Small Wars Journal

Words Have Meaning

I've been on Jim Guirard's ( e-mail list for years and have found his discussion of 'the power of words' quite fascinating, to say the least. Jim is an 'out of the box' thinker in regards to information operations and has taken on the West's choice of Arabic terms and the message they convey as a life-mission.

For those interested in Jim's work I recommend beginning with the following as an introduction and reference point for further research.


Mini Glossary For Fellow Word Warriors

At the request of several "word warriors" on my lists, here is an update of a late-2006 memo which lists quite a number of the Arabic and Islamic words we will need to break out of the habit-of-language box which today makes makes us the "bad guys" and the "infidels" and so falsely anoints the al Qaeda-style suicide mass murderers as the so-called jihadi "holy guys" and shahidi "martyrs."

Importantly, the ubiquitous (it's everywhere! it's everywhere!!) word Jihad is entered four times in order to more clearly define its several meanings and to deprive al Qaeda killers of its halo.

irhab (eer-HAB) -- Arabic for terrorism, thus enabling us to call the al Qaeda-style killers irhabis, irhabists and irhabiyoun rather than the so-called "jihadis" and "jihadists" and "mujahideen" and "shahideen" they so badly want to be called. (Note: "Here we are, more than five years into a Global War on Terrorism, and most of us do not even know this basic Arabic word for terrorism.)

Hirabah (hee-RAH-bah) -- Unholy War and forbidden "war against society" or what we would today call crimes against humanity. Among the many al Qaeda-style crimes and sins which constitute this most "unholy war" are such willful, and unrepented transgressions as those listed in the next section of this memo.

Jihad al Akbar (gee-HAHD ahl AHK-bar) -- this "Greater Jihad" is a personal and spiritual struggle or striving to become closer and more faithful to Allah and his teachings as set forth in the Qur'an.

Jihad al Saghir (gee-HAHD ahl Sahg-HEER) -- "Lesser Jihad" is a physical -- and even a military -- struggle to protect or to free Muslims and non-Muslims from oppression, but only in strict accordance with reasonable, compassionate and non-terroristic standards set forth in the Qur'an, which provides that only the Caliph (or head-of-state?) can legally declare such a Jihad. (Note: UBL was neither and had no authority whatever to issue his 1996 and 1998 faux fatwas of purported "Jihad Against America and the West.")

Jihad al Kabir (gee-HAHD ahl kha-BEER) -- the spiritual and intellectual quest to promote common knowledge of Divine Revelation through all of Allah's Prophets and to carry out what is called ijtihad (consultative efforts throughout the Umma) in applying both Revelation and Natural Law to human affairs.

"Jihad" (gee-HAHD, so called) -- al Qaeda's false label for Hirabah, which is at heart an anti-Islamic, apostate and forbidden "war against society" and a satanic assortment of "crimes against humanity," such as the many ruthless and willful violations of Qur'anic standards listed below.

mufsiduun (moof-see-DOON) -- Islam's word for evildoers, sinners and corrupters whose criminality and sinfulness, unless ended and sincerely repented, will incur Allah's ultimate condemnation on Judgment Day; Islam's optimum antonym for al Qaeda's so-called "mujahideen."

muharibuun (moo-hah-ree-BOON) -- barbarians and ruthless transgressors who are guilty of the heinous crimes and mortal sins of irhab and Hirabah (terrorism and forbidden "war against society").

munafiquun (moon-ah-fee-KOON) - hypocrites to Islam who pretend to be faithful to the Qur'an but who willfully violate many of its basic rules, mandates and prohibitions. Once again, please refer to the ten AQ-style transgressions listed below.

hizb (hizb) - a political party, as in Hizballah (Party of God), or as the senior Saudi cleric Sheik Jafar Hawali recently called this radical and arguably apostate Shi'a organization Hizb al-Shaitan (Party of Satan, Party of the Devil).

Jahannam (jyah-HAH-nahm) -- Islam's antonym for Paradise and meaning the Eternal Hellfire to which Allah on Judgment Day condemns unrepentant, unforgiven evildoers and hypocrites of the unholy war variety.

khawarij (kha-WAH-reej) -- outside-the-religion and outside-the-community individuals and activities; derived from the ancient al Qaeda-like militant Khawar or Kharajite sect, eventually suppressed and expelled as apostates and enemies of authentic, Qur'anic Islam.

istihlal (eesh-tee-LAHL) -- Islam's cardinal sin of "playing God," as Osama bin Laden is doing when he attempts to pervert Islam into his own suicide mass murderous image, and turning it into nothing but a perpetual killing machine -- of all Christians, all Jews and all Muslims who happen to disagree.

murtadd (muur-TAHD) -- apostasy, a certifiably correct conviction for which is punishable by death in this life and by Allah's eternal damnation in the next, with al Qaeda's murderous extremism eventually to be labeled "The al Qaeda Apostasy."

takfir (takh-FEER) -- the Wahhabi and al Qaeda-style practice of making wholesale (and largely false and baseless) accusations of apostasy and disbelief toward Allah and the Qur'an. Those who engage in this divisive practice of false witness are called "takfiri."

Shaitan and shaitaniyah (shy-TAHN and shy-TAHN-ee-yah) -- Islam's Arabic words for Satan and satanic [example: Osama Abd' al-Shaitan, Osama Slave or Servant of Satan]

So, what is the point of this new and improved mini-lexicon of Arabic and Islamic words and frames of reference? In terms of the vital hearts, minds and souls aspects of the Long War on AQ-style Terrorism, the rewards could be great, indeed.

Just for starters, imagine the al Qaeda killers' great difficulty in winning the approval of any truly devout and faithful Muslims whatever once these genocidal irhabis (terrorists) come to be viewed by the Umma (the Muslim World) as mufsiduun (evildoers) engaged in Hirabah (unholy war) and in murtadd (apostasy) against the Qur'an's God of Abraham and surely on their way to Jahannam (Eternal Hellfire), instead.

TrueSpeak Institute

Jim Guirard, President

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Alexandria, Virginia 22308

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