T Nation

The Al Qaeda Reader


The main theme of this book is that Al Qaeda justifies itself with teachings straight from the Prophet's mouth. Eventually, if a Muslim takes the Koran seriously, he or she MUST believe in Al Qaeda...kind of like how Nazis got ahead in the 3rd Reich by being a more extreme Nazi than the next guy.

Anyone read it yet?

"Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of these works is how grounded they are in the traditional sources of Islamic theology: the Koran and the teachings of the Prophet. The founders of al-Qaeda use these sources as powerful weapons of persuasion, reminding followers (and would-be recruits) that Muhammad and his warriors spread Islam through the power of the sword and that the Koran is not merely allegory or history but literal truth that commands all Muslims to action."


I don't believe the "must" portion, as the majority in fact don't appear to be volunteering to wear dynamite vests, but I certainly believe that messages can be twisted and word games can be applied to almost anything.


The koran is -like the bible- hard to take word for word. If you do, both books will work just fine in terms of religious terrorism and/or intimidation, that's for sure.
If you whine instead: "it's not to be taken literally" it's not god's word and no better then fairy tales.
As time will pass, these people will either change along with their societies and be like the west (moderate, inconsistent pseudo-believers) or their states will succumb into relative unimportance (no oil anymore) once again so it won't matter anyhow.
And the nazi thing was once again a totally absurd comparison.


Didn't Heydrich get to go to Valhalla right away, or did he have to wait for the Gotterdamerungen?


Poetry is an important aspect of the quran. It is full of poetic expressions. Obviously it can be taken literally, as is being done, but there is nothing that forces a believer to do so. It is a question of manipulation and choice, I think.


The bible was written by men and that is a belief of Christian doctrine.

The Quran according to Moslems's is the literal word of God as revealed to Mohammad, who was illiterate and simply copied it down. I don't think not believing that is an option in Islam.

How you interpet the word of God, if that is what you believe, has more to do with your morals.


I don't see what could be so special about this new book. I mean, we've known for decades that the Al-Qaeda people claim to profess the Islamic faith. What did you expect them to read? Ron Hubbard?

I really don't see what your point is HH. I take the Quran seriously but fail to see anything in it that would condone 9/11. Sure the prophet (pbuh) spread Islam thru the sword, but that was his prerogative as a prophet. He wasn't infallible, but he had a duplex channel with God to guide him when he needed guidance.

He also never slaughtered innocent civilians. Because of that, and because of the prevailing message of peace in the Quran, I don't see how you can say that "eventually, if a Muslim takes the Koran seriously, he or she MUST believe in Al Qaeda". Are you trying to tell the billion+ of Muslims that they are not taking the Quran seriously?

Are you trying to say that Al-Qaeda are the only ones to have been blessed with enough brain power to decipher the Quran?



Nevertheless, numerous historically important muslims have managed to read metaphorical messages out of it. That that is not the trend of today has more to do with politics than anything else. That's my opinion.

I totally agree with you about the morals. I would even venture as far as to say, that the belief or ideology is secondary, it will bend to the interpreters will.


The idea of the book (which I've yet to read, only excerpts) is that the Al Qaeda mindset is the logical outcome of Islam. The basic premises of Islam MUST lead Muslims to become Al Qaeda IF THEY TAKE THE FAITH SERIOUSLY.

Any system with adherents will always have some who take the system to its extremes.

This is why, philosophers and theologians have to be extremely careful in what they write. If you write: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.", someone will try to implement that idea. You get a Soviet hell.

If you say that anyone who recants their faith in Allah must be killed, it happens. If you say that non-believers in the Quran should be killed as an act of mercy, then some of your followers will try to do that.

The whole world should turn into the United States, minus the last 80 years of statism: Leave each other alone or go to prison.


What's that basic premise of Islam you speak of? Do you even know what Islam is? And these are not rhetorical questions.

Ok, that's much better. I fail how this could be news to anyone though.

Where do you fetch such gems? Where did the Quran ever say that non-believers should be killed as an act of mercy?

I wouldn't wanna be part of a religion that condones that, now will I? Remember? Hardcore pacifist.

Amen to that. Especially if the United States starts applying the precept itself.

Anyway this book doesn't sound very interesting. Yet another attempt to make a buck riding the 9/11 effect.


Quran 4.89 "They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So take not Auliya' (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allah (to Muhammad SAW). But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold) of them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Auliya' (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them."

Quran 18.74 "Then they both proceeded, till they met a boy, he (Khidr) killed
him. Musa (Moses) said: "Have you killed an innocent person who had killed none?
Verily, you have committed a thing "Nukra" (a great Munkar - prohibited, evil,
dreadful thing)!" But...

Quran 18.80 and 81 "And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared
lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief. So we intended that their Lord should change him for them for one better in righteousness and near to mercy."

They killed a boy because he might 'oppress' his parents? They do so as an act of mercy?


I wonder if they sawed his head off?

Do you, Lixy, know YOUR Quran?


Not according to Steveo... oh shit, I shouldn't have invoked his name!


Taken out of context, one would be tempted to interpret this in the way you describe. However, both the prophet and the Quran insisted on the importance of taking the book as a whole.

Anyway, what we're dealing with in this verse is brought to light in the preceding one.

"What aileth you that ye are become two parties regarding the hypocrites, when Allah cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they earned? Seek ye to guide him whom Allah hath sent astray? He whom Allah sendeth astray, for him thou (O Muhammad) canst not find a road." (Qur'an 4:88)

Ibn Katheer explains the verse as follows:

"And His [God's] saying "They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they)" means that they (the hypocrites) wish you misguidance so as to be like them in it; and this is due only to their great animosity and hatred towards you, that's why God said "so take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah(meaning left al-hijrah)" as said by Al-Awfy based on Ibn Abbas, and Al-Saddy said "they showed their kufr, then take them and kill them wherever you find them, "and take no friends or helpers from their ranks" means not to take any of them as allies or seek their support against the enemies of Allah as long as they are like this; then Allah excluded from them."

So, the hypocrites are the only ones whose killing is condoned. To understand who are those hypocrites, one needs to look at Sura 63 is called "Al Munafiqoon" (literally "The hypocrites"). A rough knowledge of the history of Hijra (migration to Medina) shows that during these days, a bunch of people were trying to bring down Islam from within.

Hence, the people who "turn their backs" in 4:89 are the Munafiqoon who were actively fighting Islam while pretending to profess the faith. I think we can all agree that it's nothing but self-defense.

As you can see, once put back into context, the meaning is entirely different. You may argue that in all his wisdom, God the omnipotent could have made the book fool-proof to avoid the abuses we witness (the Saudis, Talibans, Al-Qaeda...) from happening, but I think you're a believer yourself and will abstain from doing so.

Yes sir, I do know the Quran.

Sura 18 is Surat Al-Kahf (the cave) and narrates the story of the sleepers of Ephesus which I'm sure you're familiar with.

Anyway, the passages you quoted are pretty straight forward once you start the Sura at verse 60. I'll give you a quick and dirty summary but encourage you to read it by yourself (read the whole Sura; It reads very easily).


While out in the desert, Moses ran into a "slave" ('Abd) of Allah whom the Almighty bestowed a great deal of his knowledge upon (probably a metaphor to refer to some extraordinary being like an angel charged with a mission). Moses knew what that he was dealing was someone sent by God, so he asked to follow him in the hope that he could learn from him. The "man" warned Moses that he won't be able to tolerate what he will see and will not act impatient. Moses assured him that he intends on displaying the utmost patience.

After Moses agreed to keep his mouth shut and don't question anything the "man" would do. First, they stop by a boat and the "man" drills a hole in it. Moses, outraged, tells the "man" that he'll be causing the death of innocents. The "man" reminds Moses of his promise, and Moses immediately apologizes for his inappropriate behavior.

Then comes the killing of the little boy (Didn't mention how the killing was done - on highway '61). Moses predictably expresses his utmost discontent. He is then reminded of what they agreed upon, and Moses apologizes for forgetting yet again, and asks for one final chance. The strange duo comes then to village, ask to be fed, and the inhospitable inhabitants tells them to beat it.

On their way out, they noticed a structural crack in a wall that could have fallen out any moment. The "man" rushed to repair it and then resumes the journey. Moses, who forgot the pact yet again, mentioned that he could have demanded to be paid for the job. The "man" then explains how the boat belonged to poor hardworking fishermen and that a belligerent king (who am sure was waging "preemptive" wars) was confiscating every able boat.

Drilling a hole in the boat would actually turn out to save them and their families from starvation. The boy he killed was going to "yoorhikayooma" (which is a heck of lot more than a burden). As for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city. Under it, there was a treasure that belonged to them. Had the wall fallen and they found the treasure at such a young age, it would have been dilapidated (stolen, taken advantage of by a greedy newfound "guardian"...) in a speedy fashion. It was better to wait until they matured to reveal the treasure to them.

The message here is that God knows best and we shouldn't question his actions before everything ultimately has a purpose. Don't ask me what 'cause I don't know myself. Only God knows the future, intentions of people and all the other hidden details.

Can this (metaphorical? real?) story be abused. Sure! Anything that can be abused will be (ask Murphy). Once you think that you're the hand of God, the voice of God, talk to God bidirectionally or any of the other crap Al-Zawahiri (or Bush for that matter) believes, there is no limit to the damage you can do and rationalize. You'll always be able to get away with killing, maiming, stealing or drilling holes in boats.

Now, you still didn't answer my question from the previous post. Do you think that...

a) Islam is a barbaric religion which I have no clue about, and the only ones to have studied it, taken it seriously, and comprehended the message are the likes of Al-Qaeda.

b) I accepted the faith fully aware of the "barbaric nature" of it.

c) Islam is a message of peace which some politically motivated extremists, petty criminals, and mentally disturbed are twisting.

d) None of the above.

Which is it?

P.S: I believe Voltaire nicked a great deal of his work from this Sura.


Let's take the issue of suicide bombers. Obviously a problem in the world. These guys believe what? If they die killing enemy civilians or military, they get 77 virgins in the afterlife? If this belief did not originate in the Koran, where did it originate? Why do the suicide bombers believe this if it is not in part based on their faith?


Hmm, guys, you have to realize that things like the crusades, witch burnings and other ridiculous religious events were "supported" by Christianity.

When people in authority indoctrinate you using a religion, you are under their power. All they have to do is shape your sight and make you think you are acting in God's will.

This is possible whenever there are documents that are claimed to be the word of God. Thankfully, if you view that they were written by men, then you can use the sense that God gives us to make your own decisions.


Why did the Crusaders feel biblically justified in murdering every Jew in Jerusalem during the First Crusade? I think there are a lot of troubling things about Islam, but extremists rarely represent the actual, consensus truth of a religion.


The usual answer to that is that the real Koran can only be read in Arabic.

Barring that, I think you need to get a better translation.

If I recall correctly, a moslem once suggested to me that I use the one from submission.org. It's apparently closer to the Arabic text and often has footnotes to explain some of the more difficult nuances.

Then again, you're not really interested in the Koran, except to denigrate it, right?


Being rewarded with women (at least one) is in the Koran (78:31-34)

The number 72 comes from an Hadith, which are sayings from Muhammad. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. It's also "the least reward" so you might get more if you've been a particularly worthy servant of Allah.

What I'd like to know is, if a woman martyr herself, does she get 72 studs in heaven?


There's no such thing in the Quran.

What's next? Are you gonna claim that Kamikaze actions are part of Buddhism and Shintoism? Get real!


What I'd like to know is if they really have to be virgins. Couldn't they be a little bit more experienced?