As the majority of the world has voiced shock, outrage and horror with the passing days, one question has become louder and louder while remaining unanswered like a festering open wound: “How? How is this happening? How could this have happened?”
The phrase “surprise attack” has often been used to describe the initial war crimes waged on Israel in the early hours of that Saturday.
Surely no one anticipated the bloodshed that would be unleashed upon a group of young Israeli 20-somethings who had just spent the night laughing and dancing under the desert night sky of Southern Israel at an outdoor party.
Surely no one anticipated the thousands of rockets the Muslim terror group Hamas would use to pummel sleepy Israelis just waking up that Shabbat morning.
Surely no one anticipated the attacks launched by Lebanese based Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah the very next day after Hamas initiated their strikes.
Surely no one anticipated the attacks launched from Syria the very next day after Hezbollah initiated their strikes.
Surely no one anticipated the sort of violence that many have categorized as so horrific that only animals would be capable of carrying it out.
Surely no one anticipated it…
TEHRAN, IRAN - OCTOBER 3, 2023 (4 days prior to “surprise attack”)
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khamenei, gave a speech at the International Islamic Unity Conference that took place on the birth anniversaries of Prophet Muhammad and Imam Sadiq.
After praising Mohammad, the speech shifted to three main issues:
1. Jihad is the only way to repay the debt owed to the prophet Mohammed for the gift of life he bestowed upon the Muslim people.
2. Nations of Islam must unite immediately in order to defeat the United States and Zionist countries including Israel. This can be done only through jihad. The nations included in this call to action were Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Persian Gulf countries en masse.
3. Palestine is highlighted as the first and foremost place for the global jihad to begin.
In this speech, the word JIHAD is used 18 times.
The word QURAN is also used 18 times.
Most people are familiar with the term jihad but, if asked to provide a full definition, would be hard pressed for anything further than “holy war”.
Even that definition is an abstract idea to anyone who is not in the military or a practicing Muslim.
When attempting to process the onslaught of hellish violence that has occurred in the last 4 days, it is impossible to answer the question “How could this be happening?” without fully understanding the gravity of the speech given in Tehran 4 days prior to the start of the animalistic brutalization of the people of Israel.
Moreover, it is impossible to understand the gravity of the speech without fully understanding the language it uses; namely, the true definition of jihad within the parameters set forth in the holy book of the Islamic religion - the Quran.
Jihad is at the center of Islam and is laid out directly within the pages of the Quran.
It is only after one understands the nature of Islam and jihad that one can even begin to process the violence that we are seeing now.
Whether one studies the life of Mohhammad, or the early Muslim community, or the Quran, or the Hadith, or classical Muslim commentaries or modern Muslim scholarship, or the spread of Islam in the world today, the exact same pattern emerges through 14 centuries of Islamic brutality to present time.
It is only after the understanding of this pattern that the grave implications of the October 3rd speech become clear not just for Israel and her civilians, but for the civilians of the United States.
In the speech, the United States is mentioned more than any other country.
Jihad is laid out within the pages of the Quran in a way that a football coach might map out the strategy for the big game.
It is detailed, it is goal oriented, it utilizes both defensive and offensive strategy and it is divided into stages of progression, 3 to be exact.
Each stage corresponds to the status of Muslims in a society.
Stage One: Stealth Jihad
When Muslims are the minority in a land, when they are outnumbered and cannot possibly win a physical confrontation with unbelievers (non-Muslims), they are commanded to promote peace with non-Muslims and to preach a message of tolerance. They are directed to blend in and act friendly. They may criticize non-Muslims but they should do so peacefully. A characteristic chapter from this period is Surrah 109. This stage of jihad is strategically formulated to ensure the safety of Muslims who lack the population and resources in a land which they intend to conquer. Historically this can be tracked to the times when Mohhamad was in Mecca planning to conquer the world but had not yet formed a militarized movement. He preached tolerance in public but spent time recruiting followers promising them power over all non-Arabs (Christians and Jews) if they professed their allegiance to Allah by saying “There is no deity but Allah” (At-Tabari, Volume VI, p 95)
He directed his followers to preach a message of tolerance and coexistence but behind closed doors was forming a group of followers to militarize - or in today’s terms, to radicalize.
Muslims are instructed in this first stage of jihad that they are not allowed to be friends with unbelievers unless they must do so to ensure their safety in a foreign region in the process of fortifying a military presence.
”In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship outwardly but never inwardly.” (Ibn Kathir)
“We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.” (Abu Darda)
Stage 1 Jihad also directs Muslims on the importance of declaring persecution in a land where they are the minority. (At-Tabari, Volume VI, p. 93)
Victim status is integral to enabling partnership with others who show sympathy. These alliances will be utilized in Stages Two and Three of Jihad. This declaration of persecution is meant to invoke division within a society while also giving Islam a privileged status over other religions. Historically speaking, Mohhamad utilized this tactic to manipulate the Christians of Abyssinia as well as the Jews of Medina. Both groups agreed to provide Muslims with protection from persecution that Mohammad himself was strategically provoking through his actions. This would not turn out well for Christians or Jews in years to come as Mohhamad transitioned into Stage 2 and finally Stage 3 of Jihad. Once Mohhamad had formed enough alliances with sympathetic Christians and Jews and was in a position to fight the Meccans, the message of the Quran suddenly changed.
Stage Two: Defensive Jihad
When Muslims have gathered enough followers and resources to defend the community from attacks, persecution or criticism, Muslims are called to engage in defensive jihad: fighting unbelievers who pose a physical or intellectual threat to Islam. This stage is the first time the Quran brings violence into gameplay. Stage 2 Jihad is the origin of terrorism, the primary tactic of jihad, and gives Muslims permission to execute any person who persecutes or attacks Muslims. (Qur’an 2:217) An attack is defined as criticizing Islam, backing out of alliances with Muslims or attempting to take land that Muslims believe to be their territory. To avoid execution, “people of the book” (Jews and Christians) were allowed to pay a jizyah (a tax) to Muslims should they wish to stay in their home during the time Mohammad was taking over lands from Mecca to Medina. Division and chaos are utilized to destabilize the land during Stage Two. Surah 929: Fight those People of the Book who do not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day, and do not take as unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have declared as unlawful, and do not profess the Faith of Truth; (fight them) until they pay jizyah with their own hands while they are subdued.
Stage Three: Offensive Jihad
Once Muslims have formed a majority and chief political power in an area, they are commanded to begin offensive jihad. Once Mecca and Arabia were under Mohhamads’s control the message of the Quran changed yet again. Suddenly, Muslims were not just told to fight against aggressors, they were commanded to fight non-Muslims simply for being non-Muslims. Muslims can and are expected to expel Christians and Jews from lands that they consider important to keep the Muslim community pure. “I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslims” (Sahih Muslim 4366)
Once in control of the government and with a fortified military, the diversity and tolerance of Stage One jihad and the crying of persecution of Stage 2 jihad goes out the window…along with the Jews and Christians.
The direct translation of the fighting directive given to Muslims in Stage 3 jihad is “Slay until you are slain.” (Qur’an 9: I I I)
In Stage 3 Jihad, if Muslims have the military strength to expand their political power and to violently subjugate non-Muslim populations forcing these non-Muslim populations to pay tribute, the Quran commands them to do so. See Surah 929. This stage does not order Muslims to fight oppressors or critics, it orders them to fight and execute those who do not believe in Allah. From the Hadiths: Muhammad said:”I have been ordered to fight the people until they say ‘La ilahah illallah’ (none has the right to be worshiped but Allah),and whoever said ‘La ilaha illallah’, Allah will save his property and his life from me.” Sahih al-Bukhari 6924)
Echoing this sentiment of Stage 3 Jihad is Sahih Muslim 30 - Muhammad said: “I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah.”
Look around the world. If one were to observe the world right now what stages might one categorize different parts of the world?
The following is the full text of the speech given on October 3, 2023, in the Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah, delivered by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khamenei, in a meeting with the participants of the International Islamic Unity Conference, the ambassadors of Islamic countries in Iran, and Iranian officials on the occasion of the birth anniversaries of Prophet Muhammad and Imam Sadiq.
Four days later, on October 7, the Islamic terrorist group Hamas would launch a war on Israel beginning in Southern regions, the very next day October 8, the Islamic Lebanese based terrorist group Hezbollah would activate an initiative in the North of Israel, and on October 10, Syria began attack initiatives on Israel.
The speech, in full, as published by Iranian state run media, coincidentally (or not) on October 7, 2023:
“In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
“All praise is due to God, Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master, Muhammad, and his pure, immaculate, chosen Progeny and whoever follows them correctly until the Day of Judgement.
“I would like to welcome all those who are present here today — our country’s respected officials and all the respected guests who are present. Today is a great celebration. It is a luminous, blessed day. It is the birth anniversary of the Great Prophet (pbuh) and the blessed birth anniversary of Imam Sadiq (pbuh).
“Regarding the Great Prophet, I and others like myself are truly unable to express and comprehend the great personality of that noble person, that is really how it is. I will briefly share only a few words from the voluminous book of the virtues of the Great Prophet. These words are: all humanity is indebted to this shining sun. This is what I want to say.
“All members of humanity, whether they believe in this religion or not, are indebted to the Great Prophet. In the true sense of the word, they belong to his religion. Why? What is this great debt that causes humanity to be indebted to the Prophet? The Great Prophet brought humanity the prescription for the treatment of all of humanity’s major afflictions. This is a fact.
“Almighty God says, ‘This is a Book We have sent down to you that you may bring mankind out from darkness into light’ (Quran 14:1). What is darkness? Darkness is all the things throughout history that have made human beings’ lives dark, bitter, and poisonous. Ignorance is darkness; poverty is darkness; oppression is darkness; discrimination is darkness; drowning in lusts is darkness; moral corruption and social afflictions are all darkness. These are all different kinds of darkness that humankind has suffered from throughout the long history of its life. Not having faith is darkness; not having a purpose is darkness. These are humanities’ serious afflictions.
“The Great Prophet brought humankind the prescription — both a prescription in understanding and a prescription for our actions — for the treatment of these pains. If you wish to get rid of these pains, these are the cures. Islamic laws brought by the Prophet and the teachings of the Quran are the cure for humanity’s pains.
“This is what the Prophet of Islam has given to humankind. That is why the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) says the following about the Prophet: ‘The Prophet was like a roaming physician who had prepared his ointments and heated his instruments’ (Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon 108). This skilled physician had prepared both the ointments — the medicine that is put on a wound to heal it — and the heating instruments. In the past, when a wound didn’t heal with ointment, it was healed by applying heat to it. He has both things, both the ointment and the heating instruments. He has presented these to humanity in the form of the Quran. If you want to live well, this is how you should live.
“In logic of the wise of the world, the right of life is above all other rights that human beings have over each other. When someone wants to emphasize the fact that they are indebted to someone, they will, for example, say, “‘ owe my life to this person.’
“What does the right of life mean? It means, for example, that you were in danger of drowning, and he/she saved you. You were in danger of becoming trapped under the rubble of a house that has collapsed and he/she saved you. In other words, he/she returned this life in the material world to you that was about to be taken away. That is what we mean by the right of life. It is the greatest right. When one looks at the general public and investigates this, one will find that they consider the right of life as the greatest right.
“But How long will this [worldly] life that had been returned to us last? It is limited, incomplete, and vulnerable. A person’s returned life may be taken away from them the very next day due to a stroke, cancer, or various kinds of diseases. Almighty God says, ‘O you who have faith! Respond to Allah and the Messenger when he summons you to that which will give you life”’(Quran 8:24). The Prophet will give you life.
“This ‘life’ is not that ‘life.’ This is the life that ensures your happiness in this world, brings life to your heart, illuminates your soul, makes your life pleasant, and continues on. This life is not limited; it is not vulnerable; it is eternal.
“This life that Islam, religion, and the Prophet give to humanity is thousands of times more important than the life that is given to us if someone pulls us out from under rubble or saves us from drowning. This is why humanity is indebted to the Prophet. This is the right of the Prophet. We are indebted to the Prophet.
“Well, some people, non-Muslims, have not had the opportunity to gain knowledge about the Prophet’s religion. Thus, they have no way of repaying this debt. What Almighty God will do with them is not the subject of our discussion, but they cannot repay their debt. However, those who believe in Islam can repay their debt [to the Prophet]. The way to do this has been shown to them: ‘And wage jihad for the sake of Allah, a jihad which is worthy of Him. He has chosen you and has not placed any hardship for you in the religion, the faith of your father Ibrahim [Prophet Abraham]. He has named you ‘Muslims’’ (Quran 22:78). This’“jihad for the sake of Allah’ is the way to repay our debt, because with jihad we are submitting to God’s command.
“If we want to compensate for what the Great Prophet has done for us, the way to do this is to ‘wage jihad for the sake of Allah, a jihad which is worthy of Him.’ This refers to a complete jihad. The term “jihad” does not just mean using swords, RPGs, and such things. Rather, it refers to jihad in all fields. There is jihad in the scientific field, jihad in the political field, jihad in the field of knowledge, and jihad in the field of ethics, which we are truly in need of. We all need ethics. We all need knowledge. We need to engage in jihad; we can engage in jihad. If we complied with this divine decree that states, ‘Wage jihad for the sake of Allah, a jihad which is worthy of Him,’ that is when we can say that we have repaid our debt to the Great Prophet to the best of our ability. We must wage jihad for the cause of Islam.
“Today, the hostility toward Islam is more apparent than ever. There was hostility in the past, but today it is completely clear. An ignorant example of this hostility, which is seen today, is the desecration of the Holy Quran. You see a foolish, ignorant person doing this in public with the support of a government. What this shows is that the problem is not just what we are seeing out in the open. It is not just about insulting the Holy Quran. Now, in this case, I am not referring to the ignorant person doing this. He condemns himself to the severest punishment, to execution, in order to fulfill the objectives of the elements working behind the scenes. I am not talking about him.
“The discussion is about the elements who are working behind the scenes, those who are the designers of these immense crimes and vile actions. They think they can weaken the Quran with these kinds of acts. They are mistaken! They are ruining themselves. They are revealing their true selves.
“The Quran is a book of wisdom, knowledge, and human development. The one who is hostile toward the Quran is hostile toward knowledge, wisdom, and human development.
“The Quran is against oppression. It encourages people to stand up to oppression, ‘[N]either oppress others, nor be oppressed’ (2:279). The Quran is a call to awaken people. The one who is hostile toward the Quran does not want people to be awakened. He/she opposes the struggle against oppression. They are disgracing themselves [with these actions]. The Quran is becoming more luminous day by day. This luminous book is becoming more and more visible in the world every passing day.
“Of course, the corrupt powers consider the Quran to be a threat to themselves. As I have said, it condemns oppression and it also reprimands oppressed people for succumbing to oppression. This is dangerous for the oppressive powers! The Quran is a danger and a threat to them. Those who now justify these actions under the pretext of freedom of speech and other such repetitive, false fabrications are losing their credibility before the people of the world.
“Is anyone allowed to insult the symbols that represent Zionism in countries where it is permissible to desecrate the Quran? How and with what language [better than this] can it be proven that they are under the domination of the world’s usurping, cruel, criminal, plundering Zionists, whether they’re the ones living in that occupied land or those living in other places? So, these were a few words about the Holy Prophet of Islam.
“The focus of this meeting and this week is on the unity of Muslims and the solidarity of Muslims. Well, there has been a lot spoken about the unity of Muslims. We have spoken about it; others have spoken about it; everyone has spoken about it. I would just like to raise a brief point about this today. Who is the enemy of unity? Let’s focus on this. Who is it that will be harmed by the unity of the Muslims? Let’s think about this. The enemies of the unity of the Muslims are those who will suffer if Islamic countries and Islamic states unite. They will not be able to transgress, plunder, or loot other countries. Problems will arise for them. They are the ones who are the enemies of the unity of Muslims.
“Of course, there are a broad range of Islamic countries, but I will speak about our own, limited region now — West Asia and North Africa. If the countries in this region unite, which international power will no longer be able to show aggression, plunder, or interfere in the internal and external affairs of other countries? Which power is that? It’s the US, of course.
If countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Persian Gulf countries adopt a united policy in their fundamental and general affairs, the aggressive powers will not be able to interfere in their internal affairs or in their foreign policy. They are interfering at this point.
“Today, the US is harming the countries in the region both politically and economically. It is stealing Syria's oil and protecting the cruel, savage, bloodthirsty DAESH in its camps so that it can bring it back out into the field and unleash it when needed to fight others. This is what they are doing. They interfere in the foreign policies of governments in the region, saying you should do this, you shouldn’t do that. They even interfere in the internal policies of some countries. If we all become united and adopt a united policy, the US cannot do these things. It will not dare to get involved in these matters.
“This issue must be thought about. The leaders of countries, politicians, the elites, and experts should think about this issue and weigh the benefits. Certainly, no country in the world wants a foreign power to interfere in its issues, in its politics, or in its policies. This is obvious, but nations reluctantly succumb to them. Why? Because they’re alone. If countries are united, if governments back each other, and if they come together and work together, they can create a barrier and stand against the interference, intrusion, and plundering of powers like the US. This can be done.
“Of course, it is clear and we have said many times before that we do not encourage war or military action and we avoid it as well. But I declare that we must stand together in order to prevent America’s warmongering. They start wars. The wars in the region are almost always caused by foreign agents. The border disputes and such matters cannot lead to these kinds of conflicts that we have seen in this region in the last few years. They [foreign powers] have provoked people. They came, spent money, and persuaded thugs to act against innocent civilians.
“The elites, the politicians, and the heads of countries need to really think about this issue. This is an important issue for all of these countries. It is a vital issue. Not only will a country not lose anything by being united, but it will, in fact, gain something.
“The issue of the Zionist regime is another issue. It is also one of the issues concerning this region. We have already spoken about the US. The Zionist regime is full of spite and anger and not just toward us, although we don't really care. It is clear how they feel about the Islamic Republic, but they feel the same about other countries as well. The Zionist regime is not happy or pleased with the countries around them. No, they hold a grudge against Egypt, they hold a grudge against Syria, and they hold a grudge against Iraq. Why?
“Because their goal was [to take over the lands] from the Nile to the Euphrates. Well, it didn’t happen. At various times and for various reasons, these countries haven’t allowed this to happen. Thus, they [the Zionists] are filled with grudge. They are filled with anger! Of course, the Quran exclaims: ‘Say, ‘die of your rage!’’ (3:119). That’s right. Be angry, and die of your rage. And this will happen. They are dying. With God’s help, this matter of ‘die of your rage’ is happening now as regards the Zionist regime. So the issue of unity has an important effect here as well.
“Today, Palestine is the main issue of the Islamic world. Of course, it has been this way for several decades. This is not just true today. For several decades, the issue of Palestine has been, in the true sense of the word, the main issue of the Islamic world. They [the Zionists] have forced a people out of its own home, usurped it, and occupied it. Thousands of Palestinians have been killed, tortured, imprisoned, and displaced. This is not a small matter. The main issue of the Islamic world is the issue of Palestine.
“The firm view of the Islamic Republic is that the governments that are gambling on normalizing relations with the Zionist regime will suffer losses. Defeat awaits them. They are making a mistake. As the Europeans say, ‘They are betting on a losing horse.’ Today, the situation of the Zionist regime is not a situation that encourages closeness to it. They [other governments] should not make this mistake. The usurper [Zionist] regime is coming to an end.
“Today, the Palestinian movement is more alive than it has ever been during these 70 or 80 years. Today, the Palestinian youth and the Palestinian movement, the anti-occupation, anti-oppression, anti-Zionism movement, is more energetic, more alive, and more prepared than ever, and you can see this. And God willing, this movement will achieve its goals. The honorable Imam [Khomeini], may God be pleased with him, described, the usurper [Zionist] regime as a cancer. This cancer will definitely be eradicated, God willing, at the hands of the Palestinian people and the resistance forces throughout the region.
“I hope that Almighty God will grant the Islamic Ummah dignity, honor, and a high status so that, God willing, it can use its unparalleled natural resources and human talents to the utmost.
"May God’s greetings, mercy, and blessings be upon you.”
And that’s how it ends.
“How could this be happening?”
This is not difficult to figure out when one takes the time to read the teachings that the entire religion of Islam is based upon. Muslims have been using the same playbook for 14 centuries. It’s in all their sources, it is as plain as day. Christians and Jews are and have always been second class citizens in the Muslim world. The atrocities in Israel are undoubtedly animalistic and stomach churning. Re-read the speech that was given 4 days prior. It was a call to global jihad starting with Israel. However, there is one country mentioned in that speech more than Israel, more than Palestine, more than any other country in the world.
Did you notice?
It is the United States.
Was Israel blindsided? Yes.
Is there an answer to “How could this have happened?”
It’s in plain sight just as it has been for the last 14 centuries.
It seems the night of the big game has arrived. Perhaps it’s time to fortify our own playbook instead of watching from the bleachers. And more importantly, we might study theirs. They do not play by the same rules and never have. Let us protect our allies and let us protect our own nation, our own wives, daughters, families.
The speech given 4 days prior to the assault on Israel was not coincidental.
It was a call to jihad.
Rather than asking “How could this happen?” we might instead ask ourselves, “What stage of jihad are our allies being subjected to? And what stage are we facing as a nation?”