The son of al-Qaeda’s founder, Hamza Usama bin Ladin, released a speech on 13 May 2017, “Advice for Martyrdom-Seekers in the West”. The speech took the form of a ten-minute video released by As-Sahab, which was noticeably better in quality than al-Qaeda’s recent produce. The video opened by praising Sayyid Nusayr, and then included picture tributes in the background as Hamza spoke to some past jihadist attackers: Nidal Malik Hasan, Ramzi Yusef, Arid Uka, Ayman Hasan, Sulayman Khater, Mohammed Bouyeri. Michael Adebolajo, Michael Adebowale, and Mevlut Mert Altintas. An English translation of the speech is posted below, with some explanatory notes added and key sections highlighted in bold.
All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, the Guardian of the righteous, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, may peace be upon him, his family and all his Companions.
To the valiant heroes of Islam, in America, the West, and in Occupied Palestine: May peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you!
This is an advice for anyone who intends to carry out a martyrdom operation.
To begin with, I ask Allah to have mercy upon your great martyrs who have written with their blood a glorious chapter (of history) for their beloved umma [Islamic community or nation].
Know, O noble knight, that you are heading for a deed which is among the greatest of virtues, and the most glorified of worships. So purify your intention, for help comes from Allah commensurate to the purity of intention. Sell your soul cheaply for the pleasure of the Lord of mankind, for it is Allah who is the Purchaser.
“Safeguard the commands of Allah, He shall safeguard you. Safeguard the commands of Allah, and you shall find Him with you. If you ask, ask Allah. If you seek help, seek the Help of Allah. Know that if people were to unite to benefit you, they would never benefit you except with what Allah has already decreed for you, and if they were to unite to harm you, they would never harm you except with what Allah has already decreed for you.” [Tirmidhi]
Seek the help of Allah, and do not waver. Pray to Him assiduously, and do not lose hope. Trust in Allah, and do not fear, for He shall suffice you, and He is the best of Protectors.
Fear Allah. Fear of Him is in obeying Him, and avoiding disobedience to Him. Obedience to Him lies in revulsion of this world and love of the Hereafter. Disobedience to him is its opposite. Hope for the best from your Lord, and have good opinion of Him, He will have good opinion of you.
Bring your heart alive with faith. Nourish your faith with tears in praying to the Beneficent. Be fearful of Allah in every situation, for it is the best of provisions, the choicest of weapons and the strongest equipment in war. Be on your guard against sins, even more than you would watch out for your enemy, for an army should fear its sins more than its enemy. Muslims attain victory because of their enemy’s disobedience to Allah. As Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “We shall not prevail over them because of our superiority, nor shall we overcome them with our prowess, rather with the might of Allah we shall prevail, and His might is with the God-fearing.”
“If Allah is your helper, none can overcome you. And if He forsakes you, who is there after Him who can help you?” [Ali Imran: 160]
Ask your Lord for success, for this is the secret of success and its best companion. As the clouds are moved by the winds, men are directed by God-given success. And if Allah guides you to success, He shall never abandon you to your self.
Make patience the pinnacle of your faith, and absolute belief in him its spirit, and take the company of Allah as your reinforcement. Remember the saying of Allah: “And when the two hosts saw each other, the Companions of Musa said, ‘We are sure to be overtaken.’ Musa said, ‘Never! Verily with me is my Lord, He will guide me’.” [Ash-Shuara: 61-63]
Increase your remembrance of Allah, and invoke this zikr often, “There is no help or power except from Allah.”
Avenge for your Deen [practice of religion], for your Prophet (peace be upon him), for your bereaved umma, for the children of al-Sham [Syria], for the widows of Palestine, for the free honourable women of Iraq, for the orphans of Afghanistan, and thus enter the highest gardens of Paradise.
Exercise patience and deliberation, for it is among the qualities loved by Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him.
Accomplish your goals with secrecy. Attain the highest level of perfection in your actions, exercise utmost care and caution, and prepare diligently to inflict crippling losses on those who have disbelieved. It is possible for you to benefit from the Inspire Magazine in this regard.
Be perfect in your choice of targets, so that you may damage your enemies more. Be professional in your choice of weapons. It is not necessary that it should be a military tool. If you are able to pick a firearm, well and good; if not, the options are many.
Follow in the footsteps of martyrdom-seekers before you. Pick off from where they left, for this will help you. Don’t underestimate yourself, nor belittle your work, for how many professionally executed individual operations in the West outweighed numerous operations in the East.
Perhaps you are longing for hijra [emigration]. Perhaps you yearn for sacrifice in the battlefields. Know that inflicting punishment on Jews and Crusaders where you are present is more vexing and severe for the enemy. It is sharper than a hundred warheads directed against their agents. Make your thrust forceful and heal your heart by fighting and obliterating them.
Prioritize the following targets:
First: Everyone who transgresses against our pure Religion, or against our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him).
Next, look out for Jewish interests everywhere.
If you are unable to find these, target American Crusaders.
If you are unable to go for American Crusaders, target the interests of the Crusader member states of NATO.
And since Russia has forgotten what it tasted in Chechnya and Afghanistan, and has returned once again to interfere in matters concerning Islam, do not exclude it from your targets of priority. Give Russia a pertinent reminder of the days of your predecessors
I strongly advise that the message you intend to convey through your blessed operation must be explained unequivocally in the media. It is absolutely imperative that people should know the objective of your operation.
We in al-Qaeda emphasize the importance of conveying the following messages to Western states, and we advise you to do the same:
- Our Religion and our Prophet (peace be upon him) are red lines. Let those who cross these lines take heed from Charlie Hebdo.
- Palestine is a cause of our Islamic umma. And anyone who supports Jewish occupiers shall never dream of peace, with the permission of Allah.
- Syria is a cause of our Islamic umma. Our people in Syria are faced with genocide, and everyone who participates in tormenting them with bombings or by aiding Bashar [al-Assad] and his allies shall not escape punishment.
- Our lands are occupied. The Land of the Two Sanctuaries [Saudi Arabia] is occupied. We shall continue to target you until you withdraw your forces from the Arabian Peninsula and from every single land of Islam.
- Our airspace is violated by your aircrafts which unleash their deadly payload on our children. Our wealth and resources are expropriated every single day.
And thus, we shall deal with you reciprocally until you stop interfering in our affairs. These messages must be conveyed with our operations.
Once you have selected your target, engage in its reconnaissance. Gather as much information about your target as possible, and adopt an appropriate cover for this work. Your reconnaissance should not arouse the least suspicion, so that you may silently observe the enemy’s forces and its weak points. Know your target inside out, so that you may inflict damage far beyond anything the enemy has ever imagined.
Take care of yourself. Take time to relax sufficiently before the operation, so that your performance is optimum and your alertness level high, for excessive thoughts and spending nights awake hamper one’s abilities in the field.
If Allah gives you the chance to overcome your enemy, make appropriate use of the element of surprise. Take lead in inflicting losses, attacking the jugular of the enemy and hitting its joints. The greatest gains are made in the opening salvo, so make best use of it.
Having read these instructions, be self-assured, composed. Hope for the best from Allah, for you are from the Army of the Beneficent, heading to meet the Almighty, the Giver. He has promised you the highest gardens of Paradise, and can there be any reward for your beneficence except Beneficence?
Put your trust in Allah. You are on the Truth if you abide by the judicious shari’a. Set out in the name of Allah, with the blessings of Allah, for you are amongst the successful ones, with His permission.
Your virtuous actions are for the sake of Allah, and from Allah is your reward.
Be generous with your life, even if the miser is stingy with it
For giving one’s life is the zenith of generosity
May Allah give victory to you, assist you, guide you and be with you, for He is your Patron, and from Him help is sought.
The meeting is in Jannah [Paradise], Allah-willing.
And our last prayer is that all praise belongs to the Lord of the Worlds.