Meet 20-year-old Hamza al-Britani (not his real name) who left the UK for Syria in June last year. The British Pakistani told me via Skype how he caught a plane to Turkey and simply “jogged” over the border to “the land of jihad.” In this exclusive interview, Dilly Hussain goes deep into the mind of a Briton who migrated to Syria to topple the Assad regime, and establish an Islamic State.
DH: What initially led you to leave for Syria? What were your reasons?
HB: I came to Syria to make Allah’s word the highest, and to help and fight for the oppressed Muslims because Allah (swt) says in Surah Nisa: “And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.'”
DH: Did you not feel that there were other types of activities you could have engaged in to help the Muslims of Syria?
HM: No. Anyone can drive an ambulance packed with aid and deliver it to Syria, then return to the UK to the comfort of their own homes, but that isn’t going to stop the bombs dropping nor is it going to create an Islamic State that offers protection and security to the Muslims.
Jihad is the best deed and the only option – when Prophet Muhammad (saw) was asked about a deed equal in reward to jihad, He (saw) replied, “You can’t do it” They asked again and then a third time, and every time the Messenger of Allah says, “You cant do it” Then he said, “The equivalent of the mujahid is the one who fasts and prays continuously without resting until the mujahid comes back!”
And like Sheikh Abdullah Azzam (rh) said: “Jihad and the rifle alone: no negotiations, no conferences and no dialogues.”
DH: Describe the journey that led you to Syria – how did you get there and who helped you? Was it easy?
HB: Plane to Turkey then a 100 meter jog over the Turkey-Syria border and you’re in the land of jihad. Easy as that. Alhamdulillah.
DH: Why did you decide to join ISIS, instead of other Syrian rebel groups like Jabhat al Nusra, Islamic Front or FSA? What was it about ISIS that appealed to you?
HB: ISIS was the only group striving to establish an Islamic State/Khilafah/Caliphate, and working to re-establish the Khilafah is an obligation.
DH: Where are you currently located? On your Facebook profile it says Raqqa?
HB: I am currently located in the town of Azaz, 20 miles north of Aleppo in Ribat.
DH: Do you want to return to the UK? If so, when? If not, why?
HB: I don’t wish to return to the UK but the only time I would ever return would be with an army, an army sent by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on a mission to expand the Islamic State. If tomorrow Abu Bakr al Baghdadi says we will pray salat al fajr in Buckingham Palace then bididhnillah tomorrow we will pray fajr in Buckingham Palace.
DH: How do you feel about fighting other Syrian rebel groups instead of fighting the Assad regime?
HB: Instead of fighting the Assad regime? We didn’t ever stop fighting the Assad regime. We recently took Tabaqa Airport, Division 93, Divison 17 base and liberated Deir Ezzor from the regime, while groups like FSA and Ahrar al-Sham try to attack us daily but fail. We fight those rebel groups because they are apostates who have allied with the West to launch a crusader war on the Islamic State.
DH: Do you feel as if the main objective of why you initially left has been changed?
HB: No. I came to fight for the oppressed and raise Allah’s word the highest, and we are still doing that.
DH: Are you happy with being a part of ISIS?
HB: Yes, and I thank Allah (swt) for allowing me to be a soldier of the Islamic State.
DH: Do you miss home and your family?
HB: Of course but we have to realise this dunya is temporary, and the Hereafter is not. One day you will depart from your family via death so why let a good deed pass knowing you will depart from your family one day? Allah (swt) says: “Oh you who believe what is the matter with you that when you are asked to march forward in the cause of Allah you cling heavily to the earth are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the hereafter but little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the hereafter.”
DH: How is life under the “Islamic State”?
HB: Alhamdulillah life under the Islamic State is good. The Islamic State offers the Muslims protection and security. If you are married you get a free house from the state, and you also get free furniture, gas, water and electric. Also, all the fighters receive wages, and if you have a wife and kids they get paid too.
Seeing Allah’s laws being implemented and all the shops closing at prayer times is beautiful. Also all the females must wear niqab and are fully covered. Crime has also dropped since the establishment of the Islamic State. There is no better place to live right now than here.
DH: What are your views on the many Muslims who have rejected ISIS’ claim to the Khilafah?
HB: Fear Allah! All the Shari’ conditions for a Khilafah have been met yet they refuse to accept it. Look at what is happening to the Ummah today, if this is not the time for a Khilafah then when will be the time for Khilafah? Just because your sheikh or your jammat didn’t re-establish the Khilafah doesn’t mean the Khilafah is invalid. Remove this disease from your heart, fear Allah and know that one day you will stand in front of Him.
DH: Are the reports true that ISIS kills religious minorities if they don’t convert to Islam? Does the Islamic State destroy churches and temples?
HB: We do not kill religious minorities. Christians live in the Islamic State and they are protected by the Khilafah as long as they pay jizya – a small tax. Only the men have to pay this tax, not women and children. If they pay this tax then we allow them to live here under certain conditions. Those that pay jizya have their churches but they can’t renovate them, display crosses on them or ring church bells, nor can they pray in public.
As for those that don’t pay jizya, they are given an option to convert or be fought. Because Allah (swt) says: “Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
Also, Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them…” As for destroying shrines/temples, shrines are places of shirk where people go to pray to the dead and seek help from them, this is shirk because they are worshipping others instead of Allah and are associating partners with Allah, The Messenger of Allah said: “Let there be curse of Allah upon the Jews and the Christians for they have taken the graves of their apostles as places of worship.”
Therefore we must destroy these shrines because they promote shirk, we have also been ordered by the Prophet (saw) to level all graves, and these shrines all contain graves that have been raised and buildings built around them, which is also forbidden. Abu’l-Hayyaj al-Asadi reported that Ali (ra) said to him: “Should I not send you on the same mission as Allah’s Messenger (saw) sent me? Do not leave an image without obliterating it or a high grave without levelling It” also Jabir said: “Allah’s Messenger (saw) forbade that the graves should be plastered or they are used as sitting places (for the people), or a building should be built over them.”
DH: There have been reports that some Britons and other European Muslims that joined ISIS are questioning the group’s aims as a result of fighting other Syrian rebels instead of the Assad regime. Due to this, their weapons have been confiscated, and they will be tried before a court on mutiny/treason charges. What are your thoughts on this?
HB: This is not true. If you don’t want to fight groups like Jabhat al Nusra you don’t have to. If you refuse to fight the rebels all that happens is a Shari’ sits down with you, and shows you evidences permitting to fight the rebel groups, and why we fight them. If you still refuse, they either put you on a front against Assad forces or give you an admin role.
DH: If you wanted to leave ISIS to come back to the UK, would you be allowed to, or would you have to secretly escape?
HB: You are allowed to leave if you wanted to but first Shari’s will sit you down and give you naseeha. They advise you not to leave, they show you evidences pertaining to leaving Dar al Islam to Dar al Kufr. They explain how it is forbidden and how jihad is fard ayn. They remind you that if you want to leave then the sin falls on you, which is correct. And then if you still insist on leaving, they allow you to leave.
DH: What are your views on Muslims that have labelled ISIS “Khawarij” and “takfiri”?
HB: Fear Allah! Look at the characteristics of the Khawarij and then compare them to Dawlah, but first you need to stop believing the lies such as we kill innocent women, children and innocent Muslims. I say to them to come here and see with your own eyes if we are Khawarij or not, instead of sitting computers believing lies made up by our enemies!
Don’t be sheep, like I said before – know that one day you will stand in front of Allah (swt), and will be held accountable for every bad word you uttered against the mujahideen of the Islamic State.
HB: This is something I can’t disclose but all I can say is that the UK has underestimated the number of British mujahids here. In fact, the whole world has underestimated the amount of mujahids here.
DH: What are your views on the execution of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Haines and now possible Alan Henning?
HB: They died because of the actions and foreign policy of their governments. It’s simple – if you attack the Islamic State, fund groups to attack the State and our citizens, then expect the same to happen to the British and Americans. If American attacked China, would China sit there and not do anything, or would they retaliate? Obviously they would attack America back! So why do people expect any different from the Islamic State?
Understand that we are a State and if you attack us, you will get attacked too! And too all the Muslims in the UK crying over Alan Henning – Fear Allah! The guy is a kafir and you show your love towards him, and your hate towards Dawlah – SubhanAllah! What happened to Al Wala’ Wal Bara? To all these charity workers and scholars from the UK telling everyone the kidnapping of Alan Henning is not allowed in Islam because “he was giving aid to Muslims” and was “offered security by Muslims”, please explain to me why the Prophet Muhammad (saw) took a Muslim who was on his way to perform Hajj as a prisoner because of the crimes of his tribe?
A hadith narrated by Imam Muslim mentions, it was said by Imran ibn Husain: “The Thaqif are allies with Bani ‘Uqail, they took two Sahabah as prisoners. The Sahabah then took as prisoner, a person from Bani ‘Uqail who left to perform hajj. He was stopped, captured and brought by the Sahabah to Madinah. He then protested to Rasulah (saw), “Why have you taken me as prisoner, one who is on his way to perform the pilgrimage?” Rasulah (saw) replied, “I have caught hold of you for the crime of your allies, the Bani Thaqif.”
If the Prophet Muhammad (saw) took a Muslim on his way to Hajj as a prisoner because his tribe had kidnapped two companions of the Prophet, then why is there a problem with Dawlah taking a kafir as a prisoner because of the crimes of his government? Instead of pleading to Dawlah to release Alan Henning, why don’t they plea to Prime Minister David Cameron to stop their attack on the Islamic State?
DH: What are your thoughts on the 40 country coalition led by the USA to fight ISIS?
HB: We have been waiting for this for a long time. This 40 country crusader coalition means nothing to us, nor do their numbers and weapons. Allah (swt) says: “If there are among you twenty who are steadfast, they will overcome two hundred. And if there are among you one hundred who are steadfast, they will overcome a thousand of those who have disbelieved because they are a people who do not understand.”
And as Sheikh Anwar al Awlaki (rh) said: “Victory is on our side because there is a difference between us and you. We are fighting for a noble cause. We are fighting for God and you are fighting for worldly gain. We are fighting for justice because we are defending ourselves and our families and you are fighting for imperialistic goals. We are fighting for truth and justice and you are fighting for oppression. You have your B52’s, your Apaches, your Abrahams, and your cruise missiles and we have small arms and simple IED’s but we have men who are dedicated and sincere with hearts of lions and blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the world.
“Americans need to stop looking at themselves from their own lens but look at themselves from the lens of the world. They will then see the ugly face of America. America is not despised only by Muslims but many millions of people around the world, and in America itself. America may be abstinent in believing that the animosity of a few million Muslims would have really harmed them, they would say “we have the most powerful army in the world and we have the strongest economy in the world”, but don’t you think such a belief is a bit outdated? Don’t you think such a belief was more suitable to the days of patriotism that swept over America following 9/11 than it is now, with the American Army admitting it’s inability and the American economy going through intensive care? But imperial hubris is leading America to its fate a war of attrition, a continuous haemorrhage that will end with the fall and splintering of the United States of America.”
DH: Have you received any updates on the aftermath of the Arab-US airstrikes which took place in Raqqa yesterday morning?
HB: I’m nowhere near Raqqa at the moment but a friend from there informed me that around 4am yesterday, the US carried out airstrikes all over Syria. My friend was sleeping, maybe 100 meters away from where it happened. But he said, “Alhamdulillah the noise of the rocket blast woke me up for tahajjud. No high number of deaths, any major injuries, yet America is claiming it was a “successful” attack!” Alhamdulillah Allah (swt) misguided their missiles!
DH: Hamza, have you killed anyone in combat – face to face? Shabiha, Syrian soldier or another rebel?
HB: “And you did not kill them, but it was Allah who killed them.” (Surah al-Anfal)
Dilly Hussain had three Skype conversations with Hamza al Britani. On every occassion he informed Dilly that he was on “ribat” (guarding the frontiers of the Islamic State).
5Pillarz did all the necessary checks to establish his identity and has published this article solely for the interest and edification of its readers.