Standing on Common Ground

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When it comes to jihad, its origins are fundamentally different. An initial comparison shows that the two provide a similar framework to decide why, when, and how to go and conduct a legitimate war, but they differ in their foundations and details. More importantly, these differences could lead to conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims if not taken into consideration.

A fundamental difference between jihad and just war is the influence of religion in shaping these two traditions, influence that is proportional to their capacity to draw from religious sources. Just war is founded on Christianity, a non-state religion that does not provide specific guidelines on how to conduct state affairs.

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Most of the philosophical foundations of the just war theory are based on classical Greco-Roman and Christian values proposed by Aristotle, Cicero, and St. Thomas Aquinas. Jihad is founded on Islam, which is radically different in this sense. The Quran replaces many of the parables found in the New Testament by specific rules on why, when, and how to conduct war.

Unlike just war, jihad does not make use of secular reasoning to build its foundations, but rather draws directly from divine guidelines found in the Quran and Islamic traditions. While Christians struggle to determine if the New Testament encourages pacifism or just war, Muslims may read into the details of the ethics of warfare in the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet.

It is interesting to note, however, that St.

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This is not the case for the jihad, which clearly states that the core intention to wage war must be to please god. A war that is conducted without this premise is not considered jihad, but rather just a war.

Both agree, however, that once a just cause has been established, the legitimate authority can only consider going to war when all non-violent alternatives have been exhausted. When it comes to defining who the legitimate authority is to decide to wage or not wage war, just war limits this authority to the heads of state and their representatives, and condemns popular revolts as illegitimate.

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Jihad also attributes the default authority to rulers, but it makes revolts permissible in the case that a ruler is exceedingly unjust or has deviated from the path of god. Yet another disagreement between just war and jihad appears in the rules defining who and what should be protected from the harms of war and the treatment of prisoners of war. Just war prohibits the intentional harming or killing of civilians, in particular women and children, and the damage to property and trees amongst others.

In jihad similar rules apply, but it allows for the enslavement of women and children, particularly if they are non-Muslim. The seven golden cities, El Dorado, and other utopian visions are no longer alive, and yet the ways in which politicians, historians, artists, and scholars envision the borderlands today follow pretty much the same tradition. Any online search on the borderlands today would show vivid examples of these trends. Some want to see a great wall separating Mexico from the United States Sign In or Create an Account.

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