A treatise by Abdullah Azzam (1941-1989), an influential figure of contemporary jihadism .
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Universe and Peace and Blessings be upon the Leader of the Prophets and the Commander of the Mujahideen: Muhammad (SAWS) and upon His Family, His Companions and whoever pursues their method, follows their way and wages Jihad until the Day of Judgement.
Indeed nations are only brought to life by their beliefs and their concepts and they die only with their desires and their lusts. The extent to which righteous convictions and correct beliefs spread within a nation, is the extent to which it plants its roots in the depths of the Earth and sends forth orchards of trunks with their flourishing leaves so that Man can take shade by it from the troubles of life, its financial fever and from the flame of hatred, envy and competition for cheap thrills and temporary enjoyment. As for the Muslim Ummah, it does continue to exist in the course of history of humankind, except by a divine idology and the blood which flows as a result of spreading this divine ideology and implanting it into the real World.
The life of the Muslim Ummah is solely dependent on the ink of its scholars and the blood of its martyrs. What is more beautiful than the writing of the Ummah’s history with both the ink of a scholar and his blood, such that the map of Islamic history becomes coloured with two lines: one of them black, and that is what the scholar wrote with the ink of his pen; and the other one red, and that is what the martyr wrote with his blood. And something more beautiful than this is when the blood is one and the pen is one, so that the hand of the scholar which expends the ink and moves the pen, is the same as the hand which expends its blood and moves the Ummah. The extent to which the number of martyred scholars increases is the extent to which nations are delivered from their slumber, rescued from their decline and awoken from their sleep.
History does not write its lines except with blood. Glory does not build its loft edifice except with skulls, Honour and respect cannot be established except on a foundation of cripples and corpses. Empires, distinguished peoples, states and societies cannot be established except with examples. Indeed those who think that they can change reality, or change societies, without blood, sacrifices and invalids, without pure, innocent souls, then they do not understand the essence of this Deen  and they do not know the method of the best of the Messengers (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).
As for those who build nations, they are few in number. Sometimes the Ummah can be built by a single individual who makes a stand by means of which Allah rescues this Deen, just like Abu Bakr (RA) made a stand of the Day of Apostasy ; and the day when Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal  made a stand when the entire World was speechless at the innovation that the Quran had been created, so Allah saved the Ummah with him.
A small group: they are the ones who carry convictions and ambitions. And an even smaller group from this small group, are the ones who flee from the worldly life in order to spread and act upon these ambitions. And an even smaller group from this elite group, are the ones who sacrifice their souls and their blood in order to bring victory to these ambitions and principles. So, they are the cream of the cream of the cream. It is not possible to reach glory except by traversing this Path. It is not possible for the structures of this Deen to be established, nor for its banner to be raised, nor for its vessel to be launched, except by traversing this Path. This Path is one. In fact, there is no Paradise without this Path:
“Do you really think that you will enter Paradise, before Allah has decided from amongst you, those who fight in His Way and those who are patient?” [Quran 3:142]
Thus the founders of nations and the architects of glories are few. As for the one who wants to architecture glory, then he must be prepared to ascend to the price of glory upon seas of his blood and his sweat, and the blood of those around him and upon the disabilities of those under his authority, until he reaches the price of glory. And glory cannot be architectured except by traversing this Path: the Path of the Blessed Jihad.
The Jihad on the land of Afghanistan set its foundations with a small group: 14 youths from the youths of the Taqwa Islamic Movement inside Kabul  University. The decisive, conclusive, solidification of its foundations was the necessity of using Jihad to combat the leader of the tyrants, Daud , who had resolved to wipe out the sons of the Islamic Movement. Until finally, they arrived in Peshawar , about 30 youths, who decided to enter Afghanistan and start the Jihad there.
The Jihad initially began as a few drops, until Allah decided to ignite the sparks within this blessed people and explode the Jihad, blessing with it the land of Afghanistan and the rest of the Muslims until its good encompassed the whole World. Some thought that the Earth had become devastated and that this Ummah had been drained of the thirst for martyrdom. Therefore, Allah exploded the Jihad on the land of Afghanistan and groups of youths from the Islamic World marched forth to Afghanistan in search of Jihad and martyrdom.
Indeed this small band of Arabs, whose number did not exceed a few hundred individuals, changed the tide of the battle, from an Islamic battle of one country, to an Islamic World Jihad movement, in which all races participated and all colours, languages and cultures met; yet they were one, their direction was one, their ranks were one and the goal was one: that the Word of Allah is raised the highest and that this Deen is made victorious on the Earth.
Indeed the involvement of the Muslims in the battle, from a variety of races, woke up those that were asleep and enlightened those who were absent-minded. Furthermore, it shook the oppressors, for indeed the enemies of Islam were watching the arena and counting the lives. The involvement of non-Afghans in the battle was a great source of alarm and dismay to them, because this stimulation of numerous nations and the revival of the people had reached the brink of desperation, until these desperations set root in the depths of their souls, such that they realised that they themselves were on the verge of their own destruction.
Furthermore, the enemies were also aware of the volatile risks associated with the burial of a foreign volunteer fighter in the soils of Afghanistan, as if to announce to the World: that this Deen requires millions of such sacrifices in order to change its situation, and that these sacrifices must meet with this fighter, here in his resting place, so that the bullet alone is considered to be the honour of this Deen, the resistance of the Muslims and the pride of the believers.
And some deceived modernist intellectuals thought that these sacrifices which had fallen on this Path had gone to waste and been rendered futile. However, it should be known that the blood of gutless martyrs is weighty in the Scale of the Most Gracious. It is sufficient for us to remember one hadith (and the ahadith are many), narrated by Imam Ahmad and Tirmidhi with an authentic chain of narration that the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said:
“Indeed the martyr has seven special favours from Allah: all his sins are forgiven at the first spurt of his blood, he sees his place in Paradise as his blood is shed (before his soul leaves the body), he tastes the sweetness of Iman, he is married to 72 of the Beautiful Maidens of Paradise, he is protected from the Punishment of the Grave, he is saved from the Great Terror (on The Day of Judgement), there is placed upon his head a crown of honour a jewel of which is better than the whole world and everything in it and he is granted permission to intercede for 70 members of his household (to bring them into Paradise and save them from the Hell Fire).”
Indeed, the manuscripts of history are not scribed except with the blood of these martyrs, except with the stories of these martyrs, except with the examples of these martyrs. By the likes of these martyrs, nations are established, convictions are brought to life and ideologies are made victorious. For this reason, we have compiled a section about the lives of martyrs: Arab martyrs who fell on the land of Afghanistan, and present this very collection which is infront of you.
And it might seem to the short-sighted eye and narrow mind, and to the individual besieged within the bounds of era and location, that it is a story that happened and finished. The mouth of death opened its mouth, swallowed these martyrs and passed them with its wheel that saves neither old nor young.
However, the clear-sighted eye and the enlightened heart knows that these sacrifices are the provisions of future generations for distant civilizations to come. These stories, these sacrifices and these examples will remain as supercilious signposts upon the entire journey of this Deen, for he who wishes to make this journey from those wayfarers, or follow in the footsteps of this righteous elite.
“All these are the ones whom Allah has guided, so follow their guidance” [Quran 6:90]
Indeed these exemplary individuals from the martyrs broke free from the shackles and fetters of this matter to reach opulence and bliss, and they came to the land of Afghanistan, living in the mountains of Afghanistan, until Allah (SWT) honoured them with martyrdom.
We ask Allah (SWT) to join us with them in the Highest Part of Paradise, with the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous, and that he blesses us with martyrdom in His Way, and that he seals us with the Seal of Happiness, O Noble One.
So, O’ people of ambitions and O’ carriers of dawah, do not be miserly with your blood as regards this Deen. If you really are serious and sincere, then place your blood and souls before the Lord of the Worlds who granted them to you in the first place and then purchased them from you:
“Indeed Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their possessions in return for Paradise. They fight in the Way of Allah, they kill and are killed” [Quran 9:111]
O’ youths! O’ sons of Islam! What will cleanse our sins? What will purify our mistakes? And what will clean our dirt? It will not be washed except with the blood of martyrdom, and know that there is no path except this Path. If not, then the Accountability  will be difficult, the Scale  awaits, the Bridge  is ready and your time is running out, so consider it.
And Peace and Blessings be upon our master, Muhammad, and upon his family and Companions altogether.
1 Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, assassinated in Peshawar, 1989. Time Magazine wrote about him: “He was responsible for reviving Jihad in the 20th Century.”
3 When a group of Arabs apostatised after the death of the Prophet (SAWS) and refused to pay their Zakah to Abu Bakr (RA), so Abu Bakr resolved to fight them even though the other Sahabah were initially opposed to this idea.
4 Died 241AH (851CE), the founder of the Hanbali school of thought.
5 The capital of Afghanistan.
6 Prince Muhammad Daud Khan, President of Afghanistan from July 1973 to April 1978.
7 A city in Pakistan, the capital of the NWFP (North West Frontier Province).
8 Questioning on the Day of Judgement.
9 Meezan: the Scale or Balance upon which the good and bad deeds of the people will be weighed on the Day of Judgement.
10 The Bridge over the Hell Fire as mentioned in the Quran 19:71-72.
Extracts from the lectures of Sheikh Abdullah Azzam titled: ‘Will of the Shaheed’ and ‘A Message from the Shaheed Sheikh to the Scholars’.
This document was donwloaded in December 2001
from the website www.azzam.com.