expansive, and unlike most other religions it has throughout its history relied upon intimidation, deception, terror, and war. The “peace” Islam promises, such as it is, will only come about when all the world has submitted to the forces of Allah.

Fitnah: The unrest or conflict that results when anyone refuses to believe in Allah. In the Muslim view, the expansion of Islam by any means is legitimate; resistance to it is not, and invariably results in fitnah for which the infidels must be held entirely responsible. At this moment, the land of Israel is in a condition of fitna.

Infidel: Anyone who does not accept Allah as God and Muhammad as his prophet. Traditionally, captive male infidels who had reached puberty were put to the sword, while females and boys were taken as slaves. Under Islamic law, conquered People of the Book are a special class of infidel to be afforded three options. They can convert to Islam, serve as dhimmi-slaves, or die. Captives of other religions who refused to convert were generally killed. And some groups, for instance Hindus, were killed mercilessly in vast numbers without having been offered the choice of conversion.

People of the Book: Christians and Jews. Those non-Muslims who accept the Bible.

Allah: Ordinarily, it is a mistake to define a thing by what it is not. But the first thing one must understand about Allah is that he is not at all like the personal God of Christianity and Judaism. Allah is not a god of goodness. In fact, Muslims see attempts to define Allah in terms of goodness or any other virtue as blasphemous attempts to limit his power. How dare man oblige a god to be good! Allah does not love mankind, and he does not desire our love. Allah craves only our slavish obedience, while at the same time paradoxically predetermining our fate under the doctrine of qadar. “Many are the jinns,” he proclaims, “and the men we have made for hell.” – Quran 7: 179. Allah is a god of raw and unconditional power.

Jinns: Spirits which may appear in human or animal form to influence human affairs for either good or evil. The fanciful story of Aladin’s genie is based on the Islamic doctrine of jinns.

Qadar: The conviction that Allah has decreed everything that will ever happen in the universe by his direct will and according to his prior knowledge. According to the doctrine of qadar there is no natural law, and the material causes and effects assumed by Western science are an illusion. Nothing happens – not even the death of a fly – but for the immediate desire of Allah. And it is of paramount significance to our understanding of Islam that Allah desires eternal torment for those whom he has predestined to hell. “As to those who reject faith,” he warns, “I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the hereafter….” Quran 3: 56. “I will strike terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore, strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.” Quran 8: 12.

Quran (Koran): The direct word of Allah as delivered to Muhammad over the course of his lifetime by the Angel Gabriel. Supported by the Hadith, the Quran forms the basis for Islamic law. While the Quran vaguely reflects both the Old and New Testament from which it was partially drawn, Muslims believe the Jewish and Christian scriptures have been fatally corrupted. Unlike the Bible, the Quran frequently contradicts or reverses itself because Allah is not bound by any requirement to be consistent or just. However, it is fair to say that the dictates of Allah in the Quran always supported the immediate purposes of Muhammad. Curiously, the Surahs of the Quran are not ordered chronologically but instead are arranged from the shortest to the longest. This causes Westerners great confusion, particularly when it comes to the principle of abrogation.

Hadith: Stories of the life of Mohammad and his followers which are used to clarify the Quran.

Surahs: Verses of the Quran as dictated to Muhammad over the course of his life by the Angel Gabriel.

Abrogation: The principle that where Surahs are found to be in conflict the newer Surah always overrides the older. When in Mecca, Muhammad had only a very small following. Accordingly, Allah promoted peace and religious tolerance. However, after the Hijra, when in Medina Muhammad had acquired a large army, Allah proclaimed jihad and insisted that infidels who refused to accept conversion must be reduced to the status of dhimmi or suffer death. This curious doctrinal reversal causes Westerners, who are accustomed to reading a document in the order it was written, a great deal of misunderstanding. For example, when Muslims speak of the peaceful verses in the Quran, they routinely fail to mention that they are quoting Mecca verses which were long ago abrogated (replaced) by more recent and more violent Medina verses.

For instance, one of the Mecca Surahs claims that there should be “no compulsion in religion.” But in many later Medina Surahs Allah countermands this doctrine. For example, in Sura 47: 3-4 we read, "Those who disbelieve follow falsehood, while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord... So, when you meet those who disbelieve (fighting Jihad against them in Allah's Cause), smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (take them as slaves).... If it had been Allah's Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without your help). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you…." Those who reject Allah are to be killed. The wounded are to be held captive for ransom or slavery. Conversion is not optional. Compulsion is absolute. Westerners unfamiliar with a god who so readily reverses himself imagine the peaceful early Surahs to be equally authoritative to the later and more violent Quranic verses, and this has contributed greatly to the myth of the “religion of peace.”

Muhammad: The founder of Islam, Muhammad is for his followers the model of all conduct, ‘the perfect man,” and the final prophet to whom Allah delivered his word in its perfect form. Allah first revealed himself to Muhammad in a cave outside Mecca while the prophet was under the spell of fits or seizures. Based on that revelation, Muhammad led his small band of followers in a religious war against the pagan inhabitants of his own city.

Hijra: Having failed in his struggle to convert the pagan Arabs of Mecca to his new religion, and in fear for his life, Muhammad fled with his little band to Medina, where he soon commenced warfare against both the local Jews and the native polytheistic Arab tribes. This exodus was the famed “Hejira” or hijra upon which Muslims base their most important pilgrimage. It also serves as a guide for Muslims in the spread of their faith by emigration. Allah specifically enjoined his followers to engage in hijra as a mechanism of jihad. “Indeed,” he declared, “those who have believed and emigrated and fought with their wealth and lives in the cause of Allah, and those who gave shelter and aided—they are allies of one another. But those who believed and did not emigrate—for you there is no guardianship of them until they emigrate.” Quran 8: 72. Today, faithfully expansionist Muslims see it as their duty to emigrate to Dar al Harb and there to form Islamic enclaves for the purpose of establishing Sharia. Needless to say, Allah has no regard for hypocrites.

Hypocrite: A Muslim who fails to cooperate in jihad as his or her station allows.

Dar al Harb: The House of War, all the world not yet conquered by Islam. It is the duty of all Muslims to participate in or support jihad until every land has been converted to Dar al Islam.

Dar al Islam: The House of Islam or Submission (sometimes deceptively referred to as Dar es Salaam or “House of Peace”). It is the duty of all Muslims to strive to bring all the world into Dar al Islam, and once any region has become a part of Dar al Islam it can never revert to its pre-Islamic condition. Thus, any region, such as Israel, which has cast off Islamic rule is an affront to the entire ummah (defined in Part II) and a primary target of jihad.

Dar al Amn: Literally, House of Safety, Dar al Amn is an ironical term used by militant Muslims in reference to Western countries which naively permit Muslims to immigrate and subvert their governments. This is an aspect of the stealth Jihad that is now over-running much of Europe and threatens North America as well.

Jihad: The ongoing war of Islam against infidels which must be maintained until the entire world has submitted to Allah. Jihad is known as “the Sixth Pillar of Islam”, and it is the only way a Muslim can guarantee his salvation. Traditionally, the Caliphs launched a new razzia each year and were excused from other moral duties for doing so. It is only in the past century, with the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate, that active jihad has been in recess. But in much of the world today a new jihad is underway. Jihad can be military, or it can consist in support actions including financing, propaganda, and deception. Jihad by deception is also known as stealth jihad, or sometimes dawah (more generally defined as proselytizing). The notion of jihad as an “inner struggle” is a modern invention contrived in the last century for propaganda purposes. The immediate objective of jihad is to establish sharia (defined in part II). The global objective of jihad is global. The personal objective is to become a martyr.

Martyr: While among Christians a martyr is anyone who dies for his faith, under Islamic doctrine a martyr is one who dies in the process of killing or converting infidels. Irrespective of anything else they may have done, martyrs are guaranteed entry into heaven. Among the blessings thus endowed are 72 virgins and the stamina to eternally enjoy them.

Razzia: A jihadi raid in furtherance of Islamic expansion, plunder and the collection of slaves. At times, Muslims concentrated on converting defeated infidels. But at other times, when for instance they desired revenue more than new adherents to their faith, they repeatedly plundered infidel lands or forced the inhabitants to pay onerous taxes as dhimmi slaves. Such taxes typically included a monetary jizya.

Jizya: A tax paid by dhimmis in conjunction with systematic degradations and humiliations, traditionally the jizya was collected annually and ran up to about 50% of income. It often included devshirme.

Devshirme: A tax paid by dhimmis in the form of children forced to convert to Islam and serve as soldiers or concubines. The Harems celebrated in popular fiction were composed largely of young girls taken as devshirme during razzias organized to “harvest the steppe” of Eastern Europe. The premise of Scheherazade, for example, is a monarch who has resolved to take to his bed a new virgin each night and have her beheaded by the following morning. Among the best-known military forces thus recruited were the Janissaries, infidel boys trained as elite soldiers, and Mamluks, boys taken primarily from the Christian Balkan region. These tax-children formed the bulwark of Islamic military power for many centuries, and the practice is currently being revived throughout Islamic Africa. It was a force of Mamluk boy soldiers that breached the walls of Constantinople and brought down the Byzantine Empire.

Part II soon to follow.

© Jim Wagner


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Jim Wagner

Jim Wagner is a retired businessman and freelance writer. His degree is in Psychology with a minor in English from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, where he lived, worked, farmed and studied for nine years after his repudiation of the Vietnam War... (more)


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