American Journal of Islam and Society
Richard Bonney laments what he deems a misappropriation of the termjihad by both pundits in the West seeking to portray Islam as inherently violent,and a small faction of Muslim fanatics seeking political gain. Jihad, hecontends, has been perverted from its original intent of encouraging spiritualathleticism and allowing for physical defense when transgression occurs. He endeavors to return to the term's roots to detail how and whyit has been manipulated over time to take on exclusively violent
... andaggressive connotations. By doing so, Bonney hopes to empower Muslimmoderates to publicize the concept of jihad as purely defensive, as wellas to enlighten non-Muslims of Islam's true message of peace, balance,and pluralism.The author goes back to the original sources, the Qur'an and theSunnah, to make his case. He demonstrates his familiarity with the Qur'anby citing verses on jihad, contextualizing them in purely spiritual anddefensive terms, and briefly mentions how they could be misinterpreted ifone did not view the Qur'an holistically and in its proper context. However,Bonney betrays his ignorance of the Qur'anic sciences in his rather superficialdescription and application of classical hermeneutics and abrogationtheory. Rather than engage the prolific tradition of Qur'anic exegesis, herelies on a few modern commentators (e.g., Qamaruddin Khan and ReuvenFirestone) to promote his views. He acknowledges that these interpretationsmay differ with the tradition, but he does not address or attempt to resolvethe tension between the two ...