He used to say ” Never shall I leave the Land of Jihad, except in three circumstances. Either I shall be killed in Afghanistan. Either I shall be killed in Peshawar. Or either I shall be handcuffed and expelled from Pakistan.”
Once he said,
” I feel that I am nine years old: seven-and-a-half years in the Afghan Jihad, one-and-a-half years in the Jihad in Palestine, and the rest of the years have no value.”
From his pulpit Sheikh Azzam was always reiterating his conviction that:
“Jihad must not be abandoned until Allah (SWT) Alone is worshipped. Jihad continues until Allah’s Word is raised high. Jihad until all the oppressed peoples are freed. Jihad to protect our dignity and restore our occupied lands. Jihad is the way of everlasting glory.”
History, as well as anyone who knew Sheikh Abdullah Azzam closely, all testify to his courage in speaking the truth, regardless of the consequences. He always bore in mind the command of Allah to: “Proclaim openly that which you were commanded, and turn away from the polytheists [Quran, 15:94].
On every occasion Sheikh Abdullah Azzam reminded all Muslims that,
“Muslims cannot be defeated by others. We Muslims are not defeated by our enemies, but instead, we are defeated by our own selves.”
He was a fine example of Islamic manners, in his piety, his devotion to Allah and his modesty in all things. Sheikh Azzam always listened to the youth, he was dignified and did not allow fear to have access to his brave heart. He practised continual fasting especially the alternate daily fasting routine of Prophet Dawud (SAW). He strongly counselled others to practice fasting on Mondays and Thursdays. The Sheikh was a man of uprightness, honesty and virtue, and was never heard to slander others or to talk unpleaasently about an individual Muslim.
As the Jihad in Afghanistan went on, he was succeeding in uniting together all the various fighting groups in the Afghani Jihad. Naturally, such a pride to Islam caused great distress to the enemies of this religion, and they plotted to eliminate him. In 1989, a lethal amount of TNT explosive was placed beneath the pulpit from which he delivered the sermon every Friday. It was such a formidable quantity that if it had exploded, it would have destroyed the mosque, together with everybody in it. Hundreds of Muslims would have been killed, but Allah provided protection and the bomb did not explode.
The enemies, determined to accomplish their ugly task, tried another plot in Peshawar, shortly after this in the same year When Allah (SWT) willed that Sheikh Abdullah Azzam should leave this world to be in His closest company insha’Allah, the Sheikh departed in a glorious manner. The day was Friday, 24 November 1989.
The enemies of Allah planted three bombs on a road so narrow only a single car could travel on it. It was the road Sheikh Abdullah Azzam would use to drive to the Friday Prayer. That Friday, the Sheikh, together with two of his own sons, Ibrahim and Muhammad, and with one of the sons of the late Sheikh Tameem Adnani (another hero of the Afghan Jihad), drove along the road. The car stopped at the position of the first bomb, and the Sheikh alighted to walk the remainder of the way. The enemies, lying in wait, then exploded the bomb. A loud explosion and a great thundering were heard all over the city.
People emerged from the mosque, and beheld a terrible scene. Only a small fragment of the car remained. The young son Ibrahim flew 100 metres into the air; the other two youths were thrown a similar distance away, and their remains were scattered among the trees and power lines. As for Sheikh Abdullah Azzam himself, his body was found resting against a wall, totally intact and not at all disfigured, except that some blood was seen issuing from his mouth.
That fateful blast indeed ended the worldly journey of Sheikh Abdullah Azzam which had been spent well in struggling, striving and fighting in the Path of Allah (SWT). It also secured his more real and eternal life in the gardens of Paradise – we ask Allah that it is so -, that he will enjoy along with the illustrious company of “those on whom is the Grace of Allah, the Prophets, the Sincere ones, the Martyrs and the Righteous. The Best of company are they.” [Quran, 4:69].
It was in this way that this great hero and reformer of Islam departed from the arena of Jihad and from this world, never to return. He was buried in the Pabi Graveyard of the Shuhadaa’ in Peshawar, where he joined hundreds of other Shuhadaa’. May Allah accept him as a martyr, and grant him the highest station in Paradise. The struggle which he stood for continues, despite the enemies of Islam. There is not a Land of Jihad today in the world, nor a Mujahid fighting in Allah’s Way, who is not inspired by the life, teachings and works of Sheikh Abdullah Azzam (May Allah have Mercy on him).
We ask Allah (SWT) to accept the deeds of Sheikh Abdullah Azzam and bring him to the Highest Part of Paradise. We ask Allah (SWT) to raise up for this Ummah more Sheikhs of this calibre, who take their knowledge to the battlefield rather than confining it in books.
With this article, we record the events of Islamic history which took place in the ten years from 1979 to 1989, and continue to happen. As Sheikh Abdullah Azzam himself once said,
” Indeed Islamic history is not written except with the blood of the Shuhadaa’, except with the stories of the Shuhadaa’ and except with the examples of the Shuhadaa’. “
“They seek to extinguish the light of Allah by their mouths. But Allah refuses save to perfect His light, even if the disbelievers are averse. It is He who has sent His messenger with the guidance and the true religion, in order that He may make it prevail over all religions, even if the pagans are averse.” [Quran, 9:32-33].
“Indeed the souls of the martyrs are in the hearts of green birds, they have lanterns hanging underneath the arsh, and they roam around in Jannah wherever they wish.” [Muslim]