HAMAS in Gaza: History, Doctrine, and Practice
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HAMAS asserts that it derives its doctrine and practices from Islam. Its interpretation includes violent acts against its enemy. What Islamic sources justify such actions? The Islamic sources include and are not limited to the Qur’an and Ahadith. The Qur’an is the holy book for the Islamic faith and gives Muslims direction on how to live their lives. The Ahadith gives a narrative about the teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet Muhammad is considered the perfect example of how Muslims should live their lives. These sources together provide a framework for how Muslims should live and how an Islamic society should be governed. These sources include references to violence that seem to suggest fighting through jihad against an enemy. The Prophet Muhammad’s participation in battles and raids appears to suggest that jihad is a physical act of violence against non-Muslims. Several Muslim jurists describe jihad as an action taken against an enemy on the battlefield. They provide rules for warfare against non-believers. This explanation of jihad is similar to HAMAS’s interpretation. HAMAS’s interpretation of Islam includes the use of violence against Israel. Islamic doctrine and history suggests that HAMAS’s practices in Gaza are a continuation of Islamic tradition.