Fares al-Zahrani was one of the 47 men who were executed by the Saudi Authorities on January, 2nd, 2016. He was of great importance for many reasons. Of course, much will be written about him in the days to come.
Here are some points explaining his life and importance:
1- Personal life and education:
Fares bin Ahmad Al Shuwayl al-Zahrani فارس بن أحمد آل شويل الزهراني ، was born in 1977 in a al-Jawfa’ الجوفاء village in Bilad Zahran in southern Saudi Arabia. His tribal affiliation is Azd, from which he brought his nick name that he was known afterwards (Abu Jandal al-Azadi). His family moved to a nearby al-Nu’us النعوص village from which Fares would graduate his elementary school. Later he would pass high school in the same village in 1996 with high grades. Where Fares went to college differed amongst the many articles/news/message boards.
Here are a list of schools that he was said to have been in:
-Kulliyat ‘Ulum al-Quran in al-Madina, for one semester. كلية علوم القرآن في المدينة المنورة.
-The University of al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud al-Islamaiyah in al-Qasim, جامعة الإمام محمد بن سعود الإسلامية في القصيم
-The University of King Khaled in Abha (From here he got a BA in 2000 according to some sources).
2- The Spotlight
There is no clear date on when did Fares al-Zahrani became a militant wanted by the authorities. But one can trace he started writing under his two identities online. But, what is a fact that after a series of deadly clashes between the Saudi government and Jihadis in 2003, a list of 26 people came out in November with the name Fares al-Zahrani on it. Before this no one knew of him. After this date, things became different and he came out in the open with his real name.
Fares al-Zahrani was active under the two names he used online: al-Mutaharek المتحرك, and abu Jandal al-Azadi أبو جندل الأزدي, the name he wrote under his first few books, which appeared only online and gained immediate popularity because of its timing and topic.
Amongst the message boards Fares, aka Abu Jandal al-Azadi, was active in was Minbar al-Jihad wa-al-Tawhid: a very active blog/message board dealing with Jihad related issues. The same blog interviews Fares al-Zahrani later, which is probably the only in depth talk ever made with him, where he responded to people’s questions.
3- The many important books:
Fares al-Zahrani’s first important book was : al-Baheth ‘Ann Hikm Qatl Afrad wa-Dubat al-Mabaheth, which could be translated into English as : [For those who are looking for the Rule to kill the police members and officers]. This book came after a series of deadly confrontations with the Saudi police. It was written under the name Abu Jandal al-Azadi. The importance of this book comes from the fact it contained an attempt to find religious approval for the killing of the police officers. Fares was able to make the links between al-Quran, al-Hadith, some militant thinkers, namely Sayyid Qutb and Abu Qutadah, to justify the act of killing. This was something new, especially the whole book came online, and as a product of many online arguments on the Jihadis blogs.
Fares al-Zahrani has another important book regarding the sanctity of violence entitled: Tahrid al-Mujahidin al-Abtal Ala Ihya’ Sinat al-Ightiyal, which could be translated into English as: Encouraging the hero Mujahidin to revive the sanctioned practice: Assassination. The title tells what is in the book. Assassinations were to be made, and the religious Fatwa was provided by al-Zahrani.
Other important books:
a- al-Ayat wa al-Ahadith al-Ghazirah fi Kifr Quwat Rad’ al-Jazeerah
b- Nusus al-Fuqaha’ Hawl Ahkam al-Gharah wa-al-Tatarrus.
c- Usamah Ibn LAden Mujadded al-Zaman wa-Qaher al-Amrican
d- Wujub Istinqaz al-Mustdafin min Sujun al-Tawagheet wa-al-Murtaddin
e- Allahu Akbar Kharabet Amrica
f- Qissas Tarikhiyah lil-Matlibin
3- His very important audio messages
Fares al-Zahtani made many important audio messages, the most known is the one entitled: “Your citizenship is under my feet.” In this message, he denounced his Saudi citizenship.
This speech was quoted in the year 2014 by Saudi fighters in the ranks of the Islamic State when they tore into pieces then burned their Saudi Passports in a famous videos. In this audio message, Fares al-Zahrani speaks in clear terms of the Muslim Ummah that does not recognize any of the borders/nationalities we have today.
Other important audio messages:
a- Risalah ila- Askar
b- His message to his son and daughter.
(This article is a work in progress…..)