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Hamas and the Case of the Missing Hadith

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — by analogy with the curious incident of the dog in the night-time ]

From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s story, Silver Blaze, in the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes:

Inspector Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

Sherlock HHolmes: “That was the curious incident.”


There have been reports for some time that Hamas was preparing a revision of its original Charter, and now the Hamas Document of general Principles & Policies is with us:

The full text is here.


‘There’s commentary aplenty elsewhere —

  • Juan Cole, Hamas in new charter accepts 1967 borders for Palestinian state
  • Gatetone Institute, Hamas in new charter accepts 1967 borders for Palestinian state
  • Al-Monitor, What will Hamas charter change mean for Israel?
  • The Guardian, Hamas presents new charter accepting a Palestine based on 1967 borders
  • Middle East Eye, Hamas recognises PLO as ‘national framework’ for Palestinians
  • Al-Jazeera, Hamas accepts Palestinian state with 1967 borders
  • Brookings, Is Hamas re-branding to orient towards Egypt?
  • — I have just one point to make.. which I don’t believe any of thre above so much as mention..

    The original 1988 Hamas Charter contains an explicitly apocalyptic hadith in Article Seven:

    the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

    “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).

    That hadoth is no longer present in the new Document of General Principles & Policies.


    The most extensive account of the gharqad tree I’ve seen is in Anne Marie Oliver & Paul Steinberg, The Road to Martyr’s Square..

    the bizarre tree called the Gharqad, traditionally believed to speak in oracles and said to grow in the graveyards of Mecca

    Their account is fascinating, well wporth reaing in full — see pp 19-24 at this link for convenience.


    I amn uncertain whether Hamas has officially stated that the new Document of Principles replaces the original Charter, although that’s the impression one gathers from the rumors preceding its publication — but to the extent that it does, it is significant that the dog no longer barks, the Gharqad tree hadith no longer features in the new text.

    Significantly omitting the hadith, the new Document lacks the specifically apocalyptic, end times claim present in the Charter. The hadoth, of course, continues to exist — bin Laden was another who used to quote it –mbut at least in its central doctrinal document, Hamas seems to have shited from an explicitly apoca;lyptic Islamism to a more general position opposing the “Zionist entity”.

    To the extent that that’s a noteworthy shift, it’s at least a rhetorical de-escalation.


    I look forward to any comments on this omission from Richard Landes, Will McCants, Jean-Pierre Filiu, Matthew Levitt, Aaron Zelin, Ibn Siqilli, Tim Furnish, Anne Marie Oliver, Paul Steinberg and others..

    Comparative martyr photos for Ibn Siqilli

    Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — Muslim and Sikh memorial photos have similar aesthetic & emotional appeal ]

    I’ve long been interested in the death photos used in AQ and IS propaganda, several of which Chris Anzalone [aka Ibn Siqilli] has documented, eg:

    Al-Zubayr al-Sudani, as featured in the AQC-produced video series “Wind of Paradise


    The late Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan leader, Baytullah Mehsud.


    Today, I ran across similar images from a site devoted to the Khalistan (Sikh homeland) liberation movement

    Sikh martyrs

    As far as I can tell, being linguistically and historically challenged, the gentleman on the right would be Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala — perhaps someone can help me identify the gentleman on the left.

    Of the arm, fist and rifle

    Thursday, July 25th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — product from a neat, brief convo with Ibn Siqilli aka Chris Anzalone ]

    I found the upper image in the same Visual References post from Chris Anzalone that I recommended recently in two comments here [figs 2, 3, 3B] and here. If you look closely — or is just my poor eyesight? — you’ll see the arm, fist and rifle to the left of the black banner in the upper half of the upper image.

    Black banner? Did I just say black banner?

    That upper image is the “logo of the Brigade of the Awaited Savior (Katibat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar)” according to Chris, and the text below reads, “O’ One Who Arises (al-Qa’im) [from] the family of Muhammad.”

    So there you have Mahdism (the titles al-Muntazar and al-Qa’im are both indicators of the same returning great one as the term al-Mahdi itself) along with the well-known banner…


    What follows I have taken from a post on the Lebanese Expatriate blog, with some minor format changes to give the contents better graphical integration with the rest of the post:

    For those with the slightest knowledge about Hezbollah and the Middle East, I am not sharing with you something new, but for those who receive this information as a revelation, check out the resemblance between the emblem of Hezbollah and that of the Pasdaran, a.k.a Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.


    — Hezbollah emblem to the left in yellow. Pasdaran emblem to the right in blue.

    So what’s new? Why am I shedding light on what is already obvious? Why target Hezbollah today, out of all the parties that have been selling Lebanon?

    Today, more than ever, Hezbollah and Iran owe Lebanon an explanation. Take a look at the 10 Riyal postage stamp that is circulated in Iran.


    Iranian 10 Riyal postage stamp showing the emblem of Hezbollah covering the whole map of Lebanon. A clear symbol of the hidden intentions and a direct breach for the sovereignty of Lebanon’s independence as a nation.

    The stamp commemorates the martyrs of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Isn’t this an obvious breach of Lebanon’s sovereignty as a nation? I understand the bff relationship between Iran and Hezbollah, but why does Iran need to have Hezbollah’s emblem covering the Lebanese territories instead of the Lebanese flag? Why does Iran need to commemorate the Lebanese martyrs in the first place?

    What does Hezbollah have to say about this in the first place? How can Hezbollah justify such a demeaning document? What can its big-bellied, tie-less MPs and representatives say to logically justify this? Will they even attempt to justify it, or consider it normal and not even worth concealing with the whole world’s knowledge of its non-matrimonial marriage to Iran.

    As a Lebanese, I ask my government (which is controlled by Hezbollah) to question the Iranian ambassador about the motives of this stamp and ban its circulation.

    As a Lebanese, I ask Hezbollah to denounce the usage and circulation of this stamp in Iran and ask the Iranian state for an apology to the Lebanese people and its government.

    That’s taken from a post made in January, but I think it is no less relevant today, and adds to the general picture I’m painting.


    I put this post together as the result of an exchange with Chris in which I asked him whether a raised arm with slanted rifle was now a characteristic motif across many or all Shi’a jihadist movements, to which he responded:

    Those groups influenced by Hizbullah &, by extension, Iranian Gov’t, seem to favor it, likely b/c it’s used by the Pasdaran.

    I then asked whether he’d say Hizbollah got the motif from the Pasdaran or vice versa, to which he replied:

    The former.

    I stumbled across the DoubleQuote image and accompanying Lebanese Expatriate post myself, searching for the best image of a Pasdaran flag or logo while following up on Chris’ pointer to the Pasdaran — and that gave me yet another use of DoubleQuotes in the wild!

    Hat-tip, #FF and thanks, Chris!


    Quiet note to self: compare the arm, fist and rifle motif here with the name of the Covenant, Sword, and Arm of the Lord group in 1970s Arkansas. Most interesting, the way we display value systems in titles and images…

    From the Comments section: jihadist use of DoubleQuotes

    Thursday, July 25th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — comments on two posts by Chris Anzalone aka Ibn Siqilli ]

    I’m bringing across two comments of mine from DoubleQuotes in the wild and making a separate post out of them — to give them more exposure, to emphasize the importance / interest of the two posts by Chris Anzalone that they are based on — and to be able to reference them in a post I’m currently working on. Both graphics are drawn from Chris Anzalone‘s Visual References post from last month, which gives essential visual support to his article, Zaynab’s Guardians: The Emergence of Shi`a Militias in Syria in the CTC Sentinel, just out.

    Here’s the first, with Chris’ comment below:

    Nasrallah & Bashar with the Qur'an (Poster)
    An Internet poster showing Hizbullah’s secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah (right) and Syrian president Bashar al-Asad. The photograph of Nasrallah was taken after the 2006 Hizbullah-Israel war and has clearly been edited to show light emanating from the book (presumably the Qur’an). The same is true of the posed image of al-Asad. Both are shown by the designer as pious (thus, presumably, deserving of support).

    This pair ties the piety of the politician with the piety of the cleric, making a conceptual bridge between both Lebanon & Syria on the one hand, and politics & religion on the other. Not terribly surprising, but still, cleverly done.


    The use of “doubling” in the double cannibalism images presented below some from a little further into the same Visual References post, but serve a different function, making an association in time rather than one linking two contemporaries… They are designed to suggest that present Sunni brutalities have historical precedent — with tremendous spiritual and emotional resonance. Again, Chris’ own comment contextualizes the images:

    1, Hind & Abu Sakkar the Syrian Rebel Heart-eater
    Internet poster comparing Abu Sakkar, commander of a Syrian rebel group, (right), who committed a politically symbolic act of cannibalism on video with an organ (said to have been the liver or heart) from a slain Syrian government soldier in May 2013, and Hind bint ‘Utba (left), one of the Prophet Muhammad’s most virulent enemies before his conquest of Mecca in 630 C.E. In some Islamic historical sources, she is said to have taken a bite of the liver of the Prophet’s uncle, Hamza bin ‘Abd al-Muttalib, who was also one of his greatest warriors, after the Muslims’ defeat at the Battle of Uhud near the city of Madina. The text at the bottom reads: “Some stick to their habits and traditions!!,” referring to Sunni Muslims. The image of Hind and Hamza is a still from Syrian film director Moustapha Akkad’s famous 1977 film The Message about the beginnings of the prophetic career of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Akkad was one of those killed in a bombings of hotels in ‘Amman, Jordan carried out by Al-Qa’ida in the Land of the Two Rivers/Iraq, then led by Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi.

    Taken together, the two “doublets” linked to above can add rich spoils to our understanding of Shi’a contributions to what Chris calls “the increasing sectarianization of Syria’s civil war”.

    Chechnya: of flags, prayers and swords, wolves, dogs, and hyenas

    Thursday, April 25th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — powered by a 2009 post from Ibn Siqilli ]


    As you know by now, I am fascinated by the oblique-angled windows on current affairs offered us by mythology, folklore, iconography… and for the record, I’ll specifically include flags under iconography.

    Thus Amjad Jaimoukha‘s The Chechens: A Handbook (available here for Kindle at $135, a price every scholar can surely afford) caught my eye with the following quote:

    The wolf (borz) is a potent national symbol, and its character traits are considered paragons to be emulated. Chechen men would be proud to be compared to wolves. ‘He was nursed by the She-Wolf,’ is a compliment implying adroitness and courage. Legend has it that it was the wolf that redeemed the world by standing heroically in face of the fury unleashed on doomsday. According to the Chechen ethos, the wolf is the only animal that would enter into an unequal match, making up for any disadvantage by its agility, wit, courage and tenacity. If it loses the battle, it lies down facing the foe in full acceptance of its fate — Chechen poise equivalent to the famed British ‘stiff upper lip’. This wolfish analogy is a depiction of how the Chechens have dealt with outside invaders for millennia.

    According to mythology, god had created sheep for the wolf to enjoy, but man tricked it out of its ‘patrimony’, so it had to resort to ruse and robbery to reclaim its right.

    That’s Chechen wolf-imagery in the upper flag, above.


    Three things to note in those two paragraphs from Jaimoukha:

    What calling a Chechen a “lone wolf” does to self-esteem:

    Chechen men would be proud to be compared to wolves.

    the deft touch of apocalypse:

    Legend has it that it was the wolf that redeemed the world by standing heroically in face of the fury unleashed on doomsday.

    and asymmetric warfare:

    According to the Chechen ethos, the wolf is the only animal that would enter into an unequal match, making up for any disadvantage by its agility, wit, courage and tenacity.


    As to prayers, the use of the takbir, “Allahu Akbar” above the swords in the lower flag is part of the muezzin’s call to prayer, and recited during the prayers themselves.


    It was Ibn Siqilli‘s post, Portraits of Resistance & Jihad in Chechnya & the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus with its three flags at the head of the post that set me off on this pilgrimage — and I’d also like to pay tribute to the sincerity of belief which gives rise to such a photo as this one, also taken from that post:

    We’re back at prayer again…


    On the topic of lone wolves — as I hope the quote above illustrates, word choices can have unintended impacts! Of note, Brian Michael Jenkins in Stray Dogs and Virtual Armies: Radicalization and Recruitment to Jihadist Terrorism in the United States Since 9/11 makes a distinction between stray dogs and lone wolves:

    Analysts have tended to call such individuals “lone wolves,” in my view, a romanticizing term that suggests a cunning and deadly predator. A few of those recorded here display this kind of lethal determination, but others, while still dangerous, skulk about, sniffing at violence, vocally aggressive but skittish without backup. “Stray dogs,” not lone wolves, more accurately describes their behavior.

    JM Berger talks about lone wolves in The Utility of Lone Wolves, or lack thereof:

    If there were any doubts that lone wolves can be deadly, they were dispelled by Anders Breivik, the Norwegian anti-Muslim crusader who in July killed 69 young people in a coordinated attack using guns and a car bomb.

    and again in The Boy Who Cried Lone Wolf:

    Does it matter that some (but not all) of the terrorist network members described above were actually undercover law enforcement agents or informants? It doesn’t change the fact that none of these individuals was working alone. They were receiving advice, concrete assistance, and passive reinforcement from people they believed — rightly or wrongly — to be part of larger terrorist organizations.

    None of this means that these guys aren’t dangerous, and none of this is to argue that they shouldn’t have been arrested. But they are not lone wolves. They are essentially al Qaeda volunteers …

    But I’ll let Tim Furnish have the last word on nomenclature. In a comment here on Zenpundit he told us he’d originally entitled his HNN blog post “The Brothers Tsarnaev: Hyenas in the Service of the Mahdi” — and in the post itself he writes:

    But viewing them from outside, analytically, as lone wolves may give them too much credit; while classifying them as stray dogs neutered of religious ideology gives the Islamic element too little. Perhaps a new paradigm, one of roaming hyenas, best describes the Tsarnaevs — characterized by anomie (fitting into neither domestic nor foreign contexts), the ability to feign surrender when necessary, and a propensity for attacking only the defenseless.


    And oh, by way of cosmic irrelevance, my googling brought me here:

    It’s a web-wild-world we live in!

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