Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hezbullah:The Story from Within

I've been reading the translated book Hezbullah:The Story from Within by Sheikh Naim Qassem (the Deputy Secretary-General since 1991) and it's providing me a valuable insight into the movements and ideology of the group. I think one of the biggest problems facing anybody trying to gain an understanding of this movement is the lack of English language primary sources which somebody can use. This, I believe, is primarily due to the fact that Hezbullah is not concerned with winning any media battles in the West, nor is it looking for it's support. If anything their prime audience is the Arab and Islamic world in general and the Middle East in particular. Yes I know they normally talk of being only a resistance movement, but listening to some of the speeches by Al Sayed Hassan Nasrallah show that they believe they are much more. Interestingly, Sheikh Qassem differentiates between offensive Jihad and defensive Jihad. The defensive Jihad is the only jihad which Shia believe is permitted and that is the Jihad of reclaiming occupied land, resisting aggression as well as oppression (stipulated only by the supreme Jurist-Theologian/al-Wali al-Faqih). Offensive Jihad according to Shia theologians is only permitted in clearly defined guidelines and can only be authorised by either the Prophet Muhammad, his Right Guided descendants and the Mahdi, believed to return at some stage in the future and also a descendant of the Prophet. This is an aspect that many scholars don't seem to have focused on, and panic mongers in the US political elite either ignore or are unaware of. More to come as I read further...

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