While participating in jihad gives a jihadist important religious credibility, death in battle provides immortality, as the deceased is ranked a martyr. It is believed that Muslim martyrs will be highly rewarded in the afterlife for their sacrifice and hold a special position in heavenly paradise. It is therefore not surprising that martyrdom is a central theme in jihadi visual propaganda.

The figures in this specific image are identified as Hamza Salim Abu Tuyur and Mahmud Fayiq Abu al-Haj, both deceased members of the Shqaqi faction of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The caption on the top right reads: “jaysh al-quds” (“al-Quds [Jerusalem] army [i.e., PIJ]”). Underneath appears the name Abu Anas al-Jihadi, an active member and administrator of the Palestinian web forum al7orya.net (‘ushshaq al-hur), whose images are widely cited and reproduced. He holds the rank of “faris al-sawtiyyat” (“audio [clips] administrator”/ lit. “leader, cavalier or hero”) (cf. http://www.saraya.ps/forum/showthread.php?t=30712). At the bottom of the PIJ logo appears an added line that reads: “al-i‘lam al-harbi” (“military/combative media”) and the likely name of the image’s creator Abu Arafat.

The logo contains a number of elements that are part of the jihadi visual propaganda repertoire, including the Dome of the Rock. While Muslims across sectarian lines share a reverence for many holy sites, some sites hold special significance for certain groups. For instance, the Dome of the Rock is recognized and revered by all Muslims, as it was built in 692 A.D. by the Umayyid caliph ‘Abd al-Malik on the site where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven in his mi‘raj (night journey). Indeed, it is considered the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and al-Madina. At the same time, the Dome of the Rock is a powerful symbol of Palestinian nationhood.


More Information
Group Name Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) - Saraya al-Quds [al-Quds squadrons]; the logo indicates the words: "al-i`lam al-harbi" [military media].
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Green, Orange
Secondary Colors White, Red, Black
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans Jaysh al-quds Abu Anas al-Jihadi
Image Number 0271
Groups Region of Operation Middle East
Groups Country of Operation Israel/Palestine
Weapons Cold Weapons and Defensive Armor, Body Armor (including Gas Mask, Helmet), Firearms, Automatic / Assault Rifle, Non-Military Technology, Telescope / Night Vision / Other Optical Devices
Body Parts Face / Bust
Air Analysis Sun. Orange sky.
Air Celestial Bodies, Clouds / Fog, Sky
Fire Light Rays / Light
Geopolitical Symbols Symbol of party, movement or company, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis PIJ logo - Qur'anic verse 2:191 arched over a takbir and the Dome of the Rock sitting on two yellow fists with two crossed rifles jutting out in the back; a red map of Israel/Palestine down the middle; the phrase saraya al-quds is arched under the logo, completing the circle with the top arch.
People Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men
People Analysis Hamza Salim Abu Tuyur and Mahmud Fayiq Abu al-Haj, both deceased members of the Shqaqi faction of PIJ
Religious Symbols Holy Site
Religious Symbols Analysis Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa
Fauna Dove / Default Bird
Flora Grass / Leaves / Branches Only
Topography Man-made Structure / Landmark
Topography Analysis Domed mosque
Visual Themes The green color of the background and the greenery (grass, flowers) are also significant, as they resonate the idea of God’s benevolence, and are symbolic of creation, life and sustenance. Furthermore, green is considered the traditional color of the Prophet Muhammad’s tribe, and has been adopted as a sacred color based on Qur’anic verses (76:21; 18:65-82) and a reliable hadith (prophetic tradition or report) that associates green with “universally good things.” Finally, the color is related to jihadi doctrine, as it is believed that while the corpses of martyrs lay in their graves, their souls are to be put into the bodies of green birds that drink from the rivers of Eden and eat from its fruit.

Finally, the image features doves in between the two figures. The world of birds in general is very important in the symbolic language of Islam. Pre-Islamic Arabs imagined soul birds fluttering around the grave of the deceased, and the bird continues to symbolize the flight of the soul beyond the confines of this world. Doves in particular are considered sacred, since they are believed to have protected Muhammad during his nocturnal journey. It is in this manner that the dove can be linked to the notion of martyrdom and the rise of a martyr’s soul to heaven. The dove is also a symbol of loving fidelity, which is manifested by the collar of dark feathers around its neck, called “the dove’s necklace.”

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