Militants of the Islamic State execuiting some prisonersOver the last year there has been in Egypt a great deal of talk about Islam Yakan, a young man who grew up in a wealthy family and who left to fight the jihad in Syria with the Islamic State. Last September an Egyptian newspaper reconstructed his story by collecting the testimonies of his parents, neighbours and friends. But it was this boy himself who revealed the details of his enrolment in an account that he published on the site justpaste.it. Islam tells the story of his pathway from being a distracted law student at ‘Ayn Shams University of Cairo to being a jihadist fighter, passing by way of being a trainer in a gymnasium and Islamic preaching in the streets of the Egyptian capital city. ‘The whole of my life was a matter of training, preaching, the mosque and learning the Qur’an by heart’. The idea of the jihad steadily made its way into him until it became an obsession: ‘We have seen the condition of Muslims and Islam is various places of the world, from Syria to Burma and Palestine, and their humiliation, servitude and weakness, and we thought instinctively of the jihad and fighting, even though we did not know what it consisted of and we had heard about it only in tales and books and perhaps on the television or internet with Osama Bin Laden…We began to talk about jihad but we saw it as a dream, a legend’.
One day a friend of his left for Syria and from that moment onwards the desire also arose in him to leave everything to go and fight, even though at that time he did not know ‘anything about jihad or its foundations or what Islamic belief thought about it’. He asked for explanations from a sheikh but this latter’s answers did not satisfy him. Islam went home, turned on the television and watched the channel on the Qur’an. He heard the following verse: ‘If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your clan, your possessions that you have gained, commerce you fear may slacken, dwellings you love – if these are dearer to you than God and His Messenger, and to struggle in His way, then wait till God brings His command; God guides not the people of the ungodly’ (Qur 9:24). Islam was thunderstruck by these words and he made his decision at that moment. After obtaining the documents that were then needed with some difficulty, he left for Turkey from where he was moved to Syria. Islam Yakan died on December 1st of last year in Kobane in a suicide car bomb attack. Before dying he disseminated his ‘testament’ on Twitter which was loaded onto justpaste.it and subsequently taken up by many Egyptian newspapers.
The text, which we reproduce below, is a collage of quotations from the Qur’an and prophetic traditions brought together to explain the nobility of death ‘on the path of God’ and to invite other Muslims to follow his example.
From his biography and his words, we can see how this young man looked for a definitive meaning for his life and found it in choosing a most abominable violent action, as is confirmed by the striking sequence of deeds that he encourages in order to punish the infidels and obtain the approval of God.
Spiritual testament of Islam Yakan as disseminated via Twitter and addressed to his fighting companions
May God alone be praised and prayer and peace be on him after whom there was no prophet!
‘This is the message and testament of the servant of God Islam Yakan, called Abû Salma…
First of all I ask your indulgence for every wrong that I may have committed with my words or my actions, knowingly or unknowingly. I declare before God that I forgive all those who have done me wrong, however grave their offences may have been, known or unknown to me. The Most High God says: ‘We have not assigned to any mortal before thee to live forever; therefore, if thou diest, will they live forever?’ (Qur. 21:34). And also: ‘Say: “Surely death, from which you flee, shall encounter you; then you shall be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, and He will tell you that you have been doing”’ (Qur 62:8). ‘Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, though you should be in raised-up towers’ (Qur 4:78). Death is shared by the Muslim, the atheist and the infidel; it arrives suddenly, without being announced, and makes no difference between the small and the great, the sick and the healthy, according to the end that God has prescribed for us…
The Most High said: ‘We created not the heavens and earth, and all that is between them, in play; We created them not save in truth; but most of them know it not’ (Qur 44:38-39). Know, therefore, that we have not been created to live like sheep and eat, drink and reproduce. We have been created for a purpose and a goal which is the profession of monotheism in the heart, in words and in actions. This is the message that God has sent through all his messengers…
You will obey the orders of God, you will fight on His pathway to make supreme His word and make His law rule, and you will live in His powerful and generous shadow. Or you will be killed advancing and not retreating, faithful to the Most High, and then you will be a martyr and this is the best for you, if you know this. The Most High said: ‘God has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of God; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon God in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Quran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than God? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph’ (Qur 9:111).
He announces to he who has chosen the pathway of integrity and the road of jihad that now God prescribes to him to engage in the hijra towards the Islamic State. It has a Caliph, the commander of the faithful Ibrâhîm Ibn ‘Awwâd al-Badrî, to whom he must pledge allegiance. The messenger of God – may the peace of God be on him – in his authentic hadith says: ‘Whoever dies without pledging allegiance [to the Caliph] will die in ignorance’…
O Brothers of monotheism in various parts of the world and in particular you of Sinai, God is witness to the love that in Him I feel for you. I ask the Most High that by means of this love He will bring us together in the shadow of His throne, in the highest Paradise. Be vigil, be patient, be steadfast in the fight and fear God so that you may prosper. Fight the enemies of God amongst the infidels, worshippers of the cross, the Jews and the apostate tyrants who govern the Arabs, their armies and their supporters. Cut their throats with your swords, break their heads with your bullets, make their bodies be blown into the air with your exploding belts and do not forget car bombs, because they are the most terrible and devastating and amongst the privileged actions to obtain the approval of the Merciful One. Know that God will sustain you if you work for His religion and His servants who are oppressed, because the Most High said: ‘O believers, if you help God, He will help you, and confirm your feet. But as for the unbelievers, ill chance shall befall them! He will send their works astray’ (Qur 47:7-9). Know that ‘Paradise is in the shadow of swords’ and do not wish for any other goal than martyrdom.
Mother, father, my brethren! I ask God to forgive me and them and to have pity because they raised me when I was a child; I commend them to draw away from infidel tyrants who govern the country without the Law of God. The Most High said: ‘Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down – they are the unbelievers’ (Qur 5:44). They, instead, govern with the constitution, democracy and secularity and are friends of the infidels, Jews and Christians and other idolaters. The Most High says: ‘Whoso of you makes them his friends is one of them’(Qur 5:51). I commend them to emigrate to the Islamic State to live the rest of their days under the Law of Almighty God; they will then understand the things of their religion which the tyrants have kept hidden from them in their country. I commend them to find comfort in the Sunna of the Prophet – may God bless him and give him peace – when they know of my martyrdom, if God so wishes it. You should not tear your clothes nor slap yourselves; you should not weep for me nor say the prayers of the pagans and you should not be in mourning for more than three days nor receive condolences, because all that is not part of the religion of God and I am innocent of them. The words of the Most High should be remembered: ‘O all you who believe, seek you help in patience and prayer; surely God is with the patient. And say not of those slain in God's way, “They are dead”; rather they are living, but you are not aware. Surely We will try you with something of fear and hunger, and diminution of goods and lives and fruits; yet give thou good tidings unto the patient who, when they are visited by an affliction, say, 'Surely we belong to God, and to Him we return'; upon those rest blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those – they are the truly guided’ (Qur 2:154-157).
Lastly, I address my dear shaykh, the commander of the faithful Ibrâhîm ibn ‘Awwad: we have sworn faithfulness to you and we have pledged to listen to you and obey you without sparing ourselves, in ease and adversity, in prosperity and difficulty, and to establish the religion of God, to fight the jihad against your enemies and not to contest those of yours who hold authority, unless they commit evident impieties of which God gives us proof. Continue in what you are doing, do not flatter the infidels and the apostates and do not boast of the success that God has granted to you, and you should not fear His snares. Fear God in your soul, in your subjects and in your troops and remember that the victory that God grants to His servants depends on how much His servants work for Him and for His religion. If we do otherwise we cannot hope that God will help us. Remember what the Most High said: ‘So, when they forgot what they were reminded of; We opened unto them the gates of everything until; when they rejoiced in what they were given, We seized them suddenly, and behold, they were sore confounded. So the last remnant of the people who did evil was cut off. Praise belongs to God the Lord of all Being’ (Qur 6: 44-45).
‘You will remember what I say to you. I commit my affair to God; surely God sees His servants’ (Qur 40,44).
Taken from Al-Masry al-Yowm, 1st December 2014, translation by Oasis