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Jihād – The Origin of Holy War in Islam - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Jihād: The Origin of Holy War in Islam

Reuven Firestone


While there is no evidence to date that the indigenous inhabitants of Arabia knew of holy war prior to Islam, holy war ideas and behaviors appear already among Muslims during the first generation. This book focuses on why and how such a seemingly radical development took place. Basing the hypothesis on evidence from the Qurʾān and early Islamic literary sources, this book locates the origin of Islamic holy war and traces its evolution as a response to the changes affecting the new community of Muslims in its transition from ancient Arabian culture to the religious civilization of Islam.

Keywords: holy war, Islam, Muslims, Qurʾān, Islamic holy war, Arabian culture, Arabia, jihād

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002 Print ISBN-13: 9780195154948
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195154948.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Reuven Firestone, author
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles