The Genious of Islam – two competing goals reconciled

By Nonie Darwish

One of Mohammed’s aims for the new religion was to unify all the warring tribes of the Arabian Penninsula — yet preserve their unique warring culture.

The genius of Islam was that it found a way to reconcile these two competing goals. Islam retained the superiority of the male, the submission of the female, slavery, male violence, and the culture of raiding, by channeling it toward the outside world in an institution called jihad.

Arabia was now to consider itself as one big tribe under Islam called Dar al-Islam (house of Islam), against a common enemy, the outside non-Muslim world called Dar al-Harb (house of war).

Thus, under the concept of jihad, Islam retained and institutionalized the same mechanisms that made the tribe proud, but on a much larger scale. The only difference was that now the raiding was against the outside non-Muslim world instead of the nearby tribe.

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