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Al-Azzam Abdullah

in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195174304
Published online November 2007 |
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Born in Palestine, he was both a scholar and a mujahid (the Emir of Jihad), important to the development of contemporary Islamic radicalism with its notion of a pan-Islamic, global jihad. Al-Azzam studied theology at Damascus University and received his doctorate in jurisprudence from al-Azhar University. After teaching Islamic law briefly at the University of Jordan, he taught at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he met Osama Bin Laden. He subsequently went to Peshawar, Pakistan, to join the jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. He was killed in an unsolved assassination in 1989. His writings and sermons have lived on as an inspiration to Muslim extremist movements.

In this selection from 1987, Azzam proclaims that it is an individual obligation (fard al-ayn) of every believer living in a Muslim land that has been appropriated by non-Muslims to engage in jihad (exerting oneself for the sake of God). That obligation will remain for Muslims until their land is no longer under non-Muslim control. He distinguishes between an individual obligation and a collective obligation (fard al-kifayah). The former is more profound, because it is imposed on everyone without exception, whereas the latter can be met by anyone sharing the collective responsibility.

Chapter.  2068 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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