August 12, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 762

Sheikh Abu Hamza Al-Masri on Martyrdom and the Love of Death

August 12, 2004
Special Dispatch No. 762

The following are excerpts from a Friday sermon at Finsbury Park Mosque in London, delivered by Sheikh Abu Hamza Al-Masri, who was arrested one month later, and whose extradition is being sought by the U.S. for his attempts to establish a jihad camp in Oregon. An audio file of the sermon was published on the website of Sheik Abu Hamza's Supporters of Shari'a Organization.

For a profile on Abu Hamza Al-Masri, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 72, October 16, 2001, 'Radical Islamist Profiles: London – Abu Hamza Al-Masri,' at Radical Islamist Profiles (1): London-Abu Hamza Al-Masri.

To listen to clips from the sermon, visit The following are excerpts from the sermon: [1]

'The Ideology of Martyrdom is Spreading Now in Our [Islamic] Nation'

"… Dear brothers in faith:

"The ideology of martyrdom is spreading now in our [Islamic] nation, praise be to Allah, Lord of the universe; and it exposes the [falsehood of the] People of the Book [2] and of those who claim that it is their prerogative to be close to Allah in the hereafter on the Day of Judgment, and especially [the falsehood of] the Jews who claim that they are God's deputies on earth - but they are lying.

This past week, this man, Mordechai Vanunu, exposed once again the Jewish state, after having converted to Christianity and having abandoned their religion. He exposed Israel's nuclear program, which the oppressive great power [America] wants to overlook. Because they [the Jews] are afraid of death and are afraid to fight honorably, so they want to kill people with weapons of mass destruction, and they want this weapon to be in their hands but not in the hands of others. It has become clear to anyone with two eyes, to any fair-minded person, that the safety and security of Israel means today the loss of security for the whole world. The security of the whole world should be lost in order that this cancerous, fabricated, and iniquitous state should survive. The whole world should be deprived of its security for Israel to continue to exist on its iniquity and aggression.

"However, they control the media and they want to blind the sight of people. They buy the conscience of the heads of state that rule us and the protection of the sheikhs who put themselves at the service of these heads of state. This is not uncommon. This should open the eyes of people: If that man [Vanunu] who is of Jewish extraction did it, what can be said of Muslims, even Muslim clerics, who hold diplomatic passports, and [yet] are reluctant to serve the cause of Islam and the Muslims and betray Allah's words for a meager price."

A Muslim May Not Pray for the Soul of an Arab Security Force Member Killed by Islamists

"This week we witnessed the assassination of [Abd-Al Aziz] Rantisi, the number-two leader of Hamas in Gaza, a mere three weeks after the assassination of Sheikh Yassin, may Allah's mercy be upon them both. We saw the martyrs who exploded themselves in Iraq and the martyrdom operations in Riyadh, where they attacked the government building in which people are tortured and in which the honor of both Muslim men and Muslim women is violated.

"In this connection [let me add]: one should not pray for the souls of members of the security forces in our countries, if they are killed while fighting Islamists. One should under no circumstances pray for their souls because they fight for the taghut. [3] They are fighting for the legitimization of interest and for forcing it on people, for the legitimization of fornication and other forbidden things, and for the presence of Jews and Christians in the Arabian Peninsula. They are fighting for the throne of Genghis Khan, for the throne of [King] Fahd, for Mubarak, and not for Allah.

"'The Believers fight for Allah, whereas the infidels fight for the taghut. Fight the allies of Satan. Indeed, Satan's cunning is weak' [Koran, 4:76]. To pray for such people in mosques makes a mockery of the religion of Allah, because it misleads people and makes them believe that these are fighters for Allah, whereas [in fact] they kill Muslim men and women unjustly.

"When Abu Bakr fought against the apostates, at the end [of the war] he made them acknowledge that the place of their dead is in hell and that the place of those who died from among the believers and who fought according to the Shari'a was in paradise. We do not possess today the might that Abu Bakr had, but the principles do not die out. Whether we have might or not, the principle does not die out. Those who fight for the taghut go to hell. Since they are in hell, then one should not pray for their souls, and one should not mislead people in this matter.

"Allah said: 'Do not make a mockery of the words of Allah, and remember the favor He has bestowed upon you, and what He has revealed to you of the Book and Wisdom whereby He exhorts you' [Koran, 2:231]. But they remember neither the Book nor the wisdom. They remember only the checkbook and the trivial [payment] for which they accepted appointments to join the cadres of agents."

'What Unites All of These Operations is Their Love of Death for the Sake of Allah, Their Burning Desire to Meet Allah'

"However, the common principle of all these operations, which we find even among the Palestinian youth, the girls, the women, and the children who throw stones at the bulldozers just to stop the destruction of their lands or homes – what unites all of these operations is their love of death for the sake of Allah, their burning desire to meet Allah. They easily sacrifice their lives for Allah. This is the common principle which they who are destined for hell, yet falsely claim that they are Allah's elect, superior to all others, do not understand. And then they hope to live on earth a thousand years. Just to remind ourselves and to make these fools understand, we are explaining to them some of the causes which make these people prefer death over a life of humiliation, and to prefer to meet Allah after having performed great deeds and having made sacrifices for him."

'Allah Made this World as a Wide Gate Leading to the Glory of the Hereafter for the Believers, and They Understand this'

"Allah made this world as a wide gate leading to the glory of the Hereafter for the believers, and they understand this. This world is a gate to the Hereafter; and death is a gate to a tunnel leading to paradise or to [another] tunnel leading to hell, and they want to take the tunnel leading to paradise. This is the meaning [of martyrdom] in their understanding. They are not the first on this path. It has been walked previously by the prophets and the righteous ones.

"Here is [the example of] Abraham, who said to his son: 'Son, I have seen in my dreams that I am to slaughter you,' and his son answered, Father, do what you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah pleases, steadfast' [Koran 37:102].

"Here is [the example of] the [Egyptian] sorcerers who came to quarrel with Moses, when the signs of Allah were revealed to them, and Pharaoh said to them 'I will surely crucify you on the trunks of palm trees,' and they answered him, 'So decree what you wish to decree. You can only bring an end to this present life' [Koran, 20:71, 72]. [4]

"Here is [the example of] those who followed the way of Jesus: they were sawed by saws from the top of their heads to the ends of their feet, and this did not shake their faith. They were thrown into the [den of] lions.

"Muhammad's nation is not the first in this [path of martyrdom]. The Prophet Muhammad said: 'I swear by him who holds my soul in his hand [that is, Allah], I wish that I should fight for Allah and be killed and come back to life, and fight, and be killed, and come back to life, and fight, and be killed.' And he repeated that time and again. [This was said by] the Prophet, who is of the faith of Abraham."

'When Asked what He Loves Best in this World, Abu Dharr Said: I love Death'

"Here is [the example of] Abu Dharr was among those who, when asked what they love best in this world, said: 'I love death.' He said, 'I love illness, I love hunger, and I love death.' [5] The Prophet asked him: 'Why do you love that which by nature other people hate, Abu Dharr?' And he answered: 'I love hunger because when I am hungry my heart becomes gentle; I love illness because when I am ill my sins decrease; and I love death because when I die I shall meet my Lord.'

"Pay attention to these ideas and pay attention to the perverse ideas which the infidels want to force upon us today as they forced them upon themselves [thereby] losing both this world and the next.

"The truth is, oh servants of Allah, that God established this strategy not only with regard to our faith that we shall meet Allah after death, but also in regard to strategic matters. He established it as a strategy for the believer in his life too. And that, for the believers only. The Prophet said: 'He who dies defending his faith is a martyr. He who dies in defense of his honor is a martyr. He who dies in defense of his property is a martyr. He who dies to ward off injustice is a martyr.'

"Look how he enumerates the various types of martyrs, so that the nation of Islam shall not be in humiliation. The other nations who do not have this approach are lost. For example, the red Indians and others: when the stick was waved at them they abandoned their principles. On the other hand, this nation is destined to exist until the Day of Judgment, and he who leaves the path and makes himself lowly, loses the way and will have no direction."

'The True Believer Sees The World-to-Come as Though Through a Sheer Fabric, as Though He Hears the Voices of Paradise, and He Longs for It and Yearns for It'

"That is because the true believer sees the world-to-come as though through a sheer fabric, as though he hears the voices of paradise, and he longs for it and yearns for it. He weighs things with both the scales of this world and the next, not only the scales of this world. He overcomes desires and stiffens his resolve not to be entangled in dubious matters, and then he triumphs and dies a good death. This is what the infidels and the hypocrites do not understand. They do not understand those who love death because it is the gate through which they meet the Lord. The believer knows that he is married to both this world and the next. This world and the next are [like] two wives [married to the same man]; if he makes one of them happy, it is at the expense of the other. If a man gives charity from his wealth, it is for the hereafter and it affects him [adversely] in this world. If he goes to fight in Jihad, it is likely that his business will be damaged and he may be separated from his family, but it is done for the sake of the world-to-come. But if he does nothing about the world-to-come, and engages himself completely in this world, this is at the expense of the world-to-come, and the world-to-come will be angry with him because of it."

'The Infidels do not Love Death because They have Ruined Their World-to-Come'

"The infidels do not love death because they have ruined their world-to-come, they demolished their palaces, they burned their orchards, and destroyed their gardens in paradise. They do not want to move from the well-constructed house they built in this world into the house they demolished in the world-to-come. On the other hand, the believers may ruin their lives in this world for the sake of the world-to-come. They build palaces [for themselves] in the world-to-come by means of prayer, charity, Jihad, and by declaring the word of Truth, [6] by standing steadfast, by loving those who love Allah and hating those who hate Allah. While building the world-to-come, their present world is ruined. Like every intelligent person, they want to move from the ruined house to the well-constructed house. They are not ready to move from the well-constructed house to the ruined house. That is the difference. That is the way of intelligent people. Which world would he prefer to destroy - his life in this world or his life in the world-to-come? This is what the hypocrites do not understand. But Allah made it clear in the Koran, in the Sunna [that is, the traditions of the Prophet] and in the biographies of the righteous ones. He only asks of us to follow their path.

"The infidel Americans who ruined their palaces [in paradise] with their own hands must pluck these ideas out of the heads and hearts of young men and women of the believers, of the people of our nation, so we would surrender to them as the red Indians had, so that our rights would be forfeited and we would lose both this world and the world-to-come, and so that we shall be their slavish followers in both this world and the world-to-come, in this world – to humiliation, and in the world-to-come – to the fires of hell, God forbid."

'This is Why [the Infidel Americans] Want to Change the Curricula that Edify Believers'

"That is why they want to change the curricula, the curricula that edify believers, the curricula that educate people to persevere. They will never achieve it. They can win the sympathy of the hypocrites and those who apostatized and those whose hearts are sick, but they have no power over the believers, because Allah protects them and gives them his blessed protection. This is Allah's rule: Do not be deceived by this world, do not be deceived by temptations: 'Let not the fortunes of the disbelievers in the land deceive you. Their prosperity is brief, and then hell shall be their abode. What an evil resting place!' [Koran, 3:197-8]. This is the rule of Allah.

"Remember, oh servants of Allah: Why do your brethren want to perform operations of martyrdom? Why was Abu Al-Walid killed this week? Why are there so many martyrs among us? Because we are a nation graced with Allah's mercy. Because with every Shahid Allah saves seventy of his family members who were destined to go to the fires of hell. This is a nation graced with Allah's mercy. Many are the members of our families who are destined to go to hell for neglecting their prayers, for abandoning religion or for committing forbidden acts and they need the intercession of those Shahids and the intercession of those who know the Koran by heart."

'Read the Koran, Understand its Ideas - Keep it in this World so that You will Inherit Paradise, so that You will be among the Blessed, so that You will be Shahids, so that You will be with the Righteous and the Prophets'

"I remind you, oh believers, and I remind you too, oh infidels, to visit the graveyards in order to come to know the house of the truth, the first residence of both the people of paradise and the people of hell. This is the sole truth, from which you are now trying to escape. Visit the graveyards to know what will happen to you. This can happen at any moment. Oh believers, visit them. The Prophet has left with us two moral advisers - one silent, the other one speaking. The silent one is death, and the graveyards remind [us] of him. The speaking one is the Koran. Do not debase yourselves, read the Koran, understand its ideas. Keep it in this world so that you will inherit paradise, so that you will be among the blessed, so that you will be Shahids, so that you will be with the righteous and the prophets."

[1] The sermon was given on April 23, 2004.

[2] People of the Book ( Ahl al-kitab ) is a Koranic designation for Jews and Christians.

[3] Taghut is a term which, according to traditional Islamic exegetes, signifies idolatry, Satan, or the demonic forces of evil. Present-day Islamists use this term to signify those Muslim rulers whom they consider to be hypocrites and, in fact, apostates.

[4] According to the story in the Koran, Pharaoh's sorcerers, having seen Allah's signs, prostrated themselves in adoration of Allah.

[5] Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, one of the Prophet Muhammad's companions, is famous for his piety and asceticism.

[6] "Truth" ( Haqq ) in an Islamic context is also one of the names of Allah.

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