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 image is intended as a funerary image to commemorate the deceased figures in the picture. At the very top, the inscription begins with the basmala (the phrase “bi-ismi Allah al-rahman al-rahim” [in the name of God the merciful and compassionate]), and is followed by a Qur’anic verse (3:173). The verse contains at its end a traditional phrase often repeated “hasbuna Allah wa-ni`ma al-wakil” (God  is sufficient for us and the best guardian). The image also contains the date of death (in fine print at the bottom above the PIJ name), in this case it is August 1, 2007; a day being commemorated as “the massacre at the mosque of Ard al-Ribat.” It is a reference to clashes between Hamas forces and the PIJ on that day.

According to Muslim law, any person who died in defense of his faith is entitled to a Muslim burial without the customary ablution or purification process, or the change of clothing, which is necessary in the case of corpses of those who did not earn the rank of martyr (shahid). In other words, the rank of martyrdom renders a corpse legally pure. For this reason, it is fairly common for photos of bloody faces to appear in various jihadi media releases, as well as in posts on forums, as the images serve as evidence that the deceased attained the desired rank of shahid.

The dripping red blood is the color of fire, passion, impulse and danger. It is fundamentally linked to the vital force, and to warlike qualities. In addition, the appearance of a shrine or mosque conjures up martyr’s shrines or tombs, which constitute a class of Islam funerary monuments, these range from humble piles of stone to soaring structures. Their appearance remind the viewer of the importance of martyrdom in Islam. The large font caption on the right reads: “al-mihrab al-shahid `ala al-dam” [“the mihrab (prayer niche in the mosque designating the qibla, direction of prayer toward Mecca) is a witness to the blood”].

More Information
Group Name Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) - the two districts of al-Zaytun and al-Shaja`iyya
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Black, Red
Secondary Colors Yellow, White
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans 1) basmala 2) Q 3:173 and hasbuna Allah wa-ni`ma al-wakil 3) al-mihrab al-shahid `ala al-dam
Image Number 0342
Groups Region of Operation Middle East
Groups Country of Operation Israel/Palestine
Body Parts Face / Bust
Liquid Drops / Tear
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 Deceased PIJ operatives.
Religious Textual References Quranic Text, Quranic Citations, Basmala, Other Medieval Text
Religious Textual References Analysis Traditional phrase that originates in the Qur'anic verse cited here (3:173) "hasbuna Allah wa-ni`ma al-wakil" [God is sufficient for us and the best guardian] and is repeated in a variety of occasions.
Topography Man-made Structure / Landmark
Topography Analysis Domed mosque and minaret

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