January 27, 2004 Special Reports No. 25

Contemporary Islamist Ideology Authorizing Genocidal Murder

January 27, 2004
Special Reports No. 25


Islamism, also called "radical Islam" or "fundamentalist Islam," sets Jihad - holy war against infidels – as the single most important religious duty of Islam. It differs from mainstream Islam in its understanding of th obligation of Jihad and of how it should be carried out.

Mainstream Islam restricts the religious duty of Jihad in various ways. First, according to mainstream Islam, not all infidels are to be fought against or killed. Infidels who live under Muslim rule as dhimmi, that is, who have accepted the protection of Islam and the conditions imposed upon them by Islamic law, are not to be killed. Further, most mainstream Muslim jurists maintain that even when Jihad is being fought, some infidels within the enemy camp, such as women, children, the elderly, and the disabled, should be spared. According to most Muslim jurists, certain types of arms or methods of warfare must not be used – for example, poisoned arrows and poisoning the enemy's wells – which could be construed as a basis for prohibiting chemical and biological warfare.

Second, in mainstream Islam, Jihad is usually construed as the collective duty of the Muslim community as a whole (fard kifaya ), rather than as an individual duty. That is, the Muslim ruler determines when and how to engage in it or to desist from it. It is not an individual religious duty, such as prayer or fasting, to be discharged by every Muslim (fard 'ayn). Only when the infidels invade the lands of Islam does Jihad become an individual religious duty.

Contemporary Islamism, however, holds that Islam is now under attack, and therefore Jihad is now a war of defense, and as such has become not only a collective duty but an individual duty without restrictions or limitations. That is, to the Islamists, Jihad is a total, all-encompassing duty to be carried out by all Muslims – men and women, young and old. All infidels, without exception, are to be fought and annihilated, and no weapons or types of warfare are barred. Furthermore, according to them, current Muslim rulers allied with the West are considered apostates and infidels.

One major ideological influence in Islamist thought was Sayyid Qutb. Qutb, an Egyptian, was the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. He was convicted of treason for plotting to assassinate Egyptian president Gamal Abd Al-Nasser and was executed in 1966. He wrote extensively on a wide range of Islamic issues. According to Qutb, "There are two parties in all the world: the Party of Allah and the Party of Satan – the Party of Allah which stands under the banner of Allah and bears his insignia, and the Party of Satan, which includes every community, group, race, and individual that does not stand under the banner of Allah." [1]

This article will examine contemporary Islamist sources advocating this approach to non-Muslims. [2]

I. Defining the West as The Enemy of Islam

The perception of the West as the enemy of Islam is widely expressed in Islamist circles. According to the Islamists, the U.S. and its allies declared war on Islam, which makes Jihad against them a personal duty for every Muslim. The people of the West, as enemies of Islam, necessarily deserve to be annihilated.

A. Crusaders, Jews, Shi'ites, and Leaders of Muslim Countries Threaten Islam

Al-Neda, a website affiliated with Al-Qa'ida, [3] published a series of articles about the war in Iraq. The 11th article in the series addressed the dangers facing Sunni Islamists in the region, stating them as follows:

"The Crusaders Threat: This danger will be manifested primarily in the expected missionary activities in Iraq, in addition to the military activities that aim at 'uprooting Islam.'

"The Jewish Threat: This threat has two aspects: The first is a Jewish plan, based on religious motives, to control Iraq. The second has to do with ending the Iraqi threat to Israel's existence."

"The Threat to Islam From the Muslims Themselves:" According to the article, "the believers," (i.e. Sunni Islamists) face popular as well as institutionalized hatred, and "this hatred is no less [intense] than the hatred from Jews and Christians. Sometimes it is a hundred times worse than the hatred of the enemies of the nation, the Jews and the Christians." The article stated that this threat emanates from the leaders of Islamic countries and the clerics who serve them.

"The Secular Threat:" "There is no doubt," the article stated, "that one of the greatest threats to the hegemony of Islam and the dominance of Shari'a [Islamic law] is the American secularism that will be imposed forcefully on the region… The Islamic world will change from dictatorship to democracy, which means subhuman degradation in all walks of life."

"The Threat of Those Who Abandoned the Islamic Tradition:"The article maintained that "since a large segment of Muslims" will oppose secularism, the "Zionist-Crusader coalition" is encouraging large spiritual groups such as the Sufis, "who are mostly infidels" and believe in monism, pantheism, and re-incarnation and observe laws that "appeared in night-dreams, wishful thinking, conscience, inspiration, and other endless falsehoods." Orders such as the Sufis "oppose Jihad and do not oppose the infidels."

"The Threat of the Rational School:"The article asserted that British imperialism planted this "deadly seedling that maintains that Islam is not opposed to atheism, and that Islam must get close to the infidel and coexist with him. This school of thought, which was established by Muhammad 'Abdu [in the early 20th century] and maintains that logic takes precedence over [the] text [of the Qur'an], may become the first stepping stone to secularizing the region, because it is a mixture of secularism and Islam."

"The Shi'ite Threat:" The article paid particular attention to the issue of the Shi'a: "The danger of the Shi'a to the region is no less than that posed by the Jews and the Christians. Throughout Islamic history, the Shi'a helped the Christians and the polytheists in their battles against Muslim countries. The seemingly anti-Jewish and anti-Christian Shi'a hatred is nothing but slogans used to export the Khomeini revolution…

"…The threat posed by the Shi'a to the [Islamic] nation is equal to the threat posed by the Jews and the Christians. They harbor the same ill will against the nation, which needs to protect itself from them and from being deceived by them… They pose a danger not only to Iraq, but to the whole region. If the Shi'a have influence over Iraq, or if they obtain some kind of autonomy in southern Iraq, they will be so much closer to extending their influence. After all, they exist in considerable numbers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. If these Shi'a get organized and if their initiatives get support from countries that sponsor them – Iran, Syria, and Lebanon – it will mean that they have reached advanced stages in their 50-year plan…

"The Muslims should be careful, because the Shi'a do not hesitate to cooperate with the Crusaders and the Jewish enemies [of] the Sunna. The Shi'a believe that the threat of the Sunna and their unbelief is greater than the threat posed by the Jews and the Christians. Whoever follows history knows that the Shi'a assisted the enemies of the nation who stabbed it in the back. It is bad enough that the Shi'a defiled the sanctity of Allah's house and stole the Black Stone [the Ka'ba] for 20 years, before it was restored to its place. Those who are familiar with the beliefs of the Shi'a can hardly fathom the depth of their evil and hatred. Beware [of] them, Oh Muslims.

"We also caution against those who advocate befriending the Shi'a. Such [an] approach can only cause further harm to the nation. To get close to the Shi'a is more dangerous than getting close to the Jews, because the animosity of the Jews is well known, while the Shi'a pretend [to be friendly] and deceive the nation…How can we approach those who believe that we should curse the followers of the Prophet Muhammad and accuse them of unbelief? They, who curse the Prophet's wives and accuse [the Prophet's wife] 'Aisha of prostitution?... If you advocate getting closer to people with such beliefs, then getting closer to Christians is not as bad… [Not] everyone who maintains that he is Muslim is indeed a Muslim, if his deeds completely nullify Islam…" [4]

B. The Christians and the Jews are 'Enemies of Allah'

While mainstream Islam considers both Jews and Christians to be "People of the Book" – i.e., non-Muslims who may be offered the choice of living under Muslim rule as dhimmis while retaining their religion – the Islamists tend to accuse Jews and Christians of being no better than idolaters. In his Qur'an commentary Fi Zilal Al-Qur'an, Sayyid Qutb states that the Jews and Christians claim that Allah has offspring, which makes them not only infidels but polytheists. Friday sermons across the Arab world are rife with references to Christians and Jews as enemies of Allah.

A preacher at the Ka'ba Mosque in Al-Madina, Sheikh Abd Al-'Aziz Qari, delivered a sermon saying: "Two groups – the Jews and the Christians – are the main elements constituting the Camp of Kufr [unbelief] and will continue to be its two foundations until Allah allows their downfall and annihilation at the end of days...

"When the Prophet Muhammad was sent out, the Camp of Kufr declared war on his message. At the center of this war were these groups, particularly the Jews. These two groups will continue to serve as the grindstones of the conflict and the war between belief and Kufr until eternity comes… The conflict will end when Jesus the son of Mary, peace be upon him, arrives to break the cross, and wipes it off the face of the earth, and kills the blind [false] Messiah, the leader of the Jews and the tyrant whom they await. Until that day, the conflict between us, the Muslims, and the Jews and Christians will continue, and it will ebb and flow, one day ours, another day theirs…

"The Jews are the objects of Allah's [promised] wrath, while the Christians deviate from the path of righteousness… The Qur'an described the Jews as a nation cursed by Allah, a nation at which he was angry – some of whom he turned into apes and pigs…" [5]

In a sermon at a Mecca mosque, preacher Sheikh Adnan Ahmad Siyami told worshippers, "[Islam] believes that only Islam and the Camp of Kufr exist, and that there is no way to reach Paradise and be delivered from Hell except by walking in the path of our Prophet Muhammad and joining Islam. Any other way leads to Hell… In light of this, my believing brethren, how can it be claimed that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all paths leading to Allah?!…

"Several years ago, a sinful call arose, which unfortunately garnered support from some clerics and preachers of this religion, Islam… [a call] for the unification of the monotheistic religions. They flaunted an empty and false motto of 'religious harmony,' Christian-Islamic friendship, and uniting the three religions into a global religion'…

"The call for the unification of the religions is a call for the abolition of religious differences among people: No more Muslim and infidel. All will come under the unity of human harmony… This accursed call has ramifications that most certainly will shake Islam in the hearts of its people, leading them to the lowest of the levels of Hell. This call will lead… to presenting the infidels' schools of thought as correct, and to silence regarding them; to permitting conversion to Judaism and Christianity with no shame whatsoever; to the abolition of the vast difference between the Muslims and others – a difference underpinning the conflict between truth and falsehood; to the transformation of the religion of Islam into a religion like the other, false religions, into a religion that has no advantage over the other religions…; to refraining from calling [people] to join Islam, because if the Muslim wants to do so, he must tell the truth about the infidels… This will also facilitate the conversion to Christianity in Muslim lands...

"[This is] … a call to dismantle the pact among Muslims in all the corners of the Islamic world and to replace it with an accursed alternative harmony - the 'Harmony of the Jews and Christians.' This is, in truth, a call to Muslims to stop accusing Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims of being infidels…

"There can be neither an agreement nor a meeting point between the people of Islam and the Jewish and Christian People of the Book… How can we permit the Catholic Pope's talk of a need to find meeting points and agreement between Islam and Christianity, so that there will be peaceful coexistence between the two religions and harmony between the two communities? Is it conceivable that there should be agreement and a meeting point with those who fabricate terrible falsehoods about Allah … claiming that Jesus, peace be upon him, is his son?!…" [6]

In a sermon at the Manar Al-Islam mosque in Mecca, preacher Sheikh 'Ali Muhammad Al-Baroum stated: "The idea of intertwining religions and the claim that the Jews and the Christians believe in religions of truth … are sinful claims and deceitful ideas unacceptable to the religion [of Islam]… It is forbidden to bring together Islam and the infidels, monotheism and polytheism… Allah's path of righteousness and Satan's path of Kufr." [7]

At Al-Rahmah mosque in Mecca, preacher Sheikh Marzouq Salem Al-Ghamdi said: "The Jews and Christians are infidels, enemies of Allah, his Messenger, and the believers. They deny and curse Allah and his Messenger… How can we draw near to these infidels …? They deny even the messengers sent to them. They do not believe in Moses, they do not believe in Jesus – because if they really believed in them, they would join Islam, because every prophet heralded to his nation the coming of the Prophet Muhammad and the need to believe in him…

"Some may say: 'How can the inventor of electricity be placed in Hell – he illuminated the world for us.' Others may say, 'How can we be hostile to the Jews and Christians when they invented and manufactured even the items we use in our mosques?' Still others may say, 'The messenger of Allah left his shield with a Jew and went to visit his sick Jewish neighbor. Why do you preach to us to do differently?' The truth is that this is an inversion of the facts, and deception. The Jew whom the Prophet considered a citizen had accepted the agreement [that the Prophet Muhammad had concluded with the Jews of Al-Madina] … and when his people violated that pact, and supported the polytheists instead of the Muslims, their punishment was death, captivity, and the expropriation of their assets.

"If the infidels live among the Muslims, in accordance with the conditions set out by the Prophet – there is nothing wrong with it provided they pay Jizya [8] to the Islamic treasury. Other conditions are … that they do not renovate a church or a monastery [and] do not rebuild ones that were destroyed, that they feed for three days any Muslim who passes by their homes … that they rise when a Muslim wishes to sit, that they do not imitate Muslims in dress and speech, nor ride horses, nor own swords, nor arm themselves with any kind of weapon; that they do not sell wine, do not show the cross, do not ring church bells, do not raise their voices during prayer, that they shave their hair in front so as to make them easily identifiable, do not incite anyone against the Muslims, and do not strike a Muslim… If they violate these conditions, they have no protection." [9]

In a Friday sermon in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Aal Nahyan mosque in Gaza, broadcast live on official Palestinian Authority television, Sheikh Ahmad Abu Halabiya, member of the PA-appointed Fatwa Council and former acting rector of the Islamic University in Gaza, said:

"Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them. Wherever you are, kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them – and those who stand by them – they are all in one trench, against the Arabs and the Muslims – because they established Israel here, in the beating heart of the Arab world, in Palestine. They created it to be the outpost of their civilization – and the vanguard of their army, and to be the sword of the West and of the Crusaders, hanging over the necks of the monotheists, the Muslims in these lands. They wanted the Jews to be their spearhead… Allah, deal with the Jews, your enemies and the enemies of Islam. Deal with the crusaders, and America, and Europe behind them, O Lord of the worlds…" [10]

A Fatwa issued by Saudi Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Athimein (d. 2000) stated: "Allah stated in his book [i.e. the Qur'an] that the Jews and Christians are infidels. Allah said: 'The Jews say Uzair is Allah's son; and the Christians say: The Messiah is Allah's son; these are but their verbal assertions, whereby they imitate the sayings of those who disbelieved before them. Allah ruin them, how are they turned away from the truth! They have taken their divines and their monks for lords beside Allah, and also the Messiah son of Mary. They had only been commanded to worship the One God. There is no god but He. Holy is He above that which they associate with Him' [Qur'an 9:30-31]. This proves that they worship other gods… Anyone who claims that Allah will agree to the existence of another religion besides Islam in this land is an infidel, and there is no doubt of his unbelief." [11]

In addition to the view that the Jews and Christians are infidels and enemies of Islam, some Islamist clerics go further and say that America is the leader of these infidels. In a September 21, 2001 essay on the events of September 11, 2001, the Saudi Sheikh Ali Khudeir wrote: "It is known that the infidel West, led by the Americans, is the greatest warrior against Allah, Allah's Messenger, and the Muslims during this time. Moreover, they fight against Allah, his Messenger, and the believers even more than Pharaoh and his people, [who fought against] Moses, because Pharaoh's struggle against Allah and [His Prophet] Moses took place within the borders of Egypt, while the war of the West, and particularly that of America, is against Islam everywhere, and the West is behind every war against the Muslims and supports every government, group, or tribe in their war against Islam." [12]

C. All Who Believe in Democracy, The Religion of Godlessness, Are Infidels

Some Islamist writings portray democracy as a religion – one that contradicts and competes with true faith – and thus refer to all those who believe in democracy as infidels. The book 'Democracy Is a Religion ' was written by Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi, a pseudonym for Asem Al-Burqawi. Al-Burqawi, Palestinian in origin, belongs to the Salafi movement. He lived in Kuwait but was expelled to Jordan after the first Gulf War, and in November 2001 was arrested by the Jordanian authorities. The following are excerpts from his book:

"[Democracy is] denying Allah the Almighty, associating [other deities] with [Allah,] the Sovereign of heaven and earth, and is contrary to the religion of unity [i.e. Islam] and the religion of the prophets, for many reasons, among them:

"First, [democracy] is legislated by the masses or the regime of tyrants, and it is not the rule of Allah the Exalted. Allah commanded his Prophet to act according to the law that Allah sent down to him, and forbade him from following the desires of the nation or the masses and warned him that they would divert him from part of the [precepts] sent down by Allah: 'Judge between them by that which Allah has sent down, and do not follow their wishes to deviate from it' [Qur'an 5:49]. This [appears] in the religion of unity and of Islam.

"With regard to the religion of democracy and association [of other deities with Allah, i.e. polytheism], those who worship it say 'Judge between them by that which the people wish; be wary of deviating from what they want, desire, and legislate'… This is what they say, and thus it is determined that democracy is unbelief and association [of other deities with Allah] if it is implemented…

"Second, the rule of the masses or the tyrants is in accordance with the constitution, and not in accordance with the law of Allah, and thus say their constitutions and their books, which they sanctify over the Qur'an. Evidence of this is that the law [of the constitutions and books] is preferred to the law [of the Qur'an], and the law [of the constitutions and books] is higher [to them] than [the Qur'an's] laws… According to the religion of democracy, the masses do not accept the judgments and laws … unless they are based on the precepts and articles of the constitution, because they see it as the father of the laws and the holy book. In the religion of democracy, there is no consideration of the Qur'an verses or the Hadiths [prophetic tradition] of the Prophet, and laws cannot be legislated in accordance with them unless they are compatible with the precepts of their holy book, the constitution…

"Third, democracy is the vile fruit and illegitimate daughter of secularism, because secularism is a heretical school of thought that aspires to isolate religion from life or separate religion from state … and democracy is the rule of the people or the rule of the tyrants. But in any event, it is not the rule of Allah the Exalted, and it does not take the unswerving legislation of Allah into account at all unless it is first compatible with all the articles of the constitution, and then with the desires of the people, and even before that with the desires of the tyrants or the masses…

"Therefore, were the entire people to tell the tyrants or the lords of democracy: 'We want to act according to the law sent down by Allah, and then no one – not the people, not the MPs, and not the ruler – will have the right to legislate laws. We want to implement the law of Allah regarding the one who abandons his religion [Murtadd], the adulterer, the thief, the wine-drinker. We want to require the woman to wear a veil [Hijab], to act modestly, to prevent [her] from adorning herself. [We want to prevent] obscenity, corruption, adultery, sodomy and other abominations' – Were the entire people to tell the tyrants this, then the tyrants would immediately tell [those demanding it] that these demands are against the religion of democracy and democratic freedoms." [13]

D. Jews Aren't Even Human – They're Apes and Pigs

An extremely common insult directed at Jews (not only by Islamists) is that they are apes and pigs, or are descended from apes and pigs. This dehumanizing slur is based on three Koranic verses [14] which state that some Jews were turned into apes and pigs by Allah as punishment for violating the Sabbath. [15]

The Imam of the Al-Haram mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayis, explained in one of his sermons: "Brothers in faith, what do our Qur'an and our Sunna say? What does our belief say? What does our history prove…? They show clearly that the conflict between us and the Jews is one of belief, identity, and existence…

"Read history and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil forefathers of the even more evil Jews of today: infidels, falsifiers of words, calf worshippers, prophet murderers, deniers of prophecies … the scum of the human race, accursed by Allah, who turned them into apes and pigs… These are the Jews – an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption…

"Oh nation of Islam, today our nation is at the height of conflict with the enemies of yesterday, today, and tomorrow - the offspring of [the three Jewish tribes of Al-Madina] Banu Qurayza, Banu Nadhir, and Banu Qaynuqa, upon whom Allah's curse rests until Judgment Day. Do the sons of our people realize the truth about the nation of wrath and deceit…? The insult to and contempt of Arabs, Muslims, and their holy places reaches its height at the hands of the rats of the world, the violators of agreements, in whose minds abide treachery, destruction, and deceit and in whose veins flow occupation and tyranny… They are indeed worthy of the curse of Allah, of the angels, and of all people…" [16]

"When will the sleepers awake?" asked Sheikh Bandar bin Khalaf Al-'Utaibi, in a sermon at the Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq mosque in Al-Damam. "Is there any kind of humiliation we have not tasted from the brothers of apes and pigs?!" [17]

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Saleh Al-'Athimein said in a sermon at the Great Mosque in Al-'Unayza: "Oh Muslims, the Jews are treacherous and deceitful people over whom lies the curse and anger of Allah. They permitted what Allah forbade, with the lamest of excuses; therefore, He cursed them and turned them into apes and pigs. Allah sentenced them to humiliation anywhere they might be…" [18]

"Oh Muslims, see the state of the nation today, after it deviated from the path set out by the clerics," said Sheikh Mustafa Bin Said Aytim in a sermon given at a mosque in Mecca. "[The nation] has made the offspring of apes and pigs its stars; the hangers-on of the apes and pigs have become the centers of influence and power… The Jews, Christians, and the hypocrites gnaw away at the body of the nation and then carry out raids on it with the knights of the destructive media and with the deadly weapon of globalization…" [19]

In a sermon at the Sa'id Al-Jandoul mosque in Al-Taif, Sheikh Sa'd bin Abdallah Al-'Ajameh Al-Ghamdi stated, "The current behavior of the brothers of apes and pigs, their treachery, their violation of agreements, and their defilement of places of worship … are connected to their forefathers' deeds in the early time of Islam. This proves the great similarity between every Jew living today and the Jew living during the dawn of Islam." [20]

II. Islam Must Fight the West

Since the West and its allies are, according to Islamist perceptions, engaged in a crusade against Islam, they must be fought.

A. Jihad Against the Jews and the Crusaders

One example of this is Bin Laden's declaration of Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders. On February 23, 1998 the London Arabic-language daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi published bin Laden's declaration of Jihad which said that killing the Americans and their allies is a commandment for every individual Muslim. The following are excerpts of this declaration:

"Praise be to God, who brought down the Book, drives the clouds, defeats the factions, and says in His Book: When the sacred months are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, take them captive, lay siege to them and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush [Qur'an 5:9]… Prayers and blessings of peace upon our Prophet Muhammad, who said: I was sent with a sword in preparation for the Day of Judgment when God alone will be worshipped with none beside him. He assigned me a livelihood under the shadow of my spear and he assigned humiliation and lowliness to those who disobey my command…

"Killing the Americans and their allies – both civilians and military personnel – is a commandment for every individual Muslim who can do this, in any country in which he can do this, in order to free the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Al-Haram Mosque from their grasp, and so that their armies will leave all the lands of Islam defeated and no longer a threat to any Muslim. This is in compliance with the words of Allah: 'Fight the polytheists all together, as they fight you all together [Qur'an 9:36]' and 'Fight them until civil strife ceases altogether' [Qur'an 8:39].

"This is in addition to the words of Allah the Almighty: 'What keeps you from fighting in the cause of Allah and of the weak from among men, women, and children who supplicate: Lord, deliver us from this town whose people are oppressors, and appoint for us from Thyself some helper?' [Qur'an 4:75]

"With Allah's help, we call on every Muslim who believes in Allah and who wants reward to follow Allah's directive about killing Americans and plundering their property wherever they find them, whenever is possible. Similarly, we also call on the Muslim ulama, leaders, youths, and soldiers to carry out a raid on the American soldiers of Satan and on Satan's aides, who have become their allies…

"Allah also says, 'O ye who believe, what ails you that, when it is said to you: Go forth, all together, to fight in the cause of Allah; you are held down by your worldly interests? Is it that you prefer the hither life to the Hereafter? If so, you must remember that all this life has to offer is of little value in comparison with the Hereafter…[Qur'an 9:38]"

B. Killing the Infidels: Repayment in Kind [Al-Mu'amala Bil-Mithl]

Some Islamist clerics base the claim that infidels, and particularly the U.S., must be fought on the principle in Shari'a law of repayment in kind, or Al-Mu'amala Bil-Mithl – that is, infidels must be killed in the same numbers that Muslims were killed by them.

When making these calculations, these clerics inflate the numbers in order to justify the numbers of Westerners already killed and to incite to more killing.

One example is articles by Al-Qa'ida spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith backing up his claim that his organization has the right to murder four million Americans. In his three-part article "In the Shadow of the Lances," posted on the web-site of the Center for Islamic Research and Studies, [21] Abu Gheith wrote:

"Allah said, 'He who attacked you, attack him as he attacked you,' and also, 'The reward of evil is a similar evil,' and also, 'When you are punished, punish as you have been punished.'

"The words of the ulama on these verses are clear: Ibn Taymiyya [in his book] Al Ikhtiyarat Wa-Al-Fatawa; Ibn Al-Qayyim in I'lam Al-Muwaqi'in and in Al-Hashiya; Al-Qurtubi in his Tafsir, Al-Nawawi in Al-Muhadhdhab, Al-Shawkani in Nayl Al-Awtar; and others, may Allah's mercy be upon them. [22]

"Anyone who peruses these sources reaches a single conclusion: The ulama have agreed that the reciprocal punishment to which the verses referred is not limited to a specific instance. It is a valid rule for punishments for infidels, for the sinful Muslims, and for the unjust.

"If by religious law it is permitted to punish a Muslim [for the crime he committed] – it is all the more permitted to punish a Harbi infidel [i.e. he who belongs to Dar Al-Harb, which Muslims must fight] in the same way he treated the Muslim.

"According to the numbers I noted, in the previous section, of the lives lost from among the Muslims because of the Americans, directly or indirectly, we still are at the beginning of the way. The Americans have still not tasted from our hands what we have tasted from theirs. The [number of] killed in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were no more than fair exchange for the ones killed in the Al-'Amiriya shelter in Iraq, and are but a tiny part of the exchange for those killed in Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, the Philippines, Bosnia, Kashmir, Chechnya, and Afghanistan.

"We have not reached parity with them. We have the right to kill four million Americans – two million of them children – and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons, so as to afflict them with the fatal maladies that have afflicted the Muslims because of the [Americans'] chemical and biological weapons.

"America knows only the language of force. This is the only way to stop it and make it take its hands off the Muslims and their affairs. America does not know the language of dialogue!! Or the language of peaceful coexistence!! America is kept at bay by blood alone…"

The Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, explained the principle of repayment in kind during a speech at an October 1999 conference of nuclear scientists from Arab countries on the future of nuclear strategy at the University of Asyut, Egypt. While stating that the Arabs should have nuclear energy but should use it only for peaceful purposes, he also quoted from the will of Caliph Abu Bakr. [23] Sheikh Tantawi said that the Caliph had instructed the Muslim commander Khaled ibn Al-Walid to fight the enemy with the sword if the enemy fought him with the sword and to use the spear if the enemy fought him with the spear. Sheikh Tantawi explained:

"Had Abu Bakr lived today he would have said to Khaled ibn Al-Walid: 'If they fight you with a nuclear bomb, fight them with a nuclear bomb.' Strength is [one] of the traits of good and wise people who know their obligation towards their God and towards their homeland, and they use this strength in order to defend their faith and their homeland. This is the Sunna that was known to the forefathers of all times, and is known to us as well.

"… Our demand that Israel join the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty does not prevent us from learning and advancing in science until we surpass it and until we act in accordance with Abu Bakr's words to Khaled ibn Al-Walid: 'Fight them with that with which they fight you.' Islam welcomes any force that serves truth and religious precepts and defends the honor of men. Islamic religious law states that every despotic and aggressive power must be eradicated. It should be fought, whatever its strength, and life is decreed by Allah. If Israel has nuclear weapons, then it is the first to be doomed, because it lives in a world that does not fear death. Israel's nuclear weapons do not frighten us; what does frighten us is [the possibility] that we will not wake up and [will] not advance. [Muslims must] welcome the use of nuclear energy for purposes of peace!" [24]

III. The Entire West Should Be Annihilated

In addition to claiming that Muslims must kill as many Westerners as Westerners have killed Muslims, it is often noted that the end of the West, and particularly the end of Christians and Jews, is near, and various Islamic sources are cited as proof of this.

A. The End of America and the Jews: Annihilation Like the Peoples of Noah, 'Aad, Thamoud, and Pharaoh

Some Islamists claim that America and the Jews will meet their end as did Pharaoh, the people of Noah, and the two ancient Arab tribes 'Aad and Thamoud, which according to the Qur'an rejected the message of Allah and were consequently annihilated. [25] In an article titled "The Infidels Will Be Obliterated," Seif Al-Din Al-Ansari wrote:

"Allah made annihilating the infidels one of his steadfast decrees. According to the [divine] natural law of alternating fortunes, Allah said: '[Allah will] obliterate the infidels' [Qur'an 3:141]. It inevitably follows that this wisdom [of the decree] has become the way according to which life is lived – particularly the aspect of struggle in life…

"… The Qur'an mentions this decree frequently, to the point that it makes you feel that it is a truth of supreme importance. It shows diverse examples and evidence in this matter, and repeatedly mentions the events [in which the infidels were annihilated]. Every time you notice that despite the differences in people and circumstances in these examples, and despite the difference in time and place among the events, there is one thing that connects them and one line that ties them together – and this is the decree of Allah, who orders, 'Obliterate the infidels' [Qur'an 3:141].

"The Qur'an made sure to emphasize this decree when it discussed the deeds of the prophets during their struggle with the infidel armies and how the end [of this struggle with the infidels] always ended in their [the infidels'] annihilation. Regarding the nation of Noah, it says: 'Do not entreat me concerning the wrongdoers, because they shall be drowned' [Qur'an 23:27]. Regarding 'Aad, the tribe of [Allah's prophet] Hud, it says: 'We cut off the last remnant of those who rejected Our Signs; they are not believers' [Qur'an 7:72]. Of Thamoud, the people of [Allah's prophet] Saleh, it says: 'The wrongdoers were overtaken by a mighty blast [storm], and they woke in their dwelling places dead corpses' [Qur'an 11:68].

"Regarding the people of Lot [it says:] 'We loosed upon them a torrent of rain. Observe, then, what was the end of the wrongdoers' [Qur'an 7:84]. Regarding the decree for the people of Shu'aib, [it says:] 'And the earthquake seized them, and they woke in their courtyards dead corpses' [Qur'an 7:91]. Regarding Pharaoh [it says:] 'We destroyed all that Pharaoh and his people had built and all that they had raised high' [Qur'an 7:137].

"Thus the Qur'an presented the death of the infidel forces throughout history: those who drowned in the depths of the flood, who died in the destructive blast, who died with the sound of a shout, who were swallowed up by the earth, whose houses and buildings were destroyed, and who [died] in other ways that only Allah knows…

"These events are only one set from the story of the ongoing struggle [between the Muslims and the infidels] throughout human life. These sights are only some of the scenes in which the decree of annihilation is manifest as long as the infidel forces exist…

"When we say that annihilating the infidel forces is a divine decree, it means that it is an immutable, valid law and a constant principle that does not change with time, place, people, and circumstances. As it existed in the time of Noah and Hud, so it exists in our time, and will exist also in the future…

"As the decree of annihilation applies to the infidel forces in the previous nations, and none was saved from it, so will it apply to the infidel forces of our time, and none will be saved from it. That is, just as the country of Thamoud, the country of 'Aad, the country of Midian, and other [countries] were annihilated, without a doubt the country of America and the country of the Jews will be annihilated. Moreover, all infidel countries will be annihilated, and with them all the pharaohs and the tyrants of the present time, whatever their elements of power and capability.

"It is worthy of note that this annihilation will come either by means of rapid and one-time collapse following a crushing blow … or by means of a gradual fall following a slow disintegration that will occur as a result of the accumulation of situations that will gnaw away slowly but effectively [at the country] and will ultimately lead to its collapse.

"Both scenarios – the rapid fall and the gradual fall – will be either by means of a direct decree of Allah or by a Muslim group that will answer the divine religious edict and actualize the divine decree. Allah the Supreme said: ' Whereas we await that Allah will afflict you with chastisement direct or at our hands' [Qur'an 9: 52]…

"We must believe that every infidel country is necessarily and undoubtedly ephemeral, and if their annihilation is not by a group of Muslims, for any temporary reason whether subjective or objective, one infidel country will be destroyed by [another] infidel country. This apparently is because the second is less corrupt [and] stronger than the first. Or it is for another reason that is not important now. What is important for us here is the statement that the infidel country has no continuity, and no infidel country is exempt, even a so-called 'superpower.'

"The invasion of New York and Washington constitutes an adequate example of the fall of the illusory strength [of the infidels]. With the fall of all the floors of the trade towers and the walls of the seat of the Ministry of War [i.e. the Pentagon], the symbols of power also fell; the symbols of eternity disappeared, and the true size of the evil power was revealed – it is smaller than people thought and weaker than they imagined. [This is because] an infidel country, whatever its capabilities, and however it concentrates its elements of power, cannot survive; rather, it must necessarily disappear [from the world]." [26]

Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali, a leader in conservative Saudi religious circles, told theQatari television channel Al-Jazeera onJuly 10, 2002,"… Relations between America and us differ from the relations between us and all the other peoples or nations. These are relations between two [very] different nations: One is a nation that was chosen by Allah, who tested it and purified it with disasters so that it will atone for its sins. Allah is using that nation in order to wave the banner of truth and justice on the face of the earth. This is our nation. There is also a tyrannous and evil nation that Allah is manipulating, unbeknownst to it, until it reaches the end to which it is sentenced – the same end that was the lot of all the nations of unbelief, tyranny, and aggression such as the peoples of Noah, 'Aad, Thamoud, and Pharaoh." [27]

Preacher Sheik Ibrahim Madhi of the Palestinian Authority said in a sermon at the Sheik 'Ijlin Mosque in Gaza that was broadcast on Palestinian television:

"Allah is almighty. Had He wanted – He would have beaten them. But He tests you [Muslims] in suffering. We must prepare the ground for the army of Allah that is coming according to the [divine] predetermination. We must prepare a foothold for them. Allah willing, this unjust state will be eradicated – Israel will be eradicated; this unjust state, the U.S., will be eradicated; this unjust state, Britain, will be eradicated – they who caused this people's Nakbah[the 1948 'catastrophe']...

"Allah, forgive us our sins, Allah, show us a black day for the Jews, like the day of 'Aad and Thamoud, Allah, turn them into pillage for us, Allah, we strive for martyrdom for your sake... Allah, we strive for your mercy and your paradise..." [28]

B. The Promise of the Stone and the Tree

"The Promise of the Stone and the Tree" is often mentioned in writings and sermons as a symbol of the Muslims' all-out war against the Jews in particular. A widely-cited Hadith affirms that just before the Day of Judgment, the Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them, and the stone and the tree will reveal the Jew who hides behind them – except for the gharqad tree. [29]

On the first day of the most important holiday in the Muslim year, 'Id al-Adhha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, in 2003, Al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden delivered a sermon, saying: "The [Islamic] nation has also been promised victory over the Jews, as the Prophet Muhammad has told us: 'The Day of Judgment will not arrive until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, until the Jew hides behind the stones and the trees; and each stone or tree will say: Oh Muslim, Oh servant of God, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him; except from the gharqad, which is the tree of the Jews.' This Hadith also teaches [us] that the conflict with the enemy will be settled by killing and warfare, and not by disabling the potential of the [Muslim] nation for decades by a variety of means such as the deception of democracy." [30]

"The Promise of the Stone and the Tree" recurs frequently in Friday sermons as well. In a sermon at the Old Mosque in Al-Jum'aa, Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abd Al-Majid ibn Al-'Aziz Al-Deheishi said, "He who doubts the victory of the [Islamic] religion is like he who despairs that the sun will not rise after darkness falls…

"For the contemptible Jews … is foreseen an encounter with the nation of Muhammad, as it is said: 'The Day of Judgment will come, when the Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them until the Jew hides behind the stone and the tree. The stone and the tree will say: Oh Muslim, oh worshipper of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him' – except for the gharqadtree, which is the tree of the Jews. These texts are certain proof of the victory of the religion of Islam." [31]

Saudi preacher Sheikh Sa'd Bin Abdallah Al-'Ajameh Al-Ghamdi expanded on the nature of the anticipated battle with the Jews in a sermon at the Sa'id Al-Jandoul Mosque in Al-Taif, Saudi Arabia: "We hear today about the beginning of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence with the Jews on the land of Palestine. We have heard of this in the past. The Jews came [to Palestine] over 50 years ago, and they have been streaming to it from the countries of the world since they left it centuries ago… They have suffered torments throughout their lives, and they will continue to suffer torments until the Day of Judgment. They will gather together with the Muslims, the Christians, and the others, group by group, on the holy land, and the Muslims will kill them after their ingathering, because the Jews are the supporters of the false messiah. Jesus the son of Mary will descend and kill the false messiah, will kill the pig, and will levy a Jizya

"The Muslims' battle against the Jews [will be] at the gate [of the city of] Lod, on the land of Palestine. The tree and the stone will surrender the Jews hiding behind them, except for the gharqadtree, which is the tree of the Jews. Indeed, they now often plant gharqad trees…

"The ingathering [of the Jews] from all corners of the earth on the land of Palestine is one of the signs of the Day of Judgment… the goal of this ingathering is so that [it will be possible] to torment them, and ultimately to kill them, until the last of them is killed together with the false messiah…" [32]

Drawing a scimitar and brandishing it above his head, preacher Sheikh Bakr Al-Samarai delivered a Friday sermon at the Abd Al-Qader Al-Jilani Mosque in Baghdad: [33] "Even the stone will say, Oh Muslim, A Jew is hiding behind me, come and cut off his head, and indeed we shall cut off their heads. By Allah, we shall cut them off! Allahu Akbar! Oh Jews, Allahu Akbar!"

In Friday sermon broadcast on PA TV, preacher Sheik Ibrahim Madhi told worshippers at the Sheik 'Ijlin Mosque in Gaza: "The Prophet Muhammad said… The Jews fight you, but Allah will establish you as rulers over them, until the Jew hides behind a stone or a tree, and the stone or the tree will say: Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah, a Jew is hiding behind me, come kill him – with the exception of the gharqad tree which is the tree of the Jews...'" [34]

"The Promise of the Stone and the Tree" is also taught in a ninth-grade Saudi schoolbook on the Hadiths. The book includes a story about Abu Hurayra, one of the Prophet's companions who quoted the Prophet as saying: "The hour [Judgment Day] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. A Jew will [then] hide behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will call upon the Muslim: 'O Muslim, O slave of Allah! There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!' – except for the gharqad tree, for it is one of the trees of the Jews." [35] The lesson is accompanied by a number of study points and questions for discussion:

Study Points:

1. "It is Allah's wisdom that the struggle between Muslims and Jews shall continue until the Day of Judgment."

2. "The Hadith brings forth the glad tidings about the ultimate victory, with Allah's help, of Muslims over Jews."

3. "The Jews and the Christians are the enemies of the believers. They will not be favorably disposed toward Muslims and it is necessary to be cautious [in dealing with them]."


1. "Who will be victorious on the Day of Judgment?"

2. "With what types of weapons should Muslims arm themselves against the Jews?"

3. "Name four factors leading to the victory of Muslims over their enemies." [36]

IV. The Annihilation Will Be Mostly By Your Hands

Some Islamic clerics emphasize that the annihilation of the West, the Jews, and the infidels will come about – according to the divine decrees – largely by the hands of the Muslims, who will torment them by means of Jihad.

In an article headlined "Allah Will Torment Them By Your Hands" that appeared on August 24, 2002 in the Al-Qa'ida-affiliated online magazine Al-Ansar, Seif Al-Din Al-Ansari wrote: "I would like to emphasize that the annihilation of the infidels is an unshakeable and inarguable truth. It is a valid and existing divine decree… It should be noted that total annihilation by heaven was stopped after the descent of the Torah, that is, since the time of Moses, peace be upon him. Allah said [in the Qur'an], 'We did reveal to Musa [Moses] the Book [i.e. the Torah] after We had destroyed the earlier generations…' Of course, the decree to annihilate [the infidels] still exists, and still applies in full, as it existed even before the descent of the Torah. This decree will not be completely implemented, to include all members of the infidel nation; rather, Allah will annihilate the infidels by means of torment [with which He will strike them], whether by destroying their country or by less than this. But in general, He will not completely eliminate them…

"When Allah announced to us that the annihilation of the infidels is certain, He did not use ambiguous terms; rather, he clearly said that it would take place in one of two ways: Either it would be done by Allah directly, or it would be done by the Muslim community, in compliance with divine law, in order to carry out the decree. [As it is said in the Qur'an], 'We can expect for you either that Allah will send His punishment from Himself, or by our hands' [9:52]…

"But the question is how the torments that Allah wants carried out by our hands will be implemented… The torments certainly will not be carried out by means of da'wa [preaching to Islam]… [but] by means of Jihad will Allah torment the [infidels] by killing, by means of Jihad will Allah torment them by financial loss, by means of Jihad will Allah torment them by loss of power. That is, Allah will torment them by means of Jihad… [Allah] said: 'Fight them, Allah will torment them by your hands' [9:14]. Ibn Kathir [37] said about this [in his Tafsir, or commentary, on the Qur'an]: 'After the descent of the Torah, no nation was struck with torments, but Allah has commanded the believers to fight the enemies of Allah'…

"The annihilation of the infidels is a divine decree, until the Day of Judgment. A large part of it will be carried out only by the believers – that is, by means of Jihad, as Jihad is also until the Day of Judgment, as [the Prophet Muhammad] said, peace be upon him, 'The Jihad is until the Day of Judgment'…"

Similar statements were made by Islamist preacher Hussein bin Mahfouz in a sermon posted on In it, he said: "It is a divine decree from Allah that the believers close to him will be saved and that his infidel enemies will be annihilated and destroyed. Since Allah created all mankind, as well as the struggle between truth and falsehood, he intended to destroy the infidels and save the believers… We are a people whose strength is in Islam and in waging Jihad. It is an honor for us that Allah set us to be like his torment of the infidels by deciding that the infidels will be annihilated by our hand." [38]

V. Killing Women, Children, and the Elderly is Permitted

One of the elements of annihilation in these Islamist writings is the permission given to kill women, children, and the elderly. Some Hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad forbid killing them, as in the Hadith from the compilation by Abu Daoud according to which the Prophet told Khaled Ibn Al-Walid during one of the Islamic raids, "Do not kill a woman or an oppressed person." Also, in the compilation of Hadiths by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, the Prophet said, "Do not kill the children [of the polytheists]." This is why Islamist clerics struggled with the question of how to justify attacks by Islamist organizations in which women, children, and the elderly were killed.

One Islamist writer actually based his justification for killing these noncombatants on the conduct of the Prophet Muhammad himself. In an essay published in September 2001, titled "The Truth of the New Crusader War," the writer, who calls himself “The Crusader Vanquisher Salah Al-Din" after Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyoubi, the 12th-century sultan who took Jerusalem from the Crusaders, set out the circumstances under which killing infidel women, children, and elderly is permitted according to Islam.

"First of all, we must clarify an important issue, and this is whether America is a country of war [Bilad Harb] or a country with which we have an agreement [Bilad Ahd]… It is agreed that it is a country of war, and it is permitted for Muslims to strike a country of war with all [kinds] of blows, because the blood, money, and honor of its residents are permitted. This is what the Messenger of Allah did with the Muharibeen [those from Dar Al-Harb, i.e. from territory not yet under Islamic rule that must be conquered ]: He abducted them like he did with the Banu 'Uqail [39] ; he plundered their merchant caravans as he did with the Quraysh; he assassinated their leaders as he did with Ka'ab Ibn Al-Ashraf and Salamah bin Abi Al-Huqaiq; he burned their land as he did with Banu Al-Nadhir; he destroyed their fortifications as he did in Taif, and other things.

"Perhaps someone will say that if those who died [on September 11, 2001] are innocent women, elderly, and children, who must not be harmed even if they belong to a group from Dar Al-Harb, then how are these operations permitted by religious law?

"We say [in response] that the sanctity of the blood of women, children, and the elderly [from among the people of Dar Al-Harb] is not absolute. Moreover, there are certain cases in which it is permitted to kill them when they [belong] to the people of Dar Al-Harb

"The first case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels [that is, children, women, and the elderly] in order to repay in kind. If the infidels target Muslim women, children, and elderly, then it is permitted for Muslims to repay them in kind and kill [their women, children and elderly] as they killed. This is because of the word of Allah the Supreme, 'Anyone who attacks you, attack him as he attacked you,' and also because of other evidence.

"The second case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels in the event that they [the Muslims] attack them and cannot differentiate between those with immunity and the warriors or fortifications and, accordingly, they are permitted to kill them as a result [of inability to distinguish] and not with premeditation. This is because of what the Messenger said when asked about the offspring of the infidels [whom Muslims attacked] in an ambush and [during it] harmed their women and their children and said: 'They [the children] are of them [the warriors].' [40] This proves that it is permissible to kill women and children because of [the deeds of] their fathers when it is not possible to distinguish between them [and the infidel warriors]…

"The third case: It is permissible for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels if they are aiding the fighting in deed, word, opinion, or any other way. This is because of the Prophet's order to kill Duraid ibn Al-Simma, who was 120 years old and went with the Hawazin tribe [to fight against the Muslims] to give them counsel. [41]

"The fourth case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels when there is a need to burn the fortifications or the fields of the enemy in order to weaken his strength, to breach the ramparts, or to topple the country, even if the inviolable ones die as a result, such as the Prophet did in the case of Banu Al-Nadhir. [42]

"The fifth case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels if they need to use heavy weapons that cannot differentiate between those who are inviolable and the warriors, as the Prophet did at Taif.

"The sixth case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels if the enemy uses women and children as a human shield and it is not possible to kill the warriors except by killing this shield. In such a case it is permitted to kill them all.

"The seventh case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels if the latter had an agreement with the Muslims and broke the agreement, and the imam had to kill the inviolable ones to make an example of them, like the Prophet did with Banu Qurayza." [43]

In November 2001, Saudi cleric Sheikh Abd Al-'Aziz bin Saleh Al-Jarbu' published the book 'Basing the Religious Legitimacy of Destroying America. ' In the book, Al-Jarbu' discusses, inter alia, the prohibition on killing infidel women, children, and elderly. Al-Jarbu' noted that while it was indeed forbidden to kill them, the prohibition was waived if they were participating in war [against Muslims] or counseling the warriors.

In his discussion, Al-Jarbu' presents an example of the two maidservants of a man named Abd Allah bin Khatal, whom the Prophet ordered killed because they sang vituperative songs – that is, they inflamed the warriors. Regarding this instance, Al-Jarbu' said: "If this was the decree against anyone who sang songs of vituperation against the Messenger, then it is all the more a decree against all those who to this added participating in a vote approving massacres of Muslims and against those who spread shame and prostitution to Islam and the Muslims…"

Al-Jarbu' went on to add: "All the ulama agree that it is permissible to kill women, children, and the elderly if it is not possible to distinguish between them and the other [warriors], particularly if the Mujahideen [Jihad warriors] wish to surprise the enemy in an ambush or in another way… Anyone who says that it is completely forbidden to kill innocents accuses the Messenger [Muhammad], His companions, and the generation immediately following [that of the companions] of murdering innocent people, because the Messenger built a catapult in his war with Taif [44], and the nature of the catapult is not to distinguish [between warriors whom may be killed and innocents]. [Similarly], the Prophet killed all the adult Jews of the treacherous Banu Qurayza, and did not differentiate among them…" [45]

On the U.S., he wrote: "It has become clear to us from past experience that America is a country warring against Islam and Muslims. Indeed, it is its greatest enemy. It uses war against Islam, and crimes and corruption that are inconceivable to humankind. Thus, it should be treated according to the laws of war on Islam, and not according to [laws] of peace and dhimmitude." [46]

VI. The Annihilation Will Be By Weapons of Mass Destruction

One means suggested for annihilating the Jews, Christians, Israel, and the West is through nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Sheikh Nasser ibn Hamed, a well-known Saudi cleric associated with Al-Qa'ida, wrote 'A Treatise on the Ruling Regarding the Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction Against the Infidels.' The treatise came in response to a question that came in the wake of media reports regarding Al-Qa'ida's intention to use weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. The question, on its part, was aimed at clarifying Islamic law's view of the permissibility of using weapons of mass destruction in the framework of Jihad, and specifically whether such permissibility would be inclusive or limited only to hour of need. The following is one chapter of Sheikh Hamed's lengthy response; the chapter is called 'Proof that the Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction Is Permissible.'

In this chapter of his response, Sheikh Hamed stated that it was permissible to use weapons of mass destruction against 10 million Americans specifically, and against infidels in general, and that support for their use could be found in Islamic religious sources. The chapter was divided into two parts.

The first part discussed the legitimacy of the use of weapons of mass destruction within a particular time frame against a particular enemy "such as the case of America at this time." According to Sheikh Hamed, it is permissible to strike America with weapons of mass destruction in order to repay it in kind. As evidence, Sheikh Hamed cited three Qur'an verses: "If you desire to exact retribution, then adjust the penalty to the wrong you have suffered" [16:126]; "Those whoso transgress against you, you may exact retribution from him in proportion to his transgression" [2:194]; and " The recompense of an injury is a penalty in proportion thereto " [42:40].

After citing the Qur'anic verses, Sheikh Hamed wrote, "Anyone who looks at America's acts of aggression against the Muslims and their lands over the recent decades will permit this [the use of WMDs] based only on the section of Islamic law called 'Repayment in Kind,' without any need to indicate the other evidence.

"Some of the brothers have counted the number of Muslims killed with their [i.e. America's] direct and indirect weapons, and this number has reached nearly 10 million. With regard to the lands burned by their bombs, their means of destruction, and their missiles, only Allah can count. The most recent case we saw with our own eyes is what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq without [mentioning] the fact that many Muslims became refugees.

"If a bomb was dropped on them [i.e. the Americans] that would annihilate 10 million and burn their lands to the same extent that they burned the Muslim lands – this is permissible, with no need to mention any other proof. Yet if we want to annihilate a greater number, we need further evidence."

In the second part of the chapter, Sheikh Hamed presents "the general evidence for the legitimacy according to Islamic law for an inclusive operation of this kind, in the event that Jihad for the sake of Allah requires it."

In his view, "[this evidence] is the texts according to which it is permissible to use this type of weapon in the event that the men of Jihad think it [necessary] for the commonwealth," and proves this with three different pieces of evidence.

The first piece of evidence is "texts that prove it is possible to carry out a surprise nighttime attack on the polytheists even if their offspring will be harmed by it." On this matter, Hamed wrote: "Although it is proven that the Prophet forbade the killing of women and children, [47] if you collect these Hadiths you will find that this is a prohibition on premeditated killing of them. But if their being killed is the result of a surprise attack and a raid, and an inability to distinguish among them [i.e. the enemy under attack] then there is nothing wrong with it, and the Jihad is not called off because of the presence of the women and children of the infidels…

"The second piece of evidence is "the texts that prove it is permissible to burn the land of the enemy…

"Ibn Omar's Hadith [48] proves that the Muslims must use any ploy against their polytheist enemies that weakens their power, thwarts their ploys, and facilitates the path to conquering them, such as felling their trees, drying up their water sources, and besieging them… This Hadith includes clear evidence that it is permissible to burn the land of the enemy if the fighting requires it."

The third piece of evidence is "the texts that prove that it is permissible to strike the enemy with a catapult and with similar things that annihilate them." On this, Sheikh Hamed wrote: "The clerics have agreed that it is permissible to strike the enemy with a catapult and similar things. It is known that the stone of the catapult does not distinguish between women and children and others; it is also [known] that it destroys any building or other thing that stands in its way. "This constitutes proof that it is permissible to destroy the land of the infidels and to kill them – in the event that the Jihad requires this and in the event that the men of influence from among the Mujahideen think so – as the Muslims struck these cities with catapults until they were conquered and it does not say that they ceased and desisted out of fear that the infidels would be annihilated down to the root or that their land would be destroyed."

[1] Sayyid Qutb, Hadha al-Din, Cairo: Dar Al-Qalam, 1962, p. 85 In Qutb's book Al-'Adala Al-Ijtima'iyya fi al-Islam (Social Justice In Islam), he wrote of the U.S. and Russia: "America and Russia are the same; they both base themselves on materialistic thinking. The real struggle is between Islam on the one hand and Russia and America on the other. Christianity is incapable of meeting the challenge. That is why Islam must be chosen now" (as cited in Haim, S.G. (1982),"Sayyid Qutb," Asian and African Studies, 16, pp. 153-154.)

About the Jews, Qutb wrote in his book Ma'rakatuna ma'a al-Yahud (Our Battle Against the Jews): "With their spite and deceit, the Jews are still misleading this nation, and distracting her away from her Koran in order that she may not draw her sharp weapons and her abundant ammunitions from it… [The Jews'] aim is clearly shown by the Protocols [of the Elders of Zion]. The Jews are behind materialism, animal sexuality, the destruction of the family and the dissolution of society. Principal among them are Marx, Freud, Durkheim and the Jew Jean-Paul Sartre" (a s cited in Haim, S.G., ibid, pp. 155-156).

In Fi Zilal Al-Qur'an, Qutb wrote: "The true goal of the People of the Book, whether Jews or Christians… is to lead Muslims astray from their religion to the religion of the People of the Book," and "No matter how you try to befriend them [i.e. Christians], nothing of all this will please them, except that you follow their religion and abandon what you possess of the truth" (as cited in Haddad, Y.(1983) "The Qur'anic Justification for an Islamic Revolution: The View of Sayyid Qutb, The Middle East Journal Vol. 37 No. 1, p.25)

[2] For this document, only Arabic-language sources were examined.

[3] Following numerous hacking attempts after the international media reported that the site was linked to Al-Qa'ida, its address was changed to

[4] As of April 25, 2003, the URL was:


[6], May 11, 2001.

[7], September 2, 2000.

[8] A poll tax levied on non-Muslims under Islamic rule.


[10] Palestinian Television (Palestinian Authority), October 13, 2001.




[14] Koran 2:65; 5:60; 7:166. Two of these verses, 2:65 and 7:166, specify that the violation of the Sabbath was the cause of the transmogrification. In the other instance, 5:60, the transmogrification was mentioned as a punishment for Ahl Al-Kitab (the People of the Book, i.e. Jews and Christians), who refused to accept the true faith.

[15] Sayyid Qutb also said in his Koran commentary that the Jews are apes and pigs.

[16], April 19, 2002.

[17], April 27, 2001.




[21], following numerous hacking attempts after the international media reported that the site was linked to Al-Qa'ida, its address was changed to

[22] Ibn Al-Qayyin Al-Jawziyya (d.1350), a disciple of Ibn Taymiyya and an author of Koran exegesis and Hadith commentary; Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Qurtubi (d. 1273), a Hadith scholar and famous Koran exegete; Yahya Ibn Sharaf Al-Nawawi (d.1277) well-known Hadith scholar and author of a famous Hadith collection; Muhammad ibn Ali Al-Shawkani (d. 1839), a Yemenite religious scholar whose writings influence modern Islamist thought.

[23] It is interesting that the will of Caliph Abu Bakr is usually cited to demonstrate Islam's desire to avoid harming civilians in wartime.

[24], November 17, 1999. For more on this conference, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 59, Highest Ranking Official Cleric in Egypt Calls for Arabs and Muslims to Acquire Nuclear Weapons to Counter Israel November 19, 1999.

[25] Qur'an, Surah 11.

[26] Al-Ansar, No. 15, August 10, 2002.

[27] Al-Jazeera television (Qatar), July 10, 2002.

[28] Palestinian Television (Palestinian Authority), June 8, 2001.

[29] This tradition, is found in many sources, e.g., Muslim's Sahih No. 5203 and Ahmad ibn Hanbal's Musnad, No. 9029. The gharqad is a type of thorny bush.

[30] This year, the holiday started on February 11. The sermon was published in February 16th, 2003 on (Al-Nidaa Web site), and also broadcast on Al-Jazeera television, with excerpts appearing on the front page of the London Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat, February 16, 2003.



[33] Iraqi Television, February 14, 2003.

[34] Palestinian Television (Palestinian Authority), August 3, 2001.

[35] Al-Hadith for the Ninth Grade (2000), Saudi Arabia, p. 122.

[36] Al-Hadith for the Ninth Grade (2000), Saudi Arabia, p. 123.

[37] 'Imad Al-Din Abu Fidaa Isma'il Ibn Omar Al-Qurashi Al-Batzrawi, from Bazra, Iraq, who lived during the 14th century. He was a student of Ibn Taymiyya, (d. 1328), the spiritual father of Wahhabism.


[39] Companions of the Prophets abducted a member of the Banu 'Uqail tribe because this tribe was an ally of the Thaqif tribe that had captured two of the Prophet's companions. The Prophet permitted his companions to carry out this abduction.

[40] According to a Hadith from the compilation by Muslim, in the book of Jihad and Expedition, in the chapter called "It is Permitted to Kill Women and Children in an Ambush Without Premeditation" by Sa'b Ibn Juthama, who wrote that when Muhammad was asked about the children of polytheists who were killed unintentionally in an ambush set by Him and His Companions, Muhammad answered, 'They [the children] are of them [the men]' – meaning that killing them unintentionally in an ambush is permitted.

[41] Ibn Qudama notes that the Prophet ordered him killed in the Battle of Hunein because he knew military stratagems. See Al-Tamhid 16:142,

[42] The Banu Nadhir were a Jewish tribe living in Al-Madina. After the Battle of Uhud [625], Muhammad demanded that they leave. They entrenched themselves and did not comply with Muhammad's order; in response, Muhammad cut down the palm trees that were their only source of livelihood. After that, they agreed to surrender, hand over their weapons, and depart.

[43] The Banu Qurayzawere another the Jewish tribe living in the Al-Madina region. The tribe was annihilated by the Prophet Muhammad in 627 because they had aided his enemies.

[44] As related in Kitab Al-Maghazi by Al-Waqidi, the Prophet Muhammad set up a catapult to attack the fortifications of Al-Taif and conquer it.

[45] Abd Al-'Aziz bin Saleh Al-Jarbu', Basing the Religious Legitimacy to Destroy America, November 2001, pp. 38-39,

[46] Ibid p. 74.

[47] The writer qualifies the words and in a footnote points out that this was on condition that they did not fight together with the infidels.

[48] He is referring to the Hadith cited in the two reliable Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim, from Ibn Omar, who said: "The Prophet burned and felled the date groves of [the Jewish tribe] Abu Nadhir and in this matter [the verse] that came down from Allah said "Whatever date palm you felled or left standing on their roots was by Allah's command" [59:5].

Share this Report: