Hitler and Jihad (Part 1)

The convergence of jihadism and Nazism: al-Mashriqi (left), and Hitler (right) with Hajj Amin el-Husseini (center)

A recent report (summarized in translation here) by the Hamburg intelligence service —the Office for the Protection of the Constitution [Verfassungsschutz]— stressed the hostility of the neo-Nazi North German Action Office toward “Anti-Islamification” efforts in Cologne. At the  North German Action Office’s [Aktionsbüro Norddeutschland],  “campaigns” page website, links are featured with titles such as “National Socialists in Lower Saxony,” “Free! Social! National!,” and “May 1 — Day of struggle for national Socialism.” The Hamburg domestic intelligence report noted the neo-Nazi group’s repeated allusions—commonplace in Nazi “analyses”—to the American “east coast,” which are meant to characterize “Jewish” domination of America and, by extension, the world. And in a statement published on its website (German link) September 25, 2008, five days after an “Anti-Islamification Congress” was banned by Cologne municipal authorities, the North German Action Office elucidated its solidarity with the global jihad:


Inasmuch as it is a determined opponent of the western-plutocratic one-world policy, we regard Islam, globally considered, as an ally against the mammonistic dominance of the American east coast. The freedom of nations is not threatened by Islam, but rather by the imperialism of the USA and its vassals from Jerusalem to Berlin.


Such concordance between Nazism and jihadism reflects an historical continuum evident since the advent of the Nazi movement. This nexus was already apparent in Hitler’s own observations from 1926, elaborated upon over the following decades by both the Nazi leader, and other key Nazi officials, and ideologues. Not surprisingly, there are two predominant, recurring themes in this discourse: jihad as total war, and the annihilationist jihad against the Jews.


Perhaps the earliest recorded evidence of Hitler’s serious interest in the jihad was provided by Muhammad ‘Inayat Allah Khan [who adopted the pen name “al-Mashriqi”—“the Orientalist” or “the Sage of the East”].  Born in the Punjab in 1888, al-Mashriqi was a Muslim polymath who attended Cambridge on a government scholarship, and excelled in the study of oriental languages, mathematics, engineering, and the sciences.


Not only did Mashriqi translate the standard abridged version of Mein Kampf (then

commonly available) from English into Urdu, during one of his sojourns in Europe, which included time spent in Berlin, he met Hitler in the early years of the Fuehrer’s leadership of the National Socialist [Nazi] Party. Their meeting took place in 1926 at the National Library. Here is the gist of Mashriqi’s report on his interaction with Hitler as described in a letter to the renowned scholar of Indian Islam, J.M.S. Baljon:


I was astounded when he [Hitler] told me that he knew about my Tazkirah. The news flabbergasted me. . . I found him very congenial and piercing. He discussed Islamic Jihad with me in details. In 1930 I sent him my Isharat concerning the Khaksar movement with a picture of a spade-bearer Khaksar at the end of that book. In 1933 he started his Spade Movement.


Mashriqi also wrote this independent summary of his 1926 encounter with Hitler on May 31, 1935:



If I had known that this was the very man who was to become Germany’s savior I would have fallen around Hitler’s neck, but on the occasion I was engaged in small talk and tried to find out what he understood about Germany’s weakness at the time. Professor [Weil, the host] said, introducing Hitler to me: “This is also a very important man, an activist from the Worker’s Party.” We shook hands and Hitler said, pointing to a book that was lying on the table: “I had a chance to read your al-Tazkirah.” Little did I understand at that time, what should have been clear to me when he said these words!


The astonishing similarities—or shall we say the unintentional similarity between two

great minds—between Hitler’s great book and the teachings of my Tazkirah and Isharat embolden me, because the fifteen years of “struggle” of the author {Hitler] of “My Struggle” [Mein Kampf] have now actually led his nation back to success. But only after leading his nation to the intended goal, has he disclosed his movement’s rules and obligations to the world; only after fifteen years has he made the means of success widely known. It is possible that he has arrived at those means and doctrines by trial and error, but it should be absolutely clear that Mashriqi [referring to himself in the third person] has identified those means and doctrines in al-Tazkirah a full nine years and in the Isharat a full three years before the success of the Nazi movement, simply by following the shining guidance of the Holy Koran.


Mashriqi founded the Khaksar Movement, an Indian Muslim separatist (i.e., promoting the Pakistan “idea”), and global jihad supremacist organization. Its ethos is revealed in Mashriqi’s writings (for example, his Qaul-i-Faysel):  “…we {Muslims] have again to dominate the whole world. We have to become its conqueror and its rulers.” His widely circulated pamphlet Islam ki Askari Zindagi further declared: “The Koran has proclaimed in unequivocal words to the world that the Prophet was sent with the true religion and definite instruction that he should make all other religions subservient to this religion [Islam]…”


Mashriqi emphasized repeatedly in his pamphlets and published articles that the verity of Islam could be gauged by the rate of the earliest Muslim conquests in the glorious first decades after the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s death (Mashriqi’s estimate is “36,000 castles in 9 years, or 12 per day”). He asserted “Nearly three-quarters” of the Koran concerns conquest, jihad (holy war), and related themes. And Mashriqi reminded that the Koran promises hellfire to all those who do not participate in Jihad bi-l-saif (“jihad with the sword”), or object to it. Mashriqi also believed the Koran’s jihad verses confirmed that if a Muslim fought for the cause of Islam, this action alone was sufficient for his salvation, requiring no other good deeds. According to Mashriqi, Islam’s “five pillars”—the confession of the oneness of Allah and Muhammad’s prophetic mission, the ritual prayer five times daily, the pilgrimage (haj) to Mecca, the giving of alms, and the fast in the month of Ramadan—were all aspects of military exercise: the confession of faith actually meant that the true Muslim had to forsake all worldly gains in the interest of military revival, prayer (to be performed in uniform and in a regimented way) was a kind of military drill, the haj was something like a grand counsel of Muslim soldiers where plans against enemies could be formulated, the fast was a preparation for the deprivations of siege warfare, the giving of alms, lastly, was a means of raising funds for Muslim re-armament. In short, he stated, “To leave the martial way of life is tantamount to leaving Islam.”


But it was the “Ten Principles” Mashriqi elucidated in the Tazkirah—the work Hitler discussed with him in 1926—which produced a quintessential message of Islam enshrining the ideals of militaristic nation-building. This vision sounded almost identical to sections of Hitler’s Mein Kampf (compare to Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, pp. 169-179, Reynal and Hitchcock trans, 1941)—certainly in the following paraphrase from al-Tazkirah prepared by some of Mashriqi’s colleagues for foreign consumption:


A persistent application of, and action on these Ten Principles is the true significance of “fitness” in the Darwinian [sic] principle of “Survival of the Fittest”, and a community of people which carries action on these lines to the very extremist limits has every right to remain a predominant race on this Earth forever, has claim to be the ruler of the world for all time. As soon as any or all of these qualities deteriorate in a nation, she begins to lose her right to remain and Fitter people may take her place automatically under the Law of Natural Selection.



Albert Speer, who was Hitler’s Minister of Armaments and War Production, wrote a contrite memoir of his World War II experiences while serving a 20-year prison sentence imposed by the Nuremberg tribunal. Speer’s narrative includes a discussion which captures Hitler’s effusive praise for Islam, “…a religion that believed in spreading the faith by the sword and subjugating all nations to that faith. Such a creed was perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament.” Hitler, according to Speer’s account, repeatedly expressed the conviction that, “The Mohammedan religion…would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?” These sentiments were also expressed by Hitler to Dr. Herman Neubacher, the first Nazi Mayor of Vienna, and subsequently, a special delegate of the Nazi regime in southeastern Europe. Neubacher wrote that Hitler had told him Islam was a “male religion,” and reiterated the belief that the Germans would have been far more successful conquerors had they adopted Islam in the Middle Ages. Additional confirmation of Hitler’s very favorable inclination towards Islam is provided by General Alexander Loehr, a Lutwaffe commander (executed in 1947 for the mass-murders of Yugoslav civilians). Loehr maintained a smiling Hitler had told him that Islam was such a desirable creed the Fuehrer longed for it to become the official SS religion.


2 responses to “Hitler and Jihad (Part 1)