The leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, gave a thirty-five-minute speech on 28 November 2017, entitled: “Let Us Fight Them As A Solid Structure” (or “Let Us Fight Them As One Body” or “Let Us Fight Them With Solid Foundations”), dealing with the vexed question of al-Qaeda’s relationship with the Syrian jihadi group, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, a situation that escalated again in recent days. The mention of an impending Turkish intervention into Idlib—which began on 7 October—suggests that al-Zawahiri recorded this speech in the last days of September or the first few days of October. An English transcript of the speech was released by As-Sahab Media, and is reproduced below with some edits for syntax and transliteration.
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In the name of Allah, praise be to Allah and prayers and peace be upon the prophet of Allah and his family and his companions.
Oh Muslim brothers everywhere, peace and mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you.
As for what follows:
In the past year there have been many interventions regarding the mujahideen in general and the mujahideen of al-Qaeda in Syria specifically, and the deterioration of the internal situation of the mujahideen until it came to tearing and confusion and resistance and fighting.
For more than a year since the announcement of what they called “The Breaking of Ties” I did not speak about these problems. The conditions after Aleppo [city fell to the Asad regime in December 2016] did not allow that. This does not mean that I and my brothers in the General Command and the other branches [of al-Qaeda] do not follow what happens day by day, but we have resorted to quiet dealings, away from the media hype.
Our brothers told us that what they did. It was a violation of their promise and did not achieve what they demanded by way of unity. This is because it was in reality a retreat before American pressure, and in addition it will not stop the bombing or their classification as terrorists, or any other baseless arguments which it [America] presents [in order to attack the jihadists in Syria].
If unity is achieved, then we will be the first ones to bless it, and will abandon our ties with them, but all they have done is create a new entity, which will increase the complexity of the situation, and it is today embroiled in killing and fighting and accusations and fatwas and counter-fatwas with other mujahideen. Meanwhile, the enemy progresses day after day, and the preparation [for further aggression] continues, with the danger of a Turkish invasion [into Idlib], the American project further penetrating Syria every day, and the Iranians and Hizballah are swallowing up regions.
This danger increases the idiocy of the policy of blindness taken by the followers [i.e. the leadership cadre around Ahmad al-Shara (Abu Muhammad al-Jolani)]. [Al-Shara gave the impression that] all of what was happening [when Jabhat Fatah al-Sham ostensibly broke ties with al-Qaeda in July 2016] is with the consent of al-Qaeda’s leadership, he remains committed in his bay’at [oath of allegiance] to al-Qaeda and anyone who abandons the name of al-Qaeda will be arrested. But then they [JFS/HTS] began a policy of tightening restrictions on the brothers who adhered to this bay’at, and the order came to limit the fighting and arresting women and investigating with children.
There were many correspondences and contacts between me and my brothers to fix these matters in a calm and rational manner, in quietness, and this approach, which we chose in that period, was recommended to us by the best of people. And we gave opportunity after opportunity, deadline after deadline, for more than a year, but we saw that the things were increasingly aggravated and inflamed, and the disputes and the hate and vengeance and infringements on the rights and sanctities escalated and the people of Syria became confused and the mujahideen were confused about what happened.
I hope to speak briefly words of the utmost truth, and I seek to settle the souls and unite the ranks and heal the hearts. I hope Allah makes this advice acceptable in the hearts of the mujahideen and the Muslims, stressing that I and my brothers are the first in need of advice, and we do not absolve ourselves from failure.
First of all I would like to emphasize a clear fact, and it is that the jihad in Syria is a defensive jihad, and it is what the fuqaha [jurists] speak of as not requiring conditions. Rather it repels the invader as much as possible, and is an obligation for all the people of Islam [fard al-ayn]: the good and the bad.
The second matter: Verily the jihad in Syria is a jihad of the entire Muslim umma [community or nation]. It is not just the jihad of the Syrian people; it is not a jihad of the people of Idlib or Deraa or Damascus alone, and no one should be told to leave Syria, or told that they will be arrested or expelled. This is contrary to what the fuqaha have decided: those in the land of Islam are at home; the Muslims are one nation, and must protect those seeking their protection.
How are the people of Syria to accept the repetition among them of false statements to the contrary, when their history of defending muhajirun [foreign Muslims] is so clear? Who is Shaykh Izzadeen ibn Abd al-Salam? Is he not from Damascus? He made hijra [emigrated] to Egypt, instigating the fight against the Tatars [i.e. Mongols], and Allah granted victory over them at Ayn Jalut [in September 1260]. And who is Sulayman al-Halabi? Did he not kill the General Kulaybir in Cairo? And who is Izzadeen al-Qassam? Is he not from Latakia, yet did jihad in Palestine? And who are Abu Musab al-Suri [Mustafa Setmariam Nasar] and Abu Khalid al-Suri [Muhammad al-Bahaya]? Did they not emigrate to Afghanistan? And if Khalid ibn al-Waleed came to the people of Syria or Abu Ubayda bin al-Jarrah—may Allah be pleased with them both—or Nooradeen al-Zengi al-Turki or Saladin al-Kurdi or Qatz al-Qawqazi or Usama bin Ladin al-Yemeni saying to them: “Leave Syria, for you are not Syrians, and you will attract bombings upon us and the classification [as a terrorist group] and the cutting off of aid?”
Then what is this innovation: are these not external links? What if Khalid ibn al-Waleed (may Allah be pleased with him) came to the people of Syria and said to them: “Leave because you have external ties to Abu Bakr al-Sadiq and Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with them both”?
The third matter that I would like to highlight are the promises and the pledges of bay’at, which is among the great matters that must not be manipulated. Rather, the shari’a obligates the fulfilment of it. Allah the Exalted said: “Oh you who believe! Fulfil [all] obligations” [Al-Ma’idah (5): 1], and Allah the Exalted said: “And fulfil the bay’a [covenant of Allah] when you have entered into it, and break not your oaths after you have confirmed them, and indeed you have made Allah a witness over you. Verily, Allah knows what you do. And do not be like the woman who unravels her thread, after she had made it strong, by taking your oaths a means of deception among yourselves” [Al-Nahl (16): 91-92]. Allah the Exalted said: “Make not your oaths a means of deception among yourselves, lest a foot slips after being firmly planted, and you have to taste the evil [consequences in this world] of having hindered [men] from the Path of Allah, and yours will be a great torment [in the hereafter, in Hell]. Do not purchase a small gain at the price of Allah’s covenant. Verily what is with Allah is best for you, if you did but know” [Al-Nahl (16): 94-95].
And here I would like to confirm unequivocally that no-one disengaged from our bay’at. We expelled Ibrahim al-Badri [a.k.a. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] and those with him from that organisation [the Islamic State], but no-one withdrew from our bay’at—not Jabhat al-Nusra, nor any other group, and we did not accept that the bay’at of Jabhat al-Nusra could be a secret. We considered the [proposal for a] secret bay’at to be dangerous, and one of the fatal mistakes [with the Islamic State]. The bay’at between us and all who have pledged bay’at to us is a binding contract, which it is sinful to breach and must be fulfilled.
I remember that Shaykh Abu Khalid al-Suri—may Allah have mercy on him—sent me a message after he was chosen as the representative of Tandheem Qaedat al-Jihad in implementing the decision to split Jabhat al-Nusra from the Islamic State. In it [the message], he said, regarding the manipulation of the bay’at by the followers of the gang of al-Badri: “I will not hide from you: The rivalry when it happened was linked to immorality and falsehood, and if a judge was sent to them and Iyas bin Muawiya ruled what they did please, then al-Qaeda is a name used to brag, not an organisation they follow, and approved a bias for them, and when they disagreed with it there was no listening and no obedience.”
So I say to my dear brothers who pledged bay’at to Tandheem Qaedat al-Jihad: Oh dear and beloved brothers, verily your bay’at to me and to Tandheem Qaedat al-Jihad is an honour and we cherish it; it is [a source of] pride for us, and a crown of our heads, and we ask Allah that we be worthy of it, and we ask Allah to make us better, and to forgive us for what we do not know.
Make firm the worshipers of Allah on their promises and covenants, and do not budge and do not fluctuate with every shout and suspicion and piece of propaganda. Beware of a breach of the promise. The Prophet (prayer and peace be upon him) said: “On the day of Judgement, when Allah will gather all the people, past and present, a flag will be fixed for every deceiver, by which he will be recognized. So it will be said that this is the group of such and such deceivers” [Bukhari].
Verily, this bay’at is incumbent upon you and upon us for advice and guidance and care and attention, and it is incumbent upon us and you to listen and obey, and let us be one hand—united in peace toward the allies of Allah, and war upon His enemies. We support the Muslims and the weak ones everywhere, and from Allah the Exalted we seek aid in all that is good.
I ask my brothers, as soldiers of al-Qaeda in Syria, to cooperate with all the sincere mujahideen, and to seek to gather [them together] and heal the rift, and to be the first racing for martyrdom and advancing the ranks, and competing to serve the mujahideen and the muhajirun and the weak ones and the Muslims. You must be the first of the people in exertion and giving [sacrifice] and stitching together the mujahideen and the Muslims, and be first in exertion against evil and conflict and discord.
This is a clear-cut order from me to you: cooperate with your mujahideen brothers, with whom you agree and disagree on jihad, in fighting the Ba’thists and the Rafida and the Safaween and the Crusaders and the rogue Khawarij.
But at the same time, I forbid above all, and emphatically warn above all warnings, against cooperating with anyone who is among the unjust—in oppression, aggression, and transgressing the rights of Muslims and the rights the shari’a has endorsed for the disbelievers. Do not shed forbidden [i.e. Muslim] blood, do not take protected wealth, and do not violate the dignity, honour, or the glory of a Muslim, and do not harm a disbeliever where the shari’a protects his rights. And if you fail to do so, we are absolved from any blame for your actions. O Allah, have I conveyed the message? O Allah, be the witness.
I ask my brothers, as soldiers in al-Qaeda in Syria, to be in contact with their leadership. It is present to serve them day by day with the help of Allah and his success.
The fourth matter: Verily, we call for unity in Syria and outside of Syria. Many of our brothers in Syria are reminded of our repeated call for that since the beginning of the jihad in Syria. They will remember that when al-Jabhat al-Islamiyya [The Islamic Front] was announced [in November 2013] I sent messages to the brother Shaykh Abu Khalid al-Suri (may Allah be pleased with him) and to Shaykh al-Jolani (may Allah help him) asking: “Why do you not unite Jabhat al-Nusra with this group?” I urged them to seek [unification with the Islamic Front], and if an agreement was reached on the matter to send it to me first to see it.
I remind my brothers in Syria that Tandheem Qaedat al-Jihad repeated many times that it is willing to give up its organizational ties with Jabhat al-Nusra if two matters were achieved: first, a union of all mujahideen in Syria, and second, the setting up of an Islamic government in Syria, and the people of Syria choosing an Imam. And then at that time, and at that time only—and not before then—we will give up our organizational ties, and we would congratulate our people in Syria on what they achieved, and remain brothers to them in Islam and jihad. As for the creation of new entities without unity, in which absurd schisms are repeated, this is what we refused.
Thus, the precedent [needed for the dissolution of bay’at to al-Qaeda] was clearly laid down by Tandheem Qaedat al-Jihad, and no organisation in our time established this to my knowledge. We ask Allah to make it so.
In conclusion I send two messages:
The first of them to our people in Syria.
I say to them: do not believe the superstitious myths about America, which says to them: al-Qaeda is the reason for all calamities in Syria, and [al-Qaeda’s] exit is the key to solving all the problems.
Did they not say to some to stay away from al-Qaeda to avoid the bombing? And did it stop?
And stay away from al-Qaeda so you are not classified [as a terrorist organisation], and were you not classified?
And stay away from al-Qaeda to achieve unity, and was it achieved?
My Muslim brothers in Syria: al-Qaeda is not connected to the disputes and the conflicts and the quarrels about unity, and those who do not want unity. … Al-Qaeda says to them: unite, and have the people of Syria choose an Imam for themselves, and we will be the first supporters. Why did they not unite?
My second message is to our dear ones, the crowns of our heads, the hero mujahideen of Syria.
I say to them, Allah the Exalted says: “Oh you who believe! When you face an [enemy] force, stand firm and think of Allah much, so that you may be successful. And obey Allah and His prophet, and do not dispute with one-another lest you falter [in courage] and [then] your strength departs, and be patient, for Allah is with al-Sabirin [the patient ones]” [Al-Anfal (8): 45-46].
Is obedience to Allah and His prophet a breach of the promises? Will the conflict lead to victory or failure?
We hear strange and wondrous things. A brother says: The Shaykh Abu Fulan [Abu So-and-So, Abu Somebody; refers here to al-Jolani] said that we are among those calling for al-Qaeda to be arrested.
Where have you been, oh Abu Fulan, when you were seeking refuge with al-Qaeda in Syria, and offering pledges of bay’at?
Did Allah—glorified and exalted is He—not make al-Qaeda among the great reasons why Ibrahim al Badri was defeated in Syria and in confronting his record and slander? Is it not al-Qaeda who clarified that the killers of Abu Khalid al-Suri were among the new takfirists, and is it not they who expelled Ibrahim al-Badri and his clique from the organisation? And is it not al-Qaeda who clarified the evidence and documented his lies and his deceit and slander? Is it not they who deprived his alleged caliphate of legitimacy? The global crusaders acted patiently with the lying Kharijites of al-Badri in order to do the most damage to jihadi ranks. Later they set about destroying them, and others.
And if—by the power of Allah—it was al-Qaeda’s understanding and abandoning of al-Badri that prevented him engulfing Jabhat al-Nusra, and if al-Nusra would have been engulfed had it stood with anyone else, they should consider with whom they throw in their lot [since al-Nusra/HTS might be threatened again by the Islamic State if they break from al-Qaeda].
When al-Qaeda’s leadership published a decision in the conflict between al-Dawla [“the State”] and al-Nusra, Syria resounded in joy, and Shaykh al-Jolani—may Allah make him successful—sent us a message saying that this is a historic decision, and what it made now in the course of history?
When al-Badri and his imposters were threatening to unite the mujahideen in Syria with their false pretences, pledges of bay’at were made immediately to al-Qaeda, and the messages of the different parties fell upon them: That they saved Syria, and when the danger of al-Badri shrank, then began the issuance of inventive words: Breaking of Ties and Tie of Confusion and Excessive Confusion, meanwhile our dear brothers Abdurrahman Atun in his reply to Shaykh [Abdul Munim Halima, better known as Abu Basir] al-Tartusi, may Allah help them both, and in his interview to a magazine “Jihadi Inspirations” confirmed that what was between them and between al-Qaeda was not a tie, but it was a pledge of bay’at.
The machine of meagre justifications began turning: The interests of the people of Syria, stop the bombing, forbid the classification as a terrorist, unite the mujahideen in Syria, a project for the people of the Sunna, a project for avoiding fighting and conflict between the people of the Sunnah.
Communications and contacts between us and our brothers continued for more than a year: Oh dear brothers, either unite the mujahideen in Syria [and then sever ties with al-Qaeda], or return to your organisations. We do not find justifications and ambiguities increasing the strength of poor arguments [such as]: Do you want to bomb the people of Syria? Do you want to prevent unity?
Oh brothers, you are in a unit larger than your unity, by the grace of Allah, you are in Tandheem Qaedat al-Jihad which is loyal to the Islamic Emirate [of Afghanistan (the Taliban)] in a broad jihadist assembly by the grace of Allah and his generosity.
The answers come [from al-Nusra/HTS]: No, al-Qaeda as a project is over, and time eats and drinks it, and we today are in the age of the jihad of the umma, and not in an era of organisations, and they are drowning in organizational conflict, and al-Qaeda will attract woes for us, and where is the interest of the people of Syria?
Oh brothers, we do not hate you or want to conquer you, and we do not threaten you with a skilful knife or with a bullet. If this was our situation, with emergency empowerment needed because of fear and earthquakes, what will we do together?
We do not ask anyone for an award or thanks, but we see our brothers being unjust and unfair to us.
The oppression of relatives is more painful to the soul than the impact of the sharp sword. Is this, oh Shaykh Fulan, your thanks to the grace of Allah, after the evil and darkness of Ibrahim al-Badri, to afflict us with another wrongdoing? And this al-Qaeda, oh Shaykh Abu Fulan, whose advocates you now threaten with arrest, your affiliation to it was confirmed by the beloved Shaykh Abu Khalid al-Suri, may Allah have mercy on him.
He sent me a letter in Jumada al-Thani in the year 1434 [April/May 2013], stamped with a beautiful seal which said: “I know, our dear Shaykh, that I did not change and did not transform from what we were in thought and manhaj and purpose, and the friendliness which was between us was what it was upon, but it increased and became greater, and I—like you promised me—was an advisor and a caretaker.”
To that he, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “In the end I ask the Lord to cherish you in Islam, and Islam cherishes you, and keep you as an asset to the Muslims. May we be gathered in the Gate of Damascus on his obedience and following His command, may Allah bless Abu Khalid.”
He did not say to me: “If you come to Syria, either enter under our command or we will arrest you”. And He did not say to me: “We will not allow you to create a new organisation”. Allah be glorified, Has al-Qaeda become a new organisation in Syria? And why did this love between us disappear, and get replaced with roughness and conflict and cruelty of the heart, the manipulation and plans to evade the pledges of bay’at, the dissociation from the brothers, and the work on expelling them and restraining them?
Are these the reasons for victory, or presuppositions of defeat?
The plans of the enemies to expel al-Qaeda from Syria aims to expel the last Syrian mujahid from Syria.
This was the fate of [the elected president of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood member] Muhammad Morsi, for those who consider … [W]ill you arrest me, and also Shaykh Abu Khalid al-Suri, may Allah have mercy on him, because he was on the manhaj of al-Qaeda in thought and purpose.
Allah have mercy on you, Abu Khalid, we miss you a lot.
The matter does not stop with limiting the arrest of men, rather it goes beyond to arresting of women who have emigrated and who are patient, and investigating their children.
Why did we descend to this level, does the matter not need to pause?
Another says: Shaykh Fulan and Shaykh Abu Fulan issued a fatwa licensing a breach of the bay’at with al-Qaeda.
Then, dear brother, call them on the Day of Resurrection to defend you. … Will he defend you? Allah the Exalted says: “Every man, that day, will have concern enough to make him indifferent to the others” [Abasa (80): 37].
Then why will you be disobedient to al-Badri and his clique, because they claimed legitimacy when they breached the bay’at to al-Qaeda? Why do you reserve for yourselves what you deprive him of? “Do you enjoin al-Birr [righteous conduct] on the people, and forget [to practise it] yourselves?” [Al-Baqarah (2): 44].
The matter was not limited to a specific organisation. The pledges of bay’at in Syria became like a railway station: passengers come, and others leave … future arrivals are welcomed, employees are the beneficiaries, and the spectators remain parked.
Oh my brothers, verily the bay’at is a shari’a contract, and the maximization of commands [to do good] and prohibitions [on evil] is in the fundamentals of the shari’a. Allah the Exalted says: “That [i.e. Manasik, is the command], and whoever honours the sacred things of Allah, for him it is best in the sight of his Lord” [Al-Haj (22): 30], and “whoever honours the symbols of Allah, it is surely from devotion [to His religion] from the heart” [Al-Haj (22): 32].
Let us look, my brothers and my leaders, the crowns of my head, the mujahideen of Syria, at our situation before these jumps and twists. The country and the provinces opened in record times, the enemies lost in landslide defeats, and you plundered great spoils. You wrote on your banners: unite us and support us Allah. Then look at our situation after these twists and turns, and after the fear of America leaked into certain hearts. Let us remember the words of Allah the Exalted: “Allah did indeed fulfil His Promise to you when you were, with His Permission, about to annihilate your enemy; until [the moment] your courage failed you and you fell to disputing about the order, and disobeyed, after He had shown you [the war booty] which you covet. Among you are some that desire this world and some that desire the Hereafter. Then He made you flee from your foes in order to test you, but He forgave you: Allah is full of grace for the believers” [Ali Imran (3): 152]. Oh Allah forgive us, and bestow upon us your grace. …
And Shaykh Fulan says: “We will not allow the formation of a new organisation by any means.”
The Emir of this shaykh and his shaykh is the Shaykh Abu Khalid al-Suri, may Allah have mercy on him, who wrote to me when I chose him, in dealing with the problem of the State and al-Nusra, as the representative of al-Qaeda’s leadership, to say they made a new organisation which is not permitted to be established, and he wrote to me—may Allah have mercy on him—a message full of affection in which he said: “To my beloved shaykh, Abu al-Fatah, may Allah protect you and guide you. I will not forget my heart and the feeling in my chest and the restoration of humanity after a few years of difficult days as what your dear book did to me.” He—may Allah have mercy on him—said: “While you have made your choice and appointed me in helping solve the crisis between the Islamic State of Iraq and Jabhat al-Nusra, I ask Allah that I be a sincere representative to you and a person who does not lie to his family.”
And what has changed? What has altered?
And another beloved shaykh, standing in a public meeting delivered a speech saying: al-Qaeda is finished, forget al-Qaeda.
Glory be to Allah, oh Dear brother, you are a handicapped poor person in need like me. Verily, the calamities will bring the afflicted ones together
Would you be pleased if al-Qaeda said about you: Abu Fulan is finished, forget Abu Fulan.
Allah willing, we never say it, do you know why, dear brother? Because we graduated from the school of Mullah Muhammad Umar and Mullah Akhtar Mansour, may Allah have mercy on them both, the school of the Islamic Emirate, a school of fulfilment and protection of the refuge, and sacrifice of your wealth and this dunya for the sake of Allah. …
The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: “The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim, do not oppress him and do not let him down or despise him”. And in the narration of al-Bukhari, may Allah be pleased with him: “The Muslims is the brother of the Muslim, do not wrong him, and do not betray him.”
That which is between me and between the children of my father and which is between my cousins is very different.
I will show them to the Nasari, but they will call me to victory which came to them,
And if they eat my flesh, I will provide them my flesh, and if they destroy my glory, then I will build for them glory,
If they blow into me enmity, I will not annihilate them,
And if they cut off the bonds from me, I will continue with them with love and affection.
If our brothers and our predecessors forget our promises and our rights, verily we will not forget their virtue and their exertion and their giving, we ask Allah to accept us and them.
The matter is not limited to the denial of al-Qaeda, but the jihadist Syria arena has become a jungle of conflict, and accusations have become shots; they bomb each other with fatwas; and each recruits Muftis [to justify all of this].
The promises and covenants are lost in the arena of interests, and this occurs on the agreement of unity. On the second day [after an agreement], they seek to evade it, and say that they hold to their bay’at but secretly, and then after a long time it goes away, and that enters into a new formation and then it splits and fights and fights.
The compass of fighting is lost, and instead of recalling the fact that what we are on a defensive jihad, waging jihad with every Muslim to obtain victory, everyone has begun fighting everyone else. The project for the people the Sunnis of Syria has become a project of fighting between the Sunnis of Syria. Those who yesterday were an ally and a partner, who we proud of joining with us, became a traitor and a client that must be eliminated. We—by the grace of Allah—are innocent of all this.
Oh our brothers and our protectors and the crown of our heads, the mujahideen of Syria, you have broken—in the futility of your conflicts—the hearts of Muslims in the environs of Jerusalem and in Lebanon and Iraq and Egypt and Jordan, who were looking to you to bring glad tidings of hope and salvation and a coming dawn of their liberation and their honour.
Oh brothers and protectors and the crown of our heads, the mujahideen of Syria, we have to bury our differences, and settle our conflicts, and gather together with our umma to repel the global and devilish Rafida alliance in Syria. It is a defensive jihad. Have we forgotten that?
The matter is not limited: rather, the splitting of the jihadi arena in Syria is little by little feeding into the tragedies of the umma.
In the Arabian Peninsula, al-Saud kills forty-four of the outposts of da’wa and jihad in two or three days, and not one person from the Syrian jihadi region comes out and deplores it. Why this withdrawal? Is it because they seek—in vain—to avoid being like al-Qaeda, hostile to America and Saudi Arabia? Why are America and Saudi Arabia hostile to al-Qaeda? They are hostile to it because al-Qaeda defends the rights of the Muslim umma, and exposes the agents and the traitors, and announces publicly that that rulers of the Peninsula and the shaykhs of the Gulf are thieves stealing the riches of the Muslims and handing it over to their enemies, a theft which Shaykh Usama bin Ladin—may Allah have mercy on him—called the greatest theft in human history, made by the hands of those agents, who made themselves an accessory to the American Caesar.
Therefore, America must hate them. Whoever America hates, let us defend them from it, even if we are bombed by America and we are destroyed by America and our country is split, and another client is installed from the sect of [Abdelfattah] al-Sisi and [Khalifa] Hiftar.
Observers say: Al-Qaeda attracted upon itself the enmity of the world, and we want to limit our cause to Syria.
Al-Qaeda, oh observers, defended the umma and our religion, and our dignity and our capabilities. To you, oh observers, did you not ask yourselves why the world gathered in Syria? If the jihad in Syria is a narrow and isolated issue, then why did all these forces and alliances and governments gather together to war against the Muslim umma in Syria? The problem in Syria is not a problem related to elections in the Philippines or in Ukraine. Syria is a field for the global war between Islam and its enemies; it is the modern episode of the Crusader Wars. This is the truth the observers shut their eyes to, while they wrap their necks around it.
In the same vein, Shaykh Umar Abdurrahman, may Allah have mercy on him, the global mujahid and patient one and the one proud of his religion, died as the giant who did not know bending, a prisoner of three things—blindness and disease and imprisonment. Our shaykh, and the shaykh of the mujahideen, passed and not one word of remembrance for the shaykh came out of the Syrian jihadist theatre that I know of. If I missed it, then forgive me.
Is it not shameful to be ignored by the mujahideen of Syria, while his lawyer, Lynn Stewart, who spent seven years in prison because she was defending him and transmitting his statements, went to the hospital where he died and placed a wreath of flowers for him.
It is not only outside of Syria, but even in Syria itself that the mujahid movements renounce the greatest mujahideen and their shaykhs. My dear brother, the [deputy] leader [of al-Qaeda,] Shaykh Abu al-Khayr [real name: Abdullah Muhammad Rajab Abd al-Rahman], may Allah have mercy on him, was martyred in the middle of the mujahideen, and not a single word from a jihadist movement in Syria was published in remembrance of him. Why? Because he was from al-Qaeda, which is the enemy of America? Abu al-Khayr?! They [the jihadists in Syria] benefitted from him the most, then there was not one word of remembrance or lamentation, while condolences and congratulations were published in Yemen and North Africa.
Oh our brothers, our protectors and the crown on our heads, the hero mujahideen of Syria, Allah the Exalted says: “Allah’s good pleasure was upon the believers when they swore allegiance unto thee [Muhammad] beneath the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down peace of reassurance on them, and rewarded them with an imminent victory” [Al-Fatah (48): 18].
And Allah the Exalted said: “They ask you about the spoils of war, then say: ‘The [decision about] spoils is for Allah and the messenger’. So fear Allah and amend the differences between you” [Al-Anfal (8): 1].
And Allah the Glorified said: “Verily, those of you who turned back on the day the two hosts met, it was Shaytan [the devil] who caused them to backslide [i.e. run away], because of some [sins] they had earned. But Allah has forgiven them. Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing” [Ali Imran (3): 155].
And Allah the Exalted says: “When a single disaster smites you [at Uhud], although you smote [your enemies] with one twice as great, you say: ‘From where does this come to us?’ Say [to them], ‘It is from yourselves [because of your evil deeds]’. Allah has power over all things” [Ali Imran (3): 165].
We want, and I am the first who wants it, to fix what is in our hearts, and our Lord knows from us the humiliation of the believers and pride of the disbelievers, and to stand with ourselves as a sincere stance, we review and correct ourselves and seek forgiveness and put aside victory and conquest and comfort.
We want to stand with our umma from Turkistan to the coasts of the Atlantic as one compact and single solid rank. We want to achieve that expressed in the words of Allah the Exalted: “Verily, Allah loves those who fight for His cause in ranks, as if they were a [single] solid structure” [Al-Saf (61): 4].
Oh Allah, gather us together and heal our hearts, and unite our ranks, and support us against our enemy, and do not accept our sins, and do not allow us to squander ourselves. Oh Allah, do not deprive us of Your victory and do not reply to du’a with our sins. Oh Allah, if we are not ready to be victorious or to answer our du’a, then make for us your goodness and generosity and that is welcome.
Take our supplication to you and take the honourable to you. Oh Allah, you know that we are repelling aggression; save us from the harm of those who seek to expel us and harass us. We have delegated our command to you.
Our last prayer is that all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our prophet, Muhammad, and his family and his companions. And peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you.
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 Refers to the battle at Uhud, the second clash between Muhammad’s Muslim army from Medina and the Quraysh tribe in Mecca led by Sakhr ibn Harb (Abu Sufyan). The prior battle, at Badr, is famous in Islamic historiography because a small Muslim force overcame a vastly superior foe, a turning point in the spread of the faith. Uhud finished in defeat for the Muslim army, though the Meccan troops did not press their advantage by moving against Medina. The two sides fought again two years later in the “battle of Trench”, so named for the tactics adopted by the Muslims in defending Medina against siege from foes who significantly outnumbered them.