Jihad, Zakat, and a Really Ignorant Leftist Blogger

This past weekend, I mocked Matt Duss, the National Security Editor at the Center for American Progress for refusing to meet me for a debate on the threat of Shariah. I noted how truly embarrassing Duss’ lack of knowledge about his subject matter is; I’m not exactly concerned about the return George Soros and other far-left donors get on their investment into ThinkProgress, but a “National Security Editor” of such a massively-endowed political warfare operation should have some more chops.

Duss tweets today:

mattduss Head sharia bedwetter Frank Gaffney claims “shariah requires its adherents to make” contributions to terrorism. http://bit.ly/i0yB6C

As is the case with most drive-by posts on Twitter, there’s no analysis there. He links to an article by Frank Gaffney called ‘Enabling the Muslim Brotherhood in America’ (reproduced here at Big Peace, as well as Town Hall and the Washington Times).

The problem with Duss’ snide, outraged tone is that the rules on zakat enumerated in Shariah do indeed require a contribution to jihad. This is the main objection many have to the existence of Shariah-Compliant Finance, and its promotion (via AIG) by the US government and the American taxpayer. It’s possible, also, that Duss may be suggesting that jihad is separate from what we know as terrorism. It’s a dubious (though common) proposition to make, certainly, but in this respect he also fails. I’d like to know what authoritative books on Shariah or Islamic jurisprudence Matt Duss– or his colleagues at the Center for American Progress– have read, and on what basis he can shrug off both Frank Gaffney’s and Andy McCarthy’s position on this issue.

Shariah is a very sophisticated legal system and, like our own US Code, contains provisions enumerating the different types of obligatory zakat payments and who is entitled to recieve them. Those categories are:


  1. Fakir. those who are needy destitute, have no source of income and are unable to obtain employment.
  2. Miskin. those with very small and inadequate level of income for sustenance of their daily needs.
  3. Amil. those who are appointed to collect and distribute the zakat.
  4. Mualaf. those whose hearts are to be reconciled including converts and prospective converts.
  5. Riqab. captives who are given the opportunity to redeem or free themselves from bondage.
  6. Gharim. those who are in debt because of family or self for lawful reasons.
  7. Fisabillah. striving in the path of Allah.
  8. Ibnu Sabil. travellers who are stranded in the course of a lawful journey including students going overseas for studies.

“Striving in the path of Allah” is a traditional Islamic term of art meaning jihad– and not the quiet, personal self-help kind of jihad, either. Take just one authoritative example from the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence, Reliance of the Traveller: A Sacred Manuel of Islamic Law. Reliance is often quoted because it’s as close to mainstream, authoritative law as you can get, with citations of authenticity from all over the Middle East, including Al-Azhar University.

Page 272 of Reliance of the Traveller (which you can get at Amazon, or download at Shariah: The Threat to America as a 32MB PDF) deals with who is eligible for zakat payments under the ‘Fisabillah’ category:

“Those fighting for Allah

h8.17 The seventh category is those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster (O: but who are volunteers for jihad without remuneration). They are given enough to suffice them for the operation, even if affluent; of weapons, mounts, clothing, and expenses (O: for the duration of the journey, round trip, and the time they spend there, even if prolonged. Though nothing has been mentioned here of the expense involved in supporting such people’s families during this period, it seems clear that they should also be given it).””

If that description sounds just like the kind of zakat payments Saddam Hussein and some of the Saudi royal family were giving to Palestinian suicide bombers during the Second Intifada, it should. When many supporters of Israel were rightly condemning these payments in the West, they were unaware that Hussein and the Saudis were simply following Shariah. A knowledge of mainstream Islamic jurisprudence goes a long way in explaining what happens in the Muslim world, even if it outrages many of us.

It took me all of one minute to find a few other modern-day examples of zakat classified under Fisabillah meaning jihad. A quick internet search brought me to the page of the International Islamic University of Malaysia Endowment Fund. They are soliciting for donations, and have a useful explanatory page, making sure potential donors know their gifts are ‘Shariah compliant.’ Here’s what it says, pretty candidly, about that seventh category of zakat:

Fisabililah – Literal meaning ‘In the way of God’, but it is used for Jihad.

In light of these two examples– and I stayed away from openly jihadist writing on the subject of Fisabililah from Abdullah Azzam, a Bin Laden favorite– it’s amusing to see what the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has to say about it. From their website:

Does CAIR Qualify to Recieve Zakat?

Yes. Numerous Muslim scholars have confirmed that Zakat is payable to organizations that exist to serve the Muslim community by protecting their rights. This is because the work done by CAIR (and other such organizations) can be classified as fi-sabilillah, which is one of the eight categories of Zakat recipients detailed in the Quran (Chapter 9, Verse 60).

We know from the Holy Land Foundation trial that CAIR is among the Muslim Brotherhood-associated groups that think of their work in the West as a “kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within, and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” That “sabotage” is a lot easier when, as Obama assured the Muslim world in Cairo– who know all about the eight categories of zakat and its Fisabililah provision– that the spigot for jihad will not get turned off under his watch.

Matt Duss, you lose again.

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