How the US failure in Afghanistan validates the Koran's jihadist teachings

While it should be a no-brainer that the Taliban's victory in Afghanistan has emboldened like-minded (read: "radical") Muslims to no end, few in the West appreciate how this episode — especially America's disastrous retreat — is being used to validate the Koran itself, and thus Muslim zeal and faith in Islam.

Beginning around August 15, 2021, when the Taliban reconquered Afghanistan, every time I watched an Arabic-language program or sheikh speak, they cited several Koran verses as "proof" that it was only inevitable — only a matter of time — that the U.S. would be humiliated and the Taliban exalted.

Consider, as one example, the words of popular sheikh Wagdi Ghoneim.  An Egyptian scholar of Islam and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, he is notorious for issuing violent fatwas against Israel and inciting hatred against other "infidels" (including by threatening Egypt's indigenous Christian minority, the Copts, with genocide).  With such "credentials," it should come as no surprise that he once served as the imam of the Islamic Institute of Orange County, California, and was a fundraiser for the Toledo, Ohio charity KindHearts (a Hamas front).

On August 15, 2021, this Ghoneim offered a "victory" speech that — at least as of the publication of this article — still appears on YouTube, titled (in translation), "Allahu Akbar: The Taliban's Victory Represents the Power of Jihad in Allah's Way."  As might be expected, his talk is replete with Koran verses praising the virtues of jihad.  For example:

O believers! Be mindful of Allah and seek what brings you closer to him and perform jihad in his way, so you may be successful (5:35).

O believers! March forth [into battle] whether it is easy or difficult for you, and perform jihad with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. That is best for you, if only you knew (9:41).

Having laid the doctrinal framework for jihad, Ghoneim moved on to its most important aspect: perseverance.  "The Taliban persevered in its jihad for 20 years.  This isn't a problem — what's 20 years in the context of history?  Who said [the outcome of] jihad is instantaneous?  No!  It requires patience and time!"

Patience and perseverance in the jihad was his grand point — not to mention the grand takeaway lesson of Afghanistan for all Muslims.  It is for Allah to decree when the jihad succeeds; for everyday Muslims, the duty is simply and always to wage it.  If they do so, Allah, according to his word, shall eventually bless them with victory. 

Supporting Koran verses Ghoneim cited include:

We will certainly test you until we learn who among you are the true mujahidin [jihadists] who remain steadfast and how you conduct yourselves (47:31).

Do you think you will enter Paradise without Allah proving which of you truly performed jihad for his cause and patiently endured? (3:142)

O believers! Patiently endure, persevere, stand on guard, and be mindful of Allah, that you may be successful (3:200). 

Interestingly, the phrase "stand on guard" in Koran 3:200 literally means "perform ribat" — that is, man the frontier zone, whence the infidels should be harried, including through guerrilla tactics.  That's precisely what the Taliban did.

Finally, Ghoneim moved onto Allah's words concerning infidels, especially those who try to prevent Muslims from performing jihad and enforcing sharia.  He quoted Koran 8:36: "Surely the infidels spend their wealth to prevent others from the Way of Allah [sabil allah, i.e., jihad].  They will continue to spend to the point of regret.  Then they will be defeated and the infidels will be driven into hell."

As countless other Muslim clerics and leaders have done, are doing, and will do for years to come, Ghoneim explained how that particular Koran verse foretold America's defeat — that is, so long as there were always Muslims willing to persevere in the jihad.  At one point he descended into wild gloating: "See how much they lost by way of dead and wounded — and trillions, all lost!  So you see, trillions they have lost!"

At any rate, the takeaway lesson from Afghanistan for millions of Muslims the world over is that perseverance in jihad and patience pays off — just as the Koran says it will.  Put differently, the roles of both the Taliban and the U.S. have now confirmed for Muslims the truths of the Koran — specifically, that perseverance in the jihad always leads to victory over and leaves infidels broken, even if it takes years and decades.

"Therefore, thanks be to Allah," concluded Ghoneim, "that they [Taliban] were patient and steadfast, and Allah rewarded them with victory over the infidel nations."  He closed by supplicating Allah to let the umma, the entire Muslim world, learn from the Taliban — from "those heroes who raised all of our heads up high and cast the infidels' heads down in shame."

As such, expect to see a renewed and unwavering commitment to the jihad in the foreseeable future.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Sword and Scimitar, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center; a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum; and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

Image: newsonline via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 (cropped).

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