Jihadi Curriculum, Part 1: Ideology

A blogger by the name of Shamil al-Baghdadi has created a curriculum titled “Method for Building the Personality of a Terrorist Mujahid.” The curriculum is divided into three parts: ideology, physical training, and ops. I’m only interested in the ideological bit, but those who are interested in the rest can easily find it on Shamil’s blog.

Shamil begins by explaining how to find a good recruit. First, you need to study the potential recruit before speaking freely with him. Make sure he is serious before approaching him or allowing him to approach you, even if he already knows about the aims and beliefs of the global Jihadi community.

Training is divided into three parts: Sharia, physical, and technical. Begin with the Sharia training.

The first thing to do is make sure your recruit has a good command of classical Arabic, not just colloquial Arabic. He should study one of the commentaries on the Ajurrumiyya (one of the classical Arabic primers), like al-Rawda al-Nadiyya. If he excels, he can read Ansari’s Sharh qatr al-nada.

The recruit should also learn to recite the Qur’an, memorizing and studying a section every day, and reading the relevant portions of the Tafsir (Exegesis) of Ibn Kathir, the Safwat al-Tafasir, or the tafsir by Sa’di (probably `Abd al-Rahman’s Taysir).

The recruit then begins to read the following list of books, in this order:

  • Millat Ibrahim by Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi
  • An elementary book on jurisprudence, like al-Wajiz fi fiqh al-sunna wa’l-kitab al-`aziz (by Khalafi)
  • Sharh al-`Aqida al-Wasitiyya by Muhammad Harras. Those who want more, should read Ibn `Uthaymin’s commentary on it.
  • Fath al-majid sharh kitab al-tawhid (by `Abd al-Rahman Al al-Shaykh)
  • Al-`Umda fi i`dad al-`udda by `Abd al-Qadir b. `Abd al-`Aziz (aka Dr. Fadl or Sayyid Imam)
  • Al-Haqa’iq fi’l-tawhid by Khudayr al-Khudayr
  • Sharh al-waraqat by Ibn `Uthaymin on the principles of jurisprudence
  • A book on the science of hadith, like al-Shumunni’s al-`Ali al-rutba fi sharh nazm al-nukhba
  • Tahdhib mashari` al-ashwaq wa masari` al-`ushshaq by Ibn al-Nahhas. Focus on the section about acceptable and unacceptable intentions.
  • Maqalat bayn manhajayn by Abu Qatada and his al-Jarh wa’l-ta`dil. These two books are necessary for mastering the issue of speaking among religious scholars and other active groups.
  • Al-Dimuqratiyya din by Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi
  • Mawani` al-takfir by Abu Basir al-Tartusi

Once this first study section is completed, it is time to move on to audio recordings. These are extremely important for reinforcing what has been studied:

  • Dawrat al-iman by Abu Qatada (37 tapes)
  • Dawrat al-firaq by Abu Qatada (21 parts, 16 hours)
  • Lectures by Hafiz b. `Ajab al-Dawsari
  • The series “Al-Muji’a yahud al-qabla” by al-Fazazi
  • The lecture “Al-Dimuqratiyya…dhalika al-sanam” by al-Fazazi

The student should listen to whatever he can of Abu Qatada and al-Fazazi. (Note: Audio recordings of these two men were big with Muhammad `Atta.)

After completing this stage of study, the student should begin reading books on strategy. These books revolve around three axes:

  • The axis of past jihadi experiences
  • The axis of contemporary jihadi experiences
  • The axis of anticipating future jihadi experiences

For the first axis, the student should read the relevant sections of Abu Mus`ab al-Suri’s Call. For those who want more, they can read his Jihadi Experience in Syria and Musharraf’s Pakistan. They can also read Yusuf al-`Ayiri’s Taliban in the Balance.

For the second axis, the student should read Bin Laden’s Methodological Directives (Tawjihat manhajiyya), Zawahiri’s Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet (Fursan taht rayat al-rasul), and `Ayiri’s Series of Crusader Wars (Silsilat al-hurub al-salibiyya).

For the third axis, the student should read Abu Bakr Naji’s Management of Savagery (Idarat al-tawahhush).

That’s the end of the ideological portion of Shamil’s curriculum. Many of the books on the list have been translated (you can find my translation of Naji’s book here). Although Shamil is an unknown right now, his curriculum has been getting a lot of attention on Ekhlaas (I haven’t checked its circulation on the other forums yet). Moreover, his list of author’s dovetails well with the findings of a project I directed for West Point, so it reflects a common Jihadi pedagogy.

Document (Arabic): 5-25-2008-method-of-building-a-terrorist-mujahid-personality-part-1

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6 Responses

  1. Zoleka, Shamil’s curriculum is divided into three parts: religious [lit. “sharia”], bodily, and technical preparation. The religious portion I have labeled “ideology.”

  2. Hello,
    Is it possible that you write the english titles of the books which are good for the beginning of recruiting? I know Maqdisis books, I know some books of Aziz and I have a translation of Harras, but first I don`t know if that`s the right one and second I don`t know the rest of the books.

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