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The Late Sheikh Abdullah Azzam's Books. Part 3: Radical Theories on Defending Muslim Land through Jihad

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Sheikh Abdullah Azzam is a name that only gets attention among true students of Islamist militancy, yet he has had a tremendous impact on Usama Bin Laden and left him with the tools needed to establish a global jihadist network. The subject of this essay are Assams militant jihadist fatwas religious edicts that were created from the perspective of the Soviet-Afghan War as interpreted by Islamist radicals. Azzams alteration of jihad as a collective obligation incumbent upon all Muslims forms the basic construct for all his strategic, operational, and tactical ideas on global jihad. American military planners and Coalition partners must take the time to assess Azzams books as a means of understanding the strategic thinking of Al-Qaida and its affiliates. He is considered the Clausewitz of Islamist militancy, one who combines a lethal understanding and destructive interpretation of Islamic law and history with destructive interpretations of the French and Russian Revolutions. It is imperative that the obscure Arabic titles written by militant clerics like Azzam be translated and analyzed with the same determination as Russian documents and books on strategy and military affairs were during the Cold War. The subject of this essay is Azzams book Al Defaa aan Ardhee al-Muslimeen aham furood al-ayaan Defending Muslim Lands is Among the Most Important Collective Obligations, which was published in 1985. The book is 133 pages long, of which 79 pages are focused on Azzams fatwa for collective jihad. It is considered his masterpiece. Unlike Bin Laden, who issues edicts that are of dubious quality, Azzam undertook to get his fatwa endorsed by some of the most noted clerics of the time. Azzam used his own clerical connections to give his ideas a voice and to get them endorsed and preached in local mosques in Saudi Arabia, Gaza, and Egypt of the 1980s. Assam was pragmatic in limiting jihad to Afghanistan and Palestine, while Bin Laden globalized it.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Psychology
  • Unconventional Warfare

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