The Westminster Institute (Virginia): Educating the Public and Government About the Ideology of the Terrorists, and Ways to Counter It
by Ibn Warraq
Part I here.
2. ABDULLAH AZZAM: THE DEFENSE OF THE MUSLIM LANDS
Abdullah Azzam [1941-1989], who created an organisation that would later become al-Qaeda, was the mentor of Osama bin Laden. Azzam was born in 1941 in a village not far from Jenin in Jenin Sanjak District, which was then administered as the British Mandate of Palestine. He acquired a Ph.D from al Azhar University in 1973 on The Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. During his sojourn in Egypt, Azzam met various followers of Sayyid Qutb, such as Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri. As radicals were not welcome in Jordan, where he had gone to teach at the University of Jordan, Azzam ended up in Saudi Arabia, where he was lecturer at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He was to stay there until 1979. Osama bin Laden had grown up in Jeddah and was enrolled at the University between 1976 and 1981. Osama probably first came into contact with Azzam during those years.
After the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets in 1979, Azzam managed, to quote Dr Gorka, to “rally Muslims of all nationalities to Afghanistan to fight with the Afghan Mujahedeen.”
Azzam’s most important contribution to the Jihadist ideology was his fatwa, almost a short monograph, The Defense of the Muslim Lands , which was given an official stamp of approval by Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Bazz, who was to become the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, in the 1990s.
The main arguments are few, since more than fifty percent of the text of The Defense
of the Muslim Lands is taken up by justifactory quotations from the Koran, from scholars such as Ibn Taymiyya, from the Hadith, from Koranic Commentators such as Ibn Kathir, and from the four main Sunni schools of Law.
Azzam makes it clear from the start that Jihad as saif, Jihad by the Sword, had been God’s plan for Muhammad from the beginning: “Allah has chosen this religion [Islam] to be a mercy for the worlds. He sent the most blessed of the messengers to be the last Prophet for this religion. To bring it victory by the sword and the spear, after He had clearly expounded it with evidences and arguments.” [Chapter 1]. Jihad against the infidels is of two kinds: offensive and defensive jihad.
Offensive Jihad (where the enemy is attacked in his own territory). Where the Kuffar [infidels] are not gathering to fight the Muslims. The fighting becomes Fard Kifaya [obligatory on the community but not necessarily on the individual] with the minimum requirement of appointing believers to guard borders, and the sending of an army at least once a year to terrorise the enemies of Allah. It is a duty of the Imam to assemble and send out an army unit into the land of war once or twice every year. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the Muslim population to assist him, and if he does not send an army he is in sin. And the Ulama [religious scholars] have mentioned that this type of jihad is for maintaining the payment of Jizya [ poll tax on
non-Muslims]. The scholars of the principles of religion have also said: “˜Jihad is Daw’ah [the preaching of Islam] with a force, and is obligatory to perform with all available capabilities, until there remains only Muslims or people who submit to Islam.”
This is expelling the Kuffar from our land, and it is Fard Ayn, a compulsory duty upon all [i.e. compulsory for all individuals]. It is the most important of all the compulsory duties and arises in the following conditions:
1) If the Kuffar enter a land of the Muslims [eg. Afghanistan by the Soviets].
2) If the rows meet in battle and they begin to approach each other.
3) If the Imam calls a person or a people to march forward then they must march.
4) If the Kuffar capture and imprison a group of Muslims.
In the case of fard ayn, “permission is not required. There is no permission for anyone from the other, even the child goes out without the permission of his parents, the wife without the permission of her husband, and the debtor without the permission of his creditor.” It is a sin not to defend Muslim lands that have been invaded, as in “Afghanistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Kashmir, Lebanon, Chad, Eritrea”. The present generation has failed in not following their obligatory duties. “Jihad by your wealth is Fard Ayn and it is Haram [forbidden and immoral] to make savings while the jihad is in need of the Muslim’s money. Neglecting the jihad is like abandoning fasting and praying, more than that, neglecting the jihad is worse in these days. We quote from Ibn Rushd: “˜It is agreed that when jihad becomes Fard Ayn it takes precedence over the Fard of Hajj. [pilgrimage]–.
Azzam, with a doctorate from al Azhar University, was well aware of the contradictions to be found in the Koran, but was able to avail himself of the doctrine of abrogation, which depended on knowing the chronological order of revelation. The earlier verses — verses putatively revealed early in Muhammad’s ministry, were cancelled by verses revealed later. Verses preaching peace and tolerance were abrogated by later verses preaching jihad, the Sword Verses.