Community, Justice, and Jihad: Elements of the Muslim Historical Consciousness

Islam is more than a Faith in the heart of every Muslim. It is also a source of identity. The fundamental rites and devotions constituting its 'Pillars' simultaneously confirm the faith of the individual and affirm the bonds of Community. It is this symbiosis of Faith and Community that over time gave rise to a Muslim historical consciousness. From it too stems the predilection for an active social and political involvement on the part of Muslims as groups and individuals.

The elements of this consciousness emanate from an Islamic world-view and they have interacted in various situations and contexts to condition the responses of Muslims throughout history. To explore these elements it is essential to examine three basic concepts: Umma, Adl, and Jihad or respectively, Community, Justice and the Just Striving. All three concepts are embedded in the matrix of Tawhid and are interwoven and integrally related to one another. In their context a Muslim group consciousness has been forged for over a millenium. As such, they justly provide the parameters for understanding Muslim history and forecasting the future of Islam in the world.

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