The Mujahideen and the Samurai
The terrorists who destroyed the World Trade
Center were not the first to employ suicide attacks. During World War
2, Japanese Kamikaze pilots rained death and destruction on American
ships by making suicide attacks with their airplanes. Those brave
pilots were motivated by Bushido or the Way of the Warrior.
Kamikaze means Divine Wind in Japanese. The attacks were named after
the winds that destroyed the Mongol invasion fleet 1000 years ago. The
Japanese believed that the Gods had protected Japan.
Today, the modern day Samurais in business suits are more interested
in sending cars and walkmans to the USA than bombs and death. The
Japanese have got it right but the Islamic terrorist has taken over
where the Samurai left off. While we may think of them as terrorists,
they consider themselves to be Mujahideens or Holy Warriors.
This article compares Bushido to militant Islam. Both were designed to
facilitate imperialism. Bushido was derived from Confucianism, Zen
Buddhism and Shintoism.
Confucius taught of the five relationships between parent/child,
elder/younger, ruler/subordinate, husband/wife and between friends.
For the Samurai, the highest loyalty was to his daimyo or feudal lord.
The Samurai devoted his life to serving his master by protecting his
land, attacking other clans, or whatever his daimyo ordered him to do.
If he failed in his given task, committing hara kiri (also known as
seppuku) was considered the honorable thing to do. If his lord is
killed, seppuku was again the honorable thing to do for he has failed
to protect his lord.
From Zen Buddhism, the Samurai learned not to fear death. Like the
Mujahideen, he believes in an after life. After death comes
reincarnation. If death is not the end, then fear of death dissipates.
By practicing Zen meditation, the Samurai focused his attention on
driving out fear and becomes one with nature. He goes into battle with
his mind as clear as spring water.
The Mujahideen too does not fear death. But unlike the Samurai, he
looks forward to it. The reward is a martyr’s death and his place in
paradise is assured. In paradise, he will have virgins to be his
loving companions and the sweetest fruits and springs of flowing
Koran 55:53 says:
“They shall recline on couches lined with thick brocade, and within
reach will hang the fruits of both gardens. Which of your Lord’s
blessings would you deny? Therein are bashful virgins whom neither man
nor jinnee will have touched before. Which of your Lord’s blessings
would you deny?”
Thus while the Samurai became fearless warriors by meditation, a
belief in reincarnation and a strong sense of duty, the desert rats
that followed Prophet Mohammed were motivated to forsake their fears
by booty in this world and carnal pleasures in the next.
What a contrast between medieval Japan and 7th century Arabia. I
believe that had any prophet preached carnal rewards in the hereafter
to the sophisticated and cultured Japanese, they would have forced him
to commit hara-kiri for his imposture.
The third component of Bushido is Shintoism. Shinto was the original
religion of Japan. From this derived the Samurai’s fierce loyalty to
Japan and its Emperor whom they revere as a God.
Shinto is pantheistic. This means that everything has a spirit. The
land of Japan contains a spirit and is considered sacred. An attack of
the land of Japan is an attack on the home of all their ancestors.
Such beliefs result in fanatical patriotism. Also according to Shinto,
Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess gave birth to the first emperor. This means
that his descendents are also gods.
In Islam, the world is divided into two parts – darul Harb (land of
war) and darul Islam. All acts of war are permitted in darul Harb.
When the darul Harb has been subjugated, the Harbi become prisoners of
war. He or she can be sold into slavery, exiled, ransomed or treated
as dhimmis. Dhimmis are protected people or second-class subjects who
are required to pay an annual tribute. Muslims are expected to take
part in jihad (or holy war) to expand darul Islam.
Ayatollah Khomeini gave a good description of jihad. He said:
“Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not
disabled and incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of
(other) countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country
in the world.”
By the way, he also was contemptuous of those moderates and apologists
who say that Islam means peace. He said:
“The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only by Holy
Warriors! There are hundreds of other psalms and Hadiths urging
Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a
religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish
souls that make such a claim.”
Thus both Bushido and Islam have much in common. The kamikaze pilot
who sacrificed his life did it for his god-emperor. The terrorist (or
Holy Warrior) who crashed the plane onto the World Trade Center was
performing jihad to gain entrance into paradise. Both sacrifices were
supported by religious beliefs and both are frightening to
The Japanese were told that the Gods protected Japan and that they
were invincible. Defeat shattered that myth. Their belief that their
Emperor was a god was finally destroyed when a photo of the smallish,
tired looking Emperor standing next to General Douglas Mac Arthur was
published. It was the first time most Japanese have seen their
Emperor. Before the Japanese surrendered, no newspaper published his
photo and the Japanese lined the streets with their backs turned
towards the Emperor when he passed by. To look at him, many believed,
would result in blindness.
The lesson we can draw from this is that in time to come, the
Mujahideen (or Islamic terrorist) will go the way of the Samurai. That
is the good news. But it took rivers of blood before the Japanese
abandoned their irrational beliefs. The bad news is that more blood
will flow before the Mujahideen joins the Samurai.