The Islamic State’s Official Biography of the Caliph’s Deputy

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on December 18, 2016

Obituary for Abdurrahman al-Qaduli in the German version of Rumiya, 11 November 2016

Obituary for Abdurrahman al-Qaduli in the German version of Rumiya, 11 November 2016

The forty-first edition of the Islamic State’s newsletter, al-Naba, was released within the territory of the caliphate on 30 July 2016 and released online on 2 August; it and the forty-second edition (released 6 and 9 August) contained an obituary for Abdurrahman al-Qaduli (Abu Ali al-Anbari), the caliph’s deputy, who was killed on 25 March. The German version of the third issue of the Islamic State’s Rumiyah magazine on 11 November contained this obituary. Below is a very rough translation. Some interesting or important sections have been highlighted in bold. The subheadings are mine.

BEFORE THE INVASION OF IRAQ

Allah gave to Iraq before the American invasion that there were muwahideen1 [Monotheists] in it who bore the burden of spreading tawhid [monotheism] and the combatting shirk2 and bid’ah [innovation], despite the tyranny of the kufrs [disbelievers] of the secular Ba’ath party and their war against Islam and the Muslims. When the Crusaders entered the soil of Iraq, these muwahideen were a solid wall that stood before them. They thwarted, by Allah’s goodness, their plans and expelled them in humiliation and shame. They established the State of Islam on the ground of the Land of Two Rivers [Mesopotamia] and remained firmly on it. Among them, there are those who have already fallen, and others whom Allah left alive, until He gave them the grace to experience the day when religion is for Allah, in an Islamic state, which is founded by a Qurayshi3 Khalifah [Caliphate] on the Prophetic methodology.

Of those preachers who followed the way of the prophets in the learning and teaching of the tawhid, and passed it on to the people, and carried the jihad against Allah’s enemies by sword and proof, and patiently remained with them in the course of the trials until they fell as martyrs in Allah’s way, there was the Shaykh and mujahid Abu Ali al-Anbari (may Allah accept him), so we believe of him and Allah knows best.

The deceased Taghut [Tyrant] of the Ba’ath regime, Saddam Husayn, and his renegade party ruled over Iraq with their pharaonic and tyrannical domination. They did not stop at replacing Allah’s judgments by the fictitious laws, but sought the falsification of the aqeedah [creed] of the Muslims by opening the gates for the mushrikeen4 [polytheists] of the Sufis and Rafidah [Shi’is] and spreading atheistic ideologies. At this time, while the people were under the violence of this criminal Taghut, Shaykh Abdurrahman al-Qaduli (the real name of the Shaykh [Abu Ali al-Anbari]) had revealed the tawhid in a masjid [mosque] in the city of Tal Afar, west of Mosul. People gathered on Fridays in his Masjid, filling the nearby streets. Thus, suffering was brought upon him by the Taghut and their secret services.

The threats of the Ba’athists did not intimidate him and did not stop him from jihad. Neither that he was an only child, who was solely responsible for the livelihood of a large family, nor the fear of a Masjid in which he called to Allah. Thus he pronounced kufr on the Ba’ath Party and everyone who followed it, encouraging his closest brethren to declare and combat them as Kuffar.

The apostates of the Ba’ath did not tolerate long, forbade him to preach, and even to call Adhan in the Masjid. They began to harass him, so that scarcely a month passed without the Taghut’s secret services summoning him.

At that time, the Ba’ath regime in Iraq was becoming weaker after launching a series of unsuccessful wars against its enemies. The muwahideen were expecting his [Saddam’s] fall and, simultaneously, awaiting the crusader American attack on Iraq to occupy it using the excuse of overthrowing the Taghut regime. However, they [the jihadists] were unable to build a strong group that would bring down the tyrant through decisive battles. So each [jihadi] group began to assemble with their members in areas so that they could get to know each other and learn the religion far from the eyes of the Ba’athists. Thus, several unrelated [jihadist] groups were founded in Baghdad and the surrounding area, Anbar and their desert, Diyala, Kirkuk, Mosul, and Tal Afar. In Tal Afar, Shaykh Abu Alaa [al-Afri] (his [al-Qaduli’s] real kunya) was the Shaykh of his brothers and their elder, upon whom they relied for their fatwas and rulings. The activity of Abu Alaa was not limited to Tal Afar, where he gave lectures and courses. Rather, he expanded to other areas of Iraq, especially in Baghdad, where he had previously taught. He established contact with the Salafi group of Shaykh Fayez, the muwahideen of the city of Mosul, and the mujahideen of Kurdistan, where the Ansar al-Islam group was located, which then led the only jihad field in the area. And many youths from Iraq and other countries were attracted [to the Ansar-run area].5

Tal Afar was fruitful. Many of the Rafidah [Shi’i] inhabitants of the city repented by his da’wah [proselytism]—by Allah’s goodness—as did many people made kufr by the Ba’ath ideology, and others who had been in the service of the Taghut Saddam, in his army and the security organs. All of these were fortified by Allah and became the best mujahid after Allah took their Shahada in His way—so we believe of them and Allah knows best.

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Fadel al-Hiyali (Abu Mutaz al-Qurayshi)

Besides the da’wah activity, the Shaykh did not neglect jihad in the way of Allah. He [al-Qaduli] cooperated with the mujahideen in the mountains of Kurdistan and worked with some familiar muwahideen in Tal Afar to build a jihadist group to carry out military operations against the Taghut regime of Saddam Husayn, his Jahili Party, and renegade soldiers and supporters. The formation of this group led Shaykh Abu Mutaz al-Qurayshi (may Allah accept him), who was then among the officers [of the Saddam regime] and had regrettably committed to the kufr Ba’ath Party, to renounce his loyalty to the Taghut and his Army.6 However, Allah determined that this group would confront a larger enemy, the Crusaders under the leadership of America who attacked Iraq.

AFTER THE FALL OF SADDAM

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Ahmad al-Khalayleh (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi), April 2006

The invasion of the Crusaders in Iraq achieved various results. There was the collapse of the Ba’ath regime, its army, and security institutions; the spread of chaos in the country; and the spread of weapons among the population, as well as the heavy blow inflicted on the Ansar al-Islam group in Kurdistan. Many of their mujahideen were killed by American long-range missiles. Some muhajireen [foreign fighters] came to Iraq, taking advantage of the chaotic conditions. Among these was Shaykh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [IS’s founder, the Jordanian named Ahmad al-Khalayleh] (may Allah accept him). Also among these results were that the renegade Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] in Iraq revealed their shirk aqeedah [polytheistic creed] and their kufr manhaj7 [disbelieving methodology] and joined the ranks of the Crusaders and Rawafid [Shi’is].8

Shortly after Baghdad fell into the hands of the Crusaders, many fighting groups were founded in Iraq with different ideologies and goals. Among these groups were Jamaat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, which was established by various groups of muhajireen and ansar [native jihadists] and was led by Shaykh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and “Ansar al-Sunnah,” which was brought together from parts of “Ansar al-Islam” and some muwahideen from other areas of Iraq after their retreat from the cities [during the invasion]. The management was handed over to the leaders of “Ansar al-Islam,” who went into the cities of Iraq after losing their sanctuaries in the mountains of Kurdistan. The Salafi group of Tal Afar was among those who joined “Ansar al-Sunnah,” and shortly after began working under the name, “The Brigades of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah” [Kataib Muhammad al-Rasul Allah]. It was not a long time before Shaykh Abu Iman9 (the kunya that the Shaykh used after the American invasion) was selected as the General Shar’i of “Ansar al-Sunnah”. But Allah determined that a meeting between Shaykh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Shaykh Abu Iman (may Allah accept them) would took place. Each learned to love and rejoice over the other on the basis of aqeedah and a healthy manhaj.

The common aspiration of the mujahideen in “Ansar al-Sunnah” at that time was to unite the ranks, gather under the leadership of Shaykh al-Zarqawi, and join al-Qaeda. They exerted pressure on their leadership to initiate this. And Shaykh Abu Iman personally sought to organize a meeting with the leaders of both groups [Ansar al-Sunna and al-Zarqawi’s JTJ], at which he succeeded. Shaykh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi met the emir of Ansar al-Sunnah Abu Abdullah al-Shafi’i, who refused to unite both groups using the excuse of a need to consult with his soldiers, although he knew their opinion beforehand, which was to immediately unite both groups through a bay’ah [pledge of allegiance] from “Ansar al-Sunnah” to al-Qaeda.10 At this moment, Shaykh Abu Iman announced his bay’ah to Shaykh al-Zarqawi and his loyalty to al-Qaeda in Iraq. Soon afterwards, the bulk of “Ansar al-Sunnah” gave the bay’ah. This bay’ah was one of the largest bay’at in the history of jihad in Iraq and was known as the “Bay’ah of Fatihin”. Shaykh Abu Musab appointed Shaykh Abu Iman as his deputy in the organization’s leadership, however, Shaykh Abu Iman was arrested before he could take the post by the Americans and imprisoned in Abu Ghraib Prison.

A few months later [i.e. late 2003 or early 2004], Allah allowed him [al-Qaduli] to be released after He blinded their eyes and they did not find out his true identity and the role he played in the battle.

The media of the Crusaders led a cruel campaign to disfigure the reputation of the mujahideen in Iraq and Shaykh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his brothers. In this campaign, the ringleader of the misguided groups who participated was the apostate Ikhwans, especially after the name of Shaykh al-Zarqawi was spread everywhere and the existence of the mujahideen of al-Qaeda in Iraq became a solid edifice against all the projects of treason and the misguided murtadeen [apostates].

What increased the grief and sorrow of Shaykh al-Zarqawi was the criticism which reached him from the leaders of al-Qaeda in Khorasan,11 which undoubtedly showed that they believed the rumours and lies against the mujahideen in Iraq that were spread by the Crusaders’ media. However, as most of the Iraqi groups exposed themselves early on, revealing their misguidedness, they could not complain about anything except the bad relationship between Shaykh al-Zarqawi and his brothers in Ansar al-Sunnah. The leadership of “Ansar al-Sunnah” was in constant contact with Atiyyatullah al-Libi [Atiyya (Abd al-Rahman); real name: Jamal al-Misrati] through Iran, where both sides had lodgings and contact centres. Shaykh al-Zarqawi (may Allah accept him) was very sad about the dealings of some of the leaders of al-Qaeda in Khorasan with him and their evil thoughts about him because of the difficulty of communicating, so he decided to send an envoy to give them the truth about the events in Iraq and to clarify the lies of the leaders of “Ansar al-Sunnah” about the mujahideen.

In the eyes of Shaykh al-Zarqawi, there was no one better suited to this task than Shaykh Abu Iman, since he was his deputy and had great knowledge and status, and since he was the former shari’a leader of this defamatory group “Ansar al-Sunnah “. The Shaykh [al-Qaduli] followed the command of his emir [al-Zarqawi] and travelled to Khorasan [in February 2006], where he met the leaders of al-Qaeda in Khorasan and explained to them the truth about what was happening in Iraq. He then returned and presented Shaykh al-Zarqawi with the results of this journey.

This was at a time when the American army was in Iraq, just before the Awakening [or Sahwa], the projects of the misguided ones, were founded on the ground. Every one of them tried to rob the fruits of jihad in Iraq with the help of the satanic Sururis and the secret services of renegade Arab states, especially the Gulf states. The response of Shaykh al-Zarqawi and his brothers was to hurry to develop their project by uniting the best groups in aqeedah and manhaj, including al-Qaeda in Iraq, under one roof. This umbrella organization was called al-Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen [The Mujahideen Shura Council, when it was formed in January 2006,] and it was agreed that the leadership of this council would be alternating between the groups that formed it. Shaykh Abu Iman was elected as the first emir of al-Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen, and he himself gave the first statement of this council under the pseudonym Abdullah Ibn Rashid al-Baghdadi, which then became known in the media.12

ARREST

In the month of Rabi al-Awwal of 1427 AD [April 2006], Allah determined that Shaykh Abu Iman traveled to the north [of Iraq] to meet some of the leaders of the organization, and they then went to meet Shaykh al-Zarqawi in southern Baghdad. In one of the stations along the way, outside the city, an American airborne operation took place on the house where they were, and they had left their weapons behind as they had to walk a path where there were many checkpoints. The Crusaders arrested them by Allah’s design after a battle with a group of istishhadiyeen [suicide bombers], who were in a house next door. The district of the istishhadiyeen was bombed and the guest house of Shaykh Abu Iman and his brothers was uncovered [on 16 April 2006].13 This was one of the heaviest blows inflicted on al-Qaeda in Iraq.

In prison, Allah blinded the eyes of the investigators once again and they did not find the true identity of most senior officials of the organization. But when the Crusaders noticed the respect the brothers had for Shaykh Abu Iman (the Americans called him Haji Iman in his time of imprisonment), they [the jihadists] increased their efforts to keep accusations away from him [al-Qaduli] and to free him by any means, even if it meant some of them took on the accusations themselves, and spread great doubts arose about his true identity. These doubts were augmented by what they [the Americans] saw of the reticence and calm of the Shaykh. Thus, they [the jihadists] multiplied the number of identities during the investigation. While they [the Americans] were certain that he [al-Qaduli] played an important role in the organization, Allah overthrew them and the most they were able to ascertain was that he belonged to the organization. They thought at that time that he was the emir of Tal Afar, since the Shaykh had worked almost publicly in his town and was known in the region. So the Shaykh remained for a few years in jail, which he spent between several American prisons from the north of Iraq to the south. They left him in no prison for a long time as they saw his effect on the prisoners and those gathering around him.

The Crusaders were about to kill the Shaykh in his prison, when a murtad [apostate] was found dead in prison and they could not find out who was behind it. However, Allah saved him from their list.

They did not cease trying to exhaust him by the constant transportation between the prisons, which they did not realize was serving him because every place to which he was transported to was a new place for da’wah and teachings for him. He fixed his da’wah on the tawhid of the hakimiyyah [god’s sovereignty] and annulling the shirk of obedience to the palaces and constitutions.14 At every new place he spoke to his fellow prisoners like Yusuf: “Oh my two prisoners! Are different masters better than Allah, the One, the All-conquering?” [Yusuf: 39].

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Manaf al-Rawi

The brothers gathered around him [al-Qaduli while in prison] to draw from his knowledge, and he was their emir in all affairs. During this time many of the soldiers of the Islamic State studied with him and among them were two heroes and leaders who brought Allah’s punishment to the Rafidah [Shi’ites] in Baghdad, Manaf al-Rawi15 and Hudayfa al-Batawi16 (may Allah accept them).

During the time of his imprisonment important events took place in the history of the jihad in Iraq. Shaykh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (may Allah accept him) moved to Diyala to prepare the founding of an Islamic state. However, he was killed by the Crusaders before he could proclaim this state himself. Then Shaykh Abu Hamza al-Muhajir [Abdul Munim al-Badawi] (may Allah accept him) took the lead and announced the dissolution of al-Qaeda in Iraq and gave bay’ah to Shaykh Abu Umar al-Baghdadi [Hamid al-Zawi] (may Allah accept him), the first emir of Islamic State in Iraq.

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Abdul Munim al-Badawi and Hamid al-Zawi

Among these tremendous events were the mass-apostasy of the groups and organizations that followed the American project of the Sahwat [Awakening], and the killing of a large number of the mujahideen, until Shaykh Abu Umar al-Baghdadi and Shaykh Abu Hamza al-Muhajir were killed. The flag was then worn by Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi [Ibrahim al-Badri] and a new stage of the history of the Islamic State in Iraq began.

RELEASE

Shaykh Abu Ali al-Anbari came out of prison [in early 2012] at the beginning of this important stage. Of the most important events in this stage was the entry of the mujahideen of the Islamic State in Iraq into Syria after a wave spread to many Muslim countries that became known as the Arab Spring. The Islamic State expanded to Syria and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] arose. Shaykh Abu Ali al-Anbari participated in many important events of this stage.

After six years of imprisonment in the prisoners of the Crusaders and Rafidah, the Shaykh was released and found a situation different from that which he left before his captivity. The Crusaders had left Iraq to be ruled by their marionettes [puppets], the mushrikeen of the Rafidah, after their wounds became too deep and the cost too high, and the mujahideen had been withdrawn into the deserts after the time of honour and power in which they proclaimed their state. During this period the [insurgent] factions completely disappeared from the scene, after most of them became Sahwat and destroyed all their deeds by falling into the clear apostasy, and several provinces that had been proclaimed part of the new stage that marked the beginning of the Rule of Islam fell to the rule of the Tawaghit. The key event from there was the participation of the mujahideen of the Islamic State against the tyrant of Syria, Bashar al-Assad.

The Shaykh came out of the prison and found his brothers, who were with him in al-Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen, waiting for him to resume his place in the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq.

He had already heard of the formation of the Islamic State during his captivity and was an emir and teacher of its soldiers in prison. Thus, he renewed his bay’ah to Amir al-Mu’minin [Commander of the Faithful or Prince of the Believers] Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (may Allah keep him) only a few days after he came out of prison.

Immediately he began to work as a soldier in the service of the Islamic State, without [disclosing] his old history, taking care of his position, bestowing his knowledge and experience on his brothers and pupils. He placed himself in the service of his brethren, many of whom were under his leadership before and during his captivity. But his brothers knew the value of the mujahideen scholars, and gave him a position to which he was entitled that allowed them to benefit from his knowledge and experience.

The first task that was entrusted to him [al-Qaduli] was to get in touch with the fighting groups outside Iraq, especially with the branches of al-Qaeda around the world, to build communication channels with them after contact had been broken for several years due to the security circumstances. Those in charge of al-Qaeda had disparaged the Islamic State. The brothers thought this was due to the ignorance of the situation. Shaykh Abu Ali sent them some news in which he explained some things to them, and he thought that he was addressing people who bore the same manhaj as Shaykh al-Zarqawi. That manhaj he knew, and it was on that basis he had given the bay’ah. These messages were the beginning of the return of communication between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and its branches.17

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Ahmad al-Shara (Abu Muhammad al-Jolani)

During this time the soldiers of the Islamic State had achieved a significant presence in Syria. In spite of the news of the victories, the reports from Syria to Iraq did not carry any good news because they included reports from the leaders from the Islamic State about their [Jabhat al-Nusra’s] manhaj, their early efforts to satisfy the groups of shirk and apostasy, to work with strongly tribal groups and nationalist fanatics, which represented a threat that the organization would be taken over by a bunch of traitors and corrupt people. So Amir al-Mu’minin decided to send a representative to oversee the situation and to check the accuracy of the reports. He chose Shaykh Abu Ali for various reasons, beginning with the knowledge of the Shaykh [al-Qaduli] about [Jabhat al-Nusra’s leader, Ahmad al-Shara, known as Abu Muhammad] al-Jolani from his [al-Qaduli’s] from their shared time in captivity.

SYRIA AND THE SPLIT WITH AL-QAEDA

This sneaky man [al-Jolani] had shown the Shaykh [al-Qaduli] high esteem and respect in prison and afterwards, even described him in the media as “my beloved father.” The Shaykh had thought well of him, and thought the reports about him were the pure quarrels of a kind that occur between soldiers and their leaders. So Shaykh Abu Ali al-Anbari (may Allah accept him) went to Syria, and this journey was one of the gifts of Allah to the state. After his arrival, he began a tour, which lasted for several weeks and was in the various areas of Syria.18 He saw with his own eyes the errors in the conduct of the work, and the deviation that was common among the soldiers and the leaders [of al-Nusra]. The main reason was the neglect of shari’a education and training, but he felt that these mistakes could be remedied by more effort. The Shaykh then decided to live in the same quarters with al-Jolani, to be close to him for a while, to study his personality, and to assess his ability to lead. Within a month or less [i.e. around January 2013], Allah showed him many facts that caused him to send a warning to Amir al-Mu’minin to save the situation in Syria before it was too late. He sent a message in which Allah revealed the truth about the traitorous al-Jolani, and reported on what he saw of him, and evaluated his personality as the very worst. He [al-Qaduli] wrote about al-Jolani: “He is a sneaky person with two faces. He loves himself and does not care about the din (creed or beliefs) of his soldiers. He is willing to sacrifice their blood just so he is mentioned in the media. He flies with joy like a children when his name is mentioned on the TV channels … ”

This news was the main reason for the decision of Amir al-Mu’minin to come to Syria himself because for him [al-Baghdadi], Shaykh Abu Ali was no liar and was free from envy and sneakiness. He crossed the border despite the great danger and found Shaykh Abu Ali waiting on the other side asking for permission to return to Iraq after his task was completed, for he no longer wanted to experience this bad state of jihad in Syria. However, Amir al-Mu’minin refused this and took him [al-Qaduli] with him to help correct the mistakes that al-Jolani and his gang had committed.

The attempts of al-Jolani and his group to restrict the movement of Amir al-Mu’minin after he came to Syria came using the pretext of protecting him failed. So, Amir al-Mu’minin began some tours and met soldiers and leaders, and this was enough to determine that the leaders had spoiled them and that they were working for themselves, which had a negative impact on the soldiers. So Amir al-Mu’minin invited al-Jolani to hear his excuses about what was proved about them [al-Nusra’s leaders]. The well-known [mid-March 2013] meeting took place in which the weeping of the sneaky al-Jolani occurred. The Dajjal al-Harrari [al-Jolani] insisted on renewing the bay’ah at Amir al-Mu’minin, and his partners one after the other gave bay’ah to Amir al-Mu’minin. By doing this, they hoped to gain some time to complete their project of splitting the organization and stealing his [al-Baghdadi’s] trust of men and money. But this deception from them did not—by Allah’s goodness—convince Amir al-Mu’minin and his Shura Council. So they [ISI’s senior officials] decided to depose al-Jolani and his gang, and to appoint a new leadership for “Jabhat al-Nusra,” which was the cover name for the mujahideen of the Islamic State in Syria.

However, they could not use this option because they found that the sneaky people had worked too quickly toward their project to split the organization and rebel against their emir. Al-Jolani had already summoned his closest followers and told them about his plans to split from the Islamic State in Iraq in a conspiracy with the leadership of al-Qaeda in Khorasan. This assembly took place a week after their renewal of the bay’ah at Amir al-Mu’minin Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (may Allah preserve him). Thus, the leadership of the Islamic state decided to dissolve the name of “Jabhat al-Nusra” and clearly proclaim that it belonged to the Islamic State. Shaykh Abu Ali al-Anbari (may Allah accept him) agreed with him, and Amir al-Mu’minin gave his famous speech on the dissolution of the names of the “Islamic State in Iraq” and “Jabhat al-Nusra,” and their union under the new name “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” [ISIS]. The plans of the traitors had failed, and they had no choice but to complete their conspiracy against the Islamic State with the participation of the emir of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, so that they could shed soldiers and fail to take a decision that would provide a new opportunity to work on their project [yet still survive]. But Allah’s purpose was that Shaykh al-Anbari was loved and respected by soldiers, leaders, and students of knowledge in Syria. Thus, this was one of the thinks that helped him fortify the soldiers of the Islamic State in Syria [i.e. keep them on-side] during the great Fitnah.

A few visits in the areas and districts were enough to clarify the truth and enlighten the soldiers about the reasons for the dissolution of Jabhat al-Nusra. Thus, the majority of the soldiers remained faithful to their bay’ah to Amir al-Mu’minin, and so the traitor drew away only a small number of deceivers and profiteers. Thus, the plans of the traitors had failed again, and they rushed to fabricate the well-known history of the [Islamic State’s] relations with al-Zawahiri, which they made with him and with the slain Abu Khalid al-Suri [Muhammad al-Bahaya].

Their anger over Shaykh al-Anbari (may Allah accept him) who had, by Allah, mostly thwarted their project, led them to (try) kill him and other Shuyukh. There was a part of the plan that involved controlling the borders to prevent any connection between the soldiers of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. They were, however, too cowardly to implement this, for fear of the revenge of the soldiers of the Islamic State, whose toughness they knew best, and for fear of the intelligence brigades of the Islamic state, which were spread out in Syria. They were certain that these [intelligence] brigades were able to get to them and take their heads with them if they dared [to try to close the Iraq-Syria border].

BUILDING A STATE IN SYRIA AND THE WAR WITH THE SYRIAN REVOLUTION

Shaykh Abu Ali al-Anbari continued his work in Syria tirelessly. He was responsible for the Shari’a Council and a member of the Delegated Committee in Syria. This stage was of the most difficult stages for him (may Allah accept him) due to the great responsibilities he was given. He was very concerned with teaching, da’wah, and with reviewing shari’a issues. Adding to the area leadership, he was given the responsibility to manage the problems with the factions and organizations, and to lead the judges and Islamic courts founded by the Islamic State in the areas where it gained power. He worked to guide these courts and facilitate their work.

Of his attributes (may Allah accept him), the primary one at this stage was that he did not abandon calling the factions and organizations to tawhid and the Sunnah. He used to meet with their leaders and warn them of the danger of relations with the Tawaghit states and their secret services. He told them that the Tawaghit were luring them through support and funding to bring the jihad in Syria under their control, and then to direct them to fighting the Islamic State by founding Sahwat projects for them, similar to those in Iraq. This was precisely what happened a few months later, as a result of Allah’s determination, when these factions treacherously attacked the Islamic State. The story of their treason to the mujahideen in Halab [Aleppo], Idlib, Sahel [the coast (Latakia)], and the eastern region [Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, and Hasaka] is well known.

After the Syrian Sahwat failed, by Allah’s grace, and Allah granted the Islamic State power over wide areas, constructive work began to build up the institutions of the state, thereby facilitating the administration of these territories and establishing Allah’s judgment therein. Thus Shaykh Abu Ali al-Anbari was a founder of the Dawawin. He worked mainly to build the shari’a-related Dawawin, such as the Judgment and Grievances Dawawin, Hisbah, da’wah, Zakat, plus the Researches and Studies Office, after the designation of the Shari’a Council was lifted and their tasks were distributed among the Dawawin according to subject area.

After Allah’s muwahideen servants had conquered Mosul and wide areas in Iraq, and Syria was joined to Iraq by breaking the fictitious boundaries, the Shaykh (may Allah accept him) begged to be released from assigned tasks so he could return to where he began his da’wah and jihad, namely the city of Tal Afar. He settled there for a time as a soldier of the Caliphate and participated in many battles against the apostate PKK and Peshmerga and the mushrikeen of the Yazidis on Sinjar Mountain and the surrounding areas. Allah strengthened him through the achievements of the mujahideen in several battles. But he was called again to lead the Muslim government. So he settled down in the city of Mosul to carry out this task. He himself led many stages of the implementation project of the Islamic currency, replacing the worthless papers of the Tawaghit with the precious metal coins of the Muslims. He pleased Allah, and he saw the traders in the Islamic State deal using the gold Dinar and silver Dirham.

DEATH

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One of the few images of the Abdurrahman al-Qaduli, May 2016

The Crusaders attempted to track down Shaykh Abu Ali through their spies and planes, and several times they announced that they had killed him while in fact he continued his da’wah and jihad without their drones taking care of him. He continued to meet with the merchants and gathered with the leaders of the Islamic State offices. He travelled between the Wilayat [including to Libya] and taught in the mosques until Allah decided on his killing by the Crusaders. He ignited his explosive belt against a unit of their soldiers who tried to arrest him in a failed airborne operation as he travelled between Iraq and Syria. He refused to surrender or to please the mushrikeen by his captivity.

Shaykh Abd al-Rahman Ibn Mustafa al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi19 was killed after 60 years of his life.20 Most of that time he spent preaching and teaching—among the mujahideen, and behind the bars of the Crusaders and murtadeen.

abu-abdurrahman-al-bilawi

Adnan al-Bilawi (Abu Abdurrahman al-Bilawi)

Shaykh Abu Ali al-Anbari was killed as a shaheed [martyr] by the hands of the mushrikeen, departing after his two sons, Alaa and Imaad, who were slain before him in jihad against the Crusaders. He joins his beloved shuhada brothers Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Bilawi [Adnan Ismail Najem al-Bilawi], Abu al-Mutaz al-Qurayshi, and Abu al-Harith al-Ansari.21 So we think about them and Allah knows them best.

The scholar, worshiper, preacher, and mujahid was killed, leaving an inheritance of knowledge from da’wah to tawhid, and warning of shirk in all its forms, especially the shirk of obedience [to non-Islamic authorities], about which he wrote a book and gave dozens of lectures and sermons.

May Allah accept our mujahid Shaykh and reward him abundantly, and may Allah gather us with him in the highest Firdus [paradise] with the prophets, the shuhada, and the truthful ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

[1] Muwahideen (lit. “monotheists”) refers to those who interpret tawhid (monotheism) strictly. It is frequently used by IS in place of “jihadists” or “mujahideen”. The historical reference being to the Islamic revivalist movement led by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (“Wahhabism”) that combined with the political fortunes of Muhammad bin Saud, beginning in the Najdi oasis of Diriyya, to form the First Saudi State in 1744.

[2] Shirk refers any other act of setting up an equal to god. This generally refers to idolatry and polytheism, but IS and some other Jihadi-Salafists and even Salafists give shirk a more expansive meaning—for example, democracy, which puts man-made law on the level with, or even above, the shari’a, and thus, in their telling, sets up a false idol of worship that improperly shares the stage with god. Those who practice this sin are called a mushrik or the mushrikeen.

[3] Descent from the Quraysh tribe is the traditional qualification of the caliph from the earliest time of Islam.

[4] See note 2

[5] Long before the invasion of Iraq, Ansar al-Islam had set up a jihadi statelet—a precursor in many ways to IS’s—in Kurdistan in northern Iraq, covering more than a hundred square miles and 200,000 people. There is also considerable evidence that alongside an official Islamic trend fostered by Saddam Husayn’s “Faith Campaign,” there were robust independent Salafi networks, underground but with strong links to the security sector. Saddam both abetted the growth of the Salafi infrastructure, seeing it as a complementary component to his effort to secure legitimacy via religion, and was unable to stop it. The Kurdish jihadists and those in Arab Iraq were co-operating, as the story of al-Qaduli makes clear. Al-Qaduli was also actively preaching jihadism and conspiring to conduct armed attacks against the Saddam regime. In this he was not unique. The first proto-caliph, Hamid al-Zawi (Abu Umar al-Baghdadi), a former policeman of the Saddam regime, had “trained with small jihadi groups in Anbar even before the U.S. invasion”. Umar Hadid (Abu Khattab al-Falluji), a Fallujah native and quite possibly a former Republican Guard, had begun violent attacks on liquor stores and brothels in his hometown around 1997 and then killed a member of the Saddam regime’s security services, forcing him into internal exile and then seeking refuge within the Ansar-run area. “By the late 1990s,” Joel Rayburn records, “some of [the non-governmental] Salafis were conducting a low-level terrorist campaign against the regime that included car bombings and assassinations similar to those that became so common in Iraq after 2003.” Nibraz Kazimi has previously reported the same: “The opening salvo of the Sunni Salafist insurgency [in Iraq] occurred on January 1, 2000, targeting Ba’athists congregating at a liquor store in the Waziriyeh neighborhood of Baghdad, way before any American soldiers appeared on the scene.” The Saddam regime was breaking down, and as this obituary of al-Qaduli demonstrates, the jihadists knew it and were prepared for it. Something very like the Islamic State was being incubated in Saddam’s Iraq and would have emerged as a successor force no matter what.

[6] Abu Mutaz al-Qurayshi is also known as Abu Muslim al-Turkmani and Haji Mutaz; his real name is Fadel al-Hiyali. The revelation that al-Qaduli recruited al-Hiyali is especially interesting because when IS expanded into Syria and actually realized the caliphal project announced in 2006, and IS’s number-two Samir al-Khlifawi (Haji Bakr) had been killed, al-Qaduli became the governor of IS-held areas in Syria and al-Hiyali oversaw the territory on the Iraqi side of IS’s statelet. Al-Qaduli and al-Hiyali were “the key people” keeping Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “in power”. Two of the earliest recruits to the IS movement in 2003 were the crucial deputies to the caliph in 2013-14 in building and sustaining the caliphate. In addition to what this says about Saddam Husayn’s regime—al-Hiyali had been recruited to jihadism while in the army and the Saddam government either couldn’t or didn’t stop him—it is an interesting snapshot of the human element of jihadi networks: this duo of al-Qaduli and al-Hiyali evidently rose together through IS’s ranks.

[7] Manhaj refers to methodology adopted by an Islamic current or trend. In Syria, this has come to have a special association with the jihadi-salafist groups—the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra/al-Qaeda, and Ahrar al-Sham—the latter two of which at least refer to themselves and the others as ikhwat al-manhaj (the brothers in methodology). The ikhwat al-manhaj idea has operated to have al-Nusra and Ahrar act like a Popular Front, with a no-confrontation policy as far as possible. In practical terms, this has also meant Ahrar largely giving al-Nusra a free pass when al-Nusra attacks secular groups because Ahrar will not attack brothers on the right path to save those who are on the wrong path. This can appear to be a contradiction since Ahrar has built its image around unifying the Syrian insurrectionists, but when Ahrar is examined closely the fact that its policy provides an entry-point for al-Qaeda into the revolutionary mainstream makes much more sense.

[8] This refers to the Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood, the Iraqi Islamic Party, cooperating with the American-led Coalition and the Shi’a parties in forming a post-Saddam government.

[9] Al-Qaduli had an extraordinary number of pseudonyms. Abu Iman is not a well-known one but it tallies with one that is, Haji Iman, Iman meaning faith. (This was sometimes given as Haji Imam, which appears to be a mistake.) Abu Ali al-Anbari is the kunya al-Qaduli died under, though he managed to deceive everyone that al-Anbari was a different person to Abu Alaa al-Afri. Al-Qaduli also once took the name Abu Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi (for the complicated back-story see here). Other names included: Abu Jasim al-Iraqi, Abu Umar al-Qurdash, Abu Ali al-Qurdash al-Turkmani, and Dar Islami.

[10] Al-Shafi’i is also known as Warba Holiri al-Kurdi, and his real name is probably Wuriya Hawleri, though it might be Ja’far Hassan. It was pointed out to me by Brian Fishman that this section of IS’s obituary for al-Qaduli—in which it describes the relationship between al-Zarqawi and al-Shafi’i—is the most factually dubious. IS places the blame for the lack of unity between Jamaat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad and Ansar al-Islam on al-Shafi’i; the record is clear that al-Zarqawi harboured grave doubts about unifying his forces with al-Shafi’i, not least because the eternal problem of Kurdish jihadi factionalism had arisen again. Ansar had been created in 2001 when al-Shafi’i and Najmaddin Faraj Ahmad (Mullah Krekar) sank their differences. In September 2003, with Ahmad physically remote, based in Norway, al-Shafi’i took the reins in a coup d’état, and called the group Ansar al-Sunna (it would later revert to Ansar al-Islam, and in the summer of 2014 was absorbed into IS). It is also reasonably clear that the majority of Ansar did not break away and join al-Zarqawi with al-Qaduli in 2003-04; the most that seems to have happened is that al-Qaduli’s associates from Tal Afar went with him from Ansar to JTJ.

[11] Khorasan designates an ancient province that included Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. In this context it refers to al-Qaeda “central” (AQC) or senior leadership (AQSL) based, as we now know, in Pakistan.

[12] Identifying al-Qaduli as Abdullah Ibn Rashid al-Baghdadi (or Abu Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi), the formal leader of al-Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen (MSM), solves a minor mystery. It had long been far from certain but Rashid had been assumed to be Hamid al-Zawi, who took the name Abu Umar al-Baghdadi on the founding of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) to sound more caliphal. But this revelation unravels another puzzle, namely confirming that ISI’s media emir, Khalid al-Mashadani (Abu Zayd al-Mashadani), was feeding misinformation to the Americans after his capture in July 2007, and now we know why. As explained in a recent study by Craig Whiteside, the spokesman for al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia (AQM), Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, transitioned seamlessly into being MSM’s spokesman. Whiteside points out that after Abu Maysara was killed (likely in June 2006), a man named Abu Ammar al-Dulaymi gave several speeches under the title of MSM spokesman, and read a speech on 1 July 2006 attributed to Rashid. Al-Qaduli had been arrested in April 2006. That al-Qaduli never spoke in an audio recording as Rashid, and Abu Ammar spoke for Rashid after al-Qaduli had been imprisoned, led the Americans away from understanding who al-Qaduli was. Al-Mashadani allowed the American misunderstanding that Rashid was Abu Umar to stand, and then claimed that Rashid/Abu Umar was an actor named Abu Abdullah al-Naima, who read audio statements on behalf of Abd al-Munim al-Badawi (Abu Hamza al-Muhajir), al-Zarqawi’s Egyptian successor as head of AQM. According to the U.S., the al-Naima ruse was meant to disguise the fact that ISI was just a front for AQM and a foreign-led enterprise to boot. Two other sources claimed Abu Umar was a smokescreen for al-Badawi: Abu Sulayman al-Utaybi, who reported that al-Badawi had said: “A man will be found [to be ISI’s caliph] whom we will test for a month. If he is suitable, then we will keep him … If not, we will look for someone else,” and Abu Ahmad. But it wasn’t true, though the U.S. was allegedly never actually sure, until it killed al-Zawi in the company of al-Badawi in 2010, that Abu Umar was a real person. (Other sources suggest the U.S. realized quite quickly that al-Mashadani was lying, but this was never shared with the public for reasons unclear.) Al-Mashadani’s has to be reckoned one of the most successful information operations in recent times: the Americans never realized who al-Qaduli was in the six years they held him.

[13] It appears that al-Qaduli was arrested for the second time completely as a by-product of Operation LARCHWOOD 4, a raid in Yusufiya on 16 April 2006 intended to round up a mid-level administrative emir, Abu Atiya, who was part of an AQM/MSM cell in Abu Ghraib and ran their media efforts. Five people were killed defending Abu Atiya’s safe-house, two of them wearing explosive vests; five men (plus a number of women and children) survived. Abu Atiya was among the living and was arrested, as was “[a]n older man [who] also appeared to be an insurgent.” It now seems likely this was al-Qaduli (he would have been fifty at that time). Thanks to an information operation by IS, the Coalition never realized it had al-Zarqawi’s deputy in custody. The raid was otherwise a success, however. The Coalition discovered a trove of information, including a plan to stoke sectarian warfare and expel the Shi’is from Sunni-majority areas. The goal is to “move the battle to the Shi’a depths and cut off the paths from them by any means necessary to put pressure on them to leave their areas,” the AQM/MSM documents said. The suggestion included an idea to “leave or reduce our operations against them in our areas [the Sunni areas] for the near future, and will perform our work against them in the areas of Baghdad itself, as well as the surrounding areas.” The haul also enabled the release of the famous tape of al-Zarqawi firing a machine gun, giving the Coalition a positive way to identify al-Zarqawi, and also allowing the release of the outtake where al-Zarqawi mishandles the weapon. The information gathered soon led to al-Zarqawi’s downfall: he was killed on 7 June 2006.

[14] Among the most consistent themes of al-Qaduli was a complete detestation of anything that put man’s law over god’s law—not just democracy but Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood that try to change the regional states by engagement with them.

[15] Manaf al-Rawi was recruited by Ghassan al-Rawi (Abu Ubayda), a former Ba’ath officer in Saddam Husayn’s army and a key deputy to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi involved in bringing the foreign jihadists into Iraq from Syria. Manaf was the driver for Mustafa Ramadan Darwish (Abu Muhammad al-Lubnani), al-Zarqawi’s second deputy and the leader of the security wing of the early IS movement, including its chemical weapons program. Manaf was arrested in early 2004 and released in November 2007. Having been networked and given additional religious instruction in prison by al-Qaduli in prison, Manaf emerged much-improved in stature and in an environment where the leadership was strained. Manaf became the wali of Baghdad, known as “the dictator”. Manaf’s most lasting impact was a wave of crippling bombings against the Iraqi government—in direct collusion with the Ba’athists and Assad—in late 2009 and early 2010 that had a profound impact on the course of events, including consolidating more power in the hands of the increasingly-sectarian Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, which provided IS with political space to revive. Manaf was arrested on 11 March 2010, his information was critical in the downfall of Hamid al-Zawi and Abdul Munim al-Badawi on 18 April 2010.

[16] Manaf al-Rawi was replaced as emir of Baghdad by Hudayfa al-Batawi (sometimes transliterated: Hudhayfa, Huthayfa, or Huzayfa and al-Bittawi). Al-Batawi was arrested on 27 November 2010, a month after the Baghdad church attack that al-Batawi orchestrated. Al-Batawi was killed on 8 May 2011 during a prison mutiny.

[17] When contact was broken between ISI and AQC and to what extent is unclear. Al-Qaduli was the known contact-point between AQI/ISI and AQC, as mentioned he had been to Pakistan during a particularly turbulent time. After al-Qaduli went to prison, Khalid al-Mashadani seems to have taken the job, before he, too, was arrested. The man AQC believed was theirs within ISI, Abdul Munim al-Badawi (Abu Hamza al-Muhajir), was deceased as of April 2010. From the Abu Sulayman al-Utaybi episode we know—because AQC mentions it in their letter of 10 March 2008—that al-Badawi had written to them around this time, even if it was “slow rolling“. On 6 July 2010, Bin Ladin wrote to Jamal al-Misrati (Atiyya) directing him to “ask several sources among our brothers [in Iraq],” including “our brothers in Ansar al-Islam,” about Ibrahim al-Badri (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi), since Bin Ladin did not know al-Badri or his deputy, Numan al-Zaydi (Abu Sulayman al-Nasser). A letter from Adam Gadahn to Bin Ladin in January 2011 said that communication between AQC and ISI had been “practically cut off for a number of years.” There is a question whether al-Badri ever communicated with AQC before al-Qaduli came out of prison—which gets into the whole issue of ISI’s relationship with AQC. Al-Qaeda has publicly claimed that ISI secretly wrote to Ayman al-Zawahiri after Bin Ladin was killed in May 2011 to ask, “Do we renew the bay’ah in public or in secret as it was done before?” The Islamic State denies this and said it had no such pledge of allegiance, though al-Badri personally said, in public, after al-Zawahiri’s ascension, that al-Zawahiri had “faithful men in the Islamic State of Iraq”.

[18] This piece of IS’s account makes more sense—with regard to the timing—than al-Qaeda’s claim that al-Qaduli toured Syria for six months before the announcement of ISIS.

[19] The Qurayshi in al-Qaduli’s name suggests he was in line to be caliph

[20] Suggests he was born in 1956, about which there had been some dispute.

[21] Craig Whiteside suggests that the absence of Hamid al-Zawi (Abu Umar al-Baghdadi) among Abdurrahman al-Qaduli’s “beloved martyr brothers” is not an accident and signals a rift of some kind. This is plausible. Al-Qaduli worked alongside al-Zawi, IS’s first caliph and the man who oversaw the rebuilding of the organization. Most IS operatives would strain to claim a connection to al-Zawi; to omit an important one seems calculated. Additionally, al-Qaduli is acknowledged to have been close to Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, al-Zawi’s inseparable deputy who died in the same room as him. It is difficult to imagine al-Qaduli could be close to Abu Hamza and not have had an extensive relationship with al-Zawi, so the pointed absence of al-Zawi’s name on the honour role of al-Qaduli’s most-cherished likewise points to a deliberate decision.

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