November 03, 2007

By Gary H. Johnson, Jr.

A review of
Raymond Ibrahim, Editor/translator.
$15.95, 282 pp.
Recently, Raymond Ibrahim edited and translated into English a decade’s worth of public releases by al Qaeda’s leadership.  Published by Broadway Books, with partial proceeds donated to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader is not only a timely fountainhead for the United States citizenry’s understanding of our Jihadi enemies, it is also a necessary release for all Muslims living under secular governments to grapple with in the coming years. 

The text focuses on the prepared statements of both Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leading authority figures of the Al Qaeda forces, which coordinated and carried out the devastating attacks of 9/11/2001.   Since Muhammad’s definition of war is “deceit”, and al Qaeda has declared war against America, we can only assume that these al Qaeda releases hold a two-fold purpose:  to provide sound, doctrinal justification for terrorism; and to gather popular support for their cause. 

Raymond Ibrahim tackles these angles admirably well by splitting the releases into the broader sections:  Theology and Propaganda.  This revealing text brings forth the Doctrines of Loyalty and Enmity, Jahaliyya, Taqiyya, in jihadi context for the Western witness.  It also sheds light on the source blood of the modern Islamist mentality in terms of ibn Taymiyya as well as the pivotal battle of Taif eight years after Muhammad’s celebrated Hegira to Medina. 

Part 1, Theology, begins with a thesis entitled, “Moderate Islam is a Prostration to the West”.   What is obvious from this essay is that Osama bin Laden feels betrayed by the Muslim Intellectuals (particularly of Saudi Arabia) who would seek to stamp out extremism by helping President Bush in his “Crusade” against Islam.  Bush’s actual statement was made on September 16th, 2001: “This Crusade, this war on terror, is going to take a while.”  Regardless of President Bush’s intent, the slip was made, and Osama bin Laden berates these “Moderate Muslims” for not including into their dialogue, with the Western Crusaders, three central elements of the Islamic Faith:  the doctrine of Loyalty and Enmity; the necessity of jihad; and the bounds of Sharia. 

Osama bin Laden chides the moderates for seeking the UN’s concept of equality, freedom, and justice, which differ from the Islamic Notions, of the same, in the sunna tradition.  This train of thought rolls like a juggernaut into its culmination on page 43 when Osama places down the cornerstone of Al Qaeda, the Koranic ayat (sign/verse) 60:4, in which Allah via his Messenger, Muhammad, summarizes the Muslim-Infidel relation as plainly exampled by Abraham, when he states
“We disown you and that which you worship besides Allah.  We renounce you. Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us–till you believe in Allah alone.”
Bin Laden lays the brick with ease, stating,
“Battle, animosity, and hatred – directed from the Muslim to the infidel – is the foundation of our religion.  And we consider this a justice and kindness to them.”  [emphasis added]
Osama is vexed by the pesky Moderates, since they don’t uphold Islam while dealing with the West.  After all, he notes that,
“Muslims are obligated to raid the lands of the infidels, occupy them, and exchange their systems of governance for an Islamic system, barring any practice that contradicts the sharia…” 
It is as if bin Laden is saying, if only these moderates had simply invited the West to submit to Islam; but, instead, by cooperating with the West, they have become apostates, denying the ultimate truth of Islam its rightful place above the Infidel, who has only three options when confronted with the Islamic faith: conversion to Islam, paying the Jizya tax, or death.

Part 1 continues with a Treatise by Ayman al-Zawahiri entitled “Loyalty and Enmity”, in which he expounds upon Osama bin Laden’s efforts.  The controversial topic of Taqiyya is broached in which it is permissible for Muslims to associate with infidels to dissemble rather than befriend.  Taqiyya basically states that if forced to deal with infidels, lie and smile, remain secure in faith, knowing you are not helping the enemy.  Loyalty comes first, for all Muslims must heed ibn Taymiyya when he states,
“…he is obligated to befriend a believer – even if he is oppressive and violent toward you, while he must be hostile to the infidel – even if he is liberal and kind to you.”  
Al-Zawahiri confirms that all Muslims are ordered to wage jihad against infidels, apostates, and hypocrites by the consensus of the ulema (jurists of accepted hadith).