May Allāh have mercy upon you O Yūsuf al-`Iyairī! You sought martyrdom in Afghanistan and you sought it in Somalia then it came to meet you in the land of the Arabian Peninsula.
When I heard, on Saturday night 30/03/1424 H, the news of the killing of my brother; the mujāhid shaykh Yūsuf Bin Sālih Bin Fahd al-`Iyairī. I could not contain myself and broke into tears due to the sadness of his parting in these critical days when the wave of the savage apostasy rages and sweeps across the Arabian Peninsula seeking to strike, kill and imprison every muslim fighting the Crusaders and defending the muslimīn.
I resolved, at that moment, upon writing the biography of this mujāhid shaykh whom our brothers as well as myself endlessly pressed to write under his actual name in order that his name appears among the people, that he becomes well-known to them, since there would be a far-reaching effect upon them with the emergence of the knowledge of a mujāhid scholar; so that he becomes an example for them in that.
Shaykh Yūsuf al-`Iyarī used to strongly reject that and say that he was not in need of that for reasons of security connected to the mujāhidīn.
Shaykh Yūsuf al-`Iyairī completed primary and intermediate studies, however, I am not sure whether he completed secondary studies or not.
After that, he went out to Afghanistan as a steadfast youth not exceeding 18 years of age. Since that time, his heart has been infused with jihād and it is there that he gained mastery over his wings.
He, may Allāh have mercy upon him, was endowed with a judicious mind and a preponderant thought as well as a strong capacity for memorisation, qualifying him as a trainer in al-Fārūq Military Camp in the days of the first afghan jihād against the Soviets.
He spent a number of years as a trainer, distinguishing himself in both determination and earnestness. He, may Allāh be merciful to him, set up a course in al-Fārūq Military Camp concerning which he told the brothers, “I have (designed) a course whom none but those of firm resolve can undertake and see through till the end.” He said to the brothers, “I shall start it with the heavy weapons and complete it with the light weapons.” I think he started with tanks and completed it 4 months later with pistols. (And as he correctly stated earlier) none but a small number of youth were able to persevere with him till the end.
The brothers have mentioned amazing things regarding his ability to commit to memory the weapons along with the fine details relating to them. Equivalent (in amazement) was his patience in adversities and difficulties during the encounters in the battlefields which Allāh honoured him with dusting his feet therein.
When the conflicts between the Afghan groups and parties emerged, shaykh Yūsuf al-`Iyairī used to be shaykh Usāmah Bin Lādin’s (may Allāh preserve him) personal body guard. When shaykh Usāmah made up his mind upon leaving for Sudan, a plane slipped him away; this included a few important personalities from al-Qā`idah as well as the company of shaykh Yūsuf, may Allāh be merciful to him. He stayed there 4 months throughout which he acted as the personal body guard of shaykh Usāmah, may Allāh preserve him.
During this period, shaykh Usāmah discovered what shaykh Yūsuf possessed of abilities and ingenuity of thought, so he used to acquaint him with some of his issues. Indeed, I remember shaykh Yūsuf while narrating to me accounts of shaykh Usāmah in Sudan and his life there and the many charitable donations a man would be dazzled by at the hearing of. I used to listen to him and see in his eyes a longing for shaykh Usāmah and those days past.
I recall shaykh Yūsuf informing me of the genius of Abū Hafs al-Misrī, may Allāh be merciful to him, and the military operations that he used to discuss there, whether in regards to Somalia or his plans for farnaq (southern Christians) to strike them according to the military plans of shaykh Usāmah and Abū Hafs.
Shaykh Yūsuf participated in the battles that raged in Somalia against the American forces, and he had a part in the honour of its expulsion and its defeat at a time when the youth of the ummah were oblivious to the state and affairs of their ummah.
Shaykh Yūsuf al-`Iyairī returned after that to the Arabian Peninsula and met the well-known scholars of that time, in particular, he met shaykh Salmān al-`Awdah and mentioned to him what the shaykh had of works and projects. Shaykh Salmān said to shaykh Yūsuf, “I would be honoured to be one of the soldiers of Abū `Abd Allāh (Usāmah Bin Lādin).” By Allāh, this is how I heard it twice from shaykh Yūsuf in two occasions separated by a year and a half.
When the events of Bosnia occurred, shaykh Yūsuf had a prominent presence among the brothers in Dammām, and also during the Kosovo (war) where he was involved in arranging contributions for them and benefiting them with whatever he can. The shaykh put in place a program of two week duration for anyone wishing to go to Bosnia (going through) physical endurance and beside it from the things one needs before arriving in the land of Bosnia.
Then came the events of Khubar and the explosions that took place. So shaykh Yūsuf was arrested and tortured severely in the prison of the National Inspection in Dammām. It was alleged that he was one of the people that carried it out. The brothers who were with him said about him, “We used to see him being carried out on a stretcher after each brutal torture he was exposed to, where he was violently lashed with a whip and cane, and his pure beard was torn out and beside that from the types of torture until it coerced shaykh Yūsuf to confess, in front of the dogs of Āl Salūl’s Inspection, that he was the one who carried out the explosions.
Shaykh Yūsuf, may Allāh be merciful to him, said to me, “After spending days going through interviews and severe torture in prison, I requested from the officer that I meet the Director of the prison as I wished to make a statement containing important confessions. Indeed, he granted my request, so I was called from my cell and they took me to a room where i sat upon a luxurious sofa, after which they transferred me to the Director’s splendid office where he was surrounded by officers, each with pen and notepad at hand, wishing to write what I say to them of confessions. So when they sat me down – I was fettered in chains at the time – the Director of the prison said to me, “What have you? Go ahead, present your confessions.”
The shaykh said, “I said to them coldly, ‘I am aware of the difficult situation you are going through due to your lack of information concerning those who carried out the explosions, I however will be willing to undertake an admission of being behind the explosions, and I am willing to surrender my neck as a cost of that (admission).”
When I asked the shaykh for the reason behind that, he said, “By Allāh, we were no longer able to bear the torture, we were almost tested in our dīn, so death would have been more merciful to us than this torture.”
Shaykh Yūsuf said, “I had not yet finished my statement when the Director of the prison threw the glass cigarette holder at my face and said, ‘take him out and punish him!!’”
The sequence of torture continued, which our shaykh, may Allāh be merciful to him, did not describe to me, until Allāh permitted the actual perpetrator of the explosions to be discovered – according to the Inspector – Shaykh Yūsuf said to me, “I was taken once to an officer, who said to me secretly, ‘I give you good news; we know the actual perpetrator, and he is not from you lot. Rather, he is from the Rāfidhah, but don’t tell anyone! Then they returned me to my cell.”
From that day, the torture of the Jihād youth ceased regarding the affair of the explosions. The officers were gathered around the Director of the prison who said to them, “Dress each one who was previously alleged to have a part in the explosions with any other allegation so that he maybe judged upon it! And indeed, they did dress each one of the brothers with the allegation of takfīr or what is similar to that. Following that, they were judged by the judgement of the Salūlī Laws.”
After that, the shaykh remained in prison for a period of time, a part of which he spent with the Rāfidhah among whom were āyah (Rāfidhi cleric) or Sayd (a claimant to being a descendent of the Prophets family). Shaykh Yūsuf used to discuss and debate with them until their Āyah warned the rest of the Rāfidhah about him and from sitting with him. Shaykh Yūsuf said, “I used to feign sleep, and so their Āyah begins to speak and deliver his lessons to them, so I would listen to him until I come across a suitable opportunity in which case I would rise and refute him.” They were seriously annoyed by him as he was someone possessing strong proof and eloquence.
Then after that, shaykh Yūsuf was transferred to a general prison with Ahl as-Sunnah. After spending some time in this state, the shaykh undertook a hunger strike with the aim of attaining a solitary cell so that he may make greater use of his time and be alone with his Lord. His request was complied with and he remained in the solitary cell for a year and a half or more after which he was released.
Shaykh Yūsuf said to me to the letter, after I asked him about solitary confinement and whether he was afflicted by boredom, “By Allāh, I never used to find any time to the extent that I did not wash except after entering a state of janābah, and I did not sleep except for a short time and I used to race time.”
His time in the solitary cell was spent in memorising and reading the books of knowledge, so he memorised the Qur’ān and became meticulous in it. He also memorised the Sahīhān, and he devoted himself to the books of the people of knowledge. One day, a prison guard said to him, “By Allāh, I feel pity for you in your state and what you are going through!” So shaykh Yūsuf responded to him saying, “By Allāh, It is I who feels pity for you in your state, and so that you may know, if it was said to me that there will be 28 hours in the day then that would suit me as I am in need of more time O poor soul!”
The guard was perplexed by the state of the shaykh regarding his reading and studying as he did not go out to catch some sunlight or anything like that except for what was absolutely necessary out of concern for (attaining) the greatest benefit out of his time. He, may Allāh be merciful to him, used to tell me, “By Allāh, I used to live imān-filled moments and tasted in prison what Allāh alone knows. When the guard came to me delivering the news of my release from prison I yelled at him with no emotions, ‘Allāh is not giving you a glad tiding of something good!!’ that was not done out of my accord, but instead due to the extent of the blessing I found in prison and the great benefit in seeking knowledge which I gained there.”
When shaykh Yūsuf came out of prison, he continued his close relation with the jihād and the mujāhidīn, in particular, the shaykh of the mujāhidīn, Usāmah Bin Lādin, may Allāh preserve him.
And then came the affair of Chechnya and shortly before that, the events of Dagestan, so Shaykh Yūsuf made a true stance alongside them. He used to write Shar’ī lessons for ‘the voice of Qūqāz’ where he wrote for them; ‘Guiding The Perplexed on The Ruling of The Prisoners’ and ‘Martyrdom Operations: Suicide or Martyrdom?’ as well as writings on politics, the last of which was the subject, ‘The Moscow theatre Operation And What The Mujāhidīn Have Benefited From It.’
Shaykh Yūsuf also used to have contact with Commander Khattāb and correspondence regarding military issues where the shaykh offered his amazing experience-based military knowledge which did not fail to mesmerise anyone who sat and discussed with him or read it up, From this was that he sent a letter to commander Khattāb following the end of the conventional warf and the commencement of the guerilla war in which the state of the mujāhidīn became unrelenting, so shaykh Yūsuf wrote to commander Khattāb a contingent plan; listing 18 eventualities of the war, and what they should do in each eventuality. Commander Khattāb benefited much from it and thanked him for it.
Shaykh Yūsuf took part in collecting contributions for the mujāhidīn in Chechnya gathering enormous funds. There occurred between him and some scholars unfortunate scenes where they completely forsook him. He mentioned from it an incident he had with shaykh Salmān al-`Awdah. Commander Khattāb said to the brothers when he was in Dagestan, ‘get us 1 million dollars and we will stay for the winter and defy Russia.’ So shaykh Yūsuf went to one of the wealthy people and so he agreed to give a sum of 8 million Saudi Riyāls but only on condition that shaykh Salmān consents to it in writing or gets in touch with him regarding it. So shaykh Yūsuf went to Salmān al-`Awdah, but to no avail as the shaykh took his time then said to him what amounts to him not being at all convinced with the affair of Chechnya.
And so, shaykh Yūsuf continued his jihādi march with sacrifices and tireless works whom none but a few men are able to bear.
The connection of the shaykh with the Chechen affair continued, except that it diminished relative to the affair of Afghanistan and the Tālibān State, where he spent the bulk of his time studying the state of this movement and its ways.
Then came the blessed days in which the statues of Buddha in Afghanistan were destroyed. Shaykh Yūsuf busied himself with projects to provide food during the days of ramadhān and distribute sacrificed animals to those in Afghanistan. Then he contacted the Commander of the Believers and the Tālibān Ministers and attempted to establish a connection between them and shaykh Hamūd al-`Uqlā, may Allāh be merciful to him. On the Hajj of the year 1421 H, shaykh Yūsuf met with a few of the ministers of the Tālibān who came to perform the Hajj. He arranged with them a telephone connection between the Commander of the Believers and shaykh Hamūd al-`Uqlā, may Allāh bestow mercy upon him, and that took place in the Ayām at-Tashrīq (the three days following 10th of Dhul Hijja) at 9 in the evening.
Shaykh Yūsuf said to me, “We went out of Makkah and were running out of time. We had no option other than to continue on our course as shaykh Hamūd was in al-Qasīm .” He said, “We were exhausted, so I decided with my companion that he takes charge while I rest and sleep, after which I shall take charge while he rests.” He said, “So we travelled by night and I succumbed to my eyes and did not wake up except upon the overturning of the car as a result of an impact with a stray camel, and so we were denied the meeting.”
A strange story took place with the shaykh and the Inspector during that time, however, he with the success from Allāh, went out before september 11th by nearly a month for a matter willed by Allāh.
When the shaykh came out of prison, he exerted great effort in writing about jihād: establishing its issues, defending it and disproving the misconceptions of the deserters and the hypocrites. He used to participate in some of the Paltalk rooms under the username ‘Azzam’.
The shaykh, may Allāh be merciful to him, used to be preoccupied with mobilizing the youth and inciting them to go to Afghanistan to participate in the military training camp there. He produced 4 audio tapes urging upon jihād and preparation, among which is a tape dealing with fiqh recorded in his own voice, may Allāh preserve him.
Then occurred the great event in the history of Afghanistan; the assassination of the wicked Ahmed Shāh Mas’ūd. The happiness of the shaykh was indescribable. I remember going past him at that time saying to him, ‘what’s the news?’ So he said to me, ‘Shaykh Usāmah said to the brothers, ‘Who may rid me of Ahmed Mas’ūd for he has wronged Allāh and His Messenger?’ so some of the brothers presented themselves readily in order to assassinate him, considering their reward and recompense with Allāh, The Generous, and there took place what you have heard of the pleasing news.”
Then after that, there took place the blessed events in America – the bastion of heresy – The shaykh could have taken to flight out of joy. I got in touch with the shaykh and he said that he was in a meeting with the scholars of al-Qasīm where there took place what took place of the opposition by some of the scholars to the operations that occurred in America. He related to me what took place in the debates and meetings with them; there was a positive effect in their support of the jihād and the mujāhidīn.
After that, the shaykh started writing his most valuable book, ‘The Reality of The Crusader War’ in which he lays the foundation for martyrdom operations and refutes all of the misconceptions that have stirred up around it and, in it, he urges the ummah to awake from the slumber it is living in. It is a priceless book in its field which the shaykh wrote during a period of 9 to 10 days. So much so, that when it reached shaykh Usāmah, he said to his brothers, “It appears that the book was authored before the operation, since it is not possible for it to be written this quickly.”
And Allāh be my witness, that shaykh Yūsuf did not author it except after the incident, devoting himself entirely to it until he came out with this principled, fiqhi study which no one has been able to refute.
And so, the book of shaykh Yūsuf had a tremendous effect in increasing the multitute of scholars supporting the operations of September 11th since in it is firmly laid a scholarly foundation in a composed manner as well as a collection of proofs from the Book and the Sunnah.
When shaykh Yūsuf completed this book he started on his final amendments to his book, ‘The Scales of the Taliban Movement’ he then completed that and published it.
And so did his writing emerge as an overflowing radiant flood, advancing wave after wave with the light of the Book and the Sunnah, from it were: ‘The Role of The Women in Fighting The Enemies’ which was published unofficially as a book titled, ‘`Abd Allāh az-Zaid’: ‘Constants on The Path of Jihād’, where he wrote it as one book composed of various parts, and beside that from participations which were spread in Markaz ad-Dirāsāt and the general forums on the internet.
From the matters that pained shaykh Yūsuf was the desertion of the scholars. I remember speaking to him about the desertion of the scholars from jihād, he spoke to me in a touching manner then he cried, and due to this, he produced numerous essays and refutations, the principle aim of which was to defend the honour of our mujāhidīn brothers in the front line.
He also contributed writings for ‘The Series On The Crusader War Against Iraq’, which was put on ad-Dirāsāt website in which he had by far the greatest contribution representing almost 80% of the entire series.
Allāh had endowed him with the manners of eloquence, and unshakable steadfastness which led him to continue with his books on sharī’ah and political analysis, may Allāh grant him an expansive mercy.
Shaykh Yūsuf was known to many of the scholars by these qualities, as they used to acknowledge him with merit and precedence in that. Shaykh Yūsuf used to be steadfast and patient in calamities and adversity. how many losses had he suffered of loved ones and friends in the land of jihād be it from martyrdom, injury or capture, however, he would be satisfied with the decree of Allāh in all that, submitting himself to what his Lord decreed for him.
Shaykh Yūsuf, may Allāh grant him mercy, had a soft heart, was sensitive and quick to tears, especially if mention is made of the mujāhidīd and their sacrifices in the path of Allāh. I can not forget the day he spoke of Abū Hājir al-`Irāqī who is imprisoned by America (In Guantanemo Bay), he mentioned his life story and his sacrifices then he broke into tears. And he used to cry and enter a religious state of humility when he would give a reminder, especially when it related to Allāh, the Last Abode, jihād and the martyrs in the path of Allāh.
Likewise, he used to stress on the connection between jihād and its sentiments with the sound creed and knowledge of sharī’ah. He used to say, “We are obliged to show the people that jihād is not but a realisation of tawhīd and implementation of the requirements of ‘Lā Ilāh Illa Allāh’ and that Mohammad is the Messenger of Allāh, and tie the people to this matter in order that they may know the importance of jihād on one hand, and that they become firmly grounded in it on the other.”
He used to mention to me, with regards to this, the saying of `Abd Allāh `Azzām, may Allāh bestow mercy upon him, “the image you come with to the jihād will be replaced with another image.” What he meant was that some people leave for jihād effected only sentimentally as a result of pictures they had seen of a muslim being tortured or muslim woman being violated. This is a well-disposed sentiment, but what is superior is for the origin of the departure of the mujāhid to the lands of jihād to be from: a deep conviction regarding the obligation of this path which reaches and attaches itself to the creed of tawhīd; and bear the preoccupation with it (i.e. Tawhīd) so that it is spread among the people and a state is establish through which tawhīd is implemented.
Gathered in front of the shaykh was the dunya in its entirety, he however divorced it three times and chose to revive the life of dignity until he achieves its most desired goal. His farther was a merchant for whom Allāh granted success, Yūsuf however was unlike his farther with regards to this world. He found in his farther assistance and contentedness with what he was upon of work and jihād. Not to mention his mother who often would assist him and increase him in steadfastness. Rather, she would even advise him to not give himself up. And her achievement is due to Allāh, what a generous mother, bearing a courageous hero, not afraid of death.
Shaykh Yūsuf used to be extremely humble so much so that he did not consider anything of himself leaving you the impression, while sitting with him, that he considers you to be more knowledge than him. He refused to be first to speak especially in the presence of a scholar or a student of knowledge. He was a sign in humility; he would neither simulate it nor force it out of him. Rather, it was a natural disposition, a characteristic and a favour of Allāh upon him.
He, may Allāh grant him mercy, was an encyclopedia in every topic. If he spoke regarding the sciences of sharī`ah, one would think him a scholar of Islamic Law, and if he spoke regarding politics one would think him a skilled politician. Alongside all that, he paid much attention to the computer and programming, added to that was familiarity with military sciences; fimiliarity sufficient for a smart military commander. Further to this is his familiarity with topography, technology and electronics.
Allāh conferred upon him acceptance by the people. No one would meet him except that they become drawn to him. I am not aware of anyone who held anything against him or criticized his manners or character. Rather he was accepted by the people as he possessed beautiful character and clearness of conscience. We consider him as such and do not praise anyone above Allāh.
He, may Allāh bestow him with mercy, used to call the youth and the mujāhidīn to abandoning opulence and comfort, and call them to lead an ascetic and rugged life in order to condition the self upon patience and prepare it to bear the difficulties found in the lands of jihād. He would spend days not eating but a little amount of food, despite it being in times of ease. This he did wishing to habituate himself upon hardship.
He used to be open-handed in his generosity, never regarding what he gives and offers the brothers as too much. In spite of that, he was trustworthy and guarded well the wealth of the mujāhidīd which reached him, in which case he would deliver it to those who are deserving of it and to those who it was intended for.
Āl Salūl pursued him due to a request from America. They asked him to give himself up for over a year. But he refused to give himself up to them or to please the dunya with his dīn, and praise be to Allāh in him doing that, for how much had he presented to the dīn and the ummah of splendid works throughout that year which he would not have been able to produce in 5 years.
I do not mention this as an exaggeration, no by Allāh, but from sure knowledge and in relating what I saw. Rather (only) a portion of what I saw. Long hours used to pass by him with neither rest nor sleep. Rather, days may pass by without him sleeping. And when he did sleep, it was not according to a daily schedule, except for a negligible amount sufficing what he required to straighten his back, may Allāh be merciful to him.
He lived throughout this year as a hunted fugitive, watching his enemy day and night, his weapon never leaving his side, always taking his precautions. He used to say to me, “O brother! We are not more noble then the companions of Allāh’s Messenger, those who lived in madīnah in fear and anxiety until they expelled the Jews from it.” And he related to me a saying belonging to one of the companions, “There is nothing in us O Messenger of Allāh’ except fear while the sword of each of us rests upon our shoulders” And so, he would find comfort in (recalling) the state of the companions, may Allāh be pleased with them.
Shaykh Yūsuf, may Allāh grant him mercy, would seldom see his family – i.e his farther and mother – until the last period when the search for him become more intense where he was cut off completely from them. Rather, he was cut off from his three young daughters – the oldest of whom is Maryam – in the last remaining days. He wrote to them the touching poem which was published in his letter before his martyrdom, may Allāh grant him mercy. He remained being chased through his last days until he was killed as a martyr, may Allāh bestow upon him mercy, after having defended himself with what he could. He chose to die in the path of Allāh rather then be a captive to the tawāghīt of the Arabian Peninsula, may Allāh hasten their punishment and departure. His example was that of the magnificent companion who, when his turn came, said, “As for me, then i will not go down under custody of a disbeliever” and the tongue of his state saying:
I do not care when I am killed as a muslim ***** Upon which side I find my death on the path of Allāh
All that for the sake of Allāh and if he so wills ***** He will bless my dismembered parts.
Abū Mohammad has departed not known by many of the people. But does this harm him in the least while Allāh knows of him? The monumental effort which he presented in order to support this dīn and which benefited the mujāhidīn will stand witness and attest to him being the best of the men belonging to the ummah today.
And so, a life of a youth and a shaykh from the youth of the ummah came to an end. He contained many virtues from knowledge, propagation, jihād and worship upon the best and most excellent state -Allāh willing – and he actualised what every young man who knows the path of guidance aspires to.
So felicitations to you O Abū Mohammad…By Allāh, anyone who has lived with you will find it difficult to be ignorant of the influence you have had on his life…We have witnessed you working to support the jihād that which is not done by institutional organisations and centralised efforts…You have been a unique example, an unparalleled kind. All your time was devoted to jihād and the mujāhidīn..
May Allāh bestow mercy upon you o Abū Mohammad… May Allāh bestow mercy upon you o Abū Mohammad… May Allāh bestow mercy upon you o Abū Mohammad…
Sawt al-Jihād Magazine
Issue 1 and 2
Sha`bān 1425 H
[*] That would make him 29 years of age the day he returned to his Lord.
Link to arabic source: http://www.tawhed.ws/r?i=1654
Download some of the Shaykhs books in english at tawhed.net