Jihadi Terms and Terminology
Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 2 Issue: 6
Originally a pre-Islamic idol, the term denotes any object or individual that prevents mankind from doing good. In jihadist literature it is commonly used to denote heads of state of Muslim countries which are not governed by Shari’a law. ‘Taghout’ used as an adjective is used in the sense of ‘profane, oppressive’ (e.g. ‘the Taghout courts.’)
Taghout al-Asr: ‘The Tyrant of the [present] Age’ is the United States of America – in its role as a superpower opposing the program of the mujahideen to establish the Islamic Nation.
Al-Saloul: ‘The Family of Saloul’
A deliberate distortion of the official term Al Sa’ud, (the ‘Sa’ud Dynasty’) and designed to refer insultingly to them. Al Saloul originally denoted the family that guarded the pagan shrine of the Kaaba in Mekka in pre-Islamic times. The adjective Salouli is also used (‘the Salouli regime’).
Al-Sandouq al-Mayyit: ‘Dead Box’
This is a communications system whereby the operations team can receive instructions from command without the two levels having direct communication with each other. The technique is mentioned by the al-Qaeda leader Abu Hajar ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Muqrin (killed in June 2004) in Volume 6 of the online magazine Mu’askar al-Battar in the chapter Jama’at al-Amal al-Sirri (‘Covert Operations Group’).
Bilad al-Haramayn: The Land of the Two Shrines
Referring to Makka and Madina, the holy cities in present-day Saudi Arabia. Mujahidin use this term to avoid legitimising the Saudi system, and to affirm their rejection of the national boundaries in the Peninsula.
Bilad al-Rafidayn: The Land of the Two Rivers
The rivers refer to the Tigris and Euphrates in present day Iraq. Modelled on the previous term, it first achieved currency with the declaration of al-Zarqawi’s allegiance to Osama Bin Laden, and the renaming of his group Tanzim al-Qaeda fi Bilad al-Rafidayn.
Bilad al-Berber: The Land of the Berbers
Not yet established as an official term, it made it appearance on jihadi forums with reference to the jihad in Algeria. As with Bilad al-Haramayn, it does not imply recognition of present boundaries, and embraces the entire Maghreb from Morocco to Libya.
Ard al-Ribat: The Land of the ‘Frontier Post’
Palestine/Israel. Construed by the mujahidin as a war zone. A posting on the Osama Islmiyya jihad forum on January 17 2005 laments why there is yet no ‘Qaedat Jihad fi Ard al-Ribat’.