Sheikh Moussa Kamara was one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century. His scholarship spanned many disciplines, including history, the ethnography of Sudanic Africa, theology, and poetry. His objection to jihad is one of his most pertinent works. As illustrated in this first English translation and commentary, he expounds upon the futility of waging Jihād bis-Sayf (Jihad of the Sword), as it could not be conducted without the killing of other Muslims or innocent civilians of any persuasion. Moreover, it is his contention that by its violent nature, jihad breaches one of Islam's main principles: preserving life. To support this argument, Kamara draws evidence from Prophet Muhammad’s social life, the bloody legacy of Jihad waged among his companions after his death, and the opinions of pious scholars and Sufi saints on the subject as well as his own lived-experience of the economic devastation caused by the jihadists, or Pseudo-Jihadists in his parlance, of his time. Kamara goes further stipulating that if self-defense in the name of Jihad is a must, then there must be a balance of power with the enemy, unified leadership among the Muslims, and a legitimate leader who can authorize the enterprise.
Mbaye Lo is associate professor of the Practice of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and International Comparative Studies at Duke University.
Notable Figures Who Invited me to Join Them in Waging Jihad
The Temperament of Most Wagers of Jihad
The Prospect of Killing Innocent Muslims as Justification For Prohibiting Jihad
The Many Thousands of People Who Died Due to The Jihad of Shaykh Al-Hajj Umar, and the Correspondence of Monsieur Faidherbe
A Discussion of [the Book] Al-Istiqṣā Regarding Matters of Jihad
A Discussion of The BiographyAl-Sīrat al-Ḥalabiyyah on what Constitutes Jihad
A state Cannot Be Erected Solely on The Qualities of Religion and Piety, But Must Also Incorporate Politics, Wit, Subterfuge and Intimidation
Among the Signs of Sincere Piety is a Reliance on the State of Spiritual Primacy
A Chapter on French Leaders’ Affection Toward Me
Afterword By David Robinson
“At a time when the militant Jihadist ideology has spread in many parts of Africa and the world, this book is both timely and important. By bringing Shaykh Moussa Kamara's unique critique of the destructive militant Islamic ideology to scholars and the public at large, Professor Lo has done an invaluable service to scholars, students of Africa, the public, and peace-loving Muslims and non-Muslims around the world.”
"Shaykh Musa Kamara is the most prolific Muslim scholar of his generation. The depth and breath of his scholarship is unmatched, but his work remains largely inaccessible. Professor Lo has done a great service to the scholarly community by making available in the English language Kamara’s powerful intervention in the fraught debate on Jihad in the Western Sudan in the 19th century. Lo was able to marshal his unusual language skills and vast knowledge of the history and sociology of Islam in Africa to shine light on the theological, historical, and empirical arguments that undergird Kamara’s rejection of violence and his embrace of peace, patience and accommodation in the wake of French colonial conquest and rule of Senegal and Mauritania."