The study of the life of Abu Ali al-Anbari arguably embodies the biggest misconceptions about the Islamic State, largely because so many claims related about him have turned out to be erroneous. In a popular telling back in 2015, Anbari represented the case-in-point of the Islamic State as the 'ghost of Ba'athist Iraq'. Depicted as the wali (governor) of the Islamic State's Syrian provinces, it was claimed that Anbari was the one who "boosted al-Baghdadi up ISIS's greasy pole."
As for his background, Anbari supposedly represented the fusion of Ba'athist intelligence skills with jihadist zealotry, with the claim that he had "been an intelligence officer in Saddam's army as well as a graduate of the Islamic Faith Campaign...[he] is known to have attained the rank of major general before 2003. He also distinguished himself by remaining at his post until the final days of the regime, something held against him by pro-al-Qaeda agitators." Besides being overlord of the Syrian territories, Anbari was also portrayed as heading the "Security and Intelligence Council, which, as its name suggest [sic], handles all espionage and clandestine operations for the organization."
Virtually none of those details (which relied in part on the Iraqi writer Hisham al-Hashimi) turned out to be correct, as the authors of that account later acknowledged. Anbari is hardly the only major Islamic State figure to be misidentified. Another case is that of Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, who first became notorious among Syrian rebels for his presence in the Latakia region of Syria after the Islamic State expansion into Syria in 2013. It was claimed that Abu Ayman was once an intelligence officer in the Iraqi army. In fact, Abu Ayman turned out to be an individual called Ali Aswad al-Juburi, who grew up in the Mosul area and studied English at Mosul university, taking up arms against the U.S. following its invasion of the country.
Though some facts have emerged about the life of the real Anbari, misconceptions still circulate. For example, the Wikipedia account of Anbari cites a report claiming that he travelled to Afghanistan in 1998 and trained with al-Qa'ida. Those claims are untrue.
The most comprehensive account we have about Anbari comes in the form of a biography written by a now deceased son of his. This biography was leaked in July 2018 by Mu'assasat al-Turath al-'Ilmi, one of the 'dissident' pro-Islamic State media outlets.
In summary, the real Anbari was a native of the Ninawa countryside (not Mosul) and he had no military background in the Ba'ath era apart from performing obligatory military service. Instead, his working background was as a religious education teacher and preacher of sermons in a mosque. He had some contact and involvement with jihadi circles in Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion in 2003 (including a meeting with Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi in Baghdad). After a time of leading his own formations, he then became involved with Ansar al-Sunna, which emerged out of the Iraqi Kurdistan-based Ansar al-Islam following the U.S. invasion.
However, Anbari subsequently joined Zarqawi's al-Qa'ida in Iraq, following the failure of a merger initiative between Ansar al-Sunna and al-Qa'ida in Iraq. Imprisoned for a period in 2005, Anbari travelled to Waziristan by delegation from Zarqawi to meet with members of the al-Qa'ida leadership. Then, when the Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen was formed as a merger between al-Qa'ida in Iraq and other jihadi groups, Anbari became its overall leader and spokesman. He was then imprisoned between 2006 and 2012, and was not around to witness the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq in October 2006 or the appointment of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its overall leader in 2010 following the death of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.
Following his release from prison he returned to jihadi work in the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq. Serving as a deputy of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Anbari was dispatched to Syria, where the Islamic State of Iraq would expand to become the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Eventually, with the ISIS conquests of summer 2014, Anbari was able to participate in the capture of Telafar from the Iraqi government. Anbari in fact then turned to his long-standing passion of da'wa work, no longer serving as a deputy to Baghdadi. Though Baghdadi tried to have him made the overall governor of the Islamic State's Yemeni provinces, the initiative did not work out for logistical reasons. Instead, Baghdadi appointed him as head of the Diwan Bayt al-Mal (financial department), and as such Anbari moved frequently between Iraq and Syria. In March 2016, Anbari was killed while on the roads between Iraq and Syria, as a coalition air-raid team descended on him and his companions and clashed with them. Anbari then supposedly blew himself up with an explosive belt he had been wearing.
Besides his administrative and military activities, Anbari also had a prolific audio and written output, as documented in an appendix at the end of the biography. Some of these works (e.g. Anbari's statement on the tomb of Suleiman Shah in Syria) have also been published by Mu'assasat al-Turath al-Ilmi.
This biography of Anbari is of considerable interest to historians of the Islamic State, though some criticisms can be made of how much detail the biographer devotes to different sections of Anbari's life. For instance, readers hoping for detailed stories of what Anbari was up to in Syria in 2012-2014 will be disappointed. Indeed, in a footnote, the author concedes that he is being very terse, with vague commitments made to publish more details in future. Likewise Anbari's management of the Diwan Bayt al-Mal is only described in the most general terms. There are no inside accounts of how the Diwan Bayt al-Mal was run, statistics and comments on the various sources of revenue and expenditure, tales of corruption and mismanagement etc. Stylistically, the text is on the whole an easy read, though it is very far removed from being a fine work of literature. Some grammatical errors can be found in the text, as well as one notable error of chronology: specifically, the biographer headlines the formation of the Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen as having occurred in December 2006, when it was actually formed in January 2006.
Examination of this biography has provoked debate among some analysts. How important was Anbari to the evolution of the Islamic State and its predecessors? Also, to what extent were ideas and trends that gave rise to the Islamic State already present and growing in Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion?
On one side, Hassan Hassan argues that Anbari "defined the Islamic State's radical approach more than any other person." That is, Anbari was supposedly more influential than Zarqawi in the evolution of the Islamic State, and Zarqawi himself "was likely influenced by Anbari, not the other way around." More generally, Hassan argues that what became Islamic State "grew organically for at least a decade before the U.S. invasion, and before Zarqawi's arrival," and as such "the group has deeper roots than has previously been acknowledged."
Conversely, Cole Bunzel and Sam Heller argue that Hassan's claims regarding Anbari are not supported in light of the biography. In particular, Bunzel argues that while it is possible for Zarqawi's influence to be overstated, he still remains the most important and influential figure in the evolution of the Islamic State.
I am inclined to agree with Bunzel and Heller on this debate about Anbari. The biography also provides an important corrective to the narrative that the Faith Campaign of Ba'athist Iraq in the 1990s was responsible for the religious trends that gave rise to the Islamic State. In the case of the latter sort of assertions, a certain climate-change denying fraud has an ideological agenda to downplay the role the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq had in galvanizing jihadism, both within Iraq and on a wider scale.
Consider the history of Anbari's own ideological evolution as presented in the biography. Rather than portraying him as someone who had from his youth supported the theological outlook as espoused by the Islamic State, the biographer gives a picture of a gradual evolution of Anbari's outlook. In the biography's telling, Anbari was always religious and devoted to religious learning. An 'epiphany' moment occurs in an incident involving girls for dancing and prostitution being brought on one occasion to the village of Mujamma' Barzan in Ninawa province where he was teaching. This incident makes Anbari realize that a problem in Iraq was that the government permitted this kind of debauchery. At this point then, Anbari can be seen as an Islamist of some kind. In the 1990s, he moved to the city of Telafar and in 1997 became a preacher at one of the mosques. At this point, according to the biography, he began to come into conflict with the Shi'a in the city (partly rooted in his invective against the 'idolatry' of seeking help in one besides God). Anbari studied the Shi'a creed and wrote a book under a pseudonym refuting it. Anbari is also portrayed as increasingly alienated from the Ba'athist regime, seeing the regime as embodying 'Taghut' ('idolatrous tyranny'). In 1999, Anbari was supposedly removed from his position of preaching at the mosque.
While it might be the case that some of the specific stories related about Anbari's tensions with the Ba'athist establishment (e.g. the incident at a school where he does not clap for Saddam Hussein during the morning assembly) are embellished or even outright fiction, the biography's portrayal of the Ba'ath regime's hostile perceptions of anything considered to be 'Wahhabi' thought is consistent with the historical evidence. Likewise, the portrayal of the Ba'ath regime as hostile to Sunni-Shi'i sectarian agitation (especially in a mixed town like Telafar) is consistent with the historical evidence. The Ba'ath regime would not have had patience for someone preaching concepts like the Wahhabi 'nullifiers of Islam' (a key concept promoted by the Islamic State, as can be seen from a basic doctrine book like 'Course in Tawheed') and takfir of the Shi'a (i.e. declaring them to be non-Muslims). Hence, it is credible that Anbari might have been a preacher in one of the Telafar mosques and was then removed from his post on account of reports of his alleged 'Wahhabi' sympathies being referred to the Ba'athist security services.
The biography does not portray Anbari's religious outlook as being influenced by the Faith Campaign. Indeed, if the Faith Campaign had promoted the kind of ideological and religious trends that gave rise to Islamic State, the biographer would certainly have mentioned the campaign and slammed it for hypocrisy, while portraying Anbari as criticizing the hypocrisy of a Ba'athist regime claiming to promote Islam and the rule of Islamic law. Instead, the Faith Campaign is not mentioned at all.
In fact, the biography portrays Anbari's growing 'radicalization' as stemming from two things. First, he began to hear reports by the end of the 1990s/beginning of 2000 from the wider Muslim world of militant jihadi activity, most notably Chechnya and Afghanistan. At this point, he could be justifiably described as an Islamist opponent of the Ba'athist regime. However, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Anbari is able to gain access to some works of modern jihadist thinkers, such as Qawa'id fi al-Takfir by Abu Baseer al-Tartusi, al-Jami' fi Talb al-'Ilm al-Sharif by Sayyid Imam al-Sharif and some books by Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. According to the biography, the circulation of these works helped to correct Anbari's understandings of certain issues like takfir of the one who does not rule by God's law. As such, he fell out with the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in Ba'athist Iraq. Significantly, the biographer says that prior to 9/11, Anbari and his companions were in "one rank" with the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (the Iraqi Islamic Party). This does not of course mean that Anbari considered himself a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Iraqi branch or agreed with the group on every detail, but rather that in general he saw the organization as working for the same honourable goal of a state ruled by Islamic law.
What about the question of Anbari's supposed influence on Zarqawi? One should bear in mind that this biography is written by a son of Anbari. He has a motive to credit his father as a key influence on the evolution of the Islamic State and its approach. Thus, for instance, Anbari is portrayed as an important driving force behind the formation of the Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen. So, if Anbari had influenced Zarqawi and encouraged him to adopt ideas like utilizing brutal tactics and specifically targeting the Shi'a in a bid to stir up bloody sectarian warfare, it surely would have been mentioned in the biography. In fact, there is no mention or hint of Anbari influencing Zarqawi's ideological and sectarian approach in the biography, and it is not as though it can be explained away on grounds of condensation of detail and brevity as is the case with the chapters on Anbari's Syria activities.
According to the biography, Anbari had a meeting with Zarqawi in Baghdad prior to the U.S. invasion, but apart from the fact that Anbari thought highly of Zarqawi and his piety, there is nothing remarkable about the encounter. In terms of the early insurgent activity that Anbari and his companions engaged in after the U.S. invasion, there is nothing about it that suggests an antecedent or inspiration for Zarqawi's gruesome methods and attempts to stir up sectarian war. Rather, Anbari and his companions targeted the U.S. occupation forces as well as Iraqis working with those forces. As the biography notes, they made no distinction between the Shi'a and Sunnis working with the U.S. occupation.
In 2004, Anbari became involved in talks for a merger between Ansar al-Sunna and Zarqawi's Jama'at al-Tawheed wa al-Jihad, which pledged allegiance to al-Qa'ida to become the organization's Iraqi branch in October 2004. Following that allegiance pledge by Zarqawi's group to al-Qa'ida, the biography says that Anbari became all the more keen for a merger. The biography is eager to portray Zarqawi as thinking highly of Anbari, such that Zarqawi supposedly offered a deal in which he and al-Shafi'i (the leader of Ansar al-Sunna) would become deputies to Anbari in a united group. Anbari refused the offer on the grounds that he could not have Zarqawi as his deputy. In the end, the merger talks failed because al-Shafi'i stipulated that al-Qa'ida should withdraw from Iraq, but Anbari objected to this stipulation and so in the end he left Ansar al-Sunna and became a deputy to Zarqawi in al-Qa'ida in Iraq. By the chronology of the biography, Anbari would have joined al-Qa'ida in Iraq in late 2004, many months after Zarqawi outlined his strategy for provoking sectarian warfare between Shi'a and Sunnis in a January 2004 letter. In this regard, it should be noted that there has been confusion in chronology in the analytical debates: to be clear, Zarqawi's letter on his strategy to target Shi'a preceded the allegiance pledge to al-Qa'ida by 10 months.
Another data point that likely tells against the idea that Zarqawi was influenced by Anbari in his approach is the series of attacks that his network is suspected of carrying out in 2003. Among these attacks was a bomb attack in Najaf in August 2003 that killed over 100 people, including Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim. That attack, which cannot be seen as anything other than an attempt to kill Shi'a en masse and incite sectarian violence, was most likely the work of Zarqawi's network. There is nothing analogous to it in the early insurgent operations ascribed to Anbari in the biography.
More generally, any tendencies to overstate the role of Anbari in the evolution of the Islamic State and its predecessors need to be avoided in light of the fact that the biography shows that he was imprisoned at key periods: first from early/April 2005-October 2005, and then April 2006-March 2012. During the latter period in particular, Anbari had contact with his family, but no evidence suggests that he was able to direct any operations of the Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen and the Islamic State of Iraq. He was not around in the field to witness the Islamic State of Iraq's decline in fortunes in the 2007-2009 period, the group's deliberations about how it could resurge, and the rise of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his early tenure as amir of the group in 2010-2011. Instead, the biography vindicates a point that has been previously discussed in literature: namely, the role of the U.S. prison system in Iraq in enabling jihadists to indoctrinate others.
Did jihadist ideas and activity exist in Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion in 2003? Undoubtedly, though that is hardly a new fact. The Anbari biography however does not support the contention that the "ideological contours" of the Islamic State and its predecessors had already been defined prior to the U.S. invasion. It was the U.S. invasion and the occupation aftermath that galvanized jihadism and provided the environment in which the phenomenon took on a particularly ugly form as embodied in Zarqawi's group. Of course, Zarqawi was not acting alone, and he did not come up with his ideas and approach in isolation. Nonetheless, the notion that Anbari was the real key figure behind the evolution of the Islamic State rather than Zarqawi is highly tenuous.
On a final note, I have a couple of peripheral observations;
- The text seems to imply that a Jazeera province (wilaya) and governor (wali) existed before the declaration of the Caliphate. In the propaganda, this Jazeera province, spanning the borders of Iraq and Syria, was not declared until after the Caliphate was announced.
- The activities of the Prisoners and Martyrs division of the Islamic State and its predecessors.
Index: Photo Captions
Pg. 15: Photo of the sheikh in the Islamic institute in Telafar.
Pg. 18: Photo of the sheikh with his two sons. On the right: Emad. On the left: Ala'. 1992 CE. May God accept them all.
Pg. 60: Photo of the sheikh in detention.
Pg. 66: Photo of the sheikh in Cropper prison a month after he was handed over to the Iraqi government.
Pg. 81: The sheikh's prostration in thanks to God on the breaking of the Sykes-Picot borders.
Knowledgeable study[i] on the biography of Sheikh al-Anbari
Written by Abu Abdullah al-Anbari (may God accept him)
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Mu'assasat al-Turath al-'Ilmi
A media foundation concerned with publishing the knowledge heritage of the mashayakh of jihad and the mujahideen
1439 AH: 2018 CE
Sheikh Abu Ala' al-Qurashi,
Da'wa, Preparation, Jihad, Conclusion of Musk (Explosive Belt)
Praise be to God and prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of God- His Wali, Khalil and Mustafa and on his family, companions and whoso is loyal to him. As for what follows:
We in Mu'assasat al-Turath al-'Ilmi have obtained the biography of the distinguished knowledgeable working mujahid sheikh Abu Ali al-Anbari- may God accept him- written by his son (Abu Abdullah al-Anbari: may God accept him). And in our role we have arranged it and compiled it to be the brilliant guide for discussion about the life of Sheikh Abu Ali, and we ask God to grant the sheikh acceptance and for him to reach the group of Prophets, sadiqs and martyrs, and good are they as companions.
And praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds
Publisher: Mu'assasat al-Turath al-'Ilmi
Monday, 10 Dhu al-Q'ida 1439 AH, 23 July 2018 CE
To the venerable father Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Mustafa
To all who strove to know the truth about the personality of this noble man
To the soldiers of the Islamic State and its supporters
To every mujahid in the path of making supreme the word of Tawheed over the regions of the world.
Praise be to God the great bestower of blessing, the one who supports the religion through the Ahl al-Sunna, and prayers and peace be upon the one whose provision was placed under the shade of spearheads. As for what follows:
It is among the blessings of God- Exalted and Almighty is He upon us that He made among our predecessors those who document the events that happened in their ages, such that we have come to know through them most of what happened in those past ties, as they documented for us the life of the Messenger of God (SAWS) and the life of his successors and companions- may God Almighty be pleased with them all. In addition they documented the life of those who came after them from successors and leaders and working 'ulama, as well as transmitting to us the great realities in the history of the Islamic Ummah from the battle of Badr and Uhud to Tabuk, al-Qadisiya, Hattin and Ayn Jalut, for what was in that from great importance for us to preserve from their lives and take from them the lessons. For what occurred with them may occur with us one day, as it was said of old:
"Whoso reads the life is safe from bewilderment." And Sheikh Abu al-Ala' was interested in this aspect a lot, for he would say:
"I was always urging my brothers in whose religion I trusted to document for us what happens with them from events particularly in the military aspect, so I have not encountered a military person who led a battle without demanding from him to document its events, for I always feared not leaving anything for those who would come after us, for the man from us is exposed to killing in every occasion, and what he knows may not be known by anyone besides him and by his death there dies with him a part of the history of jihad. And I feared that some of the history of the jihad in Bilad al-Rafidayn and after it in Bilad al-Sham would go to loss without our documenting it.
For Ibn Kathir and al-Tabari and Ibn Ishaq and al-Suhaili and others besides them from those who documented the Sira- may God have mercy on them all- despite their limited capabilities in contacting people, going behind the news and verifying it, and despite the presence of a long time between them and those about whom they documented even if limited: despite all those difficulties and others, they transmitted to us a history in which there are many exact details, as opposed to our state of affairs now as the capabilities are present- and to God be praise and favour."[ii]
And more importantly, as we document those events, we refute by them all those accusations and suspicions about the leaders of the Dawla and indeed about the Islamic State itself, for usually the Iraqi jihad and its leaders are mentioned negatively on satellite channels, and even on the tongues of those who claim jihad, and even the one to whom wisdom was once attributed has characterized them as Khawarij.
And as we document the biography of one of them, we eternalize his memory among the Muslims so that they may take advice from him and we may be proud that in the Ummah of Islam there are men like mountains in their knowledge and work, for this Ummah is the best of the nations and history has eternalized the memory of its men.
And after all that has preceded, we will here undertake documenting the biography of one of the sheikhs of jihad in this age of ours- we reckon him as such and God is his reckoning- a sheikh against whom accusations have proliferated without evidence, since he began da'wa to God the Exalted on the manhaj of the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama'a, such that they threw as accusations against him that of which God is well-aware: sometimes they said that he was an agent of the Saud family (may God bring them to perdition) and sometimes of the Jews. These accusations were in the days of da'wa. As for in the days of jihad, they said about him that he was a Ba'athist!! Indeed an intelligence officer, a Rafidite.
Then they disagreed on the picture of him, for photos of more than one person on the basis that it was he were published, and indeed they were audacious, for a photo was published of a man with a girl on the basis that it was he, then they differentiated between his two names so they attributed one thing to Abu Ala' and things to Abu Ali al-Anbari. Then they realized that the two names were for one person.
Here we will write from lines that in which we will clarify an aspect, even if small, regarding the life of this mujahid sheikh, monk of the night and the one who terrifies the enemies, the caller to God the Exalted on the manhaj of truth: the manhaj of the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama'a, the one who fulfills words with seeds: Sheikh Abu Ala'a al-Husseini al-Quraishi, in order that we may refute all those errors by our mentioning of the truth, and so that the extent of the misleading and distortion to which the sheikh[iii]- may God accept him- has been subjected may be known. And this is will be from a number of angles:
1. His lineage.
2. His birth and upbringing.
3. Life of da'wa.
4. Time of preparation for mobilization and jihad.
5. Jihad of Iraq.
6. Jihad of al-Sham.
7. His martyrdom.
8. Some of what his pen granted generously.
Thursday, 15 Jumada al-Akhira 1437 AH corresponding to 24 March 2016 CE
That day elapsed to pass with it the life of a man in an Ummah.
Abu Ala',[iv] Abu Iman, al-Hajji Iman, Abu Hassan, Sayyid Khalil, Abu Zainab, Hajji Taher, Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi,[v] Abu Hassan Qardash,[vi] Abu Ali al-Anbari,[vii] Abu Suhaib al-Iraqi,[viii] Abu Mus'ab al-Shami, Abu Ala' al-Dar Islami,[ix] Abu Obeida etc.
Multiple names for one man, having differed according to time and place and circumstances of work, for one man!!!
The lineage of Sheikh Abd al-Rahman from the side of his father goes back to al-Hussein[x] bin Ali bin Abi Talib, for he is:
Abd al-Rahman bin Muhammad bin Mustafa bin Muhammad bin Abd al-Qadir[xi] bin Wahab bin Hassan bin Abd al-Rahman bin Hussein bin Sayyid Sawm..bin al-Hussein bin Ali bin Abi Talib al-Quraishi.
As for the side of his mother, his grandfather[xii] was from Armenia, and he fled with some of his family to Iraq on the day they were evicted from their land and he was three or four years old, so His Lord ennobled him with Islam.
His birth and upbringing
Sheikh Abd al-Rahman was born in the village of al-Kharayaj near the district of Rabi'a in the province of Ninawa on Thursday 28 Rabi' al-Awal 1379 AH corresponding to 1 October 1959 CE, to two Muslim parents, for his parents had the high impact in his upbringing as an Islamic upbringing since the growth of his nails, for he began praying at 4 years old, and his father had the grace after God the Exalted as he taught him since his tender years on the basis of halal and haram even as he was their only child as God the Exalted did not provide them with a birth besides him, so he did not ask about or demand anything without his father taking him to a sheikh known in the locality (Mulla Hamza) so the two would ask him about the matter, and from that he once wanted to buy pigeons so his father said to him that he would ask the sheikh about the opinion of the law on that, so he brought him to the sheikh and said to him:
This man wants to buy pigeons, so the sheikh informed him of the existence of a Shari'i objection to that and he mentioned to them both the hadith- 'Satan follows a Satan'[xiii] or as SAWS said, so he turned away from his demand.
And the father of the sheikh- may God have mercy on him- was very good at reciting the Qur'an for he would recite and have his son sit with him when he was four years old. Sheikh Abd al-Rahman says:
"When my father would recite the Noble Qur'an, he would have me sit by his side and I would listen without speaking or moving, because the Qur'an would be recited, and inside me would be implanted reverence of the book of God the Exalted and that the Qur'an has a special place, so I must listen without speaking, and within my heart came great love for the book of God Almighty and I was still a child."
He began his primary study and after six years completed it with distinction for he was known for astuteness since his tender years, and he came above and was distinguished over his peers, then he joined the Islamic institute in Telafar to study in it, and that was by request of his father so he completed the institute's studies and graduated from it to complete his higher studies in the Shari'a College in Baghdad, to graduate from it in 1402 AH corresponding to 1982 CE.
He became enamored with recital and reading, so he read many of the Shari'i and literary books and increased in knowledge and wisdom, and after he completed his studies he joined military service (compulsory),[xiv] as the war was going on between the Taghut of the Ba'ath and the state of the Majus (Iran) so he served in the army for around seven years, so he gained military experience and became distinguished in it, so he brought together Shari'i knowledge and military knowledge, and these two things are the least of what come together in a person.
My mother told me: we were sitting under the pomegranate tree in our house one day sheltering under its shade while your father was holding his book, reading it, and on him fell a paper from the tree and on it was engrave the expression of Jalala, so when I saw that and your grandfather was sitting near us, I informed him of what happened, so he said explaining the event:
This man will be something: he may be in the future an official, amir or even an amir for the believers.[xv]
After he finished military service (compulsory), he was appointed a teacher for the subject of Islamic education in Mujamma' Barzan near Zummar, so he left among the people of that village an impact that they have not forgotten until this day of ours, for the people of that village were completely removed from Tawheed. Indeed most of them did not know a time for prayer. Sheikh Abd al-Rahman says:
"God Almighty ordained for me acceptance among the students of that school, and he opened their hearts so they began to pray, with their instruction in the Tawheed of God Almighty through ayahs and ahadith inscribed in those books, and I made one of the rooms of the school a mosque in which we might pray at noon, and not one of the refrained from prayer, and the people of the region in that time were known for abandoning prayer, and when the school cleaner saw one of the students with a water pot in his hand, he asked him:
Where, oh so-and-so?
He said: I want to perform ablution.
He said to him: You boy, your father prayed and grandfather prayed such that you should pray!!!
Then the youth began to visit frequently the mosque of al-Hajj Jabr in which no one besides him and his sons would pray, and the month of Ramadan coincided with the months of teaching in that year so I was praying with them as an Imam as I had memorized a third of the Qur'an at that time.
A short time afterwards one of the wealthy of the area brought girls for dancing and prostitution[xvi] to the Mujamma'. God knows how angry I was because that as I began seeing the corruption plaguing the houses, so it was my duty to inform the students of the school that all who do not attend those celebrations get an additional 10 marks in the subject of Islamic education. Then I began to think of how to get them out from the Mujamma' and after thought blended with anger I desisted from the idea before finding it, because I realized that if they got out from here they would go to another area to sow corruption in it, then I began to think about killing them but I did not have weapons so it became to my mind that I should burn the tent upon them, so I asked one of the students of the school to bring me a quantity of gasoline so he did so.
The legitimacy of what I was embarking upon asked me to stop so I ceased from that, and I asked the one in whose religion I trusted then and he did not agree with me on that.
There remained no other means but for me to call against them and the one who brought them, so I did that after the afternoon prayer and said to the people praying that I was calling against these people, so they kept safe, and I could not help crying in anger against these people and at my inability to consider what angers God Almighty in the open then I could not please Him by removing it.
Those who prayed with me on that day exchanged my prayer, so God Almighty roused a man from the people of the Mujamma' who had power in it so he said:
A man who is not of the area is not pleased with the presence of these people, and we the people of the Mujamma' are content!!
Then he noticed the one who brought them to the Mujamma' and informed him that he had to get these people out of the complex and if not he would do it and it was done.
That corrupt sower of corruption obeyed the warning of this man and he emptied the Mujamma' of these girls. It remained in my mind that they would arrive to another area. Then I became more convinced that the matter was not corrected not because of the presence of these girls but rather the presence of a government permitting these people to move about in the areas of the Muslims to make them more corrupt on what they are."
After those years, the sheikh moved to the city of Telafar to reach in it, and God the Exalted willed that the teaching began in the high school of al-Jazeera in the al-Khadra neighbourhood in Telafar, and this neighbourhood was among the biggest neighbourhoods of the Rafidites in the city.
Life of Da'wa
All those years passed until Sheikh Abd al-Rahman, who was well-known in that time as Abu Ala' in relation to the eldest of his sons, began to give lectures in the nights of Ramadan in the year 1416 AH (corresponding to 1995 CE) in the al-Khulafa' mosque in Telafar, so that was the beginning of the public da'wa by him as the da'wa before that was in his going to the remote villages and in private settings, and the series was about the Badr expedition on which the sheikh expounded at great length and touched on all that was mentioned in the Noble Qur'an from that great event, and he inserted the component of fighting into the crucible of its situation, for he had something in mind through his mentioning the facts of the raid on whose occurrence two Muslims do not disagree. Then the matter developed and God willed for him to be appointed in 1418 AH (corresponding to 1997 CE) preacher of the al-Omari mosque in Telafar.[xvii]
So God ordained for him acceptance among the people as the mosque was overcrowded with worshippers such that they made an expansion for him and then another. Indeed among the people were those who stood on the alleys to hear the sermon, so all this was the beginning of the foundation for what would come to pass in future days.
And from what I remember from those days is the Friday prayer sermon on the Day of Ashura' for by God we learnt subsequently that some of the Rafidites were listening to the sermon while sitting on the allies neighbouring the mosque, and likewise sermons about Surat al-Nahl for the Sheikh expounded at that time on one of the types of idolatry (seeking help in one besides of God) such that one of the notables of Rafidites told an intermediary he sent to say to him: is there not in the Qur'an a sura besides Surat al-Nahl?
So the sheikh responded to him with the words of God Almighty: "And when our verses are recited to them with clear proofs, those who do not desire to meet us have said: 'Bring a Qur'an other than this or change it.' Say: 'It is not for me to change it of my own accord'" (Yunis 15).
So the stage of outburst with the Rafidites began, and the Sheikh first began to collect some of their books[xviii] like al-Kafi and al-Istibsar and others besides them, to read what was in them so as to make easy for himself the struggle with them, and that was for him- by the grace of God Almighty- then he increased his review of the religion of the Rafidites.
So he composed in that regard a book[xix] and the book was published that time under a pseudonym, for the Ba'ath state was prohibiting the publication of books except by prior permission.
Here the details of his life began to change little by little, for he began clashing with the Rafidites of Telafar, the Sufis and even the Ba'athists in his propositions that he openly espoused, for it got to the point where a week would not pass by for him without being summoned to the party's base in the city, and he only remained in the position of giving sermons for two years before he was removed from it, for the reports about him subsequently were coming to the security and party bases, and even the fifth branch of evil renown in the city of Mosul, as he was accused of being on the Wahhabi[xx] manhaj, and that he was receiving huge sums from the Saud family, then he was accused of collaboration with the Jews!!
And his removal from the position of giving sermons had the great impact on him, for he was banned from giving sermons and lectures, and he was even banned from doing the call to prayer in the mosques. All this from one angle and those accusations from another, the Sunna of God the Exalted for the preachers from His servants, for the Messenger of God (SAWS) was accused of madness and lying, and likewise the one of every call has not escaped from an accusation, for were you to turn over the pages of history you will not find a man who preaches to truth without the people of falsehood opposing him and being hostile to him: "No one has brought the likes of what you brought without facing hostility."[xxi]
And whenever they pressured him, he grew more intense, to the point that he began to oppose openly and with enmity the Taghut of the Ba'ath, for he was the only one in every school out of students and teachers not to clap on mention of the name of the Taghut Saddam during the morning assembly,[xxii] despite the fact that merely not clapping was an accusation, for that aroused the anger of the Ba'athist director,[xxiii] when he came into the hall one day (teachers' room) and said:
I do not accept the presence of teachers who do not clap on mentioning the name of the leader president, for you are an example to the students of the school. The sheikh said to him:
"I think that Saddam Hussein said once that the hands that clapped for Abd al-Karim Qasim clap for us now and will clap for others besides us...so the director fell silent and departed the hall without uttering a word, then God the Exalted blessed me for I did not attend those assemblies after that day ever again."
And from that also: on that day, the sheikh arrived somewhat late to the school, and I was accompanying him, but we found some of the teaching staff on the passenger vehicle (bus) in front of the school gate, so the sheikh entered the courtyard to inquire about the matter, so the party official saw him and said to him:
Come with us sir, we were waiting for you.
The sheikh said to him: "Whither?"
Party official: to Mosul to participate in celebrating the president's birthday.
The sheikh: "I do not want to come with you."
The party official: If you don't come, I will be compelled to write a report about you as you refuse to attend.
The sheikh: "Write that I refuse to attend, and in our vicinity was my son 'Ma'an' and he was young, he said: write that I also refuse to attend. Note that the issue did not concern him."
Despite all that, the sheikh continued on the path of teaching, and he justified that saying:
"I did not consider there to be anything in that time in teaching from the Shari'i realm, because I was free to teach the subject of Islamic education, and I did not hesitate to say the truth and affirm it- and to God be praise and favour- and I was not deceptive in what I professed to God whatever the outcome might be.
Then the days passed and I got to know one of the teachers and he was teaching English in the village of Zummar, then the relation between us strengthened a lot and I learnt from him that he was connected with a group and that they had military work inside the presidential palace in Baghdad through personnel they had in Saddam's bodyguard. I rejoiced in him a lot and what he was on, as they would seize rule after the killing of Saddam Hussein. Then I said to him:
I want to be with you, entrust to me any work, whatever it may be, in this blessed work. I insisted on the demand and repeated and promised many times for good.
Then the teacher informed me that I must come with him to the city of Mosul to meet some of the members of the group. Only God Almighty knows my joy at this offer so I went on the appointment. Then the meeting with the teacher's group was by night.
An elderly man: we had a little discussion, then I learnt that there was no benefit from them or good in them and in what they discussed for two reasons:
- The senior one among them with whom I had a discussion said to me:
Do you see these youth (he meant those sitting with us in the meeting) were also like you in the beginning of the matter: eager?
So I learnt that my state with him would be no better than the eager ones who came before me.
- Those who participated with us in the meeting on that night and throughout the time of my discussion with him were preoccupied with eating nuts,[xxiv] and the matter did not concern them, but rather the man and I were in one valley and they were in the valley of nuts while the discussion was about jihad, fighting and revolting against a ruler, so I realized that there was no good in these people, and that all they were upon was talk spoken inside the rooms to ventilate from what was quivering in the soul then lying down and inactivity and they were like that. Indeed I met the teacher after the Crusaders entered multiple times and without a prior appointment, as I knew in what mosque he prayed, and I never came upon him without finding him equipped to travel with a group of the youth surrounding him...he was one of the members in the Iraqi...party.
The problems of the Ba'athists were not ending, for the short dress and long beard and then last but not in the end certain the formation of the al-Quds Army, as whoso was on the path of teaching was obliged to participated in that claimed army. Then one of the Ba'athists came to me in my house to inform me to attend to register in the army. I said to him:
Whoso does not participate, what will be done?
The Ba'athist: A report for lack of participation will be written about him.
The sheikh: Do you have paper and pen?
The Ba'athist: Yes.
The sheikh: I wrote on the paper that he gave me:
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful...I refrain from participating in the al-Quds Army.
So I was summoned by an official of one of the bases of the party and they began a party interrogation with me about the reason for refusing, so the Ba'athist set up a verification committee of two men one of whom was the director of a school (a Rafidite) two of whose sons I had taught, and the other was among those claiming affiliation to the Ahl al-Sunna. The director advised me as he showed that he wanted the best for me and warned me about this interrogation. I said to him: I, oh teacher, am more aware of my interest. So he began with the interrogation. And the manner was as such:
A document in whose beginning was written the usual words, then a question and beneath it the response, and in the field of the question was written:
Why do you not want to participate in the al-Quds Army?
I wrote in the field of the response:
Because participation in the al-Quds Army is voluntary, and I do not want to participate.
You are a Ba'athist, and the Ba'athist is obliged to participate?
I will offer my resignation.
Do you have any other words?
As for my relation with the Ba'ath Party:
We were compelled in the 1970s and I was 13 years old then to affiliate with the party, and when I reached the stage of university education, I learnt about the truth of these people from the Shari'i aspect, so I did not attend a meeting of theirs or pay a subscription to them even in the days of my teaching in Mujamma' Barzan, for the director there did not ask me to pay anything,[xxv] then when I moved to Telafar one of the members of the party disclosed to me the matter and informed that my party dossier had reached them and he began demanding me to pay the monthly subscription so I said to him that I would not pay him for I did not pay the subscription to anyone ever.
And so it was only some days until I was summoned by the official of the party division, and the area official and official for the school in which I was teaching attended the meeting. One of them said as he wanted to improve my image before the division official:
My comrade: the teacher is a Ba'athist and his dossier is with us.
I said: But I am completely cut off from the party since a long time.
So he could only say:
But your dossier is with us.
I said: And if so, I am cut off. The matter was corrected and the Ba'athist official advised me of what they have from instructions regarding the beard and dress. I said to him:
And I also want to advise you. So I recited to him the words of God Almighty:
"And one day some of the oppressors before Him will say: if only I had taken a path with the Messenger. Woe is me, if only I had not taken so-and-so as Khalil, he misled me from remembrance after he came to me, and Satan has forsaken man"- (al-Furqan 27-28).
He wanted to interrupt me and said:
We do not want lectures.
I said: this is not a lecture. These are Qur'anic verses.
Then I turned away from them and I was certain that I had not disgraced my religion. I felt the pride of the believer in the likes of these encounters and in the company of God Almighty. I got out from them and I was sure of myself that I had obtained from them and they had not obtained from my religion or from me- and praise be to God.
The school director informed me on the second day that the party official said about me:
He is solid in his religion.
I rejoiced at this impression that God Almighty had placed in their hearts about me.
The reader may be surprised how someone could openly display hostility to the Ba'athist state in that time and not come to harm?
I say: the protection and company of God the Exalted and Almighty. Preserve God, He will preserve you. For so long as you have preserved your religion and not feared anyone, God will take care of you by His pleasantness.
After they barred him from giving sermons, a difficult period passed upon him then he became content with his new situation. Indeed it returned to the way it was but with a greater manner this time for the meetings would be inside the houses.
Time of Preparation For Mobilization and Jihad
Then he increased on the da'wa as he wanted with three of his brothers to mobilize in the path of God the Exalted and this was in 1421 AH, as some of the media matters from the land of Afghanistan and from the brothers in Chechnya began to reach him: like the Lovers of Martyrdom series, and these media matters constituted a powerful stimulus for the sheikh to mobilize and wage jihad in the path of God Almighty, so the four came together and they were: Sheikh Abu Ala', Ali Fato,[xxvi] Khidr Kanna,[xxvii] and Wa'ad Allah al-Khayat.[xxviii] And they determined their matter, desiring to mobilize and wanted a path to that.
The sheikh said to me: "Some time after our meeting and mutual pledge to the matter, my brother Abu Omar (Ali) came to me and informed me that he had found a man who could bring us to the mujahideen in the north of Iraq (Kurdistan), and that the two of them had agreed on a date and the meeting would be after three days in the city of Mosul, so we went on the decided day and reached the area of Karaj al-Shamal, waiting for our friend. So that was the first meeting.
And we learnt from him that he was from the Ali Babir[xxix] group, and he asked us to visit them in their areas in the north of Iraq, so we agreed on visiting them after less than a month in the days of Eid, so that we should not attract suspicion.
So we went on our appointed day, and the agreement was that they should wait for us in the garage in one of the localities of the north of Iraq. No sooner had we arrived than we found the one waiting for us there and his name was Abd al-Wahhab, so he took us to his house and it was a house of clay, so we sat waiting for the one who would come to meet us. And after an hour approximately a person entered upon us and identified himself to us (Dilshad Klari)- as I remember his name was- and he was a delegate to us from the amir of the group, so he sat with us and began to let to get us to know his group and what they wanted, then he began speaking about their amir and that he would expose himself to the Qur'an once every six months to consider himself where agreed with the Noble Qur'an and where he contravened it. Then after a long talk he said:
Were you to see him- i.e. Ali Babir- you would certainly like him.
And he brought out for us a photo of this Ali from his pocket, and no sooner had my eyes come upon the photo than I saw a rosary in his hand. Then a little after that we went out from him.
And on the path of return we spoke a little so I learnt that what had come in my heart had come in the heart of my companion, for how could the amir of a mujahid group take a photo or carry a rosary in his hand?
Despite the fact that we knew that the rosary had been permitted by some of the 'ulama and disliked by some of them, God the Exalted had made it a reason for us to keep a distance from this group, and I remained in contact with the Kurdish brother (Abd al-Wahhab) as he kept coming to me in my house in Telafar. So the relation between us was much consolidated.
"The Manhattan Raid"
Tuesday, 23 Jumada al-Akhira 1422 AH corresponding to 11 September 2001 CE.
That blessed raid that changed all the features of the Islamic Ummah, and awoke them from their deep lethargy, for the 19 brothers- and before them the reviver Sheikh Osama bin Laden- may God elevate his rank in His Paradise- had the great distinction over the Ummah after God the Exalted, for they wiped off the brows of the Ummah the humiliation by their blood, as the number of those who thought of jihad in the path of God increased after that blessed raid but they did not find a path for mobilization, and all those soldiers were among those who attended the lessons and lectures of Sheikh Abu Ala', for they gathered around him, and they were nearly 20 soldiers, and with them he began the leadership as they were trained in some combat skills (unarmed combat), and the matter of their training was assumed by the brother commander Iyad Abu Bakr- may God accept him- on the hills surrounding the locality of Tel Afar, and their transportations were in the personal car of Sheikh Abu Ala' but he did not go out with them but rather he specified for himself two days in the week to be trained inside his house with two of his brothers, and all that was in adherence to the Exalted's words:
"And if they were to desire to go out, they would prepare for it"- (al-Tawba 46).
Confrontation with the Companions of Yesterday
In addition they did not neglect the morale preparation for they studied together, and in those days some of the books were circulated, like Qawa'id fi al-Takfir, al-Jami' fi Talb al-'Ilm al-Sharif, Millatu Ibrahim and others, which constituted among them the correction for the old ideological building Here he began to conflict with the companions of yesterday (the Muslim Brotherhood in their Iraqi branch),[xxx] for he and his brothers were until a little before the Manhattan raid in one rank with those people, but the raid revived the hearts of some and killed the hearts of others. Indeed it revealed the true nature of all, for after those books were circulated,[xxxi] some of the understandings in the sheikh's view were corrected, like disbelief in Taghut and takfir of the one who rules by that besides what God has brought down, and the ruling on the parties that participate in Taghut governments, so they clashed with the manhaj of the Muslim Brotherhood, or as the sheikh called them the Egypt Brotherhood,[xxxii] for he begrudged them the name of Islam, and here there was added to the list of enemies another enemy, and how numerous they were.
In that time appeared another disagreement as a new matter arose on the field (mosques of harm) and whether it was allowed for us to pray in all the mosques or not, and behind whom prayer is permitted or not permitted.
For the Brotherhood[xxxiii] brought one of their preachers and he was called Sayf al-Din[xxxiv] and Sheikh Abu Ala' sat down in discussion with him and in the attendance of some of the brothers in the house of the brother Ali Jum'a- may God accept him- then a disagreement arose between them so the sheikh went out from the meeting after this Sayf mocked a verse from the Book of God the Exalted, for the sheikh reminded him of God Almighty's words:
"And it has come down to you in the Book that if you hear the verses of God being disbelieved in or mocked, do not sit with them until they engage in another conversation besides it. You are then like them. Indeed God will bring together the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell entirely" (al-Nisa' 14). Then he went out.
And that meeting had an echo among the brothers, for this is the first time in which there was discussion between the sheikh and one of the preachers of the Iraqi...Party at this level.
Meeting with a Delegate of al-Ansar
The events were intertwined to some extent, indeed overlapping with each other, for on the one hand there was the physical preparation, and on the other there was the ideological preparation and contending with the Rafidites, the Brotherhood and the Murj'ites, and between this and that the sheikh contacted the Jama'at al-Ansar, for the Kurdish brother (Abd al-Wahhab) visited the sheikh in his home accompanied by another man and he identified him as one of the leaders of al-Ansar (Ansar al-Islam) in the Biyar region in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The sheikh said to me:
"I sat with the al-Ansar delegate[xxxv] so the discussion was first in outlines about the creed of the group, so the relationship between us became much consolidated. Then he asked me to visit him in his house in Baghdad. So that was so."
Days passed until the sheikh went to Baghdad and there he met the delegate of al-Ansar as he visited him in his house. The sheikh said to me:
"We sat discussing aspects of the talk so he informed me that there is a man from Jordan and he is a muhajir in God's path as he was in the land of the Afghans then in the north of Iraq and he is now his guest in Baghdad, and he began telling me about him then he said in short were you to see him you think that you were seeing a man from the Age of the Companions, so I very much desired to see him, and after the sunset prayers the guest came upon us.
And he was a man in the prime of his youth and somewhat tanned, so he sat beside me and we ate together. Then the house owner brought us tea and he and I drank, but the guest did not drink for he raised the cup for a moment then placed it then he explained that in the cup was a hole and that the Messenger (SAWS) forbade drinking in defective [/perforated] vessels, so the man grew very great in my eyes as he was fasting (voluntary fast), and he was also complying with what he knew from the Prophetic guidance. Then he got me to know his persona (Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi), so we stayed for a whole day then I returned to Telafar."
The events were intertwined and the interests were branching off day after day and broadening, for there were the da'wa and preparation and the keenness to keep oneself on guard against the security apparatus, and amid all this and that the sheikh and the three began and added with them their fourth man (Iyad Abu Bakr), and they tried to make an IED with which they might target the base of the Ba'athists, and the brother Iyad- may God accept him- was entrusted with making the explosive, but they did not succeed in that for lack of presence of the necessary substances and sufficient expertise.
The sheikh said to me:
"I do not know whether what we wanted was possible or not, for the punishment would be harsh but in that day we decided to undertake that whatever the outcome."
Then a matter more dangerous and greater than its precedents arose (the ruling on the one who serves in the army and police), and the sheikh was preaching the truth without caring as to the consequence, as he asserted that it was not permissible to serve in the army or police except obligatory service that man could not avoid, and if he could do so, it would be obligatory on him to avoid it, and he would not be excused. And this matter was extremely dangerous, that you should say to one of them that you are not permitted to serve in the army, because Saddam Hussein is a Taghut who rules by that besides which God has revealed, and it is not allowed to serve in his army: the least of what you would find would be the gallows for saying that.
And God knows that he did not hesitate to assert what he considered to be truth, and he never compromised in God's religion, asserting the truth regardless of the outcome, and among the things he most repeated were the words of God Almighty:
"We will never prefer you over what has come to us from proofs and the One who created us. So decree what you decree. You can only decree this worldly life"- (Taha 72).
Here some of the new members entered the group, and among them was the brother leader Sheikh Abu Mu'atazz al-Qurashi (may God accept him)[xxxvi] as he was an officer in the Taghut army, so when the proof reached him, he avoided service and separated because of absence, and he became very close to Sheikh Abu Ala'- we ask God to raise his rank on high.
Events proceeded apace for there was all this on the one hand and the war of the Rafidites against him on the other, for they were able to convey him by their reports to the gallows rope, but God saved him, but the physical preparation was somewhat discovered among the security apparatuses despite care and caution, for how difficult it is for you to conceal something like this in a locality whose observers upon you are numerous, and that increased the suffering of the sheikh- may God accept him- such that the Ba'ath Taghut's security apparatus forced him to shave his beard. And when he shaved his beard he said: "By God, I have not shaved it except for a greater matter."
The al-Ansar delegate visited him in his house then after a long conversation occurred between them, as the brother was encouraging mobilization and asking the sheikh to urge to mobilize those he trusted, the sheikh imposed on him the condition that he should visit the Biyar region by himself to review the reality there and survey it. The sheikh says:
"I asked him that I should visit that area to see everything with my eye and be sure of the creed of the people and that they are on the correct manhaj, and I continued waiting for more than a month but God did not prepare the way for us, then I suggested to them that they should produce a documentary film about the life of the mujahid among them and send it to us for it was what I wanted, just as one of the brothers[xxxvii] whom I knew of old sent to me an audio message explaining in it the present situation inside the group, then a short time after that the delegate brother informed me of their need for a doctor so I went to one of my brothers and asked him if he knew a doctor he trusted so that we would could speak to him and invite him. He said to me:
There is a dentist who recently graduated.
And he said they were good friends, and he wanted to wage jihad and migrate. So I contacted the al-Ansar delegate and informed him of the presence of the doctor, so coordination was done between us. And the day of the journey was defined, then I learnt after that that the route was not safe, so the doctor went back and was not able to cross, and the doctor brother is still alive and is now one of the soldiers of the Islamic State."[xxxviii]
And there was within the talk that happened between the sheikh and the delegate that the latter demanded from him to make silencers as he provided him with some of the information on the means of manufacture.
So Sheikh Abu Ala' began making the silencers inside his house with the help of some of his brothers very close to him, and the matter was difficult in its beginning and they faced many obstacles for this type of works was new to them, and all they had were some primitive tools they were using for something besides what they were made for, so there were successive attempts and they continued in that for around two months, and they did not desist from the work they produced a specific number of the silencers and the sheikh tested them personally, then he went to Baghdad and he handed them to the al-Ansar delegate in his house. The sheikh says:
"We agreed with the taxi driver we knew and reckoned well of him[xxxix] that he should take us- the sheikh and the brother Abu Omar- to Baghdad, then on the way I said to him oh Abu Fulan, we have goods with us: if they were to be found, we would face no less than the ruling of execution, so the man was surprised. Then I said to him:
We have silencers, so if you consider that we should complete the path, that is what we want. And if you consider that you should go back, that is your right. Then something of insomnia struck him and he said:
I was hoping you would not inform me of this. Then I said to him:
Had I not informed you, you would be taking the reward of this world only, as for now, you have with us a value in the reward of the Hereafter- if God the Exalted wills- so we have completed the path and completed the assignment by grace from God the Exalted."
In that time the brothers from those who had begun preparation with the sheikh began preparing what they could from arms and from their personal wealth, for what would happen in the coming days. For all desired to go forth to the land of jihad and prepare for it. All this was happening in a region ruled by the Ba'ath state.
And by God I am writing these very letters and I would not be believing that had it not been that I lived through them myself and see with my very eyes what I wrote and I am writing here, with multiple brothers able to corroborate knowledge of it. I have also been convinced that God the Exalted kept safe those youth for a great matter. For how difficult was da'wa work in the shade of an oppressive government like the government of the apostate Saddam. I say da'wa work: i.e. mere da'wa to God on the authentic manhaj, not making silencers and preparing individuals physically and mentally. For it was by the company of God- the Exalted and Almighty- that all that was happened, then by their kitman, and the matter continued as it was, and the Crusaders began preparing to occupy Iraq and the situation of Sheikh Abu Ala' and his brothers on what he was became uncertain.
The Beginning of the Crusader Campaign Against Iraq
Thursday 17 Muharram 1424 AH corresponding to 20 March 2003 CE
The beginning of the Crusader campaign against the Ba'ath state in Iraq, and many thought that the goal of that Crusader campaign was to topple the Ba'ath regime. Yes, one of many goals, among them seizing the land of two rivers and making it a military base and back garden for the Crusader states in the region, and likewise seizing the oil resources, and striking the Muslims in the heart of their abode...etc.
No sooner had the Crusaders begun advancing at the expense of the Ba'athists than the brothers prepared then they disagreed for a moment: should we fight them while the Ba'ath state remained or should we wait?
The decision from Sheikh Abu Ala' was that we should wait.
Fall of the Ba'athist State
Wednesday, 7 Safr 1424 AH corresponding to 9 April 2003 CE
There occurred what was never envisioned, what no one believed to be true, what was a grim reality for years...the collapse of the Ba'athists' state. And on that very night the sheikh was with some of his brothers in the house of the brother Iyad- may God accept him- then when we wanted to return to the house and it was close to midnight we saw some of the Ba'ath cronies as they were abandoning their bases in a hurry, and in a manner the likes of which we had not been prepared to see them, so we traced our steps back to the house of Abu Bakr, and the sheikh asked him in inquiry about what we saw and we learnt that that was the beginning of the collapse of the Ba'athists' state, and I saw the joy on his face, and he asked Abu Bakr to take a group of the brothers and take the weapons in those bases, and when the morning arose, the people were preoccupied with stealing the possessions of the state, and the sheikh was preoccupied with his brothers in gathering weapons from the bases of the Ba'athists, and they continued in that and gathered weapons from Telafar military airport and the bases of Mosul and the Hadr warehouse and other places, so they gathered what God willed that they should father, then they buried most of them and distributed the rest among them.
And some days later calm spread through the town as all who were preoccupied with something (whether gathering weapons or theft) finished their work, and here Sheikh Abu Ala' exploited the opportunity as he could lecture in any mosque he wanted, for no one prevented him or would write a report about him so the night lectures were in the Mus'ab bin Umair (may God be pleased with him) mosque through which he suggested all his ideas and what he called for. And while he was busy with da'wa, others were preoccupied with forming parties.
And among those preoccupied with forming parties was the Brotherhood's branch and they called themselves the "Iraqi...Party."
Then the people began to visit the sheikh in his house and ask him about what would things come to and whether we should fight the occupiers or not. And some of them would ask about that to know their place in the coming days and in which of the two classes they would be, and some were asking to transmit the news, but the sheikh's response with the people was only condensed to one phrase: "We are now a force- and praise be to God- and for every event there will be a story."
The party formations inside the city became numerous after the Crusader forces entered it and concentrated in its airport, and some skirmishes occurred between the brothers and some members of the Iraqi...Party, as one of them came out to pray as an imam so one of the youth opposed him on the grounds that how can you lead us in prayer when it is now allowed to pray behind you? So the matter developed into a fistfight then the problem ended with a knife stabbing. The Brotherhood person knew that he had no power and these men had ventured to stab him with the knife and they might kill him if he persisted with the matter, so that was the first physical confrontation between the two ideologies.
The Jihad of Iraq
Jihadi work in began against the Crusaders in some of the regions of the Ahl al-Sunna in Iraq, like Falluja and Ramadi, then the matter spread to most of their regions, for they lit a fire roasting the soldiers of the Cross where they were found, and the Rafidites of Telafar and in all of Iraq began visiting the Crusaders frequently, and indeed receiving them in their homes, and the first and most evil of them was Abdullah[xl] who gave a banquet to the Americans in his house. Then he provided him with a list of names of those accused of Wahhabism, and that they were being trained on the hills of Telafar, and that they would inevitably fight them (meaning the Americans), for the first name on the list was the name of Sheikh Abu Ala', then the matter developed much more as they began to work with the Crusaders openly, such that they opened for them a base inside the city and a police branch was established in it.
At the time the brothers began operating inside the city as the work was confined to its distant peripheries only, and thus Telafar entered the domain of jihadi work and the number of those operating in it at the beginning was 22 men only.
They began and in the first operation God facilitated for them was bombing the airport, for they divided into two groups, the first led by Sheikh Abu Ala' and the second led by the brother Abu Bakr, for it was tantamount to announcing the beginning of the battle, then some days after that the base was targeted inside the city, and the first accused of that was Sheikh Abu Ala'.
The sheikh was informed of the necessity of attending the base with the Americans so he went to them. The sheikh says:
"And as I stood in front of the base I saw a man I knew and he was wearing military gear, so I said to him: What are you doing here?
He approached me and stretched out his hand to shake my hand, but I said to him I will not shake your hand.
He said: I sought a fatwa oh teacher and they permitted it for me.
I said to him: you are now an apostate from God's religion, so review yourself, and as we were standing another policeman came and wanted to shake my hand but I refused. He said:
Sir, did you not know me: I am so-and-so!
I said to him: I do not shake the hand of a policeman.
Then I learnt from them both that the Americans were not among them but rather I had to go to the second gate. So I went, and on my arrival there, one of the officers saw me and stretched out his hand to shake my hand. The policeman said to him: withdraw your hand, he will not shake our hands. The officer said to me: Why?
I responded to him that you are in my view an apostate from the religion of God Almighty. Then he asked me in inquiry about the reason for my presence so I informed him that the Americans had summoned me. He said: I will enter to see what they want so don't enter before I come back to you.
After a moment the policeman himself came to me and said:
The officer says to you go and don't come back. For the issue is very dangerous.
So I returned without entering and praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds."
From that moment began a new stage in the life of Sheikh Abu Ala', and its beginning was somewhat harsh, for how difficult it was for you to be a fugitive in a time when the world is all like one village, then who will receive you when America is the one that is hostile to you?
The sheikh abandoned his house and went into exile from his people in the path of God Almighty, and on the next day a little before noon prayers there was a knock on the door, with halting force from the police. So the officer entered and said:
Inform the sheikh that he should leave the house, and if you have weapons or anything important beware, for the Americans will assault your house today. Then he left. And only some hours later the Americans arrived exactly as the officer told us, and before they arrived we organized anything and we did not leave a photo of the sheikh or anything concerning him, so the Americans, after they became convinced that they would not find him in the house, only wanted a photo of him and nothing more.
A battalion was formed inside the locality, then the sheikh formed battalions with his three brothers, and they called themselves the "Battalions of Muhammad the Messenger of God (SAWS)." And here the strikes continued in succession against the Crusaders and continually increased, and no one knew who were these people who target the Americans for the kitman was strong. Also during the work they were masked so you couldn't see anything of them, and most of their operations were in the night, for they were in their daytime like the rest of the people, selling and purchasing. And once the night came, everything changed with them. Them they published a statement in the name of the group in which they warned against cooperation with the Crusaders, and they began after that to target all who worked with them, whether they were claiming affiliation with the Ahl al-Sunna or Rafidites.
All who dealt with the Crusaders thought that their tribe would protect them and no one would dare to harm them, for the work was in translation or even in transmitting information very endemically.
So the mujahideen killed the first spy, and this left a huge impact inside the locality. Then they killed another and another and they did not distinguish between the one who claimed affiliation with the Ahl al-Sunna and the one who was Rafidite, but rather they struck all who worked with the Crusaders whoever they were. Then they published a statement in which they said that we had targeted all who worked with the Crusaders, and we did not distinguish between one tribe and another, so keep your sons back, that you and they may be safe.
Those statements had a wide resound, as you would sleep and as soon as you woke up in the morning you would find the statements in every place and on every wall. And Sheikh Abu Ala'[xli] assumed responsibility for writing those statements, or as he called himself, Abu Imaan.
The Allegiance of Sheikh Abu Ala' to Ansar al-Sunna
The sheikh and his brothers gave allegiance to the Ansar al-Sunna group so he became a deputy to its amir Sheikh Abu Abdullah al-Shafi'i- may God release him- then after the allegiance the work developed much so the sheikh was frequently going between the cities of Mosul and Telafar, supervising the jihadi operations himself. And the strikes of the mujahideen against the Crusaders continued such that they made them lose their direction, for their works developed in quantity and type, and began to encompass most of the regions of the Ahl al-Sunna in the north.
Then the crushing blow came when the brothers blew up the first explosive car against the Crusaders' base in the city of Telafar. That blessed operation that took the life of around 400 Crusaders, and on account of it they left the city, by grace from God Almighty.
The sheikh says:
"We armed the car with explosives of around 250kg of strong explosive substances after the arget was chosen and observed with utmost precision. We set zero hour and the choice was made for one of our martyrdom operative brothers: a young man going by the kunya of Abu Thabit- may God the Exalted plant him firm- so he struck the base of the Crusaders and by God when I went to tell him that the time for the operation had come he got up immediately then he counselled me to complete his khitma of the Book of God as he had reached Surat Yunis. I ask God to accept him in the highest."
Then the group broadcast their visual release (Riyah al-Nasr) and in it they documented their jihadi operations inside the Iraqi towns, and they issued an audio clip in which they affirmed that they were waging war against the Crusaders for what was called in that time the Iraqi government, and the recording was in the voice of the deputy amir, the voice of Sheikh Abu Ala'.
The Crusaders lost direction as their convoys were targeted in the different regions of the Ahl al-Sunna and likewise their bases were being struck either by the car of a martyrdom operative or by a destructive missile, so the bombing of the airport (the airports of Telafar and Mosul) was throughout the week approximately.
The path of jihad is lined with loathsome things as you don't know when you will be informed of the killing of one of your brothers and the first to be martyred- we reckon him as such and God is his reckoner- was the brother leader Iyad Sayyid Hassan (Abu Bakr), as an IED blew up upon him, then after him the brother Hisham, and after them others we ask God Almighty to accept them all.
The sheikh says:
"After I learnt of the killing of the brother Iyad, the shock was great, for it was the first case. And how and where would we bury him? And how would we inform his family? It was the first time."
Then the first clash happened between the mujahideen and a Sunni tribe (al-Hilali Bik) as they killed one of their sons, and for their part they attack the house of Sheikh Abu Ala' with grenades and live-fire, but God brought them to perdition as they did not wound anyone, then all who participated in that operation were killed as the brothers executed them in the city of Mosul.
The work continued and increased in quantity and type until two of the brothers died: Abu Sa'ad and Abu Tayseer. And two others were taken prisoner, and they were the brother Fanar and the sheikh's son the brother Emad,[xlii] as they were informed on by one of the agents- may God bring him to ruin- then the mujahideen seized the neighbourhoods of Telafar, and expelled the Crusaders from them after a bloody battle in Mahalla al-Saray, as they seized the city for four days, then the Crusaders assaulted it on the fifth day, so the mujahideen left it and the people all then returned to it after less than a month.
The allegiance of Sheikh Abu Ala' to the Amir of the Martyrdom Operatives Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi
In those days the sheikh was not in the city, for he was in Baghdad organizing for a greater matter, and he continued in that as he was desiring for the convergence of views between the two groups of al-Ansar and al-Tawheed and al-Jihad led by Sheikh Zarqawi- may God accept him- and he continued in his attempts in the hope that God might open it before him.
The sheikh's eagerness for the matter to be fulfilled increased especially after Sheikh Zarqawi gave allegiance to the reviver sheikh Imam Osama- may God Almighty have mercy on the both- but the nothing was achieved. The sheikh said to me:
"After I learnt that there was no benefit from my efforts, I met with Sheikh Zarqawi- may God have mercy on him- he said to me: Oh Abu Ala', we will unite the two groups and I will yield to you from the amirship so long as al-Shafi'i also yields."
Then he added:
"God the Exalted bears witness that I immediately made clear by rejection of this, for how could I take precedence over Zarqawi or al-Shafi'i, let alone both of the together.
Then in the last meeting al-Shafi'i and those with him made uniting the two groups conditional on Sheikh Osama leaving and announcing the withdrawal of the al-Qa'ida organization from Iraq. So I transmitted his words to Abu Mus'ab, and he said to me:
May God prevent that the matter should be as such, oh Abu Ala'. You are a man we reckon you as such that if you know the truth, you follow it, and I am certain that you have known it."
After all that the sheikh abandoned the al-Ansar group to give allegiance with his brothers to Sheikh Zarqawi for the original was al-Qa'ida in that time, and the original was more right to be followed, so Sheikh Abu Ala' thus became the deputy amir of the al-Qa'ida organization in the land of the two rivers, and wali of the northern region (Ninawa and Kirkuk), for his days were divided: three in Ninawa, and three in Kirkuk and Baghdad, following military and administrative matters in it himself.
Sheikh Abd al-Rahman said to me:
"During our negotiations between the two groups, then when opinion settled on allegiance to Sheikh Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, we were sitting and one of the attendees said to Sheikh Abu Mus'ab while pointing at me: 'Sheikh Abu Ala' is among the first who established and began jihadi work...,' but Sheikh Abu Mus'ab interrupted him and said to him:
What is your opinion of the fact that Sheikh Abu Ala' was making silencers for me before the fall of the Taghut of the Ba'ath?"
As for the fact that they were unable to make al-Ansar join them as they were the nearest of people to them in creed, he said:
"Sheikh al-Shafi'i was convinced somewhat, but most of those around him were evil inside- and God is the One whose help is to be sought."
So the sheikh became the second man in the al-Qa'ida organization of Iraq. The sheikh says:
"After I became a deputy to Sheikh Abu Mus'ab I asked him not to have that announced, as I was moving between the provinces of Iraq so it was necessary for security to keep that hidden. He agreed. May God reward him best."
The Tribulation of Imprisonment
Then only some months after the allegiance the Wolf Brigade[xliii] entered the city of Mosul and assaulted the Ahl al-Sunna, and a short time after Sheikh Abu Ala' was arrested by an American force in the city of Mosul, for in the beginning of 2005 CE an American force managed to arrest Sheikh Abu Ala' without being able to identify him, as they led him away with his personal driver to Mosul airport then transferred the two of them to Abu Ghraib prison without discovering who he was for he had a fake ID card, and the case of his arrest caused a crisis inside the group but the fact they could not identify reduced the burden on us somewhat, and we were always on edge for we did not know when one of them might seem him and discover who he was, and he spent six months in prison. Then His Lord ennobled him and he was released, and that was on Tuesday 1 Ramadan 1426 AH corresponding to 4 October 2005 CE, when I was in the city of Telafar and I spent my nights in the house of one of our brothers and I had suhur with them for the first day of Ramadan. I stood praying a little before dawn prayers what God willed for me, then I began calling on God- Almighty and Exalted is He- to release my father. I insisted much with prayer then we prayed the dawn prayer and I had an appointment with one of the brothers in the city of Mosul. And our goal was the Abu Ghraib prison where my father was, for I decided to go to visit him in the prison.
I arrived in the city of Mosul and met the brother. We were arranging the matters of travel, and then my phone rang so I answered and I knew the one in contact, so he said to me after salam and regards: do you know my uncle?
I said: What about him?!
He said: he wants to speak with you.
Then he gave the phone to the man beside him, so he said to me:
I was shocked, for this was the voice of my father. So I said: are you with the owner of the number?
He said: "Yes." I said: I am on my way to you.
They are the happiest moments, for what happened was glorious. I said to my companion: I take leave of you. He was surprised at my conduct, so I informed him that the sheikh had been released and he was now inside the city of Mosul.
I arrived at the place where he was present and entered...indeed it was he, and after an embace and salam he began asking me about his brothers, for he knew that the circumstances of the locality of Telafar had changed a lot after the first military campaign and that it was exposed to a second campaign a month ago, so I informed him of what I knew. Then he asked me about Sheikh Abu Qasim the amir of Telafar- may God accept him- and about the brother Wa'ad Allah al-Khayat and some of the brothers of the first rank, so I informed him of what I knew f their circumstances so his sadness for them was great. Then he began asking me about his people so I informed him about the case and that all were well and in good health, so we began exchanging conversation so I asked him first about how he got out from prison, because all who are released indeed are handed firstly to the Iraqi police. He said:
"After we arrived at the airport I learnt that the Americans and in every occasion hand over the prisoners to the Iraqi police, and God bears witness I was not anxious about that in the end for no sooner had we arrived than the Americans took our personal cards to send them to the police and contrary to what they normally do as they send the prisoners on every occasion and not their personal cards except on this occasion, so I knew that God the Exalted willed something else, and one day later they returned to release us, so I came down to the airport street and I was bewildered as I did not know whither I would go. While I was thinking about the matter, the car of a person I know and welcome stopped and I went up to him, so he said to me after shaking hands and embrace:
Subhanullah. I was on the path of return to the house then I do not know why I changed course towards the airport street without a cause...indeed it is the accompaniment of God the Exalted."
Then I began asking him about his circumstances in prison, so he began answering me and said:
"I answer you to note and remember the blessings of God- Exalted and Almighty is He- upon us all."
Then he added
"After matters were settled with me in Abu Ghraib prison I wanted to exploit the opportunity after some of my brothers asked me to lecture them, so I agreed after taking the pledge from them that that would remain secret and they would not inform anyone of that outside the tent so I began giving them lessons- by the grace of God the Exalted."
Then he said:
"Once the Americans brought upon us a new prisoner and he was a Rafidite from Telafar. Had his sight come upon me, he would of course have recognized me, so some of the youth agreed to kill him in the night, but God saved us for he did not remain for more than an hour before being transferred to another division.
And from that also we were transferred to the al-Hasiba division and there one of the Rafidites saw me so I recognized that he had got to know me, so I began praying to God to spare me the trouble of his evil, so He spared me the trouble, so praise and favour be to Him."
We remained throughout the night talking about every part and minutia, for we had not gathered for more than six months, and on the next day I returned to Telafar and brought the family to the city of Mosul, so there was the meeting.
Return to Jihadi Work and Journey to Waziristan
Sheikh Abu Ala' remained for a number of days, as his brothers were organizing his travel papers for him and as soon as they had finished them he traveled to Baghdad, and met Sheikh Zarqawi, and returned to work anew.
After a number of days he returned to us and I learnt from him that he would live in the capital Baghdad for many reasons, for his work was now there, and only some days later he moved with his family to Baghdad, and returned to his previous work (deputy to Sheikh Zarqawi), and overseeing the work in Iraq generally.
I was not much aware of the developments in those days as I remained in the city of Mosul and so I was somewhat distant from him, and I remained in constant contact with him over mobile.
Then some time later he contacted me and sought me to come to him in Baghdad, so I went and as soon as I arrived I learnt from him that he would soon travel but this time outside Iraq. His travel papers had been arranged with a fake passport and I returned with the family to the city of Mosul.
He returned from his travel after a whole month then I learnt from him subsequently some details of his travel, for he travelled to Pakistan and met with Abu Yahya al-Libi and Mustafa Abu Zaid, just as he met with Attiyat Allah al-Libi as well and he returned after he accomplished that for which he went.
The sheikh says about that journey of his:
"I travelled there accompanied by brothers for me so we entered Iran first then we crossed to Pakistan and wore local clothes there. We continued moving about until we reached the Waziristan region and there I met the leadership of the organization among them Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi and Sheikh Abu al-Yazid."
Then he added after I asked him about the reason for his travel:
"Some members of al-Ansar (Ansar al-Islam) had sent some messages but also their delegate Abu al-Abbas had gone and with him his companions and met some of the leadership of the organization there, and they complained about what they called the oppression of the organization in Iraq and for that reason I went there, for we were obliged to clarify the matters to the leadership of the organization, so Sheikh Abu Mus'ab asked me to go to them myself so I did so."
After his return he was able- by the grace of God Almighty- with his brothers to bring about a convergence of viewpoints between the organization and some of the jihadi factions after exertion and effort, so they established Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen, and Sheikh Abu Ala' assumed responsibility for announcing the formation of the council- which became the nucleus of the Islamic State of Iraq- in an audio message.
Formation of Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen
The month of Dhu al-Hijja 1426 AH corresponding to December 2006 CE.
So the birth of the new formation was announced in an effort to raise the high ranks to an even higher level, for each faction abandoned its name and its amir abandoned his position to realize the Exalted's words: "God loves those who fight in His path as one rank as though they are a structured edifice" (al-Saff).
The objectives were multiple among them the Shari'i as we have stated above, for God's love is with the group that fights in one rank, just as they also desired- through their announcement of the council and the uniting of those factions united under its banner- to announce the rise of an Islamic state in the regions of the Ahl al-Sunna, as most of Anbar province and wide parts of Salah al-Din, Diyala and Ninawa and even neighbourhoods in the depth of the city of al-Rasheed were under the authority of those factions, and by their unity the pure united under the pure banner.
And there was whole eagerness to ensure that the unsuited one should not enter into the one rank, for that blessed council included under its banner a number of jihadi factions of which the most important was the organization of Qa'idat al-Jihad in the land of the two rivers, and the emirate of the majlis was assumed by the one who called himself Abdullah Rasheed al-Baghdadi...he is himself Sheikh Abu Ala'.
Also Sheikh Abu Ala' himself was the official spokesman of that blessed council, which was tantamount to the nucleus of the Islamic State of Iraq.
The operations against the Crusaders and their followers were increasing exponentially and continuously, such that it came to a rate of 93 operations in Anbar alone. Then when the Crusaders realized the outcome of the matter, they resorted to establishing auxiliary forces they subsequently called the Sahwa forces.
The Tribulation of Imprisonment for the Second Time
Monday 12 Rabi' al-Awal 1427 AH corresponding to 10 April 2006 CE
The true path of Islam is filled with loathsome things, and filled with difficulties and dangers, in which man is tested over the extent of his religion, for the more that man is of religion that is difficult upon him, the more he will be in this path a mujahid seeking to implement the ruling of the law of the Lord of the Worlds, as it was made to disappear from the face of the entire Earth for decades. So on this day Sheikh Abu Ala' was arrested with six of his brothers after they were in a private meeting in the al-Radwaniya region. But this time they knew that he was Abu Ala', and as soon as he was arrested the Americans referred him to the interrogation jails in Balad military airport, so he remained in it for four whole months, not knowing in it night from day, and not seeing in it anyone except interrogators, and not eating in it anything besides that which they would give him from canned goods, about which the least can be said is that they were disgusting. And you can summarize the definition of those jails as that if you were to go out from them and had not lost your mind, this would be from God Almighty's munificence upon you.
The sheikh dwelt in those jails for four whole months, and then was moved to Cropper prison on the basis that he was among the most dangerous of those wanted absolutely, as special arrest numbers were given to them. And his number was 200348.
The connection lines between us were cut so we no longer knew anything about him except after more than a year had passed since his arrest, for those who were prisoners with him got out and came to us with a verbal message from him in which we learnt that he was in the airport prison, and that he was well and praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds. We also learnt from him that the Crusaders were transferring him between the prisons of Cropper and Bucca once or twice a month, or transferring him between the camps[xliv] inside the prison, and the Americans had in that objectives including:
. Oppressing the sheikh mentally and physically, for the one who entered the prisons knows how tiring it is for you to be transferred between the Cropper and Bucca prisons because of the bad treatment during the transfer and riding aircraft and the like.
. Their fear of the possibility of digging tunnels and smuggling the sheikh from prison.
I began to examine his news through a human rights organization, and written messages through the organization began reaching us, and through the families who visited their children in the prison.
The days passed and things were as they were until he was put before the al-Sa'a court in Baghdad and he and a number of the prisoners with him were sentenced to death in an internal case, as one of the prisoners was killed on the accusation of apostasy inside the prison and one of the accused in his killing was Sheikh Abu Ala'.
The brothers in the Prisoners and Martyrs department examined his case and made efforts to put the matter in order, just as one who has the grace after God the Exalted (a man from the people of Mosul) made efforts to put it in order as his brother was sentenced in the same case.
So he was making efforts for his brother and the sheikh as well, so we were able- by the grace of God Almighty- to quash the ruling of the judge and exonerate them all- so praise be to God first and last. And the mother began visiting him and my brother Emad in the prison and more than once and to God be grace and favour.
Days passed, then months after months, and things remained as they were...expectation and waiting.
Summer 1431 AH corresponding to 2010 CE
God the Exalted blessed us with the release of my brother Emad as the Americans transferred him to the city of Mosul, then they handed him over to the Iraqi police. And here was the problem as the police of Telafar would bring all confirmation and take him to Telafar.
As soon as he entered the police centre they asked him from which region he was from. He said from Mosul. SO they repeated the question to him but he did not change his response. The brothers in the affairs of prisoners were organizing his papers to get him out as soon as possible. Here intervened the one who has upon us the grace after God the Exalted, Sheikh...and he got him out by his personal vouching.
Finally after six years he was with us under one roof, so I sent a message to my father informing him that Emad had arrived home. He did not remain for long though until he was taken prisoner again as a force of the intelligence services managed to arrest him then they executed him after they were unable to extract a word from him.
The sheikh learnt of Emad's killing but he was not convinced except after my mother visited him and conveyed the truth to him, for it was tantamount to a setback for all but out faith in the powers of God's powers made easy for us what had struck us.
The Beginning of 1432 AH corresponding to 2011 CE
As the Crusaders began to withdraw from Iraq as they claimed, and began to hand over prisoners to the Iraqi government, and here the situation began to take on another domain, for had Sheikh Abu Ala' been handed over to the Iraqis he would not get out with less than execution unless God the Exalted should will, especially as Telafar was now controlled by the Rafidites, and the Rafidites of Telafar had the long arm in Baghdad, and they were all aware that the sheikh was detained by the Americans and knew the most exact details about him.
And the matter continued until the end of 2011 CE when the Americans handed over the last portion of prisoners and who were classified as being among the most dangerous of those wanted. And they were notorious under the name of group 206, and the prohibited occurred as they also handed over the sheikh within this group.
Difficult days came upon us, as for days we did not know what their state was except knowing that they were now in the hands of the Rafidite government. The days passed until the sheikh contacted us through phone as those newly transferred were permitted to contact their relatives. So he informed us that they- he and his brothers with him- were transferred to the prisoners of the Iraqis. And they separated them from the others, as this group included some of the Rafidites (the Sadrist movement) and some of the members of the Ba'athist leadership. So they separated the mujahideen from the brothers. And we learnt from him that their situation until now was fine, but they were in anticipation as no one knew what would happen in an hour's time.
The days passed until the connection returned again and he asked me for a sum of a money to buy a mobile and sim card, and I learnt from him that their situation was generally good and that everything was available with the availability of money, for the guards were of the Rafidites, but contrary to what they expected their treatment was somewhat good. Then the sheikh said to me:
"The guards informed us that they have no relation with us for the interrogation side has not yet come."
The brothers began making efforts and working on the sheikh's case, and I was also following his case in the hope that God might open things before us.
The sheikh would speak to us for more than half an hour every day just as his phone was always open thus enabling us to contact him when we wanted, until he began to peruse the Internet network...something happening that we did not expect at all. And I was reckoning with all this and anticipating the forthcoming.
And from what I remember that he was contacting us every morning so he could be assured about us and we be assured about him, and once I contacted him at a time besides the appointed one and felt that he was in a hurry so I asked him in inquiry: is something up?
He said: "No, but I am somewhat busy." So I said in surprise: with what?
He said: "By God my son, I don't have free time to talk for long so I will be brief."
I said: Subhanullah, a prisoner not having time?
He laughed and said: "Yes."
We made efforts to prevent the Rafidites from reaching him (the Rafidites of Telafar), and all that was possible if you had the money and before money the accompaniment of God the Exalted, for the Rafidites and their government can do anything if the money is put before them.
More than a month passed so I went with the family to meet him in prison. I realized the extent of the extent of the hazard, for it was very easy for them to arrest me there, but the objective deserved the hazard, but God the Exalted blessed us that we missed him and sat with him for more than an hour discussing things, for he was rejoicing at our coming, as I brought his mother with us, and he was seeing her for the first in more than 6 years. Then as fast as lightning the hour passed and the time ended so I wanted to assure him so I whispered in his ear that if things required that I sell myself to get him out, I would not refrain from that.
The brothers- by grace from God Almighty- were able to wipe from his file all that harmed him and we continued to await what would happen in the coming days.
The situation continued as it was, awaiting what would come, until he was put before the court (the al-Sa'a court) and here appeared a problem we had not taken into account for when the sheikh was arrested he was on a fake card so the accusation of forgery was proven against him.
The accusation was not of great importance, but we were reckoning for his delay in prison one thousand and one accounts, so with each passing day there might occur what which we could not put in order. So he returned to prison again.
We began waiting, then after around two months he was released by decision of the judge, as it was agreed with him and a sum of money was paid to him, and indeed the sheikh was transferred to the al-Tasfirat prison to be released.
He arrived at the al-Tasfirat prison near the Baghdad international stadium, then he was returned on the following day to the prison again, but this time the matter was not as we wanted and desired as we did not know the reason. In addition they had returned him to the isolation cells.
The hours passed like months until father got in touch after three days to inform me he had been returned, and he was now in solitary confinement and might not be able to contact us again, then he asked me about the situation of the family, so I informed him that God had provided us with a girl so he advised me to call her Bushra. I said: and what good tidings are there when we don't even know what your matter will come to. He said: "They are good tidings by the permission of God Almighty."
The matter got worse and after three days again the sheikh contacted we and we spoke for a little so he asked me to give the owner of the phone- one of the guards- a sum of money (recharge card), because the sheikh was allowed to conduct a conversation, so I did so. I felt that I had despaired about what was happening with us. So he said to me:
"Today I saw the Messenger of God (SAWS). I did not see his form but I perceived him standing behind the door of the cell and saying to me: They will never harm you after today. So rejoice Abu Fatima and do not despair for deliverance is in the hand of God and it is near if He wills."
And it was exactly as he said as he was transferred on the seventh day only one day after seeing him to the al-Tasfirat base again, and here I got in touch with one of the officers and coordination was done with him on everything so I set out for Baghdad and reached it at 6 a.m., then I headed to the al-Sha'ab neighbourhood and from there to the al-Tasfirat centre, and I began waiting and only an hour later the intermediary showed up so I told him I would complete the matter no matter what it cost, so he entered and we began waiting for him and how difficult the wait was in the likes of these positions, and only some hours later God willed that he got out and accompanying him was Sheikh Abu Ala'.
Breaking the Bonds
Tuesday 27 Rabi' al-Thani 1433 AH corresponding to 20 March 2012 CE
A day unlike others, a matter I did not believe even as I was living through it: six whole years of prison and after we lost hope, here was Sheikh Abd al-Rahman with us free and not touched by evil. I was pondering it in all these details for this is something that is not truly believed. So we began praising God the Exalted for His blessings, so to Him be praise, the quantity of the Heavens and the Earth and what is in them.
So sooner had he got out of prison than we headed to the house of one of our brothers (who was waiting for the sheikh with us) as he was living in the al-Mansur region in Baghdad and we stayed with him for three days, then we headed to Wilayat Salah al-Din and we remained in the city of Baiji for one day, and from there we headed to the city of Mosul and arrived there in the evening of Saturday 2 Jumada al-Awal 1433 AH corresponding to 25 March 2012 CE, the sheikh arrived at his house and first met with his faily then after days he asked me to convey him to his brothers, for he was absent from the field for years and it was what he wanted as he contacted the brothers to see his place and so they could organize for him his return to work.
And until that time I wanted to get to know some of what happened with him (in his prison), for it was what I wanted as I knew from him that after he was transferred to Cropper prison he began giving Shari'i lessons to the detainees in particular and he was this time well-known in shape and form, and he did not fear anything as the lessons were open for he was not compelled to hide his identity this time.
Then I asked him about the truth of what I heard about his transfer between the prisons of Cropper and Bucca and if that had an impact on him in anything. He said: "That was fine." I said in surprise: how so? He said:
"I was during the month teaching a group of the prisoners, then I was moved to another division so I would teach them also, and had I wanted to lecture all the prisoners that would not have been possible except as God the Exalted wills, for it was not possible for them to gather upon me as God willed that I should move about among them."
And those lectures were a great feature among the prisoners, and from that:
One who was a prisoner with the sheikh said to me:
"An old man was with me and he was always complaining as he was old and not enduring the torment of detention, then the sheikh was transferred to our camp so he began giving lectures and expounded on the idolatry of obedience, then after less than a month he was transferred from us so that man said to me:
Do you know I began praising God Almighty that I was arrested? Then I praise the Exalted that He granted us this blessed man to teach us matters of our religion, for I had participated in the elections twice. And I considered that that was from the religion, and had I remained without meeting him I would have died on that. So praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds."
And what was transmitted from him inside the prison as well:
There was one of the prisoners and he was possessed by jinn and one of the youths was trying to heal him so he was speakin on every occasion and saying it would not go out from the body of this ill person, and it would take revenge on the healer and harm the ill person more, and once in this state of affairs as the jinni was cursing the healer, Sheikh Abu Ala' entered the tent as he was transferred to this tent and as soon as he entered the jinni said: be kind to me so I can get out.
The transmitter says:
So we were surprised at his words and the healer said to him: so you can get out?
He said: Yes, for a just man has entered among you and it is not for me to remain here after he has entered.
So he left.
There has also been transmission about the sheikh's patience, endurance, preoccupation with fasting, rising and giving Shari'i lessons. And it has also been transmitted that he would only sleep four hours in the day and night and the rest of his time he would be preoccupied with worship and da'wa.
The Return...and the Deputation to al-Sham[xlv]
Two or three days later, the matter of his travel was put in order, so he first visited Baghdad to meet in it the Amir al-Mu'mineen Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the latter appointed him a deputy of the Islamic State of Iraq, then he returned days later.
The sheikh was free in the beginning for six whole months, in which he only went out for special meetings concerning with the course of work, as he began writing a study about one of the types of idolatry: the idolatry that has spread in the land of the Muslims (idolatry of obedience), and he published a book on this matter subsequently in the name of 'Democracy and Its Relationship With Islam.'
During that time he visited Sheikh Baghdadi more than once, and on the last visit to him and after he returned to the house Sheikh Abu Mu'atazz al-Qurashi- may God have mercy on him- then a discussion occurred between them and I was sitting with them so I learnt from their talk that my father would travel to Syria, and as soon as Abu Mu'atazz left I was alone with him and asked him:
Will you travel in the coming days?
He said: "To Bilad al-Sham."
The matter pained me as we heard nothing about Syria in those days except bombing and killing. And that appeared on me so he said to me:
"Oh my son. We are soldiers in this Dawla and we must hear and obey. And I have been delegated to go to Bilad al-Sham. So I ask God Almighty to grant me success."
That was the beginning of the appearance of Jabhat al-Nusra on the field of al-Sham and only days later the appointment for the departure came so he travelled and left us again.
Days later I learnt that he had reached his target, as he was able to cross the borders (in an illegal way) and how difficult it was to penetrate the borders of two states with the presence of all those soldiers on the line of contact. Then after less than a month my phone rang so I answered and a person spoke with me and said:
The al-Hajj is well and conveys to you his salam and wants to be reassured about you.
So I replied that we were well and in good health and we only missed his presence with us.
Four months passed since his travel, then I learnt that he would soon return, and only some days later he returned so we were reunited, and he referred his report about al-Sham to Sheikh Abu Bakr and I learnt from him that the situation was not as he wanted there, and that he would return again and in a matter of days, and after two weeks passed we bade him farewell again and how difficult were the parting moments.
Announcement of the Expansion of the Islamic State to al-Sham
28 Jumada al-Awal 1434 AH corresponding to 9 April 2013 CE
A great matter occurred: one that no one expected, for those who drew the Sykes-Picot borders never thought that they would be broken, and who would dare to do so?
The borders by which they cut the limbs of the Muslims' state, but also implanted in the hearts of the Muslims the sanctification of what they drew up, such that the blood was being spilt even if one of them should try to overcome the borders between the two states without permission!!
Two men were perhaps drinking wine while they were drawing up artificial borders for the Ummah of Islam separating between each state.
And on this day the cancellation of the name of the Islamic State of Iraq was announced, and the cancellation of the name of Jabhat al-Nusra,[xlvi] and the announcement was for the rise of 'The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham.'
And the announcement was an antecedent to a fitna that had arisen between the Islamic State of Iraq and those who were an extension of it (Jabhat al-Nusra), as the leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq were aware, and indeed ascertained, that Abu Muhammad al-Jowlani[xlvii] and those with him were plotting something, and desiring to defect and become independent from the Dawla, in order to be a division affiliated with the Qa'idat al-Jihad organization.
And so the announcement was made for the birth of the new formation, and the fitna arose between members of the one group, then they began discussing their disagreements through the satellite airwaves!!!
Here emerged the hidden personality and the occurrence of his steps on the land of al-Sham became greater and wider, for he was the deputy of the Amir al-Mu'mineen[xlviii] and the general Shari'i official for the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. And he began moving regularly between the wilayas of Syria to examine the problems in them himself, so he would go to Wilayat al-Ladhaqiya passing through Hama and Idlib and from them to the peripheries of Homs to Raqqa and al-Khayr and al-Baraka in the northeast of Syria (al-Hasaka previously), just as he would also teach in the Shari'i institute in Aleppo in the days of his presence there.
For we went on the first day to the building that had been marked for the institute, and by God we participated, indeed most of us were zealous, to clean the building. No sooner had everything been prepared than the first chapter began as he was giving in it the lecture on the subject designated for him during his presence in Aleppo, and the matter remained as it was until the fitna occurred between us and the factions.
A New Fitna in the Land of Epic Battles
Friday 2 Rabi' al-Awal 1435 AH corresponding to 3 January 2014 CE
The beginning of the infighting between the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, and some of the factions in al-Sham, as the door of new fitna was opened testing the ranks, and defining the areas of influence for each group and faction, and after fighting that lasted for around a month the Islamic State managed to seize wide regions of the two wilayas of al-Khayr and al-Baraka (al-Hasaka and Deir az-Zor) and Wilayat al-Raqqa and parts of Homs and Aleppo, and expelled from them all the factions, to begin a new stage in the history of the Islamic State.
After we reached Wilayat al-Raqqa, the sheikh resided in the studies department for around a month before moved from it to a house with his family on the peripheries of Raqqa city.
Statement of Ruling on the Islamic Front
In that time he was working with a number of the Shari'is in preparing a statement on the ruling on the Islamic Front (Ahrar al-Sham and some of the other factions), and the matter took around three months since his arrival to Raqqa until the announcement of the statement, and it was published after in the name of Statement on the Ruling on the Islamic Front.
The sheikh gathered around him some of his brothers (Shari'is of the wilayas) and they studied every part and minutia during that time, then they ended with a statement on the Islamic Front and that the leaders of the front are apostates from the religion of God Almighty, and their members must disavow those people and otherwise, the one whom the proof has reached and has resisted, his ruling is as the ruling of his leaders.
Or Are We Not As Such?
In those days the Americans added the name of Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Mustafa to the list of honour, [xlix]so he became wanted globally, so I saw him about the matter and he said to me asking;
"Is something the matter?"
I said: I don't know what to say, but the Crusaders have added your name to the list of honour (global terrorism). So he smiled, then he said: "Or are we not as such?"
Sheikh al-Anbari began organizing the Shari'i institute in Raqqa and oversaw the printing of the manhaj personally, for his first interest in the group was the Shari'i aspect, as he would always say:
"The Islamic groups have not been brought forward except from this aspect. And any group that does not designated its first and greatest interest to the Shari'i aspect in it, its affair will lead to the affair of the ones that preceded it. Indeed the group without a Shari'i commission of clear manhaj, its state will be like the state of the rest of the factions (highwaymen)."
The Glad Tidings Came to Us From Ninawa
Tuesday 12 Sha'aban 1435 AH corresponding to 10 June 2014 CE
The brothers managed- by the grace of God the Exalted- to cleanse the city of Mosul and wide parts of Ninawa and Salah al-Din in a blessed expedition, which was tantamount to a shock for the world as was the case with members of the Dawla itself, for no one believed what happened...the accompaniment of God Almighty.
Sheikh Abu Ala' in Telafar as a Conqueror...after Ten Years
Friday 15 Sha'aban 1435 AH corresponding to 13 June 2014 CE
I headed with Sheikh Abu Ali towards the city of al-Shaddadi in Wilayat al-Baraka, so we arrived there a little before noon prayer then we headed to the Iraqi-Syrian borders, so we crossed them openly in daylight in our cars, then after a long journey we reached the locality of Tel Abta (Jabban), and from there we entered the city of Mosul a little before evening prayers.
On the next day we met Sheikh Abu Mu'atazz and Sheikh Abu al-Harith, so we sat with them, then the sheikh exchanged confidences with Abu Mu'atazz for some time then took leave of them and I left with him. Then he said to me:
"Our brothers will head in the night to Telafar- if God wills- so let us go to them.'
We met the wali of al-Jazeera, then we headed with him to al-Tanak neighbourhood, as the brothers were gathering in the flour mill near the al-Fatah al-Mubin checkpoint (Hamid checkpoint), and we met the soldiers of Wilayat al-Jazeera there, then a little before sunset prayer we headed towards the al-Mahlabiya district and the sheikh's presence with us had the high impact on the brothers, for how much it meant to them that they should assault Telafar in the presence of Abu al-Ala'.
We reached al-Mahlabiya and all sat down and our number was in excess of 150, and as soon as it was midnight we set out for Telafar al-Khayr to cleanse it from the filth of the Rafidites.
The sheikh was with the auxiliary group as it let off the first mortar round at the Rafidites announcing the beginning of the battle. Someone who was near Sheikh Abu Ala' told me:
As soon as the auxiliary units began bombing, the Rafidites began bombing the places from which the mortars were being fired, so we took cover amid the rocks and I saw the sheikh alone standing on the mortar launcher and repeating:
"Do not be concerned oh brothers...God does not make right the work of corrupters."
The battle ended after four days of fighting and clearing, and the city and its environs were seized entirely, and praise be to God to the Lord of the Worlds.
Saturday, 1 Ramadan 1435 AH, corresponding to 28 June 2014 CE
The Caliphate was announced from the pulpit of the Messenger of God (SAWS) in the al-Nuri mosque in the city of Mosul.
And Sheikh al-Anbari was free to make da'wa in the path of God, as he began giving lectures in the Shari'i institutes and mosques of the towns between Ninawa and Salah al-Din, as he also began teaching in the Shari'i institutes in Wilayat Ninawa.
The matter remained as such for around six months, when Sheikh al-Baghdadi sent for him as he made him wali of Yemen, but they did not find a means for him to travel there.
Sheikh al-Anbar continued in the path of da'wa to God. As for his times in the house, he was between worship and writing studies, so he wrote about democracy and its relationship with Islam, and he wrote a refutation of al-Albani as he played tricks in his transmission from Ibn al-Qayyim, and he wrote a study in the response to al-Rahiq al-Makhtum.
And some of his time was designated by him to review lectures as he was recording them to publish subsequently. In all that time the sheikh did not ignore the places of men, for he was an imprint on every place, for at the end of every week he would go to one of the frontlines performing ribat in it for a day or two, then he would return to da'wa. So he was not absent at all from the places of men. Then a letter came from the Amir al-Mu'mineen appointing him to lead the Diwan al-Mal.
Administration of the Bayt al-Mal
The sheikh received the Diwan and began working so he established foundations for it, and that was so and praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds. So the sheikh would move between Iraq and al-Sham in every month trying to examine from nearby what was happening in the Diwan from affairs, and often the brothers warned him that the way was targeted, and that in the matter was danger to him, and often I spoke to him about this matter so he would say:
"God has entrusted us with a matter and the security situation will not be an obstacle in administering our affairs, by the permission of God Almighty."
Friday 9 Jumada al-Akhira 1437 AH, corresponding to 18 March 2016 CE
I knew he was intended to travel on the next day so I asked to accompany him then I insisted to go out with him in another car, for something might happen on the path. But he did not accept. He asked me to remain this time to carry out some of his affairs for him. So I advised him to take with him people to accompany him in another car, for the car might break down on them or some raid from the air might descend down upon them, God forbid. He said:
"Abu Fatima, if a breakdown were to occur, the path is unobstructed, so don't worry. And were a raid to occur, why don't I then wear the explosive belt?"
After that he got ready to go to Friday prayers, for the sheikh, despite being the number two man on the list of wanted people from the Islamic State, never delayed from Friday prayers, but rather he was always distressed at his not going to the prescribed prayers because of the security situation.
Day of Departure
Thursday 15 Jumada al-Akhira 1437 AH corresponding to 24 March 2016 CE
That day elapsed to pass with it the life of a man in an Ummah.
In the afternoon of this day the sheikh died, as a Crusader force carried out an air-raid that came down upon him on the path of his return to the Wilayat al-Mosul in an area between Iraq and Syria, near the locality of al-Shaddadi, as a clash occurred between them for a period of two minutes approximately, then the sheikh blew up his explosive belt upon them.
The stories have differed in the details of the incident but what was documented is that the clash occurred between them and the descending force, then the sheikh blew up his explosive belt upon them, so they were not able to take their bodies, or anything they had (laptop, documents, information etc.) because of the force of the explosion as it tore their bodies to pieces, and this is a grace and favor from God, for had they been able to capture them they would have boasted of that just as they did with the body of the Amir of the Martyrdom Operatives (may God accept him).
The life of a man who was filled with events ended, at an age of about 60 years. He spent most of it in the service of the religion of God the Exalted. We ask God to accept him in the highest, and to raise his rank. He is indeed capable of that.
I have spread into the earth. I am only a body. For our molar teeth together, not separating.
And since I have separated from you, my soul and fingertips have grown weak.
Various Things The Sheikh (May God Accept Him) Said to Me
- "How much I regretted when I was a deputy to Sheikh Abu Mus'ab that I did not remain by his side for a period because of my preoccupation with work, for a man like him of expertise who went through the experience of jihad in the land of the Afghans...he was an exemplar in humbleness and courage."
- "Sheikh Zarqawi- may God accept him- was fond of the city of Telafar and praising the deeds of his brothers in it, for we were in a meeting with him once and he asked the amir of al-Adhamiya to kill a man from it in his name (he was among the heads of those waging war on the organization and working with the Rafidites), then after a whole month we met again, as our brother had not yet been able to kill that man, and he began offering his excuses and that the man was protected among his family and relatives. Sheikh Zarqawi said: Telafar, Telafar, from where do I bring the likes of Telafar to al-Adhamiya?"
- "If you want to characterize one of them as evil, it suffices for you to say about him that he is an Ikhwani (the Brotherhood of Egypt)."
- "Knowledge that does advance with its owner to the places of courage, there is no good in it."
It was said to him one day, oh Sheikh, we must take the roads with traffic in our moving about for the empty paths will be easier and more possible to target. He said:
- "No, but rather we must take the outback roads for if we are targeted, we save the Muslims from being killed because of us, for a missile from an aircraft and our explosive belts may result in much harm to those around us."
One day he was seeing a doctor in Wilayat Ninawa, so his accompanier said to the doctor's secretary: bring us in for we are in a hurry. So the sheikh rebuked him and asked the secretary to write his name on the list of those seeing the doctor, and he sat waiting for his turn. Then when it was finished he came out and said to his accompanier:
- "My son, they were all perhaps in a hurry like us, and we are as the Muslims not given precedence over them by knowledge or deed."
Some of What His Pen Granted Generously
His Legacy of 'Ilm
So the life of him- may God accept him- came to an end without disgracing his religion, for he lived free, and concluded his life with an explosive belt in which were the dreams of his enemies and those who would gloat in the matter of his arrest. He passed away and left behind him a generation that knew the meaning of Tawheed, for despite his great preoccupation because of his work in jihad, he did not ignore the aspect of 'Ilm at all, for he wrote studies and gave lectures and preached the truth, and taught the one ignorant of Tawheed and planted it in the minds of the Muslims the ruling of participation in the elections, as he- may God accept him- had a forty audio lectures in which he detailed the ruling on the Taghut governments and the ruling on the one who participates in the elections, for they were:
- Proficiency in Making Clear the Idolatry of Obedience
- Audio series on sects and madhhabs
- Audio commentary on the book Masa'il Min Fiqh al-Nawazil
- Audio commentary on Matan al-Ajrumiya fi al-Lugha al-Arabiya
- Audio series on how to write the sermon
- Audio series on the Life of the Prophet
- Audio series on Faith Preparation
- Friday prayer sermons in 1997-1999 CE
- Different sermons and lectures we will publish subsequently, if God wills.
And he also wrote some studies, among them;
- The Syria Brotherhood and the Fruits of Jihad
- Book Why Jihad in God's Path
- Book On Refuting the Rafidites
- Book on Recognizing the Prisoner
- Book on Wealth and Possessions on the Apostates Who Abstain
- Democracy and its Relationship With Islam: and this is a lengthy study in which the sheikh established the ruling on democracy in Islam, and the study was published in the name of Abu Ala' al-Dar Islami.
- Ruling on War Spoils
- Lessons in Faith Preparation, which were given in the prisons of Abu Ghraib and Bucca, then documented after that. And they will be published in the coming days, if God wills.
- Study on How to Write the Sermon
- Statement on the so-called 'Suleiman Shah Tomb.'
- Refuting al-Albani in His Distortion of the Words of Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may God have mercy on him)
- And Uncovering the Non-Nectar in Refuting the Author of the Book al-Rahiq al-Makhtum, and it will be published soon, if God wills.
And things we will leave to be mentioned in the coming days, if God Almighty wills.
The poor servant has concluded his book to the mercy of his Lord: Abu Abdullah al-Anbari.
On 25 Jumada al-Akhira 1437 AH.
[i] Al-Waqf: from reviewing something and knowing its content. Al-Dari: accompanied with knowledge and awareness of it.
[ii] The writings in red have partly been transmitted from the sheikh literally, and partly from him in the sense of meaning.
[iii] All I will mention about Sheikh Abu Ala'- may God Almighty accept him in the number of martyrs- I heard from him directly or transmission about him comes to me from the one in whose religion I trust. Or I was witness with him at the time it occurred sometimes (the last sixteen years of his life), for I was a witness to most of what occurred in them, and also some of them I documented from the sheikh orally, for he- may God have mercy on him- had begun to write his recollections but he stopped from that while he was in its beginnings as he did not have the time, for jihad took from him all his time, there I will try to document what he wanted to document himself even if in condensed form for that which cannot be realized in full, the majority of it should not be abandoned.
[iv] The kunya of Sheikh Abd al-Rahman that is attributed to the first of his children, and by it he became known at first in the days of his da'wa to God Almighty.
[v] A kunya used by the sheikh- mat God accept him- after he became amir of the Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen in Iraq as the council was formed of a number of factions of which the most prominent was the Qa'idat al-Jihad organization in the land of the two rivers was the most prominent. And we will discuss this name further- if God wills- subsequently.
[vi] His kunya in the Abu Ghraib and Bucca prisons.
[vii] The kunya by which he became well-known in the blessed land of al-Sham.
[viii] In external correspondences.
[ix] In the lectures he gave about idolatry of obedience, and published on social media sites.
[x] It may be said how can his lineages be raised back to al-Hussein (may God be pleased with him) when he speaks Turkish and is from Telafar? I say- seeking help in God Almighty- that proficiency in a language besides Arabic does not at all mean that you have become of the people that language, as most of the tribes of Telafar are of Arab origins and settled in this corner of the land (Telafar), and learnt the Turkish language, as the Ottomans controlled this area in addition to the presence of families of Turkish origins in it. And one of the ancestors of the sheikh who was well-known by the name of al-Sayyid Sawm was living in the province of al-Diwaniya and specifically the village of al-Hamza, and he moved with his family to the province of Ninawa after killing and bloodshed arose between them and another tribe, so they settled in Ninawa and the sheikh's grandfather was living in the villages surrounding Telafar. So they learnt the Turkish language and passed it on, and indeed Sheikh Abd al-Rahman was born in the village of al-Kharayij near the district of Rabi'a and was not born in Telafar, and what I have mentioned is established in the lists of ancestries among us and indeed among others besides us so no one can deny it.
[xi] And to him is attributed the sub-clan from which we are and we are well-known in the Telafar area and the areas surrounding it as al-Qaduliya in attribution to our ancestor Abd al-Qadir, and people in our areas have become accustomed to naming Abd al-Qadir as Qado, without tashdid of the dal letter.
[xii] Ya'qub Ibrahim, the father of his mother.
[xiii] Brought out by Ibn Maja (2/1238) no. 3764.
[xiv] Compulsory service: this was in the time of the Taghut of the Ba'ath, as every man who reached maturity was obliged to join the military service; otherwise all his family would be exposed to inquiry, and he would face, if he did not join, prison or even death. In addition, Tawheed in that time and the issue of al-Hakimiya were not brought up as is the case now.
[xv] This incident occurred in 1407 AH corresponding to 1987 CE.
[xvi] Al-Ghajar; women for dancing and prostitution, and refuge is to be sought in God.
[xvii] "God Almighty granted for me that the builders of the al-Omari mosque offered me to assume responsibility for giving sermons in it. I agreed on that and I began the first procedures as they presented a request to the al-Awqaf so the al-Awqaf sent the inquiry about me to the security apparatus in the region and to the party division. Security agreement was obtained by direct informing from the security director after he summoned me to him. And the arty division was slow in responding. Then we learnt that the inquiry reached the party base and there was silence about it, then its response was:
The poor servant is not suitable in the party's view to be a sermon preacher. And the accusation: Wahhabi.
Then God Almighty mobilized a party man higher than it who was on close terms with the builders of the mosque. He agreed and informed the party in Telafar of that, but he make it conditional and to ward off the accusation from himself that we should send him every week a recorded copy of the Friday sermon. So I ascended the pulpit knowing that the party official had said:
He should not dream of ascending the pulpit so long as I am at the head of the party in Telafar.
But God Almighty brought him to perdition and lowered him, for what God Almighty willed was so and the will of men was impeded."
[xviii] Buying books whether connected with the manhaj of the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama'a or connected with the religion of the Rafidites was among the most difficult things to do, for there was strong pressure against that by the Ba'athists, and even if some of the books were found, material capabilities did not facilitate purchase.
[xix] And it may be published soon if God Almighty wills.
[xx] By that they mean the reviver Sheikh Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab (may God have mercy on him).
[xxi] Muttafiq alayhi: from the words of Warqa to the Prophet (SAWS). Brought out by al-Bukhari (1/7) no. 3, and Muslim (1/139) no. 160.
[xxii] This assembly would be in the morning in the schools and was known as saluting the flag.
[xxiii] Muhammad Ahmad al-Matyuti, director of Thanwiyat al-Jazira for boys.
[xxiv] Al-Jarzat: nuts.
[xxv] Financial subscription: a set sum the Ba'athist pays to the party every month and it is symbolic more than being anything else.
[xxvi] He became one of the leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq and he was killed at the hand of a Crusader force in the city of Mosul.
[xxvii] He was among the most prominent leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq, killed at the hand of a Crusader force in the city of Mosul, on a day when he was wali over the northern region (the wilayas of al-Mosul, al-Jazeera and Kirkuk).
[xxviii] One of the leaders of the jihad in Telafar. He was killed in the beginnings of the jihad at the hand of a force from the Peshmerga in the city of Mosul.
[xxix] This criminal apostasised from the religion of God Almighty as he now works with the Mas'oud al-Barzani government.
[xxx] And their party was secret also, as the Taghut of the Ba'ath did not approve of the existence of any party except its own in Iraq.
[xxxi] Qawa'id fi al-Takfir, al-Jami' and some of the books of al-Maqdisi.
[xxxii] He attributed them to Egypt, as this evil came from there.
[xxxiii] I mean their Iraqi branch (the Iraqi Islamic Party), and I will shorten their name when I mention them from now on to "The Iraqi...Party."
[xxxiv] This man was one of the 'ulama of the city of Mosul, and it was transmitted from him after that he disavowed the religion of the Brotherhood on the pulpit of the Messenger of God (SAWS) and that he died sometime after that. So may God's wide mercy be upon him.
[xxxv] I do not want to mention his name as the man is now arrested with the Rafidite government: we ask God Almighty to free him.
[xxxvi] Sheikh Sa'oud Nasir (may God have mercy on him): he is among the first who joined the convoy after the proof reached, for he abandoned the Ba'ath Taghut army then he began to wage jihad from its outset, for he was a military official over the city of Telafar then he worked in Mosul. Then he was arrested by a Crusader force and some years later God granted him release. Then he became one of the committee members in the Islamic State of Iraq, then he was the third man in the Dawla, then a wali over Iraq...He was killed in an American raid in Mosul. We ask God to accept him.
[xxxvii] The brother Abu Khalid of the families of Telafar, and he travelled from it to Sweden and then joined the al-Ansar convoy in the north of Iraq. He was killed in Saydnaya prison in Syria. We ask God to accept him.
[xxxviii] I heard of this from the sheikh days after the conquest of the city of Telafar.
[xxxix] I do not want to mention his name. For the man is alive and well and is now abstaining from jihad.
[xl] This man was representing the al-Sada tribe in Telafar and they are Rafidites.
[xli] Ala': he is the eldest of the sons of Sheikh Abd al-Rahman. He was born in 1981 CE: a pinnacle of manners and refinement, enduring and patient. He began working from its outset and he is one of those youths who were training with the brother Iyad- may God accept him- after the jihadi work began against the Crusaders. And it happened that he was obliged to attend to your house to see the needs of your family, for the sheikh was not present, and your brother Emad was at the forefront of every operation against the Crusaders, so you had to manage the affairs of your family. So he did not participate in the beginning. And the jihadi work began after the eighth month of 2004 CE after his brother Emad was captured by the Crusaders, and he participated in many of the operations after that. He- may God have mercy him- was killed in Telafar when a C5 missile exploded on him, and he was buried in the city of Mosul in a grave in Sumer/Dumiz neighbourhood. We ask to accept him in the number of the martyrs. And that was at the beginning of 1426 AH corresponding to 2005 CE.
[xlii] Emad al-Khayr: the second son of Sheikh Abd al-Rahman born in 1984 CE. He was one of those youths who began training on the hills of Telafar, and he is the one his father sent to Afghanistan in the time of the state of the Ba'ath but he did not find a way for that so he returned. He is also one of the twenty with whom the sheikh began work against the Crusaders. He was arrested in the month of Jumada al-Akhira in 1425 AH corresponding to the month of August 2004 CE, with a brother of his, after the apostate Bashir Najjar betrayed them. So they fell into an ambush of the Crusaders in which two of them were killed and he and another taken prisoner. He dwelt in prison for six years, then he was released in 1431 AH corresponding to 2010 CE. And as soon as he left prison, he returned to work and began a Shari'i official for one of the wilayas then a wali over al-Jazeera. He was known for abundant knowledge, wisdom, prudence and courage. He was arrested by the intelligence services in the city of Mosul and they executed him after he remained steadfast in their faces and did not admit a word. He was buried in the Wadi Akab graveyard and his grave number was 1120, as the apostates kept his body in the forensic medicine department in Mosul hospital for a whole month then buried him. And I saw his corpse on the seventh day after he was killed and by God it was the most difficult thing for a person to bear witness to, as I wiped traces of congealed blood off his forehead, but the blood began bleeding from his wounds again! God bears witness to that!
[xliii] This force was led by the one called Abu al-Waleed and he was a filthy Rafidite, and he entered the city of Mosul after visiting al-Sistani in al-Najaf and he took instructions from him verbally, so his forces assault the Ahl al-Sunna and imprisoned hundreds and killed dozens. And the priority for him was the leaders and imams of the mosques, for he arrested them and tortured them and even tried to expose them on satellite airwaves with false confessions, targeting through them the manhaj of the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama'a. For he forced one of the preachers of the mosques to appear on the screen and acknowledge that he was engaging in the deeds of the people of Lot on the pulpit of the Messenger of God (SAWS).
[xliv] Al-Kamm: name given for th camps inside the prison.
[xlv] And we have shorted and summarized this stage with much brevity. Indeed we have only mentioned very little of it, and if God Almighty permits its details may be published in the coming years.
[xlvi] Jabhat al-Nusra; the pseudonym for the Islamic State of Iraq in Syria. For its soldiers, financing and even those who entered al-Sham in its name came from Iraq and by order of the Amir al-Mu'mineen Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his Majlis Shura.
[xlvii] Syrian origin. He entered the land of the two rivers in the beginning of the jihad against the Crusaders. Then he was arrested and remained in prison, and he got out from it, so Sheikh Baghdadi delegated him to Syria after the rise of the revolution in it, and put him in charge of his brothers, and after his power grew and became more intense, he broke the allegiance, as he wanted to be independent of the Islamic State of Iraq, and perhaps he thought of announcing for himself the Islamic State of al-Sham so as to be independent in that.
[xlviii] He became deputy of the amir of the Islamic State of Iraq, then a deputy for him in the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, then he retired after the conquest of Mosul, and was free to pursue da'wa as we will mention subsequently, if God Almighty wills.
[xlix] List of those wanted by the Crusader America.