The Islamic State’s First Leader Explains How to Deal With Enemies

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 22 March 2018

The first leader of the Islamic State (IS) after it was declared in 2006, Hamid al-Zawi (Abu Umar al-Baghdadi), gave a series of twenty-three speeches until he was killed in April 2010. Al-Zawi’s speeches laid out the strategic and ideological vision of the movement. The fifth speech, “And If You Cease, It Will Be Better for You” or “Should You Desist [in attacking the Islamic State], Then That Is Better for You”, was given as an audio statement on 8 July 2007. An English transcript of the speech was released by IS’s Al-Furqan Media and is reproduced below with some important and interesting sections highlighted in bold.

The speech focuses on the Islamic State’s enemies: the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq, the Shi’a political parties in Baghdad and the Shi’a community more generally, Iran, other Sunni Islamist insurgents and Sunni tribes, and the Americans. The approach to each varies.

Al-Zawi condemns the Iraqi Kurdish leadership for implementing secular government, notes that there have been multiple attacks against the political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan since the beginning of 2007, and threatens further attacks (the worst attack would occur about a week later). Al-Zawi says that Ansar al-Islam is re-infiltrating the Kurdistan Regional Government zone. But for the Kurdish population, al-Zawi holds out an offer of traditionalism and religion as against nationalism and the predominance of two major clans.

For the Americans, al-Zawi promises unrelenting war, but the message to those Sunni tribes and insurgents who sided with the U.S. in the Sahwa (Awakening) is rather different. Though the Islamic State was in practice running a well-developed campaign of assassination against Awakening leaders, al-Zawi’s message is almost entirely one of inducement, brotherhood, and reconciliation. The offer from al-Zawi is to forgive everything, and his instructions to his troops are not to treat harshly even those who have killed Islamic State soldiers, provided the tribesmen or insurgents wish to come back into the jihadist fold.

Al-Zawi’s message to the Shi’a is slightly ambiguous. While noting that “Our attitude towards you became obvious for everyone”—namely a campaign of indiscriminate slaughter—al-Zawi then says: “[T]oday we are addressing you kindly, hoping for your repentance”, and adds, “Don’t think that we will annihilate you all without exception … for killing at random … is forbidden in Allah’s religion”. Nonetheless, al-Zawi plays heavily on the theme of Ibn al-Alqami, the Shi’a vizier who is supposed to have betrayed the Abbasids and allowed the Mongols to sack Baghdad in 1258, and broadens this out into a justification for unremitting massacre of Shi’a politicians and leaders, for their own doctrinal deficiencies and leading their flocks astray, and because of their “acceptance of the Persians as their masters”.

The section of the speech where al-Zawi declares war on Iran is the most intriguing of all, especially in retrospect, because it never happened, and we know why: al-Qaeda told the Islamic State to desist in order to protect al-Qaeda’s most important networks, those feeding resources from Southeast Asia to the Middle East, which were—and are—hosted in Iran under a deal with the Islamic Republic. While the Islamic State fought with Iran’s Shi’a proxy militias in Iraq, it never launched an attack inside Iran until June 2017.

Since the Islamic State formally severed ties with al-Qaeda in October 2006, it is noteworthy that Usama bin Ladin wrote to the Islamic State leadership in December 2007 as if they were subordinates to admonish them for threating Iran. “We expected you would consult with us for these important matters, for as you are aware, Iran is our main artery for funds, personnel, and communication, as well as the matter of hostages”, Bin Ladin wrote. “I don’t understand why you have announced your threats. You could have executed [these attacks] without being [publicly] threatening, for threats are a tough test for your ability to deliver. And now, the passing of the grace period without carrying out your threats effects the believability of your words, and your threats will be meaningless. I am not trying to provoke you to carry out your threats. On the contrary, I am against being threatening [towards Iran], period.”

The Islamic State itself, in the form of its late spokesman Taha Falaha (Abu Muhammad al-Adnani), has confirmed that it continued “abiding by the advice and guidance of the elders of jihad”, i.e. al-Qaeda’s leaders, long after “the State” was declared and al-Qaeda’s presence on Iraqi soil formally dissolved. It was under this guidance “that the State did not strike the Rafida in Iran” and “restrained the anger of its soldiers, despite its potential at that time to transform Iran into a bloodbath,” Falaha said. “It repressed its rage all these past years, enduring accusations of being collaborators with Iran, its bitterest enemy, for not having targeted it, leaving the Rafida alone to enjoy security in compliance with the orders of al-Qaeda to protect its interests and supply lines in Iran.” The Islamic State complied in order to “preserve the unity” among jihadists, Falaha said, before tauntingly concluding: “Let history record that Iran owes an invaluable debt to al-Qaeda”.

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In the name of God, The Most Merciful, The Most Gracious: “O you who believe! Answer Allah [by obeying Him] and His messenger when He calls you to that which gives you life. Know that Allah comes in between a man and his heart [preventing evil people deciding anything], and, verily, it is to Him you shall [all] be gathered” [Al-Anfal (8): 24].

All praise be to Allah. We thank Him, we seek His guidance and forgiveness. We seek His refuge from the evils of our souls, and the evil results of our deeds. Whosoever Allah guides, there is none to lead him astray, and whosoever is led astray by Allah, there is none to guide him. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah, alone, without partner, and Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, to proceed:

Any word said or work done has its outcome in this life and the hereafter, the good gives good and the bad gives bad. And the evidence of this is two Hadiths, the first was stated in al-Termizi, narrated by Mu’az ibn Jabal, may Allah be pleased with him, he said to the Prophet: “O Prophet of Allah, are we counted for what we say? The Prophet said: Woe to you, what will capsize people in the fire except the harvest of their tongues!”. The second what Imam Muslim extracted from the divine Hadith which says: “O My servants, it is not but your deeds, I count it and then I settle an account for you, for him who finds good he should praise Allah and him who finds bad he should blame himself only”.

We previously declared our harvest for four continuous years of the blessed jihad. But what did the Kurds reap? And what did the Shiites in Iraq reap? And what is our position from Iran?

First: What did the Kurds reap?

Unjust is he who says that Kurds are a nation without a history, for if we dig the pages of the history we will find it full of honourable positions, glorious heroes, and famous names in both science and work fields. They were like wreaths on the head of the Islamic civilization. For example, Ibn al-Salah, the famous Kurdish Hadith scholar who had the famous book, Muqaddima ibn al-Salah fi Ulum al-Hadith [Introduction to the Science of Hadith]. Also the Kurdish linguist and Fiqh scholar, Ibn al-Hajib, and the famous Kurdish fighter, Saladin, the one who freed Jerusalem, the breaker of the cross and the annihilator of the fanatical Rafidi Fatimid state,[1] who is still mentioned till now on the tongues and loved by hearts of all, and his family Al-Ayyub.

After the Fatemiyoun controlled Damascus they imposed the Rafidi rituals, and Egypt stayed a Rafida country for more than two hundred years. This was the case until the state of Nooradeen [al-Zengi] and Saladin al-Ayyubi took over those countries and defeated al-Rafida. For yesterday their grandfather was praised in Islam because of his jihad.

But now the situation turned upside down. Now the Kurdish leaders are working for the fixation of the state of the Rafida over Mesopotamia [the land between the two rivers (the Euphrates and the Tigris)]. It is a subjective friendship from both parties. The hidden spite of the Rafida against Saladin, may Allah grant his soul mercy, is well-known, and their hostility towards the Kurds is very old, for they depend on some narrations falsely attributed to [the Sixth Shi’a Imam] Ja’far al-Sadiq, which that Kurds are originally jinn! And it is not permissible to marry from among them or eat their food! And this is the attitude of he who takes the interest as a god instead of worshipping Allah, being coloured like a chameleon.

Once the Kurdish man was a wolf attacking the enemies of Allah, now he has become an ally for the crusaders, like a wolf that turned into an ewe, until the Kurdish deputy, Mahmud Uthman, dared to announce, on the fourth anniversary of the American occupation, that the Kurds prefer the American troops to stay in Iraq because it will ward off threats from Turkey and Iran. Asharq al-Awsat newspaper published the celebration of the Kurds in Iraq’s Kurdistan territory, on the fourth anniversary of the American occupation; joyful and delighted with the gains they achieved due to the change.

The mentioned Kurdish deputy said in a phone conversation with the mentioned newspaper from Kurdistan: “The fall of the former Iraqi regime has removed the fears of the Kurds from the presence of an Iraqi regime who would try to re-annex the territory to Iraq”, and he claimed that Kurds who live in the Iraq’s Kurdistan live better than the rest of Iraqis where security and order prevails. The Minister of Culture, as well, refers to the current reality of the Kurds’ rights, and that the Kurdish nationalism is a firm truth in the Middle East, and this according to the French press agency.

These are the gains they claim, they care only about the Kurdish nationalism, like the big defender of the extinct Arabian nationalism Sati al-Husari, who said: “O Welcome the infidelity, if it will unify us, and then welcome the hell afterwards”.

Let us stop to explore what the Kurds reaped in the past four years, then let us draw parallels with what they claim to be gains:

First: On al-aqeeda [the doctrinal] side:

The heads of infidelity, [Jalal] al-Talabani and [Masud] al-Barazani, annihilated the Islamic teaching and science in Kurdistan and fixed there communism, atheism and secularism, until it became a normal act among the public to let the prayer slide. As the Prophet, said: “The ties of Islam will be untied, one by one, whenever one tie is untied, people stick to the following one, the first to be untied is the Rule and the last to be untied is the prayer”. Also, they insulted the ulema [religious scholars], minimized their role, watched them secretly and publicly, turned people away from them. Moreover, they distorted their call and forced them to support their apostasy and infidelity, and he who refused to do so, they arrest him or even execute him.

Second: On the Social side:

The bipartisan spread corruption and depravity. Many usual habits prevailed in the conservative Kurdish society, until it became normal [under the rule of al-Talabani and al-Barzani] for women to unveil and go outside naked. Moreover, there is the spread of the obscene houses [brothels] and liquor shops, beside the Jewish protectorates, inside the Kurdish cities.

Third: On the Economical side:

The poverty increased, the prices increased as well as the unemployment, and the wealth of the two parties [al-Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and al-Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)] was inflated, for their behaviour with their people is exactly like the leech that soaks up the blessings.

About what gains are those liars talking! Really, like what said in the proverb, “A hungry stomach and a Dazing face”, so don’t gather a hunger and lie. The Muslims of Kurdistan should know that bringing food does not prevent the accusation of kufr [unbelief] and it gives no excuse to he who supports the murtadeen [apostates] and infidels and aids them against Muslims.

The pious companions suffered all types of hunger and poverty, like what they suffered in the time of Ali Talib, when they were besieged for three years. However, they never fell into infidelity to get the siege lifted; on the contrary, they were patient, firm, and hopeful of reward [i.e. martyrdom] from Allah Almighty.

Allah decreed that the believer is afflicted with trails according to the degree of his belief, for Allah Almighty says: “And certainly, we shall test you with something of fear, hunger, and the loss of wealth and lives and fruits [crops], but give glad tidings to al-Sabirin (the Patient Ones)” [Al-Baqara (2): 155].

How the Muslim apostatises and goes to seek livelihood and protection from the infidels when he is minimally afflicted? Allah Almighty says: “And in the heaven is your sustenance and that which you are promised” [Al-Zariyat or Al-Dhariyat (51): 22]. And says: “And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out [from every difficulty]” [Al-Talaq (61): 2].

As for the Kurdish nationality, it was narrated by Jabber ibn Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, as stated in al-Sahihayn, he said: “We were invaders with the Prophet. Then a man from the muhajireen [lit. “migrants”; foreign fighters] beat a man from the ansar [lit. “supporters”; local jihadists]. The man from the ansar cried: ‘O al-ansar’, and the man from the muhajireen said: ‘O the muhajireen’. The Prophet heard them and said: ‘What is this?’ They told him that one from the muhajireen beat one from al-ansar and that each one of them called his nation, then the Prophet said: ‘Leave this, this is stinking’,” meaning leave the pagan fanaticism. This is a frank order to leave it and the absolute order is obligation. The description of “stinking” is enough cause to leave it, because it signifies extreme ugliness.

Ahmad, al-Termizi, and al-Hakim narrated that the Prophet said: “He who calls with Jahiliyya [pre-Islamic ignorance] will enter hell. A man said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, even if he prays and fasts?’ The Prophet said: ‘Yes, even if he prays and fasts. Call with what Allah calls you with; he named you: Muslims, Mo’mins, Allah’s slaves’.” It was narrated that Salman al-Farisi, may Allah be pleased with him, the companion, said: “My father is Islam, I have no other father, if they had been boasting of Qays or Tamim”. The author of, al-Fath al-Kabir, says: “The appeal via a bond other than Islam, for example the appeal with Nationalism, is not permissible and no doubt it is unanimously banned by Muslims”. Al-Shawkani said: “This shows how this appeal is ugly and how the Prophet, hated it”. And know that the heads of this Arabian Nationalism appeal are Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab, al-Walid ibn al-Mughira, and their counterparts from the heads of infidelity.

The Kurdish issue has two faces, one true and one false. The false is the trail of directing the Nationalism issue to fanaticism and infidelity, a pagan fanaticism facing the Arabian, the Persian or the Turkish fanaticism. While the truth is what Allah Almighty said: “O mankind, be dutiful to your Lord, who created you from a single soul [Adam] and from him created his mate [Hawwa (Eve)] and from them both spread abroad a multitude of men and women” [Al-Nisa (4): 1]. And He Almighty said: “He it is who did create you from a single soul [Adam], and made his mate of like nature that he might dwell with her” [Al-A’raf (7): 189]. And in what the Prophet said in the Farewell Pilgrimage, after he ascended the platform, he praised Allah then said, as was narrated in, al-Targhib for al-Monziri: “O people, your God is only one and your father is one. There is no preference for an Arabian over a non-Arabian, or for a red-coloured instead of a black-coloured. Preference is only by piety”. Ahmad narrated that the Prophet, said: “Allah Almighty freed you from the pagan fanaticism, and boasting of parents [i.e. bloodlines]. There is either a pious believer or a miserable disbeliever; people are the sons of Adam, and Adam is from dust. Some people must stop boasting of men or Allah will make little of them less than the scarabs that sniffs the stinking”.

The right is to break those artificial borders that separated the one from his brother or father or son, severed the blood relations and confiscated money simply because they are the sons of Saladin who defeated the crusaders and Magi [Zoroastrian, i.e. Iranian] Shia in Egypt and Bilad al-Sham [Syria], and on the top of their rights is their right to be able to apply the shari’a of Allah, as He ordered Muslims to do.

Hence, this is an appeal to all regions of Kurdistan to enter within the borders of the Islamic State of Iraq, especially after the battalions of Kurdistan [Ansar al-Islam] crept back to the mountains and began the blessed operations against the infidelity and its allies, despite the many artificial barriers in both quantity and quality. Our blessed operations in Erbil and Makhmur are just examples of them. Also, the blessed operations in al-Sulaymaniya and its mountains formed a serious and significant turn, for the lions of the mountains came back to defeat the two secular parties, who are mad at Islam and Muslims, and have the Americans behind them.

O grandsons of Saladin, by Allah we will not let you be prey for the seculars, we shall provide you with our blood, we shall creep to free your regions from the dirt of the atheists to keep your pure Islamic identity, for how miserable is he who gives loyalty to the race and the party above the religion and al-aqeeda? How miserable is he who forsook his life in the Hereafter? I want to take this chance to greet Iraq’s Sunni Turkomen, the heroes of Islam. And we say to them: May Allah bless you; you reminded us, with your predecessors, of when we defeated the Romans and defeated their faith, which was all kinds of infidelity and disbelieving. And how right he was, Ka’b ibn Zuhayr, when he said: “Whoever resembles his Father, he is not unjust”.

Second: What did the Shi’a of Iraq reap?

O Rafida of Iraq: How long will you move with the wind wherever it moves? And turn with the wish wherever it turns? Our attitude towards you became obvious for everyone, but today we are addressing you kindly, hoping for your repentance and your awakening from your deep sleep.

What have you reaped after four years?

First, on al-aqeeda side: Your infidelity has increased more and more when you stood with the infidel occupiers, until the point that the Arabs from the original Arabic tribes became a tool in the hands of the Persians and their followers from the infidel and apostate sects, and this will remain a mark of shame in your history, yet this is your habit, as mentioned in the history’s books: you support the enemies of Allah against Ahl al-Sunna [the Sunnis].

Second, economy and general services:

  1. Deterioration of general services like water, electricity, fuel, and health. Some southern cities suffered from plague as a result of being flooded with the polluted deflation water, and the pollution of the potable water, which caused the spreading of diseases like renal failure, etc.
  2. Deserting the arable lands, which became wastelands as a definite result of absence of electricity and fuel, as well as the danger of breaking out of the poppy in al-Diwaniya in replacement of rice, as it was mentioned in a report.
  3. Immense inflation of the wealth for the Ayatollahs of Najaf and Karbala, and both the Badr Corps and the governing Da’wa Party’s members, who were in a state of neediness before [the fall of Saddam Husayn]. All of this in return for the deliberate reduction in the wealth of the Arabic tribes, an enfeeblement to the extent of humiliation. All this according to a known Persian plan.
  4. Appearance of very high rates of AIDS, especially in the big cities like Basra, Najaf and Karbala.
  5. Spreading of drug addiction and appearance of organized criminal gangs.

Thirdly, the political side:

  1. Big disputes between parties to divide the cake without any thought for the deprived, who are the firewood for this war between [Muqtada] al-Sadr and [Abdulaziz] al-Hakim, as the dispute between Hizb al-Fadila [the Virtue Party, led by Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Yaqubi], al-Hakim, and al-Sadr, and the battles in Basra, al-Diwaniya, and al-Nasiriya prove.
  2. Contemning the natives, while the secure posts are for the Persians coming to the land.
  3. Pushing the Arabic tribes’ sons to be a firewood in a war which strengthens none but Persia’s domination, while those imbeciles gain nothing but disgrace in al-dunya [this life, the temporal world] and the hellfire in the hereafter.
  4. Changing the demography in some regions in favour of the incoming Persians, while the Arabic tribes left their domiciles and lands and were domiciled in schools, hospitals, and even cemeteries as a result of two things:

Firstly: Their fighting against Allah, His Prophet and His believer mujahideen slaves.

Secondly: Their acceptance of the Persians as their masters. What have you gained from all this except misfortunes in this life and the hereafter? But repentance’s door is still open for you. Don’t think that we will annihilate you all without exception in a case where we hold your reins, for killing at random without legitimate norms is forbidden in Allah’s religion.[2] Our dealing with you will be under the shari’a of Allah: A call for the truth, guiding you to the right path and removing all suspicions peacefully and kindly, so if you reject all this , the judgment is for Allah firstly and lastly.

Third: What is our attitude towards Iran?

It was narrated that once a Persian King said to one of his satraps: “How pleasant is the duration of kingdom!”, the satrap answered him: “If it (kingdom) was lasting, it would never reach you”.

Sagacious is the one who learns a lesson from others, for everything must come to an end. And don’t think, O grandsons of the traitor Ibn al-Alqami, that we are inattentive or oblivious to your historical crimes at all levels, and we know well the first seed planted for the Rafida was at the hand of the Jew, [Abdullah] Ibn Saba,[3] but we preferred always to avoid fighting you, considering the legitimate policy to be hoping that you learn a lesson from history, for your crimes prevailed in al-aqeeda, legitimate, military and political sides, and continued without any religious or conscience deterrent, your sectarianism is very obvious and your enmity towards Ahl al-Sunna is exposed. Your call for an Islamic Union is taqiyya [dissimulation, lying] contradicted by your deeds, and your crimes against Ahl al-Sunna in Iran are countless, and here are some examples:

  1. Iran stayed a Sunni land for approximately nine centuries after the collapse of the Abbasid Caliphate. The Sunni tincture was prevalent, and Ahl al-Sunna were the majority in Iran not long ago, while the Shi’a were a minority, confined to some Iranian cities like Qum, Kashan, and Naysabour. When the Safavi Shah, Ismail, reached the pinnacle of government in 907 A.H. [1501 C.E.], he obliged Ahl al-Sunna to become Shi’a, giving them two choices: Shi’ism or death.
  2. Demolishing tens of Sunni mosques in Iran, and preventing any mosques for Ahl al-Sunna in Tehran, while the temples and churches are many.
  3. Frequent assassinations of the Sunni savants, scholars, and experts.
  4. Burying the nuclear waste in Brandram and besieging many villages in it. The Iranian press mentioned that a large number of the opposition to this act were arrested and tortured, while hundreds of them stayed besieged by the governmental forces.
  5. Ahl al-Sunna suffer from many problems in education. Their sons are not inducted into universities, and the religious teaching for Ahl al-Sunna faces many obstacles.

And about your crimes in Afghanistan, your role in the cruelty was extreme. You supported Rafidi parties in Bamiyan, and the North did not launch even if one gunshot at the Russian occupiers or the communist rulers, but they imposed taxes on the mujahideen’s caravans and they killed from them as much as they could. Then the Iranian Revolution Guards participated in the horrible massacres against Ahl al-Sunna in Kabul after the fall of the communist regime; they were cutting Ahl al-Sunna women’s breasts, and were asking the Sunni men how old they were then hitting them with nails according to that, with the last nail to be aimed at his head, then burning him. And it is the same thing happening to the Ahl al-Sunna in Iraq, including torturing them with electric drills.

About your horrible crimes against the Taliban in Bamiyan and Mazar-i-Sharif, where you have killed three-thousand Talibs in few days under the patronage of the Iranian diplomats. The story of the arrest and killing of those diplomats is known and widespread, and it is the same role the Iranian delegation plays in Iraq. Allah Almighty said: “Have they [the people of the past] handed down this saying to them [the Qurayshi pagans]? Nay, they are themselves a people transgressing beyond the bounds [into disbelief]” [Al-Zariyat or Al-Dhariyat (51): 53].

About your crimes in Mesopotamia, they are old, long, and continuous, started by the spiteful Safavids and ending with the puppets of the Devils in Qum in Najaf. O Magus, it was not sufficient for you that you participated directly in invading Iraq, as you have announced many times, but you pushed your spiteful dogs into Mesopotamia, who spilled our blood and danced on our bodies. No baby or elderly person or pure woman was safe from being burned by Persia’s wolves, until Allah destined for you [to face the] men of the Islamic State, who brought double retaliation upon you, and you started drinking from the same cup.

But today we declare clearly that our hands will not stay far from you for a long time. The iron cannot be notched except by itself, and know, O Persia’s dogs, that we don’t understand any policy except the policy of jihad, and nothing pleases us more than beheading infidels and drinking their bloods. We understand mercy, but that has no application when cleaning the land from evil of the polytheists, and those who defamed our Prophet’s honour, cursed our Imams and accused them of infidelity, burned our mosques and trampled our book.

So, we give a deadline of two months for the Persians in general and the Iran’s governors specifically to retract all kinds of support to the Rafida of Iraq, and to stop their intervention directly or indirectly in the matters of the Islamic State, otherwise await a fierce and deadly war for which we prepared ourselves four years ago. It waits only for the giving of orders to begin the campaign.

By Allah, we will not exclude any area in which there are Persians and Magus, whether inside Iran or outside in the regional countries, so we advise and warn any Sunni merchant in Iran or in Arab countries especially the Gulf countries to cut all relations or business with them in a period of two months, and we put a priceless opportunity before every country containing Persian Rawafid to issue a statement of condemnation and disapproval concerning the Safavid Rafidi government’s crimes, and to declare their disavowal towards it, so they will be safe and secure from our coming hits after two months by Allah’s might.

We declare the ending of all commercial deals between Mesopotamia and Iran’s Magus, including banking deals. And we give a period of two months to liquidate all accounts and deals, and after that any kind of business with them will be exposed to the strikes of the mujahideen.

And we call all Ahl al-Sunna, especially the jihadi-Salafist youth all over the world, to be prepared for this war and to get ready for it. And I call you to exert all your efforts and to go to great pains if our instructions are sent to you. I call Ahl al-Sunna in Iran specifically to get ready for this war. We are behind you and supporting you. This is an historical opportunity for you to have your rights, starting with Islamic autonomy and ending with fair punishment to each criminal who trampled your dignity. Watch all their institutions and get a fix on their camps’ might and their transportation methods; train your youth, store your weaponry, and distribute it well. Choose a leader and empanel a majlis al-shura [consultation council] for all Ahl al-Sunna, including Baluchs, Kurds, Arabs, and Persians, and follow its instructions. Know that Allah is with al-jama’a [the community]. Be delighted, the day of salvation is very soon, Allah permitting.

For you, O men of the Islamic State, you shed your blood, left your families. I remind myself and you of what Allah Almighty said: “O you who believe! Fear Allah [by observing that which He has ordered and abstaining from what is forbidden] as he should be feared, and die not except as those who have submitted entirely to Allah” [Ali Imran (3): 102].

Shaykh al-Islam, Ibn Taymiyya, my Allah give him mercy, said: “When people leave what Allah commanded them to, enmity and hatred will be cast among them. And if people divide among themselves they will be corrupted and eventually destroyed, and if they unite, they will save, reform, and rule. Unity is a mercy and the division is a punishment”.

Ibn Ishaq and others narrated that: “Sha’th ibn Qays, an old man committed to great kufr, hated so much Muslims and had a great envy towards them, passed by a few Prophet’s companions from al-Awas and al-Khazraj sitting together talking to each other. He became angry when he saw their unity, congregation, reformation on Islam after being enemies in al-Jahiliyya. He said: ‘Those people from sons of Qayla were gathered in this city, by God we will not be able to stay in it if they stay gathered together’. So he sent people to them to initiate fighting between them by reminding them of [the battle of] Bu’ath [or Bughath, which occurred between them before the advent of Islam] until they went out about [making calls for war,] crying: ‘weapons, weapons’. The Prophet of Allah heard of that so he came out with some of his muhajireen companions to them and said: ‘O Muslims, … I am still among you, after Allah guided you to Islam, and honoured you with it, and cut off al-Jahiliyya matters among you’.”

O Ahl al-Sunna, today the likes of Shath ibn Qays are many, for RAND institution research declared its plan in public, and the start signal was given by the apostate atheist Zalmay Khalilzad—or, as some of those who associate themselves with Islam and jihad call him, and he calls himself, “Abu Umar”[4]—and that was in his ominous farewell speech to Mesopotamia. From that I draw my appeal to all the Islamic State’s soldiers and my hope that all jihadi groups fear Allah in this jihad and beware, for its fruit can fall in the hotels of Amman or in the Palaces of Jedda, Riyadh, or even the Green Zone.

And to our soldiers I say: Two kinds have our love, respect, appreciation, and capacious hearts, even if some of them wronged us: the jihadi groups and the Sunni tribes. Don’t judge them by the mistakes of a few among them, even if they shed our blood and stabbed our honour. Meet the injustice with justice and kindness; the roughness with gentleness; and remoteness with closeness. Allah Almighty said: “Had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have dispersed from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them” [Ali Imran (3): 159].

If kindness was found in anything it will add to it, and if it was withdrawn from anything it will ruin it. And know that those who seek this fitna [strife (between Islamist insurgents)] want it by every means and search for it behind every door, because it is their only hope to stay after their true colours have appeared.

This fitna has great dangers for the jihad and the State’s project:

First, the great disappointment that will hit ummat al-Islam [the nation of Islam] and the loss of sympathy that this blessed jihad has.

Second, causing major confusion in the selves of those calling for jihad. The most important among them are those youth who want to join us and we need them—fighters, martyrs, experts and inviters to Allah.

Third, planting the spirit of sectarianism[5] and reproved aqeeda in the selves of jihad sons. This fanatic sectarianism that made the companions cry: ‘weapons, weapons’, and made Sa’d ibn Ubada, Chief of al-Khazraj, as mentioned in al-Bukhari, say to the Chief of al-Awas Sa’d ibn Muaz: “You lied, by Allah you will not kill him, and you will not be able to kill Ibn Salul”,[6] so Usayd ibn Hudayr said to him: “You are a hypocrite defending hypocrites”. Those who are the best among people, the most-wise and the companions of the Prophet of Allah, when the fire of sectarianism raged in their selves, they said what they said. So what do you think of those who were under Ba’th rule, which distorted everything in the selves of those who adhered to tawhid [monotheism], all thanks are due to Allah.

Fourth, creating aversion between sons of jihad and planting doubt and distrust among them, which will decrease their cooperation against an enemy sat on our hearts, and make us miss the opportunity to deliver the truth that we have to our brothers. Our invitation often has great impact on those with whom we meet, and that is exactly what those who seek fitna don’t want.

Fifth, losing the popular base because of immoral practices caused by this fitna, and the difficulty for simple as well as wise people to see who is wrong and who is right.

O ummat al-Islam! O Our noble scholars! O Islamic Media members!

I say what our Prophet said during the Slander incident:[7] “Excuse me, for [news of] a man’s harm against my family has reached me. By Allah I don’t know anything about my family but good!” So, O servants of Allah, excuse me, for [reports of] people’s harm against my brothers has reached me, [but] by Allah I don’t know anything about them but good! Allah is Sufficient for us! Most Excellent is He in Whom we trust!

Bush admitted in his last speech that fighting in Iraq is difficult; said that his generals and the traitor government do not leave the Green Zone, and that ninety percent of the battles are carried out by the Islamic State. And he confirmed his crusade’s envy, by saying that democracy is in an opened war with the Islamic aqeeda or, as he calls it, “al-Qaeda ideology”.

Yes, O Bush, we are the ones who kidnap your soldiers, kill them, and burn them—and, with Allah’s help, we will continue [to do so] as long as you do not understand any language but bloodshed and the tearing of bodies. Our soldiers love your soldiers blood, compete in cutting off their heads, and enjoy the game of burning their vehicles.

You raced frantically, O Bush, to have a war with Islam and Muslims everywhere. The last episode of it was your race to feed the crusader war in Lebanon against our people in the vanquished and oppressed Palestinians refugees camps. The sky was filled with planes carrying supplies, ammunition, missiles and stupid bombs, plus cluster bombs. And the spiteful Christian Lebanese defense minister [Elias Murr] waged an ugly war, with direct support from this party and its politicians, and all of us heard what [former Lebanese president Amin] al-Jumayel said: he burned the mosques, demolished the homes, and humiliated the whole Islamic umma.

And you, Bush, and your agents, thought they [the Iraqi Sunnis] are orphans without support, like those trapped at the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian borders for months because of the massacres of your Rawafid supporters, taking the earth as a bed and the heaven as blanket. Know that you are the one who started this war, with insults against us in Palestine, firstly, then Afghanistan and Iraq, and now our people, the sons of al-Aqsa, in the Diaspora.

O Crusader nation, know that the war has just started. Ummat al-Islam today is on the first steps of the safety ladder and is starting to rise. It may stop for a time, but it will not stoop, by Allah’s might, and today you are falling from a high precipice crying: ‘Help, help’ … Soon the winds of victory will play in your cracked heads on the bitter rocks of reality that you are experiencing. We are determined to live with honour or die as martyrs, so beware, O you cowards.

O you soldiers of Allah, and heroes of Islam in the land of Mesopotamia in general and especially in honoured Diyala: May Allah reward you with best rewards. You have broken the reckless enemy’s arrow and muzzled the nose of the one who threw it in dust. Your enemy has admitted the fierceness of your fight, your great adversity, endurance and patience on Allah’s command.

The Crusader generals should know that the Islam’s youth in Baquba, al-Khalis, al-Khan, Buhriz, Shahraban, Balad Ruz, and Sa’diya swore allegiance to die for the sake of Allah. We know their honesty and fulfilment of their covenants exactly as their tribes’ honesty, and Allah knows best.

May Allah reward the knights of Dar al-Islam [the Abode of Islam], Baghdad’s best rewards, they faced their enemy’s plan with their divine plan, and for that [United Nations general-secretary] Ban Ki-moon bowed with humiliation to them. They mixed their blood with their wine in the idolaters parliament, and they threw the traitors to our blessed tribes in Hell, and caused psychological problems to the evil U.S. Embassy employees.

Today those knights lead Islam’s epic in Arab Jabour, Salman Bab, al-Taji, al-Mahmudiya, al-Yusufiya, al-Ridwaniya, and Alexandria, the same as their brothers do in al-Doura, al-Saydiya, Hayy al-Amil, al Ameriya, al-Jami’a, al-Khadraa, al-Ghazaliya, Haifa, al-Qana, al-Azamiya, and al-Fadl. We ask Allah to guide them in the right direction.

And may Allah reward the Islam’s heroes in Ninawa, Kirkuk, and the North with the best rewards, for they turned the Peshmerga’s dreams into nightmares, they destroyed their headquarters, demolished their meetings and dressed them with terror and panic, those Peshmerga and the traitors and agents who joined them. [This has to continue] until the enemy confesses that the Islamic State has the upper-hand in those lands and that its men control it, may Allah bless them.

I remind [you] of those who taught the world the meaning of honour and pride in al-Fallujah, al-Saqlawiya, al-Qarma, al-Ramadi, Haditha, Heet, Ana, Rawas, and al-Qa’im. They raised the Islam’s flag and took martyrdom as their goal; the traitors’ plot did not hurt them, nor the cowards’ withdrawal. They fed the land with their enemy’s blood and broke their cross, and after Bush and his agents celebrated [what they called] the Anbar Awakening, and thought that it was a successful experience that should be extended, here we are destroying this idol and fighting in al-Ramadi as lions from the soldiers of the Islamic State swore allegiance to die. Seeking help from Allah and then the support of our blessed tribes, they invaded al-Ramadi after [Bush and his agents] thought that they eliminated the Islamic State soldiers [in the city], and here they are today deploying in every alley and street, fighting the enemies of Allah and their enemy after they sent their leaders in the Green Zone to Hell.

May Allah greet the sons of Saladin in Samarra, Bayji, al-Dulu’iya and al-Ishaqiya and Tikrit. Truly, you are the nobles and sons of nobles: you held to your religious awakening, refused the American’s apostate Awakening, and supported your sons, the mujahideen. But the load on you is heavy, because the Rawafid are determined to destroy your province’s jewel, Samarra, and use its land as a ground for playing and cheap mut’a,[8] claiming that someone scrapped an already scrapped beacon. So stand as one rank with your mujahideen brothers and be a robe to them, for they will be an arrow in your and their enemy’s neck, and know that the sons of Ibn al-Alqami are beneath raising the flags of honour and dignity.

“And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not” [Yusuf (12): 21].

Your brother,

Abu Umar al-Husayni al-Baghdadi

*                  *                  *                  *                  *


[1] Rafidi is a derogatory word for Shi’is. Literally translated as “rejectionists”, it refers to the Shi’a dogma that rejects the legitimacy of the first three Rashidun (Rightly-guided) caliphs. In this case, al-Zawi is using it very broadly, referring to the Fatimid caliphate, centred on Cairo, which was Ismaili, a sect that diverged from Shi’ism, and which would in turn produce a splinter group, the Nizaris, who spread to Syria and Iran, and are much better known in the West as “The Assassins”.

[2] This view espoused by al-Zawi here is more or less is in line with the stance of jihadists, notably al-Qaeda, on the matter of Shi’ism, which itself echoes the traditional view of the Wahhabis, namely: the Shi’a clerics are responsible for leading their flocks astray and have to be killed as apostates, but lay Shi’a believers should not be harmed and should be educated out of their error. In practice, IS had already departed from this—as repeated requests from al-Qaeda in 2005 to desist in attacks on Shi’a civilians made clear—and when IS actually did “hold [the] reigns”, overrunning large swathes of central Iraq in June 2014, they rounded up the Shi’is they could find and exterminated them in a genocidal massacre at Camp Speicher.

[3] The notion that Shi’ism was founded by a Jew, Ibn Saba, is popular among jihadists and other Sunni sectarians, but the evidence that Ibn Saba even existed is thin. Put simply, it is an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

[4] Khalilzad was the U.S. ambassador to Iraq between April 2007 and January 2009. Khalilzad acquired the name “Abu Umar” in Iraqi political circles because of a widespread perception among Shi’i political leaders that Khalilzad was tilting too far toward the Sunni population that was in revolt against the post-Saddam order. As Nibras Kazimi noted at the time, this was not helped by the fact that Khalilzad, who has Afghan origins, “is in fact a Sunni by birth”.

[5] In this context, “sectarianism” is more like “factionalism”. Abu Umar is discouraging the disputes between the Sunni tribes, not between the religious sects.

[6] Ibn Salul, whose real name was Abdullah ibn Ubayy, was chief of the Banu Khazraj tribe in Medina (Yathrib). Ibn Salul ostensibly converted to Islam after the hijra (migration) of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622, but Ibn Salul sometimes disputed with Muhammad—and by some accounts schemed against him—and is thus remembered by Tradition as the symbol of the munafiqun (hypocrites).

[7] The “Slander incident” or event of Ifk: in May 626, Aisha, one of Prophet Muhammad’s wives, accompanied the Muslim army in a raid against Mecca. As the army went back to Medina, it broke and set up camp, and Aisha went for a rest stop. On returning to the camp, Aisha discovered she had lost a necklace that she had borrowed and went to look for it. By the time Aisha returned to the camp, it had gone; the army had marched on. Aisha despaired, but was discovered during the final sweep by one of the Prophet’s companions, Safwan ibn Muattal, who put Aisha on a camel, did not speak to her, and walked behind the beast until they caught up with the Muslim forces, according to Tradition. The “slander” came from Ibn Salul, who suggested something untoward had occurred and nearly created a full-scale clash between the Awas and Khazraj tribes under Muhammad’s command. The Prophet was able to suppress this turmoil and the accusations were dismissed.

[8] The reference is to nikah al-mut’a (pleasure marriages), temporary marriages, is a doctrine associated with Twelver Shi’ism, regarded by Sunni and other polemicists as religious cover for prostitution.

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