The image was scanned and posted on a website message board; it appears to be a leaflet distributed by Hamas (likely in the Gaza Strip) on the occasion of Usama bin Ladin’s death. On the left, the page reads from top to bottom: “usama b. ladin, ‘ishta qa’idan mujahidan wa-mutta shahidan muqbilan; harakat al-muqawama al-islamiyya hamas” (“Usama bin Ladin, you lived as a mujahid leader and died a martyr in battle [lit. facing (your enemy)]; Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas”). The green banner in the middle bears the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger).

The page on the right contains elements of formal Muslim funerary epigraphy, which opens with the basmalah (the phrase “bi-smi Allah al-rahman al-rahim,” or “in the name of God the merciful and compassionate”), followed by the name of deceased and, often, the date of death and one or more quotes, paraphrases or allusions to a Qur’anic text. Here, the caption from top to bottom reads: “(basmala)-Q 3: 169 wa-la ta tahsabanna lladhina qutilu fi sabil Allah amwatan bal ahya’ ‘inda rabbihim yurzaqun-bi-asma ayat al-jihad wal-muqawama wa-bi-kull ayat al-‘izz wal-fikhar tahtasibu Hamas ‘inda Allah ta‘ala al-shahid al-mujahid al-shaykh al-imam/(sic.) usama b. ladin; nas’al Allah ta‘ala an yataqabbalahu wa-an  yuskinuhi fasih jannatihi wa-an yulhima ahlahu wa-dhawihi al-sabr wal-silwan; Q 54:55 wa-ila al-multaqa fi jannat wa-nahr fi maq‘ad sidq ‘inda malik muqtadir; Hamas” (“In the name of the God the merciful and compassionate-Q 3:169 And do not consider those killed in the path of God dead, on the contrary, they are alive, being sustained by God-With the most sublime [Qur’anic] verses of jihad and resistance and with all the [Qur’anic] verses on strength and glory Hamas considers the mujahid [fighter] martyr, the shaykh, imam Usama b. Ladin to be with God, Exalted be He; we ask God Exalted be He that He accept him and place him in the most spacious of His heavenly gardens and that He grant his family and relatives patience and solace; Q 54:55 and so long, ‘till we meet again in a place of heavenly gardens and a river in a seat of truth by the Omnipotent King; Hamas”). In addition to the caption, Muslim funerary epigraphs commonly feature a shrine or holy site paired with other elements that are clearly an expression of death, such as white clouds, fauna, birds soaring in the sky and lightning. Here, the shrines in the image are the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque. Both are recognized and revered by all Muslims, but they are particularly a powerful symbol of Palestinian self-determination. The Dome of the Rock 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), and it is considered the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and al-Madina.

More Information
Group Name Hamas
Group Type nationalist, religious
Dominant Colors Green
Secondary Colors Red, White, Yellow
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans 1) shahada 2) usama b. ladin, `ishta qa'idan mujahidan wa-mutta shahidan muqbilan; harakat al-muqawama al-islamiyya hamas 3) basmala 4) Q 3: 169 wa-la ta tahsabanna lladhina qutilu fi sabil Allah amwatan bal ahya' `inda rabbihim yurzaqun
Image Number 0374
Groups Region of Operation Middle East
Groups Country of Operation Israel/Palestine
Weapons Firearms, Automatic / Assault Rifle
Air Analysis Sun
Air Celestial Bodies, Storm / Wind, Lightning, Clouds / Fog, Sky
Fire Light Rays / Light
Geopolitical Symbols Non-country Flag, Symbol of party, movement or company, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis Green flag. Hamas logo - Dome of the Rock flanked by two Palestinian flags, a green map of Palestine at the top, two crossed swords at the bottom, green banner at the bottom bears full name of the group of which Hamas is the acronym.
People Man / Men
Religious Textual References Quranic Text, Quranic Citations, Text manipulation, Shahada, Basmala, Use of Calligraphy
Religious Textual References Analysis La ila illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah
Religious Symbols Holy Site, Black / White / Green Banners
Religious Symbols Analysis Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa.
Fauna Dove / Default Bird
Flora Trees / Shrubs, Grass / Leaves / Branches Only
Topography Valley / Meadow, Man-made Structure / Landmark
Topography Analysis Domed mosques
Visual Themes The green color that pervades the image resonates the idea of God’s benevolence, and is 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.

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