The image celebrates the influential Palestinian Sunni Islamic scholar, ‘Abdallah Yusuf ‘Azzam, who called for jihad to help the Afghan fighters against the Soviets in the 1980s. He is considered Usama bin Ladin’s most influential teacher and mentor, and it was he who persuaded Usama bin Ladin to come to Afghanistan. ‘Azzam’s theoretical rationalization of global jihad and practical approach to recruitment and training of mujahidin (fighters) from around the world flourished during the Afghan war against the Soviets and was crucial to the development of al-Qa‘ida as the base of a global jihadi network. ‘Azzam was assassinated in Afghanistan on 24 November 1989. The caption in the post above the image indicates that it was posted as an homage to ‘Azzam’s famous phrase: “we are terrorists.” The caption in the image contains a play on the modern Arabic word “irhabi” and all words derived from the Arabic root (meaning to terrify) are colored red. The caption reads: “nahnu irhabiyyun, wal-irhab farid fi al-kitab wal-sunna, li-ya‘lam al-sharq wal-gharb innana irhabiyyun wa-innana mur‘ibun; (Q 8:60) wa-a‘iddu la-hum ma istata‘tun min quwwatin wa-min ribat al-khayl, turhibun bi-hi ‘aduww Allah wa-‘aduwwakum; fal-irhab farida fi din Allah” (“we are terrorists, and terrorizing is an ordinance in the Qur’an and the Sunna [religious tradition], so that east and west may know that we are terrorists, and that we are terrifiers; (Q 8:60) and prepare for them what you can by way of weapons [that are shot or hurled] and horses, terrifying with it God’s enemy and your enemy; thus, terrorizing is a divine precept in Islam [lit. God’s religion]”). The text in the background is a calligraphic representation of the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger).



More Information
Group Name `Abdallah `Azzam - member of Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan and precursor/catalyst to AQ
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Green, Black
Secondary Colors Red, White, Yellow
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans Nahnu irhabiyyun, wal-irhab farid fi al-kitab wal-sunna, li-ya`lam al-sharq wal-gharb innana irhabiyyun wa-innana mur`ibun; (Q 8:60) wa-a`iddu la-hum ma istata`tun min quwwatin wa-min ribat al-khayl, turhibun bi-hi `aduww Allah wa-`aduwwakum; fal-irhab farida fi din Allah 2) shahada
Image Number 0399
Groups Region of Operation South Asia
Groups Country of Operation Afghanistan
Weapons Firearms, Automatic / Assault Rifle, AK47, Ammo Belt / Vest, Non-Military Technology, Communications Equipment, Telescope / Night Vision / Other Optical Devices
Body Parts Face / Bust
Geopolitical Symbols Slogan
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Spiritual Leader / Idealogue, Operational Leader, Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men
People Analysis Palestinian Sunni Islamic scholar, `Abdallah Yusuf `Azzam. `Azzam and two silhouettes of armed fighters
Religious Textual References Quranic Text, Quranic Citations, Text manipulation, Shahada, Use of Calligraphy
Religious Textual References Analysis The verse has a particular historical context, and refers to the Meccans during the time of the Prophet. The interpretation is agreed upon by all mainstream medieval exegetes. The current context distorts the meaning of the verse and sanctions terrorism as a legitimate, Qur'anic- based tactic. La ila illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah.
Religious Symbols Black / White / Green Banners
Religious Symbols Analysis Green banner with text of shahada
Visual Themes The red of some of the text is the color of fire, blood, passion, impulse and danger. The green color of the background 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 combative mood of the image is asserted with the appearance of two silhouettes of armed fighters.

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