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New Book by Ayman Al-Zawahiri - Pro Terror

March 4, 2008
Release of New Book by Ayman Al-Zawahiri, in Response to Sayyed Imam: A Treatise Exonerating the Nation of the Pen and the Sword from the Blemish of the Accusation of Weakness and Fatigue
(Editors Note:This promotes global jihad and continued terrorism)

On March 2, 2008, jihad websites, including Al-Ikhlas, posted a new 188-page book by Al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri. The book, titled A Treatise Exonerating the Nation of the Pen and the Sword from the Blemish of the Accusation of Weakness and Fatigue, is a polemical defense of Al-Qaeda against its most prominent Islamist critic, the imprisoned jihadist Sheikh Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif. (For previous MEMRI reports on Sayyed Imam, CLICK HERE: , December 14, 2007, and CLICK HERE January 25, 2008.)

Sayyed Imam is one of Al-Zawahiri's oldest associates in the jihad movement and is considered one of jihadism's most influential scholars. He is the author of a shari'a guide to jihad that was used in training camps in Afghanistan. The central argument of his recently published Document of Right Guidance for Jihad Activity in Egypt and the World is that jihad should only be undertaken when there is ability to do so, and that Islamist groups today cannot be considered to be in a state of ability. It is to this argument that the title of Al-Zawahiri's book refers.

The Treatise Exonerating the Nation is of great importance for two reasons.

First, it is, in effect, an official statement of Al-Qaeda's positions and of the Islamic legal justifications it provides for its activities.

Second, Al-Qaeda's decision to publish such a work is strong evidence that it is deeply worried that radical Islamists could be influenced by Sayyed Imam and abandon the jihad. [1] Al-Zawahiri's Treatise is actually a sharp about-face for Al-Qaeda; up until this point, it had studiously ignored the substantive arguments put forward by Sayyed Imam, and had simply asserted that the Egyptian security services had tortured Imam into writing the book, and that it thus did not merit serious discussion. [2] Hence, the Treatise is a tacit admission that Al-Qaeda is facing an unprecedented ideological challenge.

Following is a full translation of the table of contents of Ayman Al-Zawahiri's new book. (Al-Zawahiri's Treatise Exonerating the Nation is abridged in the table of contents to Treatise, and Sayyed Imam's Document of Right Guidance is abridged to Document; "the author" always refers to the author of the Document of Right Guidance.) Further coverage is forthcoming.


1. The Motive for Writing the Treatise

2. Three Questions Regarding the Document

a. Why Did the Document Appear at this Point in Time?

b. For Whose Sake was the Document Published and Distributed?

c. In What Manner Was the Document Written?

3. The Influence of the Document on the Mujahideen

4. The Crushed Majority in the Prisons

5. Reaffirmation of My Appreciation for the Imprisoned Brothers

Part One: General Remarks on the Document's Methodology

Part Two: Criticism of the Topics [Covered] in the Document

Chapter 1: Critique of the "Notices" Contained in the First Part [of the Document]

Chapter 2: Critique of the [Explanation for the] Motives for Writing the Document Contained in the First Section [of the Document]
1.Critique of the Situation of the Islamic World through 35 Questions Put To the Author or Authors of the Document
2. Unprecedented Accusations

Chapter 3: Critique of [the Topics] Contained in the Second Section [of the Document]: Qualification [for Jurisprudents] and Loyalty to a Prisoner

  1. Response to [the Document's Claim] that the Righteous Forefathers' Writings Were Written for a Time Other than Our Own
  2. [Names and Biographies of] the Scholars to whom the Mujahideen Have Turned for Help, or Who Have Supported the Mujahideen, and Scholars and Students Who Have Fought Jihad
  3. That the Author's [of the Document]'s Contention that One May Not Apply [Laws] from Religious Books to Reality Applies to Him [As Well]
  4. The Inconsistency in the Author's Warning against Things Published on the Internet
  5. Who Is It that Employs "The Jurisprudence of Justification?"
  6. The Deceit in the Author's Statement on [the Issue of] Loyalty to a Prisoner

Chapter 4: Critique of Section Three [of the Document]: Jihad and [the Commandment of] Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong

  1. Critique of what the Author Wrote on Ability as a Condition for Jihad
  2. Critique of the Author's Definition of Enablement (tamkin)
  3. Critique of the Condition of There Being an Abode of Emigration and Support for Jihad
  4. The Heart of the Document and the Fruit that the Americans, the Jews, and their Agents Want [the Document to Bring]: Preventing the Commanding of Good and the Forbidding of Wrong and Preventing Jihad against the Apostate Governments
  5. Critique of what the Author Wrote Concerning the Condition of the Expenses Necessary for Jihad that Is an Individual Obligation
  6. Critique of what the Author Wrote Concerning Illicit Methods of Procuring What is Needed for Jihad
  7. Summary

Chapter 5: Critique of Section Four [of the Document]: Permission from Parents and Creditors [to Leave for Jihad]

  1. This Section Is the Nadir of the Author's Deterioration in Religious Knowledge
  2. The Author's Former Support for Sheikh 'Abdallah 'Azzam's Treatise, The Defense of Muslim Lands Is the Most Important of Individual Obligations
  3. Summary of the Concurrence, Without Exception, of the Scholars of the Four Schools of Jurisprudence on [the Fact that the Condition of] the Permission of Parents and Creditors Falls when the Jihad is an Individual Obligation

Chapter 6: Critique of What Is Written in the Fifth Section [of the Document] on Fighting Against the Ruler

  1. What the Author Wrote on the Position of the Righteous 'Ulama of the Past Concerning Profligate Rulers
  2. The Author's Erratic Wandering in His Placing Conditions on Jihad
  3. Critique of the Author's Fourth Prohibition [i.e. Prohibitions Violated in Fighting Jihad when Conditions Do Not Allow It]: Inability to Guarantee the Safety of the Muslims' Families
  4. Critique of the Author's Fifth Prohibition: Acting as an Agent and a Mercenary
  5. Critique of the Author's Sixth Prohibition: Political Asylum
  6. Critique of the Author's Employment of the Division of People into Civilians and Military
    Deferment of [My] Discussion of Jihad Operations to the End of this Part [of the Treatise]
  7. Critique of the Author's Notice "On the Shari'a Reasons and the Practical Reasons that Call for Not Clashing with the Egyptian Authorities" [3]

Chapter 7: Visas and Guarantees of Security

  1. Preface
  2. Is a Visa a Guarantee of Security?
  3. Supposing that a Visa is a Guarantee of Security, Does an Infidel's Guarantee of Security to a Muslim Entail the Muslim Guaranteeing the Security of the Infidel?
  4. Supposing that an Infidel's Guarantee of Security Entails the Muslim's Guarantee of Security to the Infidel, Does this Apply to Conditions of War and Aggression against the Muslims?
  5. Critique of the Author's Proofs that a Visa Is a Guarantee of Security and that the Events of New York and Washington Were Treacherous
  6. Summary
  7. Postscript [to This Chapter]

Chapter 8: The Law of Firing On Infidels when Muslims or Those One Is Not Allowed to Kill Are Intermixed with Them

  1. Survey of the Views of the 'Ulama on the Question
  2. Summary

Chapter Nine: Night Raids and Fighting Whose Injury is General [i.e. Indiscriminate]

  1. The Legitimacy of Night Raids
  2. Fighting Whose Injury Is General
  3. Summary

Chapter 10: Repayment in Kind (al-mu'amala bi'l-mithl)

  1. The Legitimacy of the Principle of Repayment in Kind in the Exaction of Rights and in Dealing with Enemies
  2. All the More So Is It Permitted to Repay in Kind through [Means] that the Shari'a Has Permitted without There Being an Exact Equivalent

Chapter 11: Remarks on What Is Written in the Sixth Section [of the Document] Concerning Tourists

  1. Preliminary Remarks before Dealing with the Six Impediments [to Attacking Foreigners in Muslim Countries Enumerated in the Document]
  2. Critique of the Six Impediments

Chapter 12: Remarks on What is Written in the Seventh Section [of the Document] Concerning Jihad Operations from Within the Abode of War (dar al-harb)

  1. Critique of the Author's View that the Jihad Waged by the Prophet and His Companions Was a Jihad Waged from Abroad, Without Their Engaging in Jihad Operations from Within Enemy Land Prior to Its Being Conquered
  2. Critique of the Dubious Legal Argument [Based on] The Muslims' [Presence] Having Spread to the Majority of the Countries in the World
  3. Critique of the Dubious Legal Argument that There Is No Necessity for Operations from Within Enemy Land [that Would Permit Such Operations]
  4. Critique of the Author's View that the 'Ulama Only Permitted Firing at the [Human] Shield in Defensive Jihad, in Case of Necessity, and When There is a Fear that the Muslims in Their Entirety Could Be Annihilated
  5. Critique of [the View that] a Visa Constitutes a Guarantee of Security and [Critique of] the Reliance on the Principle that "Accepted Practice Is Like a Binding Condition" as a Proof
  6. Why Did the Mujahideen Attack the West on Their Home Ground?

Chapter 13: Remarks on the Eighth Section [of the Document]

  1. Critique of the Dubious Legal Argument that It Is a Breach of Honorable Conduct for a Muslim Living in the West to Attack Those Who Have Shown Him Hospitality
  2. Critique of What the Author Wrote Concerning the Killing of Shi'ites

Chapter 14: Remarks on the Tenth Section [of the Document]

  1. Critique of the Author's View that the Shari'a Does Not Allow Individuals to Apply Koranic Punishments
  2. A Word on Christians
  3. Admonition to the Author Due to His Insinuations about the Global Islamic Front for Fighting the Jews and the Crusaders

Chapter 15: Remarks on the Eleventh Section [of the Document]

  1. Refutation of the Author's Denunciation of Osama Bin Laden

         a. America's Efforts to Strike at Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, from Before the Existence of
             the [Global] Islamic Front up to September 10, 2001 
         b.  Statements by Mullah Dadallah, as an Example of the Taliban's Stance on Al-Qaeda 
         c.  The Commander of the Faithful [Mullah Omar] Has No Need for the Author's Advice            
             on How to Deal with His Soldiers [i.e. Bin Laden]
         d. What Is the Author's Position on the Call from the Commander of the Faithful [Mullah   
             Omar] to the Muslims to Take Up Arms [in Defense of Afghanistan]?

Chapter 16: Remarks on the Author's Claim in Section 12 [of the Document] that a Prisoner is Obligated to Keep His Promise to the Authorities Not to Clash with Them [after He Is Released]

Chapter 17: Remarks on the Author's Repeated Attacks on Sheikh 'Abdallah 'Azzam in Section Thirteen [of the Document]

Chapter 18: The Operations of the Jihad Group in Egypt

  1. The Author Presents the Jihad Group's Operations in a Manner that Does Not Express the Reality
  2. Egypt's Condition Prior to the Beginning of the Jihad Group's Operations
  3. Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong and Jihad Are the Shari'a Solution for Confronting the Corruption and the Worsening Perversion
  4. The Beginning of the Preparations for Change [through] Jihad
  5. The Advent of Two Important Developments in the Early 1990s
  6. Entering into Confrontation
  7. The Tottering of the Regime after the First Rounds [of Attacks]
  8. The Mujahideen's Understanding of the Pharaonic Regime's Structure
  9. The Egyptian Regime's Appeal for Help to the New Caesars in Washington
  10. The Beginning of the International Campaign to Hunt Down the [Egyptian] Mujahideen
  11. The Breaking of the Dawn of the Muslim Nation's Jihad against the Crusaders and the Jews
  12. Has the Egyptian Regime Subdued the Jihad Movement?
  13. Those Who Boast of the Subduing of the Jihad Movement Are Averting Their Eyes from the Exorbitant Price that Egypt Has Paid
  14. The Important Lesson [to Be Learned] From This Period
  15. Was the Price [the Muslims Paid] Exorbitant?
  16. Critique of What the Author Wrote Concerning the Jihad [Group]'s Operations in Egypt

Chapter 19: Remarks on Sections 14 and 15 [of the Document]

  1. What Is the Meaning of the Author's Relating the Story of Sayyidna 'Abdallah Bin Hadhafa Al-Sahmi?
  2. Critique of What the Author Wrote about the Jihad in Palestine and Iraq
  3. Critique of What the Author Wrote about the Signatures of Hundreds [of Jihadist Prisoners who Signed the Document of Right Guidance Being Registered] with the Competent Authorities


First Message: To All the Muslims

Second Message: To the Intelligence Officers Who Came Out with the Document

Third Message: To Our Steadfast Brothers in the Prisons

Fourth Message: To Our Brothers Who Wrote, Agreed to, and Supported this Propaganda [i.e. the Document of Right Guidance]

[1] It should be noted that jihad in this context refers to terror attacks in the West and fighting against the regimes in Muslim countries; Sayyed Imam is not opposed to fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine.

[2] Some such discussion was however undertaken by Al-Qaeda supporters, such as the London-based Islamist Hani Al-Siba'i.

[3] For a translation of Sayyed Imam's "On the Shari'a Reasons and the Practical Reasons that Call for Not Clashing with the Egyptian Authorities" see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1826, "Major Jihadi Cleric and Author of Al-Qaeda's Shari'a Guide to Jihad Sayyed Imam vs. Al-Qaeda (2)…" January 25, 2008, 

SOURCE: MEMRI Dispatch 1859
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) explores the Middle East through the region's media. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East, providing timely translations of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East.


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