A Note on Usama Bin Ladin’s 1998 Declaration of War: al-Kisa’i vs. al-Kasani

[Editor’s note: I am very pleased to introduce a new guest contributor, Sayeed Rahman, a Yale PhD and a fellow with the Truman National Security Project.] A number of translations analyze and annotate Usama Bin Ladin’s 1998 statement declaring war against the United States and her allies (see here, here, here, here and here). The original Arabic source for this declaration is the February 23, 1998 edition of the London based newspaper al-Quds al-`Arabi.  After citing Qur’anic verses and hadith to support the legitimacy of his call to arms, Bin Ladin and the other signatories cite four well-known post-formative Sunni Muslim jurists to bolster their claim that jihad is an individual duty (fard al-`ayn) when Muslim countries are attacked.  Among the scholars cited is an individual named “al-Kisa’i” and his work al-Bada’i`.  The identification of this al-Kisa’i has eluded American translators.  For reasons I discuss below, I believe this individual to be the Hanafi

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