July 18, 2003 Special Dispatch No. 539

A New Bin Laden Speech

July 18, 2003
Special Dispatch No. 539

Recently, a number of Islamist Internet forums posted a new speech by Al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden. In the speech, which was approximately 90 minutes long, bin Laden takes issue with Saudi clerics regarding the meaning of Jihad. The following are excerpts from the speech: [1]

'Without Hijra and Jihad, No Islamic State Will Arise'

"…Since the fall of the Islamic Caliphate state, regimes that do not rule according to the Koran have arisen. If truth be told, these regimes are fighting against the law of Allah. Despite the proliferation of universities, schools, books, preachers, imams, mosques, and [people who recite the] Koran, Islam is in retreat, unfortunately, because the people are not walking in the path of Muhammad…"

"In order to establish the Islamic state and spread the religion, there must be [five conditions], a group, hearing, obedience, a Hijra, [2] and a Jihad. Those who wish to elevate Islam without Hijra and without Jihad sacrifices for the sake of Allah have not understood the path of Muhammad…"

'Islamic Countries Are Responsible For Fall of the Taliban'

"We are in a situation of no longer having a country to which to make Hijra. There was an opportunity [to create such a country] – a rare opportunity. Since the fall of the Caliphate, the Crusaders made sure not to enable the true Islam to establish a state. Allah decreed that there be events in Afghanistan, and the U.S.S.R. attacked [Afghanistan]. The Crusaders relinquished their resolve [to prevent the establishment of an Islamic state] because of their fear of the U.S.S.R. [They] had no choice but to repel the U.S.S.R. by any and all means, even by means of the Mujahideen, the fundamentalists, and the young Jihad warriors of Islam."

"Thus the gate opened. But unfortunately, a decade later, the [Islamic] nation – particularly the clerics, preachers, and sermonizers, and Islamic universities – did not meet the obligation. Those who came to the land of Jihad in order to support the Muslims and the Mujahideen were a small handful of the youth of the [Islamic] nation, in addition to the funds donated by some merchants; these were not sufficient to establish a strong country detached from geographical and tribal loyalties. Our Afghan brothers found themselves in a unique situation; an Islamic state could easily have been established according to Islamic, not national or geographic, standards. But unfortunately… this opportunity was lost, and the people did not take advantage of it. I mention this in order to tell you that it is not an easy thing, and that now conditions have become [even] harder."

"Then, Allah made it possible to establish the Taliban state. The Taliban established [the state] and removed the conflict among the Afghans. They remained [in power] for six years, more or less. But the people remained captive to their fixed ideas and captive to the world media, which launched a mad attack on the Taliban and harmed their reputation…"

"Afghanistan is [but] a few hours away from the Arabian Peninsula, or from any of the countries of the Islamic world… but the Taliban state disappeared, and they did not lift a finger. I say that I am convinced that thanks to Allah, this nation has sufficient forces to establish the Islamic state and the Islamic Caliphate, but we must tell these forces that this is their obligation. Similarly, we need to tell the other forces, those who [are] restricting these forces, that they are sinning by restricting these forces…"

'The Commandment of Jihad Versus Other Commandments'

"There are people who say, and it is no secret, that the Jihad does not require the [participation] of the entire nation; these words are true, but their intent is not. It is true that Jihad cannot include the entire nation today, and that repelling the aggressive enemy is done by means of a very small part of this nation; but Jihad continues to be a commandment incumbent personally upon every Muslim. But they [i.e. the clerics identified with the regimes] disagree with us [on] this ruling and say: 'If we sent you a few thousand, you would not manage to take them in. It is not logical that we abandon all the breaches [on other fronts] and go, all of us, to wage Jihad…'"

"If Jihad becomes a commandment incumbent personally upon every Muslim, it [Jihad] rises to the top of the priorities, and there is no doubt of this, as Sheikh Al-Islam [Ibn Taymiya] said: 'Nothing is a greater obligation than repelling the aggressive enemy who corrupts the religion and this world – except faith itself.'"

"There is no place to claim that if everyone went to Jihad it could not take them all in. This [claim] is the product of an abnormal flaw in Islamic religious law, and of the abnormal submission to the [concepts of] this world. When the number of [Mujahideen] will be sufficient to repel the aggressive enemy, Jihad will automatically be transformed from a commandment incumbent personally upon every Muslim to a commandment incumbent upon all Muslims as a collective… He who claims that Jihad is a tremendous ritual but that there are other [important] rituals does not understand the path of Muhammad…"

'Clerics Who Refrain From Inciting To Jihad'

"Most unfortunately, the young people who have the ability to sacrifice [themselves] for the religion are suffering by listening to and obeying Islamic clerics who refrain [from fulfilling the commandment of Jihad], even though such people must not be listened to or obeyed. Therefore, these forces [who obey these clerics] remain paralyzed; they [the clerics] incite them away from carrying out the commandment that is incumbent upon them personally and towards commandments incumbent upon the collective, such as study. [Even] if everyone became a cleric, there would be no religious revival that does not include [the five conditions of] a group, hearing, obedience, a Hijra and a Jihad…"

"Great evil is spreading throughout the Islamic world: the imams calling people to hell are those who appear more than others at the side of rulers in the region, the rulers of the Arab and Islamic world. Through the media and their own apparatuses, through their ruin of the country by their adoption of destructive ideas, and laws created by man… from morning to evening, they call the people to the gates of hell…"

"The heresy against Allah and His Prophet is being carried out before the eyes and ears of all in newspapers, television, radio, and symposiums, and none oppose it… In this situation, only one thing takes precedence over all other commandments, apart from faith itself… This immense obligation [i.e. Jihad] … has no place among the clerics today who do not speak of it. They all, except for those upon whom Allah had mercy, are busy handing out praise and words of glory to the despotic imams [i.e. Arab rulers] who disbelieved Allah and His Prophet. They send telegrams praising those rulers who disbelieve Allah and His Prophet. Their newspapers and media spread heresy against Allah and His Prophet. Other telegrams are sent from the rulers to these clerics, praising them for deceiving the nation."

"The nation has never been as damaged by a catastrophe like the one that damages them today. In the past, there was imperfection, but it was partial. Today, however, the imperfection touches the entire public because of the communications revolution and because the media enter every home. No home, in [the] city or in [the] desert, was spared this Fitna [internal strife]. None will be spared…"

'Clerics Are Civil Servants'

"The clerics are the prisoners and hostages of the tyrants. Some of them told me: 'We cannot speak the truth [because we are civil servants]…' Young people must understand the nature of the connection today between civil servants and the ruler. A civil servant is a civil servant... It is amazing that some object to our linking them with this tyrannical ruler when that is what they are…"

"The true role of some civil servants is to bear false witness. The role of the information minister, for example, is to bear false witness. He and his apparatus deceive the public every day and portray the country as the best country and the ruler as an unparalleled genius. Likewise, the defense minister deceives the people and bears false witness, saying that our situation is good and our armed forces are good, while we have been under occupation for over a decade. The whole world knows we are under occupation and that the American planes take off whenever they want, with no prior notification, night or day, and then the defense minister comes to us and says: 'We are independent, and no one uses our land without our approval.' This is bearing false witness. God be praised, the people know that they are civil servants. Yet the danger does not come from the interior minister and his subordinates, because no matter what they do, they are unable to mislead anyone… because the people know they are lying to them and deceiving them."

"The true danger is when the falsehood comes from the imams of the religion who bear false witness every morning and evening and lead the nation astray. This is all the more so when the false witness comes from the house of Al-Haram [the mosque in Mecca] and from the Ka'ba [the holy black stone in Mecca]…"

"Bearing false witness is one of the biggest sins on any piece of soil, all the more so when you bear false witness in the house of Al-Haram every Friday and at every opportunity in order to lead an entire nation astray for a handful of coins… How great is the sin of he who does this. They are civil servants to whom no reasonable person can turn [to] on religious matters. The least you can say about them, as Sheikh Muhammad bin Abd Al-Wahhab said, the least you can say about the clerics who defend the tyrants, is that they are corrupt. The people must boycott and banish them…"

'Islam Ceases To Exist When the Ruler Is an Infidel'

"[They are mistaken], those who want to tell people that the religion exists even though the imam [i.e. ruler] disbelieved Allah and His Prophet a hundred years ago, ever since he rose through English strength, English support, English weapons, and English gold [i.e. the family of Hussein bin Ali, who in World War I conspired against the Ottoman Caliphate with the British]… It is inconceivable that there be faith, and that the religion will continue to rule, if the imam is an infidel. This must be clear: If the imam is an infidel… Islam ceases to exist and there must be an act that will elevate a [believing] imam…"

"The region's rulers deceive us and support infidels and then claim they still cling to Islam. What increases this deceit is the establishment of bodies to lead the people astray. People may wonder how it is that bodies engaging in [studying] Islamic law and jurisprudence play this role, whether wittingly or unwittingly. The aim of the regime in putting some [unfaithful] clerics on satellite television and radio stations to issue Fatwas for the people is not [to spread knowledge of Islamic law] – were this the case, the regime would put the faithful clerics on satellite television and radio; the goal of these authorities [in putting the unfaithful clerics on television and radio] is to [use them] when necessary."

"For example, when the regime decided to bring the American Crusader forces into the land of the two holy places [i.e. Saudi Arabia], and the youth raged, these bodies [the unfaithful clerics]… issued Fatwas and praised the behavior of the ruler, whom they called Wali Amr [men of authority, in accordance with the Koran requirement that believers obey those of authority amongst them], while in truth he was not really Wali Amr over the Muslims. We must pay attention to this."

"People may wonder and ask how it is possible that Sheikh 'So-and-So,' or 'Anonymous,' who is a respected elder sheikh with great knowledge of religion, could sell out his religion for a meager sum from this world. I say that no man is protected from error. If we examine the history of the Islamic world over the past centuries, we will find that these instances recur… Many clerics have misled [people] because of threats of beating, imprisonment, or perhaps even death [by the regimes]; only a few stood fast, and one of these, as you know, is Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal…"

"The regime appropriates a huge budget for these bodies [i.e. the unfaithful clerics] whose role is to grant legitimacy to the regime… Imagine! The offices of the Clerics Authority [in Saudi Arabia] are adjacent to the royal palace, and the building of the Fatwa Authority of Al-Azhar is adjacent to Hosni Mubarak's Palace of the Republic… In such a situation [when even the offices are linked], is it reasonable to ask a civil servant, who receives his salary from the king? What is the ruling regarding the king, and should the king be regarded as supporting infidels?…"

"Civil servants don a robe and take for themselves grand titles, but they are in fact civil servants… We learned from their books, where it says that one of the 10 acts that contradict Islam is supporting infidels. In closed forums, they speak to us candidly, but [in public] they are afraid, and give [other interpretations]."

"The spirit of martyrdom is our strength and our weapon for the sake of the survival of our religion, and for resistance to any domestic or foreign attempt to distort our religion."

"Jihad is the way to attain truth and abolish falsehood. Therefore, the youth … who love the religion and sacrifice [themselves] for Allah must pay no attention to these civil servants and to those who refrain [from waging Jihad ]… As a result of the communications revolution and the enormous advances in communication… the young people hear from a young age that Sheikh 'So-and-So' sent a telegram to the king, and the king sent him a telegram in return, and he appears at the king's right hand every Monday, and so on… The public is misled and says: 'If that king were no good, Sheikh 'So-and-So' would not visit him.' They disregard the fact that anyone who goes to see the king is a civil servant in the Royal Office or the Interior Ministry [and not an independent, faithful cleric]…."

"There is nothing of Muhammad's religious law in the religious law of the government clerics and sultans, and they do not understand the nature of the path of Allah. We must be aware that clinging to the religion requires us to show hostility to the people of falsehood…"

"The faithful clerics possess characteristics described in the book of Allah… The most prominent characteristics are faith and Jihad for the sake of Allah… Those who do Hijra , and those who support Allah and His Prophet and wage Jihad for the sake of Allah, are the faithful ones… In contrast, the other clerics [are those who] see [and remain silent when] the rulers support infidels and [do not] rule in accordance with what was sent down by Allah, who praise the tyrants and ignore the bank towers next to the Al-Haram Mosque, that charge interest [which is forbidden in Islam]… No faithful cleric can claim that interest is not a great sin…"

"A fundamental and realistic fact is that the land [of the holy places, i.e. Saudi Arabia ] is occupied – and if it is occupied [by the U.S. military], the greatest commandment after faith itself is to repel the aggressive enemy. Their [the rulers of Saudi Arabia ] statements attest to their situation. In an interview with some world press agencies, [Saudi] Prince T alal bin Abd Al-Aziz said: 'Were we to tell the American forces to leave, they wouldn't.' That is candor. Also, the Qatari foreign minister said: 'If we tell the American government and the American forces to leave Qatar, we'll be wiped off the map.'"

"The land is occupied in the full sense of the word. Yet despite this, people are busy with all sorts of [other] rituals. We must focus on making the starting point Jihad for the sake of Allah, guarding against those who refrain [from Jihad], and Hijra and Jihad for Allah. All these are obligatory in the present situation in order to establish the truth and abolish falsehood."

[1] The speech was posted in three parts - Part I:; Part II:;Part III:

[2] Detachment from the world of heresy to establish and strengthen a community of believers outside it, in the path of the Prophet Muhammad.

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