Earlier today, the Islamic State (IS) released a speech through Al-Furqan Media by its new spokesman, Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi. The statement was brief, just under eight minutes, and entitled, “Whosoever Fulfils That Which He Has Promised God, On Him Will He Bestow A Great Reward” (drawn from Qur’anic verse, 48:10). Abu Hamza confirmed that IS’s caliph, Ibrahim al-Badri (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi), was dead, killed in the American raid in Idlib in the early hours of the morning [Syria time] on 27 October, and that his predecessor, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, was also deceased, killed in an airstrike the day after Al-Baghdadi’s demise. The new IS leader was announced as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi. IS released a transcript of the speech, which is reproduced below with some editions for transliteration and interesting sections highlighted in bold.
In terms of biographical information, Abu Hamza gave little away. Abu Hamza officially confirmed for the first time that Abu Hassan was from Saudi Arabia. Abu Hamza hinted of himself that he was a muhajir (emigrant, i.e. non-Iraqi), a legacy member of the IS movement, and seems very much in the warrior-scholar tradition of Umar Yusef al-Juma (Abu Anas al-Shami), the first overall deputy to IS’s founder, Ahmad al-Khalayleh (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi), who was a cleric by origin and then took up arms to serve the jihad, notably at Falluja in 2004. No biographical details were given about Abu Ibrahim, except that his appointment was recommended by Al-Badri. The latest edition (206) of Al-Naba, IS’s newsletter, was released hours after the speech and provided nothing additional.
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All praise is due to God, the Lord of all creation, the Supporter of His worshipers the muwahideen [monotheists], and may peace and blessings be upon he who was sent with the sword as a mercy to all of creation, our Prophet Muhammad, and his entire family and all of his Sahaba [Companions].
God says: “Let those fight in the way of Allah [i.e. Islam’s believers] sell the life of this world for [the sake of] the hereafter. Whoso fighteth in the cause of God, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a great reward.” [An-Nisa (4): 74].
O Muslims, O mujahideen for the sake of God, O soldiers of the Islamic State and its citizens, we announce to you the loss of the renewal Imam, the working worshiping scholar, amir al-mu’mineen [commander of the faithful, prince of the believers] and the khalifa [caliph] of Muslims, Shaykh al-Mujahid Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Ibrahim bin Awwad al-Badri al-Husayni al-Qurayshi (may God accept him). And we also announce to you the loss of the official spokesman of the Islamic State, Shaykh al-Mujahid Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir (may God accept him). They were both killed in the recent days. Indeed, to God we belong, and to Him we will return.
Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (may God accept him) became amir al-mu’mineen after the Mujahid Shaykh Abu Umar al-Baghdadi (may God accept him), and God helped him restore life to jihad in Iraq, and to support the Muslims in Syria, and then by his hands, territories were conquered, the religion was established, and the honour of Muslims was protected. God granted him success to make the shari’a of God rule [the land], and enabled him to bring back the caliphate and religious rites which were ignored by the tawaghit of Arabs and non-Arabs. He gathered under his banner the scattered groups of mujahideen from all around the world, and with them he carried out jihad against the kuffar [disbelievers] and murtadeen [apostates] from the people belonging to all false creeds. He was patient in [dealing with] hardship, torment, and the loathing of the [Islamic State’s] enemies, until God destined him to die for His sake while he was steadfast on His religion, and marched forward without retreating, carrying out jihad against his enemies. We count him as being so and God is his judge.
As for Shaykh Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir (may God accept him), he was among the veterans of mujahideen who made hijra to Iraq. He was from the Peninsula of Muhammad [i.e. Saudi Arabia], who was harmed and suffered for the sake of the religion of God. He was patient and steadfast and he continued in carrying out jihad. He took responsibility after the death of the previous spokesman, Shaykh al-Mujahid Abu Muhammad al-Adnani (may God accept him), and during the hardest times of jihad against the Crusaders and murtadeen. He was a great minister and helper for amir al-mu’mineen, and he continued on that status until he attained the death that was ordained for him. We ask God to elevate his rank among the highest.
Following the sunna of the noble Sahaba, there was a rush to assign an Imam in order to preserve the group of Muslims and keep their affairs in order. The Majlis al-Shura [Consultation Council, the executive committee] of the Islamic State, may God preserve it, met immediately after confirming the istishhad [martyrdom] of Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (may God accept him). The shukykh of mujahideen agreed, after consulting with their brothers and following the advice of amir al-mu’mineen (may God accept him), to pledge bay’a [an oath of allegiance] to the mujahid shaykh, the worshiping working scholar, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi (may God preserve him). He is appointed as amir al-mu’mineen and caliph of Muslims. We ask God to grant him success, guidance, conquest, and wisdom. We also ask God to help him accomplish what his previous brothers have started, to grant him the good followers, and enable conquest by his hands over lands and win the hearts of people.
God says: “Verily, those who pledge bay’a to you, [O Muhammad,] they are giving allegiance to God Himself. The hand of God is over their hands, so anyone who breaks his pledge does so to his own detriment, while he who keeps his covenant with God, on him will He bestow a great reward” [Al-Fath (48): 10].
Hence, O Muslims everywhere, come forward to pledge bay’a to amir al-mu’mineen and gather around him. By God, he is one of the prominent figures of jihad, one of its ulama [clergy] and one of the emirs of the righteous. He is among the pioneers to aid the religion of God and fighters against His enemies. The battlefields and homelands of brave men bear witness for him. He fought against the protector of the Cross, America, and had it tested in hardship. So, he is knowledgeable in how to combat it and he is aware of its plots.
Therefore, O America, do not rejoice in the death of Shaykh al-Baghdadi, and do not forget the death you tasted at his hands (may God accept him). O America, do you not realize that the Islamic State today is a footstep away from the gates of Europe and the entrance of Central Africa? Moreover, it remains and expands [baqiya wa-tatamadad], by God’s permission, from east to west. Do you not understand your condition after you ended your war against the Islamic State? Can you not see how you have become an object of ridicule among other nations, your fate controlled by a blundering old man, who has one opinion in the evening and another the next morning. Do not celebrate and do not be boastful, for unto you has come a man who will make eclipse the hardship of what you have seen before, by God’s permission. You will think that what Shaykh al-Baghdadi (may God accept him) made you go through was the easy part.
We call upon our brothers in all the wilayat [“provinces”; the foreign IS branches] to have patience, be hopeful of your rewards, steadfast on your religion and jihad, adhere to the group of Muslims and its Imam, be keen to avenge your imams and brothers against the kuffar and murtadeen, and make the effort to fulfill the will of amir al-mu’mineen (may God accept him) in his last voice message, when he advised to set free the captive Muslims from their prisons, remove unjust from the oppressed, insist on calling people for this religion, get closer to our Lord by shedding the blood of mushrikeen [idolaters], and have patience until you meet God while conducting jihad.
God says: “Many prophets have fought [in God’s cause], with large bands of godly men alongside them. They never lost heart when facing suffering for God’s cause, they did not weaken nor surrender. And God loves those who are steadfast. They said nothing but: ‘Our Lord! forgive us for our sins and excesses, make our foothold sure, and give us victory over the disbelieving folk’. So God gave them the reward of this world, and the excellent reward of the Hereafter. God loves Al-Muhsinun [the doers of good deeds].” [Ali Imran (3): 146-148].
And all praise is due to God, the Lord of all creation.