Why Do Some Muslims Interpret Jihad Literally and Others Allegorically?
Until we come to terms with the meaning of “jihad,” we will forever be incorrectly focused where Islam is concerned. We need to determine exactly what jihad is and how the meaning of the word was lived out in the life of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. We also need to understand why some Muslims today tell us that jihad is nothing more than an inner struggle, while other Muslims show us with their actions that jihad is much more than that.
Peter Hammond has been involved in missions in Africa for over 30 years. In fact, “born in Cape Town (in 1960) and brought up in Bulawayo (in what was then war-torn Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe). He was converted to Christ in 1977, worked in Scripture Union and Hospital Christian Fellowship, served in the South African Defence Force and studied at Baptist Theological College, Cape Town. He also earned a Doctorate in Missiology and has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Divinity. Peter is married to Lenora, whose missionary parents Rev. Bill and Harriett Bathman have pioneered missionary work, mostly into Eastern Europe, for over 60 years. Peter and Lenora have been blessed with 4 children: Andrea, Daniela, Christopher and Calvin.”
There is much written about Hammond and at least one website claims to “expose” Hammond’s true intentions, calling him a “war-enabler.” I tried investigating their site more and even attempted to open several links that promised to tell us the truth about Hammond, but the links were broken. Apparently, from what I could gather, their problem with Hammond is that he is one of those “Zionists,” you know, someone who supports Israel. In fact, though the links to their old site don’t work, their new site – http://charlesecarlson.com/ – highlights their work against Zionists.
In essence, these folks appear to be those who believe that there is no reason to support Israel at all, that things have transferred over to the Church and Israel has been forever rejected by God Himself. Reformed, Covenant, and Preterists often hold to this view and they can be pretty anal about it. Because of their beliefs, they routinely align themselves against Pastor Haggee and others. I myself disagree with Haggee over several important doctrines, especially his apparent belief that Jews do not need to accept Jesus as Savior/Messiah. Yes, they do and that is an undeniable truth of Scripture. Haggee certainly does Jewish people a huge (dare I say, eternal) disservice by telling them they fall under a different covenant system when they don’t.
I will leave Charles Carlson (“We Hold These Truths”) to himself and move onto my original point. I only mention them because they are out there and they stand opposed to Peter Hammond. I’m sure if they knew about me, they would stand opposed to me as well.
However, with respect to Islam and jihad, it is important to understand exactly what jihad means. It seems that the more a country or area of the world is considered to be third world, the more emphasis is placed on physical jihad. Hammond notes that “It is no accident that the most vicious terrorism originates from the least evangelised (sic) area of the world.”  There’s a reason that this is true. Where the gospel is absent, Satan fills the void with his lies. What greater lie is there than Islam?
Islam is not only an ideology that believes it refutes every other religion and ideology out there, but believes it is allowed and even encouraged to use force to do so. While a Christian might explain the gospel to a person, unlike the Roman Catholic Crusades of the past, we do not kill those who reject Jesus. Their rejection certainly saddens us and we desperately want them to see the truth so they can them embrace that truth. But killing someone? That’s absurd and no authentic Christian would ever do that. Every person has until they take their last natural breath to deal with the question of Jesus. Taking their life from them because of their refusal to submit to Him is simply not part of the true Christian’s calling.
However, there are many Muslims throughout the world who literally believe they are in a war. They see Islam as truth and believe that people should be forced to accept it or die if they don’t. The only other option is to enter into dhimmitude, which is where the non-Muslim is allowed to live by paying a tax, or “dhimmi.”
What is important to understand (or at least ask) is whether or not Islam has a global agenda. If it can be determined that Islam has no global agenda, then the killings by Muslims – as terrible and tragic as they are – wind up simply being killings of innocent people with no overall agenda in mind. However, if we come to learn that Islam does in fact have a global agenda that they believe they are called to bring forth, then killings by Muslims of non-Muslims takes on far greater significance.
According to missionary Peter Hammond, “The multi-national Al-Qa’ida organisation set up by Bin Laden during the time he was based in Sudan (1991-1996) seeks the ‘global radicalization of existing Islamic groups and the creation of radical Islamic groups where none existed. Al-Qa’ida supports Muslim fighters in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Checknya, Tajikistan, Somalia, Yemen and Eritrea. Al-Qa’ida’s goal is to unite all Muslims and to establish a government which follows the rule of the Caliphas…by force…to overthrow nearly all Muslims governments, which are…corrupt, to drive Western influence from those countries, and eventually to abolish state boundaries,’ (Al-Qa-ida, FAS 17/9/01).” 
“Caliphas” is another word for “caliphate.” A caliphate is Islamic rule over a specific area of the world. Ultimately, Islam believes, looks forward to, and works toward, a fully global caliphate where the Final Mahdi will rise to rule the world via Islam and under Allah’s power. Islam believes that the entire world will succumb to this person’s rule and all dissenters will be executed.
Whether this is true or not isn’t really the point, is it? What is true is that there are many Muslims who believe it and work toward the day when this will exist. Because of this, a couple of questions are in order. First, how did Muhammad live? I’ve covered this in a previous article, which I encourage you to read. It deals with Muhammad’s adult life. Second, what do we need to do to counteract those Muslims who work toward a global caliphate?
Someone invariably comes along and points to the Roman Catholic Crusades of the 1000s AD. In my mind, they were just as wrong as what Muhammad did. However, people who do this confuse at least one very important fact. Muhammad was the founder of Islam. The Roman Catholic Church was not the founders of Christianity. Jesus Christ was and because of that, we need only look to the life of Christ to realize that the Crusades were completely incompatible with the way Jesus lived and with what He preached. Not so with Muhammad.
Muhammad preached and lived in a way that taught that physical jihad against Allah’s enemies was perfectly acceptable and should be encouraged. Jesus taught something else entirely. The Crusades by the Roman Church were not the result of emulating Christ. Jihad that the world sees and experiences today and since the time of Muhammad is the result of Muslims emulating the life of Muhammad.
We will go more into jihad next time and discuss the roots of jihad found within the Qur’an.
 Peter Hammond, Slavery, Terrorism and Islam, 2008, p. 19
 Ibid, p. 20