Join the Caravan: Preface To The First And The Second Edition

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Join the Caravan
By: Imam Abdullah Azzam
Translator's Foreword
Preface To The First And The Second Edition
Reasons For Jihad
Oh Islam!
Clarifications About The Issue of Jihad Today
Conclusion

Preface To The First Edition[edit]

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and blessings and peace be upon the noblest of all the Messengers.

This is a small treatise that I wrote for those who are pining away for jihad and who hope for martyrdom in its way. The book is in 2 parts:

Part 1: Reasons for jihad

Part 2: Oh Islam!

I have concluded with a synopsis and observations. We hope that Allah will being benefit by it, and will reform us and reform others by means of us, surely He is the Hearer, the Nearby, the Answerer of Prayers. I intend the book as a reply to many letters which I receive asking for advice about coming to Afghanistan.

So come to Gardens of Eden, for they are
Your original abode and therein are camping grounds;
But we are captives of the enemy, so can we then
Return to our home countries and give up?

The Slave Needful of Allah,
`Abdullah al-`Azzam

17 Sha’ban n 1407 A.H.
15 April 1987 CE

Preface To The Second Edition[edit]

Praise be to Allah alone, and blessings and peace be on (Muhammad) after whom there is no prophet.

It did not pass through my mind while I was writing this treatise that it might bring about such a great revolution, so that our numbers would increase close to tenfold. Nor did it cross my mind that there are latent capabilities lying beneath the heaps of practices which are lethal to perception and intuition. These aptitudes have the ability to respond to the true call bursting forth from the depths of hearts wounded by the condition of the Muslims. We have become conscious, in the course of our profound experiment in Afghanistan over a time-span of 7 years and some, that this Ummah is prolific and that it has not become barren of outstanding eras nor of delivery of men.

We have seen that the land of Islam is still fertile; giving its produce at all times by its Lord's leave, whenever the plantations find a person of insight to serve as a trustworthy administrator. This Ummah only lacks exemplars to lead the journey sincerely, who are well acquainted with mobilizing an exploration, and who give priority to the commissioning of leadership.

In proportion to the determined ones comes determination,
And in proportion to noble people come noble deeds.
In the eye of the little ones, the small misfortune appears tremendous,
And diminished in the eye of the mighty are great distresses.

We have already seen lofty examples of new blossoms, which Allah has steered until they ripened in the kiln of the battlefield, and became matured by its heat. We found most of these people to be from among those of modest upbringing, good-heart, and healthy character. We have seen that much education, with the accompanying suppression of deeds brings about a cold heart, slackened determination and a greed for life, which argues, unfeelingly and feebly against evidence by way of barren disputation.

The wise instructor should look down upon hysteria, recklessness, faltering from seeing evil, losing aim due to anger over the women who have been raped, and feelings of jealous torment on seeing such profound events; all this is rashness.

It is possible for Islam to obtain many benefits from the school of the Afghan Jihad. It is also possible for loftier models, people with mature abilities and wiser, more mindful propagators to come to the land of jihad. Thousands of such people could bring about a tremendous revolution in the reality of Afghanistan, and in the inhabited regions thereafter. Those thousands may change history.

We do not deny that a large number of arrivals, with simple thinking, shallow Islamic juristic knowledge drawn from diverse founts and different pedagogic schools, and disparity in levels of age and knowledge, has brought about a kind of convulsion in education. It has cast a great burden upon our shoulders. But what could we possibly do when so few mature people are coming, and the journey has incapacitated some of the sincere people of insight?

We have tried to face the problem in its actual proportion, and to call to it anybody who cares to listen while bearing witness to the truth. However, none have come to us other than simple youths, who were therefore our raw material. Of course, it was necessary to work on them so that they could make their contribution and participate with their fortune in this noble, blessed activity. Mature propagators are still the talk of the hour in the Islamic jihad of Afghanistan, and the subject of pressing necessity and glaring need. There are still many solutions to problems in the hands of those who are not occupying the roles they should.

Perhaps I am more conscious than others of the abundant good in this place, which is veiled from those who are absent, and the great success which so many of the arrivals have attained. The encouraging word of our Lord to the Mujahideen suffices us (translated):

"Those of the believers who sit back, except for those who are incapacitated, are not equal with those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and their selves. Allah has granted a higher rank to those who strive with their possessions and selves, over those who sit back. And to all of them has Allah promised good. But Allah has favored the Mujahideen with a tremendous reward, by levels from Him, and with forgiveness and mercy, over those who sit back. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Qur'an 4:95-96]

And also the encouraging words of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace):

"It was asked, 'Oh Messenger of Allah! Which of mankind is most excellent?' He (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied,

'A believer who strives in the Path of Allah with his self and his wealth.'" [Saheeh Bukhari 4/45]

"Standing for an hour in the ranks of battle in the Path of Allah is better than standing in prayer for sixty years." [Saheeh, related by Ibn Adee and Ibn Asakir from Abu Hurayrah (4/6165). Saheeh Al-Jaami' As-Sagheer No. 4305]

"A morning or evening spent in the Path of Allah is better than the world and all it contains." [Saheeh Al-Bukhari 4/50 - Agreed upon]

And in Sahih Bukhari, reported from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace):

"In Heaven are a hundred levels which Allah has prepared for those who strive in His way. The difference between two consecutive levels is like that between earth and sky." [Saheeh Al-Bukhari 4/48]

In any case, there are two duties, which we are trying to establish: the duty of jihad (fighting), and the duty of arousing the believers. If, in this way, we achieve success, it is from Allah, and should we miss it, it is because of Satan and ourselves. It suffices us that we have striven sincerely and called attention, with insight, to the terror of the situation. And we hope that Allah will provide us with sincerity and steadfastness and that He will accept our deeds from us, and bring us our end in martyrdom.

`Abdullah `Azzam

1st Jummad al-Awwal 1409 A.H.
9th December 1988 CE


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