ON JIHAD AND HOLY WAR
Julius Evola (Revolt against the modern world, pages 118-120)In the Islamic tradition a distinction is made between two holy wars, the "greater holy war" (el- jihadul-akbar) and the "lesser holy war" (el-jihadul-ashgar). This distinction originated from a saying(hadith) of the Prophet, who on the way back from a military expedition said: "You have returnedfrom a lesser holy war to a great holy war." The greater holy war is of an inner and spiritual nature;the other is the material war waged externally against an enemy population with the particular intentof bringing "infidel" populations under the rule of "God's Law" (al-Islam). The relationship betweenthe "greater" and "lesser holy war", however, mirrors the relationship between the soul and the body;in order to understand the heroic asceticism or "path of action", it is necessary to understand thesituation in which the two paths merge, the "lesser holy war" becoming the means through which a"greater holy war" is carried out, and vice versa: the "little holy war", or the external one, becomesalmost a ritual action that expresses and gives witness to the reality of the first. Originally, orthodoxIslam conceived of a unitary form of asceticism: that which is connected to the jihad or "holy war".The "greater holy war" is man's struggle against the enemies he carries within. More exactly, it is thestruggle of man's higher principle against everything that is merely human in him, against his inferiornatur and against chaotic impulses and all sorts of material attachments. This is expressly outlined ina text of Aryan warrior wisdom: "Know Him therefore who is above reason; and let his peace givethee peace. Be a warrior and kill desire, the powerful enemy of the soul." (Bhagavadgita 3.43)The "enemy" who resists us and the "infidel" within ourselves must be subdued and put in chains.This enemy is the animalistic yearning and instinct, the disorganized multiplicity of impulses, thelimitations imposed on us by a fictitious self, and thus also fear, wickedness, and uncertainty; thissubduing of the enemy within is the only way to achieve inner liberation or the rebirth in a state of deeper inner unity and "peace" in the esoteric and triumphal sense of the word.In the world of traditional warrior asceticism the "lesser holy war", namely, the external war, isindicated and even prescribed as the means to wage this "greater holy war"; thus in Islam theexpressions "holy war" (jihad) and "Allah's way" are often used interchangeably. In this order of ideasaction exercises the rigorous function and task of a sacrifical and purifying ritual. The externalvicissitudes experienced during a military campaign cause the inner "enemy" to emerge and put up afierce resistance and agood fight in the form of the animalistic instincts of self-preservation, fear,inertia, compassion, or other passions; those who engage in battles must overcome these feelings bythe time they enter the battlefield if they wish to win and to defeat the outer enemy or "infidel".Obviously the spiritual orientation and the "right intention" (niya), that is, the one towardtranscendence (the symbols employed to refer to transcendence are "heaven", "paradise", "Allah'sgarden" and so on), are supposed as the foundations of jihad, lest war lose its scared character anddegenerate into a wild affair in which true heroism is replaced with reckless abandonment and whatcounts are the unleashed impulses of the animal nature.It is written in the Koran: "Let those who would exchange the life of this world for the hereafter fightfor the cause of Allah; whether they die or conquer, We shall richly reward them." (Koran, 4:76) Thepresupposition according to which it is prescribed "When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefieldstrike off their heads, and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly" (Koran 47:4); or,"Do not falter or sue for peace when you have gained the upper hand" (Koran 47:37), is that "the lifeof this world is but a sport and a past-time" (Koran 47:37) and that "whoever is ungenerous to thiscause is ungenerous to himself" (Koran 47:38). These statements should be interpreted along thelines of the evangelical saying: "Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it: but whoever loses his lifefor my sake shall find it" (Matthew 16:25). This is confirmed by yet another Koranic passage: "Why isit that when it is said to you: 'March in the cause of Allah.' you linger slothfully in the land? Are youcontent with this life in preference to the life to come?" (Koran, 9:38) "Say: 'Are you waiting foranything to befall us except victory or martyrdom?'" (Koran, 9:52).