The Announcement of the Islamic State—in 2006

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 18 March 2018

Jihadists on parade in Ramadi, 18 October 2006, to celebrate the declaration of the Islamic state (image source: Al-Jazeera)

After the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the leader, Hamid al-Zawi (Abu Umar al-Baghdadi), made his first speech on 23 December 2006. An English translation of the speech was released by ISI and is reproduced below.

In the speech, entitled, “Truth Has Come and Falsehood Has Perished”,[1] al-Zawi claims that ISI, although it is a “fledgling state”, controls stretches of territory and has begun implementing Islamic law, to much popular acclaim. Al-Zawi says that the extent of ISI’s control has even been admitted by the Americans, though they wrongly refer to “al-Qaeda”, which is merely “a group in the groups of the Islamic State”. Al-Zawi professes himself surprised to have been made leader, saying he had only ever expected to be “a soldier in the large assemblage of the Muslims”, having never led any of the factions that make up ISI. It is likely al-Zawi was telling the truth. Al-Zawi also invited former officers of the Iraqi regime to join ISI, provided they passed an ideological test. Al-Zawi concludes by offering the U.S. safe passage out of Iraq if it gives up its mission and leaves within the month, and threatens the other insurgent factions that ISI is aware they are engaging in talks with the Americans.

The founder of the Islamic State movement, Ahmad al-Khalayleh (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi), had been killed in June 2006 and succeeded as head of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) or al-Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen (MSM), as the group was called at the time, by Abdul Munim al-Badawi (Abu Hamza al-Muhajir). ISI was created on 15 October 2006 after a merger formed three days before of Islamist insurgent groups and Anbar tribes, hilf al-mutayyabin (oath of the scented ones), was expanded and rebranded.

On 10 November 2006, al-Badawi gave a speech, which gained considerable coverage for its taunting of President George W. Bush (a “coward”, the “most stupid” leader, and one carrying out the War on Terror at the behest of Israel), its celebration of the Republicans’ losses in the mid-term elections, its gloating about the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and its boasting of victories against the Americans and threats to blow up “the filthiest house (the White House).

The most important aspect of al-Badawi’s speech, however, was his giving bay’a (an oath of allegiance) to al-Zawi, claiming to put 12,000 troops at the service of ISI. Al-Badawi said:

I tell the venerable Shaykh, the brave hero, the Qurayshi Hashemite, who is of a Husayni origin, al-emir al-mu’mineen [the commander of the faithful], Abu Umar alBaghdadi: I pledge allegiance to you, to hear and obey, during difficulty and ease, whether in pleasant or unpleasant situations, and even against our preference.

This is a promise not to dispute for power with the leader, to tell the truth wherever we are, and not to fear the criticism of anyone in the cause of Allah. I announce the integration of all the formations that we have established, including al-Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen, on behalf of my brothers in the shura, under the authority of the Islamic State of Iraq.

In doing so, al-Badawi formally dissolved AQI/MSM, eliminating al-Qaeda’s presence in Iraq from that day to this.

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All praise be to Allah. We praise Him, we seek His guidance and forgiveness. We seek His refuge from the evils of ourselves, and the evil results of our deeds. Whosoever Allah guides, then none can misguide, and whoever Allah misguides then none can guide him.

I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah, alone, without partner, and I bear witness Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, Allah says: “We have already written in al-Zabur[2], after [it was already written in] al-Lawh al-Mahfuz[3]: My righteous slaves shall inherit the earth” [Anbiya (21): 105].

O umma [community or nation] of Islam, my beloved umma: your men have been determined to give Islam its State, and establish within it its shari’a, and to obey therein its commands, and to gather within it its forces. To this end, they spilled their blood and spent their wealth; they left every desire and encountered every hardship. They sought out death where it was to be found, desiring victory or martyrdom, and then came the blessed step of establishing the firm foundation for the Islamic State in Mesopotamia [the land between the two rivers (the Euphrates and the Tigris)] following the footsteps of the Master of the Prophets and Messengers. Now the building is being raised, seen by all who love it and hate it, that has led the enemy of Allah, Bush, to state after its blessed arrival, ‘They wish to establish an Islamic state from China to Spain’. He told the truth, though he is a liar.

I praise Allah and I am grateful to Him, that He guided His soldiers to take this blessed step, and of which one of its early fruits was the gathering together of over thirteen factions and jihadi groups under one banner. After their blessed announcement to join the Blessed Alliance. Then fast came the blessed fruits [good news], when allegiance was pledged by dozens of brigades and thousands of brothers, fighters from Jaysh al-Mujahideen, al-Jaysh al-Islami [fi’l-Iraq (The Islamic Army in Iraq)], Kataib Thawrat al-Ishreen [Brigades of the 1920 Revolution], Ansar al-Sunna, and others. That was first in al-Fallujah, al-Karma, al-Ameriya, al-Ramadi al-Gharbiya, al-Tarmiya, al-Seniya, Tikrit, Samarra, Baquba, al-Azeem, and then onwards to al-Mosul, Tal Afar, Kirkuk, and the beloved Baghdad. One of the greatest fruits was that seventy percent of the Sunni tribal elders in Mesopotamia rushed to join the Blessed Alliance and pledge their allegiance to the State of Islam and the Muslims [the Islamic State of Iraq].

Therefore, I thank my brothers, the elders of the following tribes: al-Dulaymis, al-Jiburis, al-Ubaydis, al-Zuba’s, al-Qays, Azza, Tayy, al-Janabis, al-Hiyalis, al-Mushahada, al-Dayanis, Bani Zayd, al-Mujama, Bani Shammar, Aniza, al-Sumayda, al-Nu’aym, Khazraj, Bani Luhayb, Albu Hiyat, Bani Hamdan, al-Sa’doun, al-Ghanim, al-Sa’ida, al-Ma’did, al-Karabila, al-Salman and al-Kubaysis. I thank Allah and praise Him for that.

Shari’a is being implemented in many parts of the Islamic State by the request and insistence of our people themselves. We have set up for them Shar’is [Judges] to resolve the conflicts between them, and Allah has favored us [by enabling us] to resolve disputes that had continued for two decades of time, [so long] that even they themselves had grown tired, by the implementation of the shari’a in many areas of this fledgling State. The Prophet, said: “The implementation of the Hudud [fixed laws of Allah] on earth is indeed better than being rained on for seventy mornings”. Again, this came by the request of our people themselves. In an unusual case—a social taboo in Iraq—an Iraqi man brought forward his unlawfully pregnant daughter, who had committed adultery, to be punished. Another man admitted [to the offence] and brought himself forward to be punished. And the Hadd [plural of Hudud] was implemented on him, after the Jumu’a prayer, in a majestic scene in front of the people, who cried out “Allahu Akbar” because they, for the first time in their life, saw a Hadd being implemented. We have sought to eradicate corruption and crime by deterring criminals and malefactors, so we expelled them from many of the places. We then started putting workers forward to collect the Zakat [poor tax], spoils, and charities throughout most of the Islamic State. Allah Almighty says: “Take sadaqa (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them” [Tawba (9): 103].

What has come to pass shows the falsehood of those who said that there is no power or acceptance for us. As the word of Allah is supreme, and the hand [i.e. power] of the mujahideen is prevalent in most of the places. Even the enemy confesses to this when it said: “Tandheem al-Qaeda has taken control of al-Anbar and has earned fame there”. Al-Qaeda is nothing more than a group in the groups of the Islamic State. And we in Ninawa and in Saladin, for example, and in Diyala are better than that. As for in Baghdad, let it be known to both of distal and proximal, that the sons of this State are the soldiers of Allah who have encountered and cut the hands of the cunning Magus over a long period and nothing is stopping us from taking complete control except matters that are not yet in place, yet we are confident that Allah will soon dispose it by His power and Might.

Allah knows, I have refused the Emirate over and over, and I did not dream of being anything except a soldier in the large assemblage of the Muslims, fighting for the sake of Allah until Allah is worshipped alone. I have never been an Emir of any of these factions but the people surrounded us reached a consensus and saw benefit in [appointing] me, so I pray to Allah to make me better than what they think.

Consequently, I have decided not to take any decision except after consultation of my brothers and for that we have set up an expanded Shura Council. In it are three representatives of each faction that has joined the Islamic State that does not take into consideration the size of its forces or the size of its operations. There are also representatives from each big tribe besides some others with specialized skills and experience. From this smaller five-membered council was formed to ponder over sensitive matters that are require immediate decision making and we ask Allah success and guidance.

O umma of Islam, we have been slain by the knife of nationality and then we were divided by the shredder of patriotism to a country and then we were called back to be divided on the basis of tribalism. These were all the calls of ignorance.

O umma of Islam, we are not in need today of those who shed tears or those who compose empty slogans. We are today in need of those who makes sacrifices and listened to Allah’s words to “March forth heavy or light” and then flew off his bed, brushed cowardice and lowness from his breast and rode in the direction of jihad, his appearance no longer hidden.

To this end, we call first upon the groups of former Iraqi Army officials, from the rank of Lieutenant to General, to join the army of the Islamic State—on the condition that the candidate must know by heart at three juz [parts] of the Holy Qur’an by rote and pass an exam on the aqeeda [creed, doctrine] conducted by the Shari’a Committee that is present in every area, to ensure that any belief in the Ba’th Party and its tyrant [Saddam Husayn] is exposed. We, in turn, with the will of Allah, will provide him with transportation, housing, and a proper salary that ensures him a respectful life like the rest of the mujahideen who come under the banner of Islamic State, Allah Almighty says: “Those who believe do battle in the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of al-Taghut.[4] So fight against the friends of Shaytan (the Devil), [for] feeble indeed is the Shaytan’s strategy” [Nisa (4): 76].

O the umma of Islam, my beloved umma, the defiant one [America] is becoming weary and has started searching for an escape and striving for talks with all possible sides and parties. It has, through its agents, Al-Salul [the Saudi monarch], the tyrants of the Jazeera, sent word to us that they [America] have met with every [insurgent] party except us and that they are seeking talks with us.

We say to them, we will not talk with the ones who have spilled the blood of our children, shed the tears of our mothers, and have desecrated our land by their feet. Today, we issue this order, so accept it obediently and with humility before you regret the consequences. We order you to pull your forces out immediately under these conditions:

  1. The pull out must be only on personnel carriers and personnel transport aircraft.
  2. Each member of the withdrawing forces is only allowed to carry light weapons. All other heavy weapons, war gear, and other equipment must be left behind.
  3. All military bases must be handed over to the mujahideen the Islamic State of Iraq.
  4. The length of time to make this withdrawal is only one month and we in our turn will allow your pull-out without any assaults from roadside bombs or [other] attacks.
  5. We wait for your response during the next two weeks from this declaration.

As for those who are holding secret talks, tell them to stop the military operations for one month, even in a single area, if they are truthful in their claim to have control over the mujahideen and the leaders of the resistance, and await for the results. Then you will understand, you fools, that you are holding talks with cowards and liars, a mirror image of yourselves.

And we say to Bush, don’t waste this historic opportunity to withdraw safely, like you wasted the offer of amnesty proposed by Shaykh al-Mujahideen, Usama bin Ladin, may Allah preserve him.

And I warn you not to let your stupidity lead you to commit more massacres against the innocent civilians, women and children. You better not ignite the volcano, for that is safer for you. [The proverb has it that] “Wood already touched by fire is not hard to set alight”.

Allah Almighty says:

Did you not see how your Lord dealt with [the tribe of] A’ad, who were tall like the pillars of Iram, the likes of which were not created in the land? And with the [tribe of] Thamud, who cut out rocks in the valley [to make homes]? And with Fir’aun (Pharaoh), lord of the stakes [used to torture and execute men]? [All of] these transgressed beyond the bounds [of Islam] in the lands, and multiplied iniquity therein. Therefore, your Lord poured upon them the disaster of His punishment. Verily, your Lord is ever-watchful [Fajr (89): 6-14].

O umma of jihad, we are in holy days, where the rewards for good work and deeds are multiplied. The Prophet, said, “There are no days in which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days” [the first ten days of Zul-Hijja]. And it is indeed the mercy of our Lord; so try to capture its rewards and merits, The doors of al-Janna [Paradise] have opened, so hurry to seek after it. Indeed, the paradise scent can be smelled through our propellers, so let not its scent escape you and the crown of glory worn by the mujahideen. Do not deny yourselves of this honour.

Therefore, in these blessed days, we declare a new military operation, al-Ghazwat al-Shidda (The Raid of Severity), that will finish by the last day of Eidul Adha [3 January 2007]. Force back the enemy, and show it your power and strength; be united, for those together are victorious. Minimize the differences between your emirs and let the slogan of every mujahid be: “So fight in the cause of Allah; you are not [held responsible] except for yourself” [Nisa (4): 84].

And bring forth into your minds the words of Allah Almighty: “Unless you march forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty and will choose instead another people [to save]” [Tawba (9): 39].

Seek the glad tidings of the victory of Allah, for its coming inevitably, for the promise of Allah is true and rely on Allah, the One and Only, the Almighty, the Powerful: “Whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice [for] him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose” [Talaq (65): 3].

And remember the words of your Lord: “Jihad [fighting in the cause of Allah] has been ordained upon you [Muslims], though you dislike it, but it may be that you hate a thing that us good for you and love a thing which is bad for you” [Baqara (2): 216].

And know that you have brothers who have raced you on this path: “Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah [i.e. have done jihad in His cause and not fled from disbelieving enemies]. Some of them have fulfilled their obligations [by being killed in battle], and some are still waiting [for their chance at martyrdom], but they never changed [in their determination to fulfil Allah’s will] in the least” [Ahzab (33): 23].

Your brother,

Abu Umar al-Husayni al-Qurayshi al-Baghdadi,

Friday, 2nd of the month of Zul Hijjah of 1427 [23 December 2006], Anno Hegirae of the Chosen.

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[1] The speech’s name can also be translated as, “Truth Has Arrived and Falsehood Has Departed”. The phrase comes from the seventeenth surah of the Qur’an, Al-Isra, verse 81. It was the first of twenty-three speeches al-Zawi would give. The last speech was given on 23 March 2010; al-Zawi was killed on 18 April 2010.

[2] Al-Zabur refers to the Psalms, i.e. all the revealed books—the Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel or New Testament), and the Qur’an.

[3] Also transliterated al-Lauh al-Mahfuz (The Preserved Tablet), it refers to the book possessed by God in heaven on which all human action is already written. It is a central to the Islamic concept of predestination.

[4] Al-Taghut is often translated as “tyrants”, but its literal meaning refers to those who rule with laws other than the shari’a, which in the jihadists’ telling is substituting the man-made in an area that properly belongs to God and therefore setting up equals and rivals in worship to the Almighty. This is a sin known as shirk (idolatry or polytheism), and those who are guilty of it are known as mushrikeen. It is a capital crime under religious law.