Israeli Border Police confronting Palestinians rioting in eastern Jerusalem after breaking the daytime Ramadan fast, April 3, 2022. (Shalev Shalom/TPS) (Shalev Shalom/TPS)
Ramadan

Incendiary associations between Ramadan and jihad are backed by a long history and widespread Muslim religious thought.

By Baruch Yedid, TPS

Public figures on the Palestinian street and among Israeli Arabs are concerned about the connection between the Muslim month of Ramadan and motifs of terrorism and jihad (holy war) in light of the proximity between the beginning of Ramadan and the terrorist attacks in Be’er Sheva, Hadera and Bnei Brak, which claimed the lives of 11 people.

The head of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee Muhammad Barakeh alleged that “Israeli propaganda” presents Ramadan as a month of blood and terror while it is a month of compassion and love.

Palestinian clerics claim that Israel is to blame for the recent security deterioration but choose to present Ramadan as the cause of violence. Among the Bedouins in the Negev, there are those who came out against the media and Israeli public figures, blaming them for “demonizing” the Arabs and choosing to present “the Arab struggle” and the month of Ramadan as a cause of violence and terrorism.

However, the Hamas terror organization said in one of its latest statements that it “welcomes the month of jihad and Shahada,” and Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nahala also said that the terrorist who carried out the attack in Bnei Brak and murdered five people combined the obligation of fasting during Ramadan with the obligation of jihad.

Nahala is probably aware that his remarks tying Ramdan and jihad have a long history and are backed by widespread Muslim religious thought.

In the history of Islam, Ramadan is considered a month in which the Muslims have had great and significant victories over the Persians, Mongols, Crusaders and Jews.

The great battles and victories of the Muslims that took place during Ramadan include the Battle of Badr in 624, which turned Islam into a state entity, as well as the conquest of Mecca in 630, which put an end to paganism in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Muslim invasion of Andalusia in 713, as well as the victory of Saladin al-Ayoubi over the Crusaders in 1187, took place during Ramadan.

The Battle of Ein Jalot in the Harod Valley in northern Israel, during which the Mongols lost to the Muslims, also took place during Ramadan in 1260.

The Yom Kippur War took place during Ramadan in 1973.

In recent years, extremist Muslim clerics have often underscored the connection between fasting, one of the five foundations of Islam, and jihad. They stated that “he who can stand the test of fasting can also stand the test of jihad,” and added that Allah examines his believers who meet the challenge of fasting before choosing them to meet the challenges of jihad.

The Islamic Jihad in Gaza has issued guidelines to shorten the sermons in the mosques and also address the duty of solidarity with the families of the “martyrs” (terrorists) and the wounded (during terror attacks), and also stated that “this is the month of jihad and sacrifice, victories and conquests.”

Islam has five basic elements: prayer, charity, Shahada (testimony), pilgrimage to Mecca, and fasting, but extremist Islamic sources have argued for many years that fasting is a stage of preparation for jihad because it prepares the soul for the Creator.

“The breath of a person’s fasting is better than the smell of perfume,” say extremist Muslim clerics, adding that “twice a person is happy during Ramadan, the first time when he is allowed to eat, and the second time when he meets Allah.”

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