Translator’s note: In light of the recent attacks in the Saudi city of Khobar, the Jamestown Foundation presents the following letter entitled “To All Desiring Jihad in the Lands of the Arab Peninsula.” Attributed to Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin, the text appeared in issue 10 of the online magazine al-Battar, a publication affiliated with al-Qaeda. Reputed to be al-Qaeda’s chief operative in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Muqrin allegedly took responsibility for the May 1 attack in Yanbu, an important Saudi oil port along the Red Sea. He is first on Saudi Arabia’s list of 26 most-wanted terror suspects.
By Abu Hajir Abd al-Aziz bin Isa al-Muqrin
Translated by Jamestown Staff
Praise be to God, and Peace and Blessings on His Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad and on his family and companions.
Certainly among the most important [things] for the Mujahideen youth and those desiring Jihad for God’s sake in the Arab Peninsula is for them to have a clear idea of the nature of the act of Jihad and how they can take part in it and for which they will find forgiveness before Allah Almighty. The previous era was full of lessons and trials which we must take benefit from in order to advance our operations and elevate our Jihad against the enemies of the faith.
This is only confirmed by the plethora of questions, requests and messages from our true brothers – for by God this is the depth of our esteem for them – yearning for the field of action to open for them in the service of Islam and Jihad for God’s sake. They are calling for direction and longing to join the columns of Mujahideen. A number of others are asking permission to act, [while other] groups have given proposals, critiques, or observations on the Jihad activity during the past era. Therefore, it is appropriate to explain the following.
It is necessary that Muslims be aware of the Jihad in this country [Saudi Arabia] to establish the Shari’ah and expel the occupying crusaders and apostates. This is incumbent upon every legal aged adult including the scholars and public, the righteous and the immoral, the rich and poor, men and women; for it is absolutely necessary that people understand that this obligation isn’t restricted to the wanted 19 or 26 [on the Saudi most wanted list]. Even if the Saudi regime is determined to secure [the idea that the Jihadi resistance is not more widespread], we must not be deceived, for those brothers – God fortify the Faith through them – were none other than the vanguard for the Muslim community and I consider them to have played a great and historic role in inciting mankind and informing [mankind] of the truth and of their just cause. They broke through the obstacle of awe and fear which the regime has been intent on maintaining for decades, and those Mujahid youth rooted it out in those few months – by the grace and mercy of God – and played a great role in providing live, tangible and real examples [to follow] on the principle of trust in God, in what is right, and of patience and other prerequisites of the [noble] heart’s labors. All that remained for them to do was to stick to that path. And I consider that even if they become martyrs one and all, the record [of their deed] stands, as does that of those brothers who aided them. The role of the Muslims after them will therefore be to take up the banner and complete the journey. Therefore it is only from lack of intelligence and judgment that one would think that this major legal obligation is confined to a few individuals, while others fail to see that the responsibility and burden incumbent upon those [the Mujahideen] are incumbent upon them too.
One’s duty, then, is the undertaking, endeavor and pioneering, of the obligation of Jihad for God’s sake. The Muslim should not seek to rely on a few Mujahideen, but rather direct his efforts toward this [obligation]. Such an obligation is also certainly upon whomsoever God has granted knowledge in the arts of war and military technology, or anyone who has had previous training anywhere. [These people’s obligation] is greater, while those who do not share their military capabilities should aid them as far as they can, and provide them what they need or cannot do without, of this there is no doubt.
It is not a praiseworthy thing that brothers desiring Jihad should wait to receive permission from one of those engaged in Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula, since [there is no need for a further command] after a command from God (It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path. 33:36). For God has ordered Jihad and there is nothing left but to obey and act. So let the Mujahid seek help from those among his brothers he can trust and remain exceedingly cautious. [The law requires this obedience to action], so let them [together] set up a cell that will get itself ready and select legitimate targets, which God permits to be so targeted, and carry out its operations, seeking succor from God and placing reliance upon Him. However, they should see to it that their work is uninterrupted, and continues as far as their ability and strength allows – until they are enabled to join their Mujahideen brothers in the land of the Two Holy Mosques [Saudi Arabia].
Certainly the Mujahideen of al-Qaeda are keen on guiding the Muslim community towards realizing such acts by way of Jihadist publications, booklets, and jihadist reference works which have in them much good, in particular if the Mujahid comes across an expert to help him and instruct him. The Mu`askar al-Battar and the book Hakadha nara al-jihad wa nureeduh [“This is how we see the Jihad and how we wish it”, by Hazim al-Madani] are two useful examples for anyone who seeks [the way of Jihad], for through these books he can discover the way to operate and study the best ways and policies listed there for the purpose of achieving our objective and realizing our goals. [These publications] give us a summary of the method and provide us with the experiences of those prior to us.
Those in the know are aware that al-Qaeda is an organization which utilizes a system of cells in which every cell relies on God first, then on its own abilities and for the most part it does not follow traditional organizational connections. For Qaedat al-Jihad [the Jihad of al-Qaeda] pursues the publication of the concept [of Jihad] and spreads the word to the greatest extent possible while the various, disparate cells guarantee – God willing – the greater continuity of [carrying out the Jihad]. The Yanbu cell, which carried out the heroic and successful operation this month, is one of the finest and most eloquent examples of this, illustrating what is required [in the way of Jihad]. Our brother Abu Ammar Mustafa al-Ansari – God have mercy on him – was among the best of the young Mujahideen, honed by the theatres of Jihad such as Afghanistan and Somalia, in the same way that they honed our brother Abd al-Muhsin (Hasan al-Makki) who fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia and tried to enter the Peninsula but was unable. He [Abd al-Muhsin] was restless, but bore his trials and tribulations until he managed to enter the territory of Ogaden, where he became a martyr as a result of an ambush set up by the enemies.
Our brother Mustafa returned to the Arabian Peninsula but the opulent life of its people didn’t suit him, so he determined not to become one of the group of ‘Those That Sit Still’ – God saved him from that. When he saw the tragic state in which the Muslim community lives, there was communication and correspondence between us, and he made a fine promise to us and it was not long before he fulfilled his promise; he struck the enemy at an important economic point, which had a great impact on the international petroleum markets, and the impact of that is still felt today. I ask God to accept him and his brothers as martyrs and bless them with his infinite grace and beneficence. This blessed act is an excellent model and example for all who ask about the Way or seek permission to join the Mujahideen at a time when security precautions require that we guard against any behavior that may be to the detriment of or result in the defeat of the Mujahideen.
A particularly important matter is spreading the enemy thin and dispersing his forces; [also important is] ensuring that the brothers are made aware of the need to be able to [carry out continuous] operations and have ample resources for preparation – which will ensure the continuation of the cell – through donations and the performance of duties, without exaggeration or excess.
When I say this, I do not mean [giving donations or the performance of duties] is a way to avoid the obligation [of Jihad] or as some means of lightening this responsibility; for we are still beholden to the pact – we ask God for endurance, and for moral and financial support – and we say to one and all: blood is blood, and destruction is destruction; and you shall see from us what will gladden and soothe hearts, God permitting, not only in the land of the Two Holy Mosques but in the other Islamic countries as well. (There is no help except from Allah. The Exalted, the Wise 3:126)