Syrian Jihadi Cleric Asserts Syria Is Greatest Arena For Jihad: Joining Battlefields In Mali And Niger 'Impermissible,' Fighting On Behalf Of 'Infidel' France And Wagner Group Against Muslims Leads To 'Apostasy'

May 13, 2024

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On May 12, 2024, the Telegram channel of independent Syrian jihadi cleric 'Abd Al-Razzaq Al-Mahdi featured a question-and-answer post on the religious edict regarding travel to join fighting in Niger or Mali. The cleric deemed it "impermissible" to leave Syria to wage jihad in other lands, arguing that fighting Muslims elsewhere on behalf of France or Russia's Wagner Group is to support the unbelievers; this leads to apostasy.[1]

Jihad In Syria Takes Precedence: "It Is Forbidden And Impermissible" To Fight Elsewhere

At the outset, the cleric responded categorically that "it is forbidden and impermissible" to go fight in Niger and Mali. His position is in line with previous fatwas he said he had issued in the past prohibiting Syrians from joining fighting in Libya and Azerbaijan.

According to Al-Mahdi, Syria is the greatest arena for jihad at present: "We are in a situation of defensive jihad, which is an individual obligation on all. The enemy is currently encamped on the outskirts of the city of Idlib."

He argued that leaving the trenches of jihad in Syria for combat in another land is akin to fleeing the battlefield at the time of fighting. He warned that by doing so, one commits one of the seven harmful things the Prophet of Islam cautioned against.

Fighting Under Wagner Group's Command, Or On Behalf Of France, Leads To "Apostasy"

"It is not permissible to leave the Syrian arena and go elsewhere. Whoever goes for money is a mercenary and not a mujahid," he asserted.

He warned that anyone killed in Mali and Niger soon after arrival will get neither the money prize, nor martyrdom, claiming that several Syrians were killed in Libya in the past, while several others were captured and handed over to the Syrian regime.

He further stressed that joining the fight in Niger and Mali is engaging in a battle against fellow Muslims on behalf of the French forces, or under the command of Russia's Wagner Group. He added: "If that is the case, then it falls within the category of supporting the unbelievers against believers. [Muslim] jurists have ruled that this leads to apostasy! So be extremely careful."

"Battle With Iranian And Regime Militias Is Continuing And May Break Out At Any Moment"

"O, Young people! The land of the Levant [Syria] is the land of encampment and the battle with the militia of Bashar [Al-Assad] and [Ayatollah] Khamenei is continuing, and may break out at any moment...So, be prepared, stand watch, and you will be rewarded. Make your intentions towards Allah sincere, and you will be granted success."



[1] Telegram, May 12, 2024.

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