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December 18, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2707

New Book by Ayman Al-Zawahiri: 'The Morning and the Lamp: A Treatise Regarding the Claim that the Pakistani Constitution Is Islamic'

December 18, 2009
Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan | Special Dispatch No. 2707

On December 17, 2009, jihadist websites posted a new 128-page book by Ayman Al-Zawahiri titled The Morning and the Lamp: A Treatise Regarding the Claim that the Pakistani Constitution is Islamic. The date given at the end of the introduction is Dhu Al-Qi'da 1429 / November 2008. The existence of this book was previously known, as Al-Zawahiri made reference to it in an August 2009 video; this is the first time, however, that the text has been made public.

Al-Zawahiri's book is a polemical treatise arguing that the Pakistani constitution is in contradiction with Islam and the shari'a. The import of this contention lies in the fact that many Pakistani Islamists believe that the constitution itself is Islamic, and that the faults they identify in the Pakistani regime are due rather to its never having been fully implemented. Al-Zawahiri's critique focuses on topics such as shari'a law vs. popular sovereignty and human legislation, immunity granted some office-holders from judicial prosecution, the non-restriction of important offices to male Muslims, and the fact that the word "democracy" is mentioned in the constitution's preamble.

The Morning and the Lamp takes its place as part of a wider Al-Qaeda polemic against the Pakistani state, a polemic which has been one of the major themes of recent Al-Qaeda propaganda. Examples include Abu Yahya Al-Libi's pamphlet The Sharp Spearhead in the Fight against the Government and Army of Pakistan; Al-Libi's video titled "Swat - Victory or Martyrdom"; a video from Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid; and the aforementioned Al-Zawahiri video from August 2009. While the Pakistani state is the target of this polemic, it is tailored in particular to the sensibilities of Pakistani Islamists and state-sponsored jihadists, in an attempt to win them over to the global jihadist camp.

Following is a translation of the introduction to The Morning and the Lamp (the traditional opening formulas and some of the numerous citations of Quranic verses have been omitted): ...

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