Refuting Anwar al Awlaki’s Fatwa for Bank Robbery


In Al-Qaida in Yemen´s English-language Online magzine Inspire dated January 2011, US-Yemeni preacher Anwar al-Awlaki calls for Muslims in the West to steal the wealth of unbelievers and infidels to support and finance jihad. Titled “The Ruling On Dispossessing the Disbelievers wealth in Dar al-Harb“ Awlaki´s text states Muslims in the West are not obliged to act according to the laws and rules of the Non-Muslim country they live in and respect its laws. It is theologically justified to steal the wealth of the kuffar, Awlaki argues. To do this becomes even more necessary as Jihadis worldwide lack funding and financial support.

“Dear brothers: Jihad heavily relies on money. In Quran, the physical jihad is associated with jihad with one’s wealth in eight verses. In every verse but one, jihad with wealth preceded the physical jihad“, Awlaki writes, “That is because without wealth there can be no jihad.“ The Awlaki goes on by explaining: “Our enemies have realized that. Therefore they are “following the money trail“ and are trying to dry up all the sources of funding “jihad“.“

As today´s Global Jihad largely and mainly depends on detonations of supporters, it´s financing is therefore very vulnerable. “It is about time that we take serious steps towards securing a strong financial backing for our work rather than depending on donations“, Anwar al-Awlaki´s text reads. Instead of depending on their own pockets to finance war against the infidels, Muslims should take from the infidels´pocket, Awlaki highlights. “We as Muslims should seek the wealth of the disbelievers as a form of jihad in the path of Allah“, the US citizen Awlaki says: “That would necessitate that we spend the money on the cause of jihad and not on ourselves.“

The al-Qaida allied cleric argues the taking of wealth and property of Non-Muslims according to common and majority theological opinion is only allowed in countries where a war between Muslims and Non-Muslims is taking place (Dar al-Harb = “land of war“). This situation, Awlaki writes, nowadays exist in countries of the West as well, as these countries send out troops to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, and are at war with the Muslims: “It is the consensus of our scholars that the property of the disbelievers in Dar al-Harb is halal (allowed) for the Muslims and is a legitimate target for the Mujahidin.“

“Every Muslim who lives in Dar al-Harb should avoid paying any of his wealth to the disbelievers whether it be in the form of taxes, duties, or fines“, Awlaki writes. The question if this should involve illegal activities to raise money for jihad is a rather complex issue to Anwar al-Awlaki. “For Muslims who are associated with groups that work for jihad, we recommend that the decision to involve oneself in any illegal activity to acquire money from the disbelievers be taken by the Amir“, he states. Muslims without any affiliation to a group and without any leader figure shall spend all the money gained from criminal activities to support the Jihad.

“The West has been plundering our wealth for centuries“, Awlaki argues, “Now is the time for payback. Allah willing, the chickens will come home to roost.“

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stole $429 million from the central bank in Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, which ISIS occupied in June 2014.

Mash ’Allah! ’Awlaki wraps up his baatil by making out that it is a mere fiqh ruling! Due to this “fiqh ruling” of al-’Awlaki some of the Muslim youth in South London have performed armed robberies of security vans which transport money and these brothers have narrated to us that they justified these robberies based on what Anwar al-’Awlaki said!And even if we say that these lands are Dar ul-Harb ’Awlaki has also totally bypassed what classical scholars such as Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi (rahimahullah) stated in al-Mughni regarding Muslims who enter Dar ul-Harb!

Ibn an-Nahhas in his book Mash ri’ ul-Ashwaq il Masari’ il- ’Ushshaq (!!!) – in the edit of Idrees Muhammad ’Ali and Muhammad Khalid Istanbuli (first published in 1410 AH/1989 CE with the Third Edition in Beirut in 1423 AH/2002 CE by Dar ul-Basha’ir), pp.1060-1062 – made reference to Ibn Qudamah (rahimahullah) and what he said in al-Mughni:
…and as for betraying them, then it is haram (prohibited), because they gave him the covenant of safety and security on the condition that he will neither betray them nor harm them, and even if this was not written therein as it is known contextually. Thus, whoever gained a covenant of safety and security into our countries and betrayed us then it is as if he withdrew his covenant. And thus, if this was true, then it is prohibited to betray them, because our religion prohibits betrayal. In this respect, the Prophet (sallallahu ’alayhi wassallam) said:


“the Muslims must stick to their conditions ”Ibn Qudamah here was himself commenting on what was stated by al-Khirqi al-Hanbali (rahimahullah) when al-Khirqi said:

It is found in the text of al-Khirqi al-Hanbali : ‘Whoever enters the land of the enemy should not betray them (betray the covenant or agreement with them).’

Abu Yahya Zakariyyah bin Muhammad al-Ansari ash-Shafi’ (823-926 AH/1420-1520 CE) stated in al-Asna ul-Matalib:

The wealth of the people of Harb (war) are prohibited to whoever from us has granted them safety and security. If a Muslim enters their abodes with a covenant of safety and security and borrows anything from them, or steals anything from them, and then returns to our land he has to return what he took; as he cannot dishonour them if he entered their lands with an agreement of safety and security.

As-Sarkhasi (rahimahullah) states in his Sharh of Kitab as-Siyar al-Kabeer of Muhammad bin al- Hasan (rahimahull h):Muhammad said: ‘Chapter: what is classified as an Aman for those who enter Dar ul-Harb wa’l-Asr and what is not an Aman’:

If a group of Muslims go to the gate-keepers of Ahl ul-Harb and say to them “we are messengers of the Khaleefah” and produce a document which resembles an official document from the Khaleefah, or if they do not even produce any documentation, then this is them deceiving the Mushrikeen. If Ahl ul-Harb say to this Muslim group: “Enter” and they enter Dar ul-Harb then it is not permissible for them to kill any Ahl ul-Harb or take any wealth from them so long as they are within their land.

(As-Sarkhas says): Because what they (the Muslims) have manifested to them (Ahl ul-Harb) if it is true then they have an Aman from Ahl ul-Harb and Ahl ul-Harb also have an Aman from them so it is not permitted to dishonour them in anything. This is the ruling for messengers (of the Khaleefah) if they enter their lands as we have explained.



Al-’Awlaki has a clear problem with the issue of the ’Ahdul-Aman (Covenant of Safety and Security) and especially where it has been discussed by the ’Ulama in regards to this ’Ahd being extended to enemy forces.

’Awlaki denies this issue within his lectures on jihad even though it has been discussed clearly by the classical scholars in their books of jihad, such as Ibn ul-Munasif (563-620 AH/1168-1223 CE) and Ibn an-Nahhas (d.814 AH/1411 CE). ’Awlaki’s denial and lack of referring to this in detail shows that he has his own agenda and that the wrath that he has towards his own country, the US, has led him to disregard this issue.

Furthermore, ’Awlaki himself is an American citizen which according to some of the Khawarij of the era is sufficient reason to kill a person! Indeed, some al-Qa ’idah members have held that anyone who holds US citizenship is fair-game for murder! So it is as if al-’Awlaki has a kind of inferiority complex over his citizenship which has led him to turn on the US even more in a kind of contorted notion of redemption.

Taken from: A Critique of the Methodology of Anwar al Awlaki and Errors in the Issues of Jihad by


  1. Assalaamu-Alaykum
    I have a few concerns
    1, where the Original article for reference?
    2, How can we be sure it was written by Anwar Al Awlaki
    3, why has the title got a photo from a Hollywood move scene and the words Bank robbery when Anwar never used the words Bank robbery and again why a photo from a movie scene a movie the contains Zeena how can you use this photo and Attach it to Anwar Al
    Back biting in it’s purist form

    • The fatwa was also given in audio in Awlaki’s “explanation” of Ibn an-Nahhas’s book Mashari’ ul-Ashwaq il Masari’ il-’Ushshaq, CD 13, Track 3, states when answering a question from someone in the audience about whether this country (UK) is Dar ul-Harb and if Ghaneemah can therefore be taken from it:


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