Holy Wars: A historical and theological comparison between Joshua’s conquests vs. Mohammad’s first three incursions
Keywords:holy war, Joshua’s conquest, ḥerem, jihad, Judeo-Christian faith
The purpose of this paper is to show that there are substantial differences between the Jewish and the Islamic wars, and these differences reveal two different concepts of the deity among Judaism and Islam.
Many people refuse to believe in any of the Abrahamic religions because they claim that “religions are violent, and, therefore, they are the source of violence.” The line of argument that they use is related to the concept of holy wars; God in the OT ordered Jushua to annihilate many nations for their disbelief and, similarly, Allah in the Qur’an ordered Mohammad to fight those who do not believe in Islam. However, a theological and historical investigation regarding the concepts of holy wars among these religions—especially Islam and Judaism—reveals that they are not the same. On the contrary, they differ in their purpose, nature, and rule. Therefore, presenting these differences while relying on Islamic and Judeo-Christian resources should help to refute the previous claim.