Pre-Jihadi Mindset: What Muslims Can Do?

Jaseem Pasha, MD.

No Muslim is born Jihadi or has any genetic predisposition to turn into a Jihadi.

Having a pre-Jihadi state of mind is not a mental illness. It is a ‘learned mindset’ with a significant religious overlay that gradually surfaces and evolves when the young Muslims are exposed to an ongoing organized theological indoctrination, which routinely takes place in madrasas and other religious institutions in every Muslim country.

Such a theological drilling, with distorted religious concepts labeled as “Islamic” imparts a pre-Jihadi mindset, which in turn primes the apparently harmless naive Muslim youth to become a potential target to be lured by the recruiters of terrorist organizations and turn them into a walking, talking time bombs.

Predisposing Factors:

Marginalization of the role of critical thinking and intellectual autonomy in the Muslim community and its cultural acceptance is the principal cause of Muslim adults being significantly unmindful of the existence of pre-Jihadi mindset in their youth.

Unlike other mass murderers, who most likely have horrific childhood, the full fledged Jihadis more likely come from a stable family background with no unusual childhood experiences.

Even if there is a history of childhood trauma in a Jihadi, there have been no studies that would clearly establish a cogent causative relationship between the history of the childhood traumas and the evolving religious beliefs.

However, there are enough experiential indications to establish a concordance between the prevalence of the contents of the sectarian religious pre-Jihadi mindset of the Muslim children and youth with what is repetitiously emphasized in religious teachings at home, madrasas, and schools in any Muslim society.

This theological orientation of young Muslims takes place over years through religious material they are exposed to. Children and youth receive religious orientation through the use of religious tapes and videos, and sermons and Khutbas given by local clergy.

Except for a tiny minority, most of the Muslim scholars very craftily indoctrinate Muslim youth and adults by indirectly marginalizing the importance of the Quran by elevating the status of man-written Ahadith and other non-Quranic non-divine “Islamic literature” to be as sacred and essential as the Quran itself, and assert that Quran is incomplete and incomprehensible without the knowledge of Ahadith and the rulings of past Muslim rulers.

The sad part is that this type of indoctrination, in violation of all Quranic principles, takes place 24/7 throughout the Muslim world, with the majority of Muslim families being completely unaware of the tactics the Muslim clergy use in misguiding and misinforming them and their young children. This happens due to the fact that the majority of the trusting Muslims depend on the Muslim clergy to tell them what Islam is all about since they have been brainwashed to believe that the only way to gain knowledge about Quran is through the interpretation of their religious leaders.

Along with the misinformation, the clergy also puts a pressure on the Muslims to accept the opinions of scholars without questioning. It is a kind of a cultist approach that prohibits critical thinking and gradually eliminates intellectual autonomy, a crucial natural (fitra) component of human nature, without which it is impossible to be a real human being and develop Taqwa.

Features and beliefs in religious teachings that are obsessively and zealously adhered in pre-Jihadi Mindset:

1. An illusionary belief that establishing “Islamic State” would solve most of the problems of Muslims.

2. They tend to give an excessive attention and significant religious value to external “Islamic garb”, like man maintaining a beard, women being asked to move around covered with burqa, and so on. For them displaying an “Islamic garb” is equal to displaying righteousness or Taqwa.

3. Their religious indoctrination gives an exaggerated importance to Ahadith literature, almost to the extent that Ahadith are perceived to be almost as crucial and divine as the Quran itself. They believe that it is impossible to understand Quran without the help of Ahadith.

4. They also believe that even the understanding of Ahadith must be acquired only through the interpretation of the Muslim scholars.

5. They feel very apprehensive of using critical thinking in the matters of religion. It is almost a taboo. They depend almost 100% on the opinion of Muslim scholars or what ahadith permits them to do.

6. They view the Quranic verse the Al-Baqarah 2:256 (There is no compulsion in the Deen of Islam”) has either been abrogated by God, or must be selectively applied, depending on which hadith they are referring to.

7. They are resistant to the idea of interpreting the Quranic verses in the full context of the Quran.

8. Anything that is perceived bad that happens to Muslims is blamed either on “Allah SWT’s will” or on the “conspiracies of non-believers”. Problem solving, and recognizing and resolving conflicts are not part of one’s religious paradigm.

Mental Status of pre-Jihadi youth and adults:

Thinking Process:

* Denial is the most common mental mechanism these pre-Jihadis display when confronted with their irrational religious feelings and shortcomings.

* They show polarized thinking and divide the world into believers and non-believers and they define who is a believer and who is not.

* They are too quick to pass judgment on others, especially those who disagree with them and tend to over-generalize those with different opinions or beliefs.

* They lack out-of-the-box thinking and intellectual autonomy, and are increasingly prone to “think locally and act globally”, instead of “thinking globally and acting locally”.

Thought Contents:

* Their religious beliefs system is based on false assumptions and thinking errors that they never dare to verify.

* They believe all ‘infidels’ are enemies of Islam and will go to hell.

* They selectively experience no guilt, remorse and have no empathy for those who become victims of the Political Jihad.

* They demonstrate a tunnel vision seeing everything in their dogmatic delusions.

* They tend to condone violence against non-Muslims. They often smirkingly say: “They deserved it”.

* They narrow down the definition of Shariah to mere crime and punishments.

* They are very distrustful of anyone who does not use Ahadith literature as a reference for forming a religious opinion. Giving Quran as a reference is not enough.


* Not all individuals with pre-Jihadi mindset become Jihadis.

* But all Jihadis begin with pre-Jihadi mindset, which means that they are only predisposed to later radicalization by the psychopathic rogues of various terrorist organizations.

* Most of the pre-Jihadis who get recruited1 in the United States receive their indoctrination on the Internet. The material they are exposed on the Internet readily resonates and reinforces their pre-Jihadi religious orientation.

* The good news is that only an extremely tiny minority comes in contact with terrorist organizations and ends up becoming a full fledged Jihadi terrorists.

* The bad news is that majority of the Muslim youth and adults are exposed to pre-Jihadi and non-Quranic sectarian religious orientation in the form of sermons, Khutbas, Islamic lectures, speeches and Islamic courses on tapes and videos.

Impact of pre-jihadi religious ideation on both Muslim & Non-Muslim communities:

Even if only 0.001% of Muslim population (1.6 billion) of the world becomes indoctrinated to become extremists, we are still talking about 1.6 million Jihadi human


1 Rand Corporation: “Would-Be Warriors: Incidents of jihadist terrorist radicalization in the United States since September 11, 2001”, By Brian Michael Jenkins – 2010 - < > Retrieved on 9/27/15

robots, who are willing to die by acting as human weapon of mass destruction for the benefit of powerful greedy predatory elite of the world that includes both Muslims and non-Muslims.

That is why the Muslim Umma cannot afford to remain indifferent to the diabolical wickedness that noxiously hides in the non-Quranic Muslim sources and literature.


It is crucial for Muslim community to recognize the clinical significance of the existence of pre-Jihadi mindset in Muslim youth and adults. If one does not see a problem as a problem, there cannot be any incentive to solve it.

Any information, opinion or fatwa from Muslim scholars that is in conflict with Quranic principles, must be rejected.

Any Hadith that is quoted, regardless of its claimed authenticity, if it is in conflict with Quranic principles, must be rejected.

In order for Muslims to know what is in conflict with Quranic principles, they must seriously consider educating themselves and acquiring knowledge about the principles in the Quran. This would also require every Muslim to re-activate their critical thinking and use it to enlighten themselves with Quranic principles. Without their knowledge it would be impossible to understand and assess which Quranic principle is being applied, when any specific Sunnah of Prophet (pbuh) is promoted by the Muslim clergy.

Discouraging dogmatic and rote education that focuses only on memorization of Quran without understanding its real message, and pushing students to assimilate everything about “Islamic literature” loaded with beliefs and information that violate basic Quranic principles and have no relevance to the realities of 21st Century.

To pressure Islamic educational institutions to be staffed with faculty members and scholars who not only have good insight into the true message in Quran, but also simultaneously have academic degrees in natural, formal and social sciences.

To pressure Islamic educational institutions to restructure their curriculum material by excluding all religious materials from the Islamic literature, including those Ahadith that are in conflict with Quranic principles and have no relevance to the context of 21st Century.


5 Responses to “Pre-Jihadi Mindset: What Muslims Can Do?”

  1. Sam Majid Says:

    Very good article and analysis. We definitely need further inputs on this and likewise subjects which are having a profound influence on younger kids.

    Hope your efforts lead to positive results which is vital for Muslim in the West.

  2. Aisha Says:

    Point raised above are very important and should be focused because now is the time to seriously address this problem. As a Muslim it’s our core responsibility to guide our youngs to the right path of religion and protect them from the wrong knowledge they bring in. Islam is the religion of peace and it believes in respecting rights of other religions and human being.

  3. Syed Suleman Ali Says:

    Dr. Jaseem Pasha,

    Thank you for sharing this excellent publication pre-jihadi mindset complete with solutions and pray all Muslims to read, learn solution recommendation and implement it in daily lives.
    Reference item 7., appreciate your further elaboration to clarify that they take verses out of context and misinterpret them to suit their whims.

    Kindest regards
    Syed Suleman Ali

  4. Syed Suleman Ali Says:

    Dr. Pasha,

    Third line from top: Please insert verbiage ” should not ” take verses out of context….

  5. Mohamed Abbas Says:

    It’s always great to hear from Dr. Pasha. I think we can’t blame everything on our religion leaders and madrasahs or religious school. I firmly believe that the main problems facing our youths here in this country is the parents who don’t give their children enough time and attention to raise them as good Muslims and Muslimas. We have to be close to them and guide them. We are all busy in this country with our business and give little attention to them that make them subject to the terrorists and their ideology. For Islamic countries, the corruption everywhere makes the youth confused and drive them to this khaliphat ideology and become brainwashed. Please look around in any Islamic country and you see everything against Islam, no just or hope or future. That is why the youths see Islamc state is the solution for all their problems where there will be just and hope and future. All leaders in all Islamic countries look after themselves and their future and not the people, May Allah, SWT, get red of all of them without any exception and replace them with good leaders who fear Allah,SWT, and work hard to please him for the sake of their people, Amen.

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