– A Letter to Ayman al-Zawahiri from a Sunni Muslim.


To: Ayman al-Zawahiri

I will not say salaam because I do not wish you peace. How could I wish you peace when you wish Muslims and humanity destruction?

You are not a man of religion but a manipulator of religion to satisfy your own ego and quest for power. You are not my brother in Islam, but a Shaytan (devil) who terrorizes humanity, causes mischief, spreads bloodshed, and spews hatred for all of Allah’s creation. You are the prime instigator of tribulation (fitna).

I have good reasons to have this negative perspective of you. Read on…


Poor Leadership

After Osama bin Laden (OBL) finally died, it took about two weeks for you to be proclaimed the new leader of al-Qa’eda. The reasons, some speculate, is because of a possible power struggle that delayed the proclamation for so long.

This is not a far-fetched assumption. It could have been any reason, and you know what it is, but this may have been a reflection of doubt al-Qa’eda had on your capabilities as a leader. This reflection is supported by evidence of your odd behavior.

Truth is, I don’t think many people would’ve ever heard of you, or at least would’ve heard much less of you – once in a blue moon, if even that, had you not associated with OBL.

OBL’s “excellent” reputation among terrorists propelled you up the ladder pretty quickly. But that’s about where it ends for you, al-Zawahiri.

To many terrorists, while you are a medical doctor, you never demonstrated the qualities of a true leader or great inspirer of terrorists as OBL did. Even al-Qamari, a tank commander who was part of your terrorist cell in Egypt, doubted your leadership skills when he said:

“If you are a member of any group, you cannot be the leader”[1]

Your “intellectual” influence on other so-called jihadis is also questionable.  A detailed study by the Combating Terrorism Center on extremists had this to say of you:

“…Zawahiri, often portrayed by Western media as the main brain in the Jihadi Movement, is totally insignificant in the Jihadi intellectual universe.”[2]

Totally insignificant? Strong words coming from a strong study. Brushing this study aside because it was done by non-Muslims means nothing as it agrees with the perspective of diehard extremists themselves who question and doubt your qualities.

Michael Scheuer is even more critical. He basically says that your failure led you to depend on Osama bin Laden.

“Al-Zawahiri was inept at running the [Egyptian Islamic Jihad’s] international cells, and his mistakes allowed U.S. and Egyptian intelligence to wreck the network – forcing al-Zawahiri to seek out bin Laden’s aid and accept his direction”.

He also says,

“Al-Zawahiri and his lieutenants completely failed to damage the Egyptian government – and so accepted bin Laden’s plan to knock the U.S. props from under Mubarak’s regime.”

He also says you were an

“…arrogant Egyptian nationalist who believed Egyptians superior to other Arabs”

until you met bin Laden. You were also financially inept as you weren’t able to raise sufficient funds for al-Jihad. You were “…unable to raise any significant amount of money” and you were “all but broke” until you started working with bin Laden.[3]

Again: whatever stature you’ve attained is not much of your own doing, but mainly because of your association with OBL. OBL led you. You never led OBL. You were a follower. Not a leader.

You only became a leader in name when OBL died. Truth be told, few people believe al-Qa’eda will ever be the same without OBL, and especially with your poor leadership skills. Your leadership of al-Qa’eda is a weakness of al-Qa’eda. This is good news to Muslims and humanity as a whole, but still no reason to celebrate. Your poor leadership skills brings a new, psychotic twist to al-Qa’eda’s terrorism – if they can even genuinely claim you as their leader.

These are just your shortcomings as a leader. There are many more. For instance, how did you agree to become leader of al-Qa’eda without any credentials of Islamic scholarship? This brings us to the basics of Islamic jurisprudence.


Islamic Jurisprudence

Do you not know that Islam, in its entire history, never gave the liberty to a layperson (non-scholar) to deduce judgements (ijtihad) – in your case, cherry-picking foolishly – from Qur’anic verses and ahadeeth? This is only the prerogative of grounded religious scholars. If you know this, why do you violate the Sunni tradition? If you do not know this, why do you proudly take the mantle of “leader” when you do not posses the qualities of being one?

Do you not know that you are contradicting the early Muslims who you so stubbornly claim to emulate? Do you know that your methodology of following Islam contradicts that of the Companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them), the scholars of the Salaf, and the noble adherents of the Khalaf? You do not follow a Sunni school of jurisprudence (fiqh), turn your back on the glorious scholars (`ulema) from the Sunni tradition, yet claim to follow them?

Against Sunni Creed

Al-Zawahiri, you ridicule the Sunni Ash’ari and Maturidi creeds that most Sunni Muslims follow today, and have followed throughout Islam’s history.

In your letter to Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, you said Ash’aris and Maturidis have “mistakes” that would require “generations of the call to Islam and modifying the educational curricula” to correct them. Your opposition to Ash’aris and Maturidis, and adoption of a neo-Athari (Salafi) creed, is in violation of the three schools of Sunni creed that Sunni tradition represents (Ash’ari, Maturidi, Athari).

Yet, you and some of your idiotic followers in Al-Qa’eda have the gall to cite several Ash’ari scholars in their writings in a deceitful attempt to portray their support for your nefarious acts. How dare you and your followers twist the words of our early beloved scholars!


Your Troubled Childhood

Do you not think that your childhood may have something to do with your current predicament?

Have you considered the possible side effects of going to a secondary school “for kids from the wrong side of Road 9” where “the schoolyard was run by bullies and the classrooms by tyrants”?[4]

Your painful childhood is acknowledged by all who have studied your life. But behaving the way you are now, and in the name of “Islam,” as you terrorize the world and its inhabitants is the antithesis to the behavior and teachings of our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Is it possible that your extreme behavior may support what Lawrence Wright stated when he said:

“A physically vulnerable young boy such as Ayman had to create strategies to survive” (Looming Tower; p.42).

You are surely not to blame for what happened in childhood. After all, you were under the influence of your Uncle Mahfouz Azzam who adored Syed Qutb – another confused extremist. So close was he, he was Syed Qutb’s Arabic teacher (Looming Tower; p.43). You were bound to traverse a path of destruction.


Your Time in Prison

Your experience later in prison exacerbated the negativity within you. But you knew what the price was of being arrested by the Egyptian authorities, did you not?

But you went ahead and took the risk anyway. And that’s why you were tortured. Your negativity led you to prison, and your experience in prison made you an even bigger monster.

Your time in prison converted you from being irrational to becoming psychotic and twisted. Why don’t you admit that you are consumed with a passion for revenge for the wrong you see yourself having gone through since childhood?

You wish to get even with those who ‘wronged’ you by your diehard vengeance and giving them payback. Have you entertained the possibility, even if remote in your mind, that you are shedding blood, targeting Governments, and justifying the deaths of Muslim and non-Muslims as “collateral damage” simply to satisfy your feelings of revenge and to “get even”? Have you considered the possibility that your actions are manifestations of setting your distorted mental balance “straight”?

Remember what you said in rage when you were in court with fellow prisoners? You said:

“…dirty Egyptian jails…where we suffered the severest inhuman treatment. There they kicked us, they beat us, they whipped us with electric cables, they shocked us with electricity! They shocked us with electricity! And they used the wild dogs! And they used the wild dogs! And they hung us over the edges of the doors with our hands tied at the back! They arrested the wives, the mothers, the fathers, the sisters, and the sons” (Looming Tower; p.64).

Al-Zawahiri, be careful and fear Allah! All the efforts you are exerting will be for naught if your intentions are to satisfy yourself and not Allah! Is it possible that your ego is more important to you than Islam? Is it possible that you are prioritizing your actions and then seeking Religion as a justification by hook or crook to make yourself feel at peace? You are angry at those who you plotted against and one can only expect a severe response in return. Introspect and reflect!

Ask yourself: Am I interested in serving myself or am I interested in serving Allah Almighty? Indeed the line between the two can be very delicate to someone who is so driven by rage and revenge.

Do not turn your face away from the truth as your salvation depends on it! Face the truth, accept it, and embrace the path of the Muslim majority if you claim to be a Sunni Muslim!


Killing Innocent School Girls

Remember when Al-Jihad tried to kill Egypt’s Prime Minister at the time, Atef Sidqi, in 1993? The attack was a failure – even more so because the explosion killed a “twelve-year-old schoolgirl” .

I repeat, a twelve-year-old school girl. Do you realize the gravity of this “mistake”? This young girl who could have been a fully grown adult at this moment and enjoyed the pleasure of God-Given Life is now in her grave because of your group’s evil actions against her.

Did it ever tug on your conscience? Did you console the family of the dead girl that was going through deep and agonizing pain? Or do you see her simply as “collateral damage,” an issue of unimportance that can be brushed aside like some mosquito?

What compensation did you or members of Al-Jihad give to her family for this “collateral damage”? Muslims would like to know! Jurisprudence demands it!


Your Dishonesty with Fellow Extremists

Al-Zawahiri, your dishonesty has no bounds and contradicts the Qur’an and Sunnah! Remember when Sayyid Imam al-Sharif (“Dr. Fadl”) wanted to meet the learned shuyukh or scholars of Islamic knowledge in your terrorist cell?

Scholar and author Lawrence Wright said,

“In 1977, Zawahiri asked Imam to join his group, presenting himself as a mere delegate of the organization. Imam told Al Hayat that his agreement was conditional upon meeting the Islamic scholars who Zawahiri insisted were in the group; clerical authority was essential to validate the drastic deeds these men were contemplating. The meeting never happened.”

Wright then quotes Syed Imam:

“Ayman was a charlatan who used secrecy as a pretext.” “I discovered that Ayman himself was the emir of this group, and that it didn’t have any sheikhs.”

You were so desperate for others to join the terrorist cell that you lied to your own friend and colleague. Where in the Qur’an and Sunnah does it say it is okay to lie as you did? Don’t get me wrong. I would be happy to exploit this difference between two extremists who bring shame to my religion.

But Imam’s question was a legitimate one. He wanted to know the people of knowledge since he knows laypeople can twist any Qur’anic verse or hadeeth to suit their own whims. Imam still had misunderstandings of orthodox Sunni Islam and supported a terrorist group though he was much more cool headed than you. He has also repented of much of what he used to say.

Your deception continued even after you left prison in Egypt and joined Imam in Peshawar. You still didn’t learn. You became even more hardened and unIslamic.

Your travel to Peshawar is itself unIslamic. You went to Peshawar through deception by claiming to be qualified for a job you were not adequately qualified for. Imam said of you,

“He asked me to stand with him and teach him how to perform operations,”

and then said,

“I taught him until he could perform them on his own. Were it not for that, he would have been exposed, as he had contracted for a job for which he was unqualified.”

So you were not even a competent doctor, yet you portrayed to be one. You will not find any support for this deception in the Qur’an and Sunnah, I assure you. Stop using the Islamic mantle to promote your ignorance and unIslamic behavior.

You know well that had Imam not been there to teach you, you would’ve jeopardized the lives of innocents through your poor skills as a surgeon. It is unfortunate that you were ready to terrorize civilians while being a doctor – a position of trust. Human life really mean very little to you, doesn’t it? Do you not feel guilty for taking advantage of your profession to harm others?

Not only that, you also took Imam’s book, originally titled “The Compendium of the Pursuit of Divine Knowledge,” changed the title to “Guide to the Path of Righteousness for Jihad and Belief,” made drastic alterations to its contents, and removed what you didn’t agree with.

These Shaytanic actions against Imam’s book, and by extension against Imam himself, were done only to suit your violent views in direct contradiction to some of Imam’s perspectives.

Yet you left Imam’s name as the author as if he espoused and agreed with all that you had altered. You failed to inform Imam about this and hid it from him until someone else told him about this treachery.

All the while you were feeding false information to Muslims as you used and abused his name for your own nefarious pseudo-jihadi agenda. You portrayed Imam as a supporter of your views when this was completely untrue.

Granted, you asked Imam for forgiveness once you found out that he found out. But would you have just stayed quiet as you had all along if someone else had not informed Imam about your treachery?

The intensity of pain that you caused from your nefarious deeds of deception, manipulation, and hiding behind Imam’s name caused so much pain to him that he refused to speak with you. If Imam was your Shaykh – your Islamic guide – you treated him with utter disrespect. Where in the Qur’an, Sunnah, and our tradition does it say to disrespect your spiritual guides?

And you have earned this negative reputation yourself. Imam, in his own words, said,

“I do not know anyone in the history of Islam prior to Ayman al-Zawahiri who engaged in such lying, cheating, forgery, and betrayal of trust by transgressing against someone else’s book.”

Imam also said of you:

“He was a burden to me on the educational, professional, jurisprudential, and sometimes personal levels.”

Imam went on to say,

“He was ungrateful for the kindness I had shown him and bit the hand that I had extended to him. What I got for my efforts was deception, betrayal, lies, and thuggery.”

Al-Zawahiri, you can’t even treat your fellow extremists in a nice way. It completely escapes me how you expect to persuade the moderate Muslim masses to follow your example.

Your example completely contradicts the example of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him). Do you really expect to be successful in the approach you have opted to take?

Take heed of what Almighty Allah says!:

“O you who believe! Have fear of God, and be among the truthful.” (Quran 9:119)

Al-Zawahiri, take heed of what Prophet Muhamamd, peace and blessings upon him, said:

“Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to Al-Fajur (i.e. wickedness, evil-doing), and Al-Fajur (wickedness) leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar” (Bukhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 116).

You were also initially in a group without a spiritual guide. How then could you and your group have been following proper religious guidance when a religious guide is a prerequisite to learning Islamic jurisprudence? How can you be part of an Islamic group without a Shaykh, and why do you promote this reprehensible innovation (bid’ah dalala) in our religion? Sheikh Shuayb Arnaut, a Sunni scholar, said,

“Whoever doesn’t have a sheikh, the Devil is his sheikh, in any Islamic discipline.”[1]

You dragged Imam into a group led by Shaytan only to disclose his name to authorities later on to get him in trouble. Imam’s son, Ismail al-Sharif, says you put Imam in danger after you gave his name to interrogators when you were arrested in a round-up after Anwar al-Sadat’s assassination in 1981 for weapons smuggling.

While Imam and other like him rot in jail because of your treachery, how does that make you feel while you’re free?


Omar bin Laden’s view of you

Now, back to human life meaning very little to you. If you think you’ve been misinterpreted, then listen to what Omar bin Laden had to say in the book Growing Up Bin Laden. In case you’ve forgotten, Omar is one of Osama bin Laden’s biological sons who witnessed your unIslamic behavior first hand.

Omar is, however, “glad” that he

“…was was not often in Dr. Zawahiri’s presence” (p.129).

Omar continues to say,

“From the first moment I met the man, he left me feeling unsettled, despite the fact that my father respected him” (p.129).

Omar didn’t like you because he thought you were a plotting quack. Before commenting on Omar’s story of human life meaning very little to you, he told readers about your plot against his own father when you met Osama bin Laden through Abdallah Azzam in Peshawar – yes, your plotting against Osama bin Laden, the man you claim to love and purport to have followed. Omar said,

“I believe that it was during this time that Zawahiri began plotting to tap into my father’s wealth” (p.130).

You were broke and wanted Osama’s wealth very badly, didn’t you? You probably even lied to people when you went fundraising for so-called jihadi organizations, as Omar said,

“Some said that Zawahiri falsely claimed that the money raised would go to wounded Afghan children” (p.130).

Did you lie again? You know it as well as Allah Almighty. Omar regretted that you followed Osama bin Laden to Sudan:

“I was sorry that Zawahiri tracked my father to the Sudan, and once again linked himself and his organization to my father and to al-Qaeda. I felt that nothing good could come from the association” (p.130).


The Child You Murdered and Your Followers who Raped


Al-Zawahiri, have you forgotten about the little kid you killed? He was the son of a leading al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya member whose name was Mohammed Sharaf.

Do you still not realize that an innocent child who trusted the company of adults from your al-Jihad group was taken advantage of? He was gang raped and then accused by the criminals of having sex.

Fake photographs were manufactured by the rapists to blame the boy and protect themselves.

You didn’t even listen to the boy’s father who knew the truth of his son’s innocence. What did you do? You believed your liar al-Jihad members and shot the kid in the head!

He was Omar bin Laden’s close friend. Omar said,

“Certainly, the men who had raped him were too cowardly to admit a truth that might have saved his life. Those men would have met the same fate as my friend had they confessed their role in the crime, or been exposed in the pictures. But they were clever criminals, careful not to show their faces in any of the damning photographs. And so Zawahiri ordered that my doomed friend be delivered to his offices. My friend was dragged into a room with Zawahiri, who shot him in the head” (italics mine) (p.132).

You should’ve castrated your al-Jihad pedophiles who couldn’t control their sexual urges and keep their little willies to themselves. And you – how can you live in peace while knowing that you shot a child in the head for a wrong that he did not do? You didn’t even think about the negative impact this would have on Omar bin Laden and other youngsters.

The trauma was reflected in Omar’s words:

“For days I was frozen with shock and grief that an innocent person might be murdered at the hands of those who he had believed offered protection. I fretted over the terrors my friend had endured in the last days of his young life – first to be brutally gang-raped, then to be falsely accused of having illicit sex, then to have his last image be that of a gun placed to his head before his world turned dark and his life on earth ended” (pg.132).

Omar was afraid that he and his brothers could be targets too:

“Creeping memories reminded me that I, too, could have suffered the same fate” (p.132)….“For the first time I also realized that some of the men surrounding my father might be dangerous even to the sons of Osama bin Laden. Such men had danced with brutality since they were young, and now malice was mixed in their blood. I had always recognized this, yet felt immune to their cruel impulses. But Mohammed Sharaf was one of the most prominent leaders. If his son could be raped and murdered, my brothers and I could be targeted as well” (pp.132-133).

Omar was shocked, fearful, and in grief. Is this what our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, taught us? Absolutely not.


The “Trial”

You will surely shoot back and tell me that a proper trial was conducted with evidence that led to the child’s guilt and execution.

But how do you expect any sane person, Muslim or non-Muslim, to believe that a trial carried out by extremist, militant murderers of civilians who had no Islamic jurisprudential training, possessed zero caliber and qualifications of being  Islamic Judges, and who mocked and heaped accusations of kufr and bid’ah against the majority of Muslims, to believe you?

What specific details of the “trial” can you give to us that proves it was a genuine, Islamic trial and not some sham, kangaroo court manufactured by fighters who had little to no knowledge of Islamic trials?  And the execution of a child, and by shooting in his head — this is Islamically legitimate?

Where do you derive support from the Qur’an and Sunnah of shooting a child in the head, and through a “trial” such as the one you held? Let’s see the evidence, Mr. A-Zawahiri, if you claim to be truthful!

I am curious, Al-Zawahiri. When the Egyptian authorities caused you physical pain and torture, did you later think of the pain that was caused by you, your terrorist group, and later by al-Qa’eda on others? All the pain and suffering that you passed on to others – and especially our brothers and sisters in Islam who bear the brunt of most terrorist attacks?

What kind of Islam are you following? Certainly not the Islam practiced by the pious salaf-us-salih (forefathers)! Have you not read the many ahadeeth and ayat of the Qur’an that stress the unlawfulness of taking life unjustly? Have you not read that taking just one life unjustly is like taking the life of all of humanity?

You liked Syed Qutb so much that you made an underground cell with the sole purpose of overthrowing the Egyptian government not long after Syed Qutb died. Did you think you did the right thing? You even despised the Muslim Brotherhood simply for being compromising. Is being uncompromising the only avenue that you have chosen to take?

Al-Zawahiri, remember the time when you let al-Qamari store smuggled weapons and ammunition in your medical clinic? To the reader, this is the same medical clinic “which was in a downstairs apartment in the duplex where his parents lived” (Looming Tower; p.58).

Where his parents lived? Did you not realize the shamefulness of your deeds? You used your medical clinic which is supposed to heal/cure people from sickness for weapons used to maim and kill.

And weren’t you afraid of putting your parents at risk? Your behavior is selfish and extreme.

You have shown no patience or perseverance as a Muslim should. You always try to get even with others. When you were in prison in Egypt, you “immediately became known among the other prisoners as the man who struck back” (p.60).

I have said enough. And while I do not wish to use another second of my life writing to you, I hope my letter becomes an example to many on the sidelines. I hope they reject you and your gang and champion the cause of love and peace. I also hope that I become a good example of a Sunni Muslim who speaks out against militants who hijack the mantle of Sunni tradition to promote their pseudo-Sunni, barbaric acts.

May Allah Curse you and your kind and save all Muslims and non-Muslims from the evil you have brought on all of us!!



A Sunni Muslim,

Zubair Qamar


Websites accessed:

[1] The Looming Tower, p.58.

[2] Atlas of Militant Ideology – Executive Report. Nov 2006. Executive Report, Editor & Project Director: William McCants, PhD; Project Coordinator: Jarret Brachman, PhD, CTC Director: LTC Joseph Felter, PhD). Copyright by Combating Terrorism Center, U.S. Military Academy. Page-9.

[3] Osama bin Laden, by Michael Scheuer; pg.14.

[4] Looming Tower, p.41

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