Foreign fighter frustrations

Omar Hussain’s (Abu Sa’eed al-Britani) rant about the annoyances of foreign fighter life has gotten some press recently, so I figured some of you might want to read the whole thing. I’ve copied and pasted the text below in case his Tumblr goes down. 

Culture Clash: Understanding The Syrian Race

By Abū Sa’eed Al-Britā (From the video, “Message Of A Mujāhid”)

All praise is due to Allāh who gathered the Arab and the non-Arab here in Shām. All praise is due to Allāh who united our hearts with the bond of faith. All praise is due to Allāh who gives understanding to those He wills.

Here in Shām, the Arabs and the non-Arabs are united in one line, under one banner, defending each other’s life with their own blood. However, with the unification of tribes and cultures, there will be clashes which are inevitable. Clashes which arise due to many reasons. Some are due to the level of knowledge which people possess, and some are due to different upbringings and cultures.

The clashes which are due to the level of knowledge is something which is not new and everyone has experienced this irrespective of country of origin. There are many people who come from the same country but differ in knowledge, so this is a concept known to all.

However, when cultures clash it is somewhat harder to deal with it as you may be telling someone to do something which he has never done before nor knows the reason behind (even though it may seem quite obvious to you).

Arabs as a whole have a unique culture, which differs dramatically from the western lifestyle. If one is unaware of these cultural differences, then it could be quite peculiar, annoying, and at times somewhat stressful to interact and associate with them. Arabs are quite unique in their habits, so it is vital for the western Muhājir to acquaint himself with their cultures to prevent clashes and disputes.

Below I shall list a few of their habits which Arabs are known for:

1) A lack of privacy for other’s space

This is a common habit for Arabs in the Middle East. I remember an incident from when I first came to Shām; I was sitting in ribāt next to another British brother, and as we were talking a Syrian brother came into the room and sat between me and the brother, he then reached for my backpack and opened it. The brother didn’t ask my permission but apparently that was not needed as it’s the habit of Arabs to go through other people’s property without their permission. As I sat there, he took out all my clothes and other gear from my backpack and examined each item before placing it on the floor.

As he was doing this, I was speaking to the other British brother asking him what was going on, and he told me that this was the norm here in Syria.  Initially, I thought this was just a one off incident, but as time went on I realised this was a habit of our Arab brothers.

On another occasion an Indonesian brother was working on his laptop and was using it to speak to his family (or friends) back in Indonesia. After some time he went to go eat so he left his laptop open not expecting anything to happen, as no one really goes through other people’s property without permission, right? Wrong! As he was in the other room eating, an Arab brother went through his laptop and deleted all his conversations the brother was having with his family on his Messenger service. He also deleted his web server and was browsing the net without hesitation. When the Indonesian brother returned and realised what happened, he got upset and thereafter put a password on his laptop.

Another common trait is that they see no issue in unplugging your mobile phone to charge their own phone. Even if it’s your own charger, they would casually take your phone off charge to charge their own phone, even if there is no real need for them to charge their phone at that current time.

During my time with Arabs, I have only noticed one Syrian brother who asked permission before going through my bag, and due to him asking permission I allowed him to go through my stuff, even though I didn’t like it.

Arabs in general do not know where the red line is in giving another brother his space, and this is in their culture, maybe because they see this as a form of strong brotherhood. Whatever the reason it’s annoying so patience is required.

2) Childish behaviour

Unfortunately Syrians seem to be very childish in their dealings and mannerisms in how they interact with each other. It’s not an unusual sight to see a fully grown Syrian man acting like a child and playing around with other brothers.

Not only is it in the way they behave among themselves, but also in the way they interact with others. Sometimes it may get quite hard to hold a civilised conversation with a Syrian man, one minute he’s listening to you speak and the next he’s playing around with the other Syrian brother standing next to him.

There is a time for being serious and a time for being childish and joking around. However the line between the two is somewhat hard for our Syrian brothers to judge.

3) Stealing shoes

In the west, it is common knowledge to walk out of a room wearing the same pair of shoes that you wore while entering the room. Nay, it is common sense. However here in Shām, our Syrian brothers have a very peculiar philosophy whereby they believe that everyone can share each other’s footwear, irrespective of foot size. Someone who is a size 40 will casually walk out the room wearing your footwear even though you are a size 44, and strangely he may not even realise. Weird? Of course it is.

From my very first month here in Shām, I would experience this; I would enter a room with my shoes, and when leaving I would notice my footwear was missing. This is too common here in Shām. For some reason (known best to Syrians), what’s yours is theirs and what’s theirs is yours, even if you disagree with it.

Apparently brotherhood dictates that they can take anything from you without permission, and you have no right to get upset. Sometimes you would enter a building and when leaving, you would see the person with your shoes walking 100 yards ahead of you and it can be quite irritating to have to wait for him to return, especially if you are in a rush to go somewhere. Even more irritating is when he comes back really slowly or stops about 50 yards away casually talking to another brother while he knows you’re waiting for him.

Arabs… What can I say? May Allāh guide us all to have perfect manners. No doubt Jihād is as Shaykh ‘Abdullāh ‘Azzām mentioned; patience with one’s brothers.

4) Etiquettes when eating

The Prophet (saw) taught us all that we need to know about the manners of eating. It is from the Sunnah to eat with one’s right hand, to eat from that which is in front of you, not to waste food, not to be ungrateful with what we have been given, to think of others’ hunger when there is not a lot of food and to eat a third, drink a third and save a third for breathing.

These are some of the etiquettes when eating. However our Arab brothers, or Syrians to be more precise, lack these basic manners. It is not unusual to see Syrians fight over food, even though there is more than enough for everyone. It is not unusual to see them throw away food even though this food they are eating is far better than the food their own mothers prepare for them at home. It is not unusual to see them walk away after eating leaving a big mess for someone else to clean up after them. And the sight of a typical kitchen sink is just appalling. During my time in Syria, I have only met a handful of Syrians who are strict on keeping the kitchen clean, may Allāh make more such brothers.

In my old ribāt point I would continuously notice all these flaws however knowing that my words would land on deaf ears, I would speak to the Amīr instead as he was Tunisian. Yet it seemed that even the Amīr was fed up of continuously advising and reprimanding them for their behaviour.

Back when I was in the training camp of Jabhat An-Nusrah (I left Jabhat in early April 2014), I would notice all these flaws and it was very strange seeing Arabs behave in such a way. When food was served, no one would sit in his place and everyone would jump over each other in an attempt to get to the food first. The Amīr of the camp would criticise them sternly for their childish and animalistic behaviour, however, as with hungry Arabs, it would only make them less reckless for a day or two.

Every day one of us would be appointed to serve the food, and when it was my turn, I entered the room with a handful of spoons and a bucket full of boiled eggs; and as soon as I entered, I was pounced upon on by everyone in the room. I therefore refused to give anyone food until every single one of them was sitting down in their seat, and only after every one of them sat down did I go around serving them. Unfortunately I had to treat them like primary school students, but it was the only way to get some law and order in the room and for them to learn.

Unfortunately none of the other western speaking brothers done as I had done, so my method of teaching was not as effective as I had wished, however it was a start.

It is also a habit for Syrians to eat other people’s food without question. Not only would they eat your food without prior permission but they neither inform you of it. If you purchase something and put it in the fridge, expect it to be missing within a few hours. Non-Arabs on the other hand are very well mannered in this field. Currently I am with a Bosnian battalion and here you can easily put something in the fridge or in a cupboard, go away for a week, and come back and still find it in the same place you put it. The difference between an Arab and a non-Arab in their manners is like the difference between the heavens and the earth. A Syrian will eat all your food without permission making you go hungry for the rest of the day without apologising nor even informing you of what he done. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems they seriously lack in common sense in this field.

I advise all my western brothers to try and rectify anything you see in our Syrian brothers, but to do so in a very kind way, as any indication of your naseehah being an insult will make it extremely difficult for them to accept your words, even if it is the haqq.

5) Getting angry over the haqq if it is against them

Another common trait among our Arab brothers is to get offended if you bring their errors to their attention. A Muslim should accept the haqq from wherever it comes, even if the one showing you your error does so in a stern way.

There have been numerous times when I have advised my Arab brothers about certain flaws I have seen in them yet my advice has not been accepted due to it being an insult on their ways. Psychologically speaking, it is very difficult for a person to accept the truth if it is bitter, and no matter how kindly you try and tell a person he is bad at his job, he will be offended.

The more one interacts with Arabs the more errors one notices among them, and many times I have been speaking to an Arab about certain errors/flaws I have noticed, and while speaking to them, their faces slowly turn from a smile to an angry frown. At times it can be quite amusing seeing the smile slowly fade away or at times seeing the natural smile turn into a fake one used as a mask to cover an angry face.

And when one goes down this road, it can be quite daunting especially if you are speaking to a top Amīr (I always end up getting in trouble with top Amīrs due to this, lol). Here in Dawlah, we get a monthly wage for being Mujāhidīn and for a duration of three months I did not get my wage due to certain reasons. When I went to the Bait Al-Māl office to enquire about this, he would always tell me to come back next week. After a month and a half of hearing the same words it got somewhat irritating, so I started telling him how even the Kuffār work harder and quicker at administration work. This upset the brother who ended up telling me he would not pay me my wage if that’s what I believed. All praise is due to Allāh that I was getting wealth from outside sources such that this did not bother me as much. And since I had already upset him and he denied giving me my haqq, I ended up telling him everything I thought about how Arabs ‘work’ in administration, as there was no more trouble I could get into. It wasn’t really a wise move to do, but at times it’s good to let everything out and call a spade a spade.

The point of this incident is to show that when Arabs get angry their ability to judge justly tends to falter, and they get upset quickly when you tell them the bitter truth. Arabs in administration is a disaster, get him angry and it’s your own loss, even though what you may be saying is the haqq. This nicely leads me to my next point.

6) Administration work (“Bukrah inshāAllāh”)

As Westerners we are naturally good at administration work as our whole life is based on an organised structure. From school days to work life, we have a systematic structure in place on how to deal with issues. In every system we have the hierarchy structure. For example, in school we have the teacher above us, above whom is the deputy head, above whom is the head teacher. Everyone has a role to play in the system and everyone knows his job role in the organisation.

Unfortunately in the Arab world, building a structure and administrating it is not one of their strong points. There are many flaws and errors in putting an Arab in charge, especially if he is uneducated (which sadly is the majority).

It is common to hear an Arab in administration reply with the words “bukrah inshāAllāh” (which means “hopefully tomorrow”) or in plain English, “I’m too lazy, leave me alone and come back some other time!” Unfortunately, Arabs run the system here in Shām and they are, from what is apparent, the laziest and unfit for their jobs. All praise is due to Allāh that Dawlah has a system in place, however with Arabs running it, it has many deficiencies.

The typical Arab in administration tends to be very lazy. As explained above, the phrase “bukrah inshāAllāh” is always said as a cover when they cannot be bothered to do anything. You may need something from him and he would reply with “bukrah inshāAllāh” if he is too lazy to do anything, if he just wants you to go away, or If he doesn’t know when the task would be done by (yet by saying “bukrah inshāAllāh he prevents you from being angry at him due to him not knowing the exact date the task will be accomplished). For example, if he is too lazy to work and deal with the problem at hand, saying “bukrah inshāAllāh” will give him an extra day to relax. Smart hey? Eh no!

Majority of the Arabs in administration are not only lazy workers but also unaware of their job role. Many times you would go to the office that deals with military work, and he would direct you to the office for the Wāli (Amīr of the Wilāyah). At this office, the Arab behind the desk would direct you to the office that deals with finance, and from here you would be redirected to the office you went to right in the start. Arabs always throw you around to another office if they do not know what to do. Instead of saying they do not know whether this task falls under their responsibility or not (even though it seems very obvious it does), they would direct you elsewhere in an attempt to get another workload off their shoulders.

So many Arabs are completely unaware of their job role and countless brothers have been told to go elsewhere (i.e. to another office) only to be told to return to the office they came from. And when you do return to the office from where you started, you will be told the famous phrase of “bukrah inshāAllāh”, as this would give him some time to figure out what to do.

Another ‘great’ feature of Arabs in administration is that there is no queue in any of their offices. You could be waiting in line for half an hour and then another Arab would come and push in the queue and go straight in. Even more ironic is that he would even barge in front of the guy who is speaking to the admin. It’s not unusual for Arabs to push in nor is it unusual for them to interrupt you while you’re speaking to the admin. And because the admin is also an Arab he also sees no issue in another person interrupting you. Strange indeed how he can be speaking to you one second, listening to your concern, and then totally ignore you and talk to another guy who just pushed in and deal with his case, even though this new guy may take about 10 or 20 minutes of his time; and when he finishes dealing with him, he will look at you, and without apologising expect you to remind him of everything you were saying.

So what is the solution to dealing with Arabs in administration? The solution is twofold. Number one; to pray to Allāh that He replaces the Arabs with others who know what they are doing. Number two; and a more practical solution, is to shout at them while asking for what you need. Although this may sound quite harsh, this is the only solution, and many westerners have learnt this the long and hard way.

A German brother I know was continuously going to the Bail Al-Māl office requesting for a refrigerator for his house after he got married, and after a duration of about a month of being continuously told “bukrah inshāAllāh” (i.e. come back tomorrow), the German brother got very frustrated and caused a slight scene, and only after raising his voice in anger did they finally tell him there was one ready for him, which he got that same day.

The brothers from Chechnya are likewise very good at this. The Arabs are very scared of our brothers from Chechnya as they always raise their voices when speaking to Arabs in administration. If you need something from an Arab in administration, it seems that the only way your request will be heard is if you raise your voce and show signs of slight irritation at their laziness to do simple tasks.

Arabs tend to get slightly intimidated when someone raises above them and sadly this seems to be the only way to get what you want from them. However, one needs to know the line between getting slightly angry at him for being lazy and criticising him, as too much criticism will make him refuse to help you in any way.

Arabs in administration is a recipe for disaster.

7) Sleeping habits

During ribāt one would be eating, sleeping, and fighting alongside other Arabs. For those of you who have been to university, it’s a bit like uni-life with a group of friends all being together. No doubt this can be enjoyable, however with Arabs around it can be quite frustrating, especially when one notices their sleeping habits.

In ribāt, everyone does their few hours of guarding while the others rest. During night hours, when our shift is complete, we wake up the next person about 5 minutes before his shift. However with most Syrians, you would need to wake them up a good 15 minutes before their shift. Some Syrians are such heavy sleepers that even shaking and kicking them would not wake them up. There was one Syrian brother who was so hard to wake up for Fajr prayer. I would call his name, shake him, poke him, turn him over, yet this guy would be totally knocked out cold. On one occasion, I was continuously waking him up after every 5 minutes for about half an hour. It so happened that I had to literally drag him out of the room by his foot to get him to go and do wudhoo’ for Fajr prayer.

It’s a typical thing to see Syrians behave in such a manner. However not all Syrians are like this, but it only takes a few days in ribāt to differentiate between the heavy sleepers and the others.

Another irritating feature of Arabs is that due to them being heavy sleepers, they see no problem in speaking very loud while others are fast asleep (or even trying to sleep). This can be so frustrating especially when you tell them to quieten down only to have them speak loud again after a few minutes. Once I was sleeping with a few brothers in a masjid basement in Raqqa, and at about 12 midnight a few other Arab brothers came in and sat down in the corner and started speaking loudly for about an hour. During this time I tried to sleep but found it very difficult to do so. It would seem quite obvious to the average Tom, Dick or Harry to speak in a very low tone when others are sleeping yet our Arab brothers tend to consider otherwise.

As westerners we naturally tend not to mention other people’s faults especially when it seems obvious as we believe that they would come to their senses. Usually coughing or clearing one’s throat is an indirect sign to tell others of your presence, but with Syrians, you literally need to state the obvious before they come to their senses.

8) The staring competition

This one is very amusing. Syrians love to stare at foreigners, maybe because no tourist has ever visited Syria. Being stared at by children is no problem nor is it actually seen as something rude as children do not know better, and their curiosity leads them to do so. Furthermore, when Dawlah liberate a town or a village it is somewhat understandable to see the civilians stare at you during the initial few weeks, especially if they are doing so for the first time.

However, the ironic thing is when it is done by grown men, especially when they do not stop staring at you. It can be quite uncomfortable to have a fully grown man stand a few meters away from you staring at you, and even when you look at him and give him a smile, he still stares at you without looking away. It can be like a staring competition at times.

In the west, if you are staring at someone (for whatever valid reason you may have) it is courteous to smile before lowering your gaze, or at least to look away if the person looks at you. However, here in Shām, the Syrians keep on staring at you, even after you look at them. Sometimes it becomes quite awkward, especially if you notice someone staring at you for a few minutes even after you look back at him and smile or ask him how he is.

Sometimes you would walk into a shop and a guy would stare at you as you walk around and go to the counter. You can even give him a staring competition for a good minute before he would come to his senses and walk off. Sometimes they would gather around you to form a circle as you speak to one from amongst them. As time goes on the crowd of onlookers increases. This can be very uneasy especially when the circle gets bigger and tighter.

So if you get a random Syrian staring at you for a long time, do not get paranoid, it’s in the culture to stare at people for long durations of time. And if you feel uncomfortable, just ask him a random question to awaken him from his daydream.

9) Treating animals badly

The Prophet (saw) informed us that a woman was sent to hell due to mistreating a cat she had and a prostitute from Banu Isra’īl was forgiven her sins due to giving water to a thirsty dog. Such are the teachings of Islām. However among our Arab brothers, they tend to treat animals very badly.

It is not uncommon to see an Arab throw objects at animals and to chase a hungry cat away. Nor is it uncommon to see some from among them killing harmless dogs. Indeed the Prophet (saw) ordered us to kill black dogs as they are Jinns which have taken the form of animals, however Arabs tend to take it a step further and kill all dogs even though they may be harmless.

You would also see dead dogs laying in the middle of the road with a bullet wound for a week or so, and hardly anyone will remove it out of the way. Arabs tend to have no mercy for animals except a few among them who love cats.

To dislike animals is no harm nor is it a sin, but to behave badly with animals is. The Prophet (saw) taught us to be good with animals as even this earns us reward, yet here in the Arab culture, things are quite different.

10) Beggars

From the very moment I arrived in the Turkish airport, I was greeted by Syrian beggars. Professionals who make a living off of other people’s generosity and kind-heartedness. In the airport you may be confronted by a ‘poor’ Syrian man who is trying to get enough money to book a flight to another country. These beggars are professionals and it is advised not to give them anything, not even a second glance.

When people first come to Shām they are somewhat naive and inexperienced with beggars so they may give a lot of money to a professional beggar. Most beggars here in Syria are fraudsters who take advantage of the Muhājirīn. Realise my brothers that Dawlah has Zakāh offices and also gives a weekly supply of food to the poor. I myself have witnessed this in Raqqa. But since the civilians have realised that many from Dawlah are generous brothers, they tend to continue begging as it is easy money for them, especially since brothers give them a generous amount.

Some even get old prescription papers for medicine and go around begging brothers for money to purchase the medicine, and when you ask them what is wrong with them they say something completely different to the medication that is prescribed. Many even get afraid if you ask them to take you to the nearest pharmacy as all they need is money and not these medicines which they claim. Some even claim they need food for their babies but get upset when you purchase food for them over giving them money.

Here in Dawlah we require every Muslimah to cover from head to toe in black, so every woman you see is a niqābi. Therefore even the beggars are those who wear the niqāb. However do not let this fool you nor let your emotions of seeing a ‘niqābi’ begging get to you. Prior to Dawlah on the scene hardly anyone wore the niqāb, nay hardly anyone wore a loose black jilbāb. If you were to ask one of these ‘professional beggars’ the time for Salāh or how to do wudhoo’ they would not know. They are not pious Muslimahs who are begging, in fact they are average women who are fooling sincere and generous brothers for their money.

Previously, giving about 10 or 25 Syrian Lira a to a beggar was sufficient to make him/her happy, yet due to the generosity of many naive brothers, these ‘professional beggars’ would get disappointed even if they are given 100 Syrian Liras. These are professional beggars and one should not be fooled by their continuous requests nor from their heart touching stories, she may be wearing the niqāb but that’s because Dawlah enforces it upon every woman.

I have seen children sell sweets in the streets and others who sell miswāks and perfume. Such are the children who are upholding their honour, and if you wish to give sadaqah to anyone these are the people who deserve it, as they are truly poor, not these imposters who wear a niqāb to get to your heart. Do not be fooled and if you wish to give sadaqah, give it to the children who sell sweets and miswaks on the road or give it to the Zakāh office. In fact, giving your sadaqah to a fellow Mujāhid is more praiseworthy and more so recommended.

11) Dealing with shop keepers

Here in Syria Dawlah has a reputation of being wealthy. The average Syrian looks at a Dawlah brother as a walking bank, and unfortunately shop keepers are no exception. So many times when asking a shop keeper for the price of an item, he would contemplating for a while then give you a higher price.

This is something which every single Dawlah brother has experienced. Wherever Dawlah goes, shop keepers benefit. No doubt there are those who are honest merchants, yet sadly they are few. The vast majority are money-lovers who think we are unaware of their petty actions.

One mistake many brothers do is taking out all their money and hence indirectly telling the shopkeeper how wealthy we are (as compared to the average Syrian). Another mistake brothers do is to compare the prices to those in the west. No doubt every item, no matter how higher the shop keeper charges, will be cheaper than what we are paying in the west, however for these people they are charging you much more than its due worth.

The average Syrian customer will bargain with the shop keeper for a good few minutes and the shop keeper will eventually reduce the price. Sometimes even going as low as cutting off 40%. In the West, the concept of bargaining with a shop keeper is unknown and may be seen as a form of lowering oneself to that of a beggar, however do not let this prevent you from doing so here in Shām, as firstly, the shop keeper is increasing the price much more for you as he does for the average Syrian, and secondly, it’s a norm for the customer to bargain the price.

Solution: don’t feel bad to bargain with the shop keeper.

12) Driving ‘skills’

Coming from the west, we have certain rules and regulations which we abide by while on the road. These are for our own benefit to prevent accidents and henceforth, complications. In the Arab world however, there are not that many rules for the highway, and one can easily obtain a driving license without any test. Yes I know, very scary indeed!

Many things which may seem illegal or irrational are quite common for Arabs to do. In the west, one is required to look into his side mirrors prior to moving lane or going to a slip road, however an Arab would hardly ever look into his mirrors, even if he is coming onto a busy motorway. Women casually walk on the roads and hardly look over their shoulder to see if a car is coming, nor do they move out the way until you are right besides them horning at them. Men likewise do this, but not to the same extent as women; and if you were to hit them it would be your fault for not seeing them walk on the road.

On the roundabout, the car that is coming onto the roundabout has the right of way, which is very hazardous as the roundabout can get jammed as cars are stopping in the middle of the road. It is also a habit for motorists to drive on the opposite side of the road, even if the road is only wide enough for one car. For those of us coming from the west the road can be very stressful at times.

13) Empty words

Another aspect of the Syrian culture which one may find relatively unique is when they say things which they may not necessarily mean. For example, the phrase “a turīd shay’?” [Tr. “Do you want anything?”] is used metaphorically to end a discussion you may be having with someone on the roadside, rather than as a genuine question to assist the other person. It’s just a kind way to end the conversation, nothing more. Note the phrase is commonly said without the particle of interrogation (همزة الاستفهام) in the beginning. So it is said by the locals as “turīd shay’?”

Likewise the phrase “tafadhalū” [Tr. “Come in / welcome”] is used in every sphere of life here in Shām. It’s common (and logical) to hear the shop keeper say it as you enter his store, but it is also used by passers-by. It’s not uncommon for a complete stranger to say “tafadhalū” to you as you walk past him in the souk. Initially it may seem illogical and somewhat irrational for a stranger to “welcome you” to his house, especially if the both of you are going complete opposite directions, however as long as you realise that this is just an empty word, the strangeness of the situation will fade away easily, and as time goes on you’ll be saying it to complete strangers as well!

A finial phrase to end this chapter is “’Alā ra’sī”. This is used completely symbolically and is somewhat hard to give an accurate translation of. It implies many things, including; showing respect, acknowledging the other persons opinion, it’s a way of showing appreciation, amongst other meanings. It’s a very common phrase used by Syrians and is completely void of any practicality except where Dawlah demands authority.

“Turīd shay’?”, “tafadhalū”, and “’alā ra’sī” are all common phrases used by the local Syrian population but hold no weight in practicality. No doubt there is goodness in soft speech, however realise that these are nothing more than empty words with no real meanings.


What I have mentioned above is in no way meant to ridicule the Syrian culture, nor do I intend to mock the Arabs as a whole. Allāh created us into nations and tribes so that we may get to know each other, and the culture of Arabs is just something which is unique and differs dramatically from the Western lifestyle.

It should be noted that not all Arabs are like this, you can find many Arabs who do not adhere to the above mentioned traits. From my experience, the majority of Saudis and Egyptians are far removed from these traits. In fact Saudis and Egyptians seem to be the most knowledgeable and friendliest of all Arabs. No doubt we all have unpraiseworthy traits which may annoy others, but this is all a test from Allāh. Jihād unites Muslims from all over the world and helps us understand each other as well as seeing our own mistakes which we may have been unaware of if they were not pointed out.

The above mentioned traits should not deter a person from coming to Jihād, for not all Arabs are like this; we have many European battalions which one can join if he finds it problematic, in fact I would strongly advise my Western brothers to join a non-Arab battalion if the above mentioned traits are something one cannot live with.

However realise that every nation of people will have traits which may be somewhat bothersome to you. No one is perfect and as Fudayl Ibn ‘Iyād said, “Whoever seeks a brother without faults would never have a brother to be his friend.” [Rawdhat Al-‘Uqālā, p.169] An article could be dedicated to the Non-Arabs, however I restricted this article talking about Syrians as they make up the large majority of people here in Shām.

And the last of our call is all praise be to Allāh, Lord of all the worlds.

Abū Sa’eed Al-Britānī(Kik: shaykh.anwar)

Proofread by Abū Mūsā Norwegi

Al-Bāb, Shām.

09/10/1436 (Corresponding to 24/08/2015)

Weeping and singing in a foreign fighter travel diary

We have a growing number of lengthy first-person accounts of life as a foreign fighter in Syria. A good example is this travel diary titled “Days in Sahawaat” which describes the experiences of an IS-affiliated foreign fighter named Abu Saa’d al-Sudani in an area West of Aleppo in 2014. The document is interesting for a number of reasons (Norwegian readers, for example, will note the prominence of a certain “Abu Musa al-Norweigi”), but here I’ll just highlight a few passages of particular interest to the Bored Jihadi. 

For example, there’s this description of what al-Sudani and his foreign fighter friends do while recuperating at a safe house after days of strenuous adventures:

Later, at another safe house, there’s praying, storytelling, and anashid-singing:

There are lots of other cultural tidbits in there as well, such as this: 

But I’ll leave you to read the whole thing if you are specially interested.