Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi bigraphy, stories - Palestinian political writer

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi : biography

1959 –

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi ( ) or more fully Abu Muhammad Asem al-Maqdisi ( أبو محمد عصام المقدسي ) is the assumed name of Isam Mohammad Tahir al-Barqawi ( عصام محمد طاهر البرقاوي ), a Salafi jihadi Islamist Jordanian-Palestinian writer. He is best known as the spiritual mentor of Jordanian mujahid Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the initial leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. However, an ideological and methodical split emerged between Maqdisi and Zarqawi in 2004 due to Zarqawi’s takfiri proclamations towards the Shi’a populations in Iraq. Maqdisi opted for a more cautious approach towards targeted Shi’a killings, attempting to stop Zarqawi’s radical ideological movement before Zarqawi’s methods become counter-productive.Allawi, Ali A. "The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace." Yale University Press, 2007. The writings of Maqdisi still have a wider following; a study, summary carried out by the Combating Terrorism Center of the United States Military Academy (USMA) concluded that Maqdisi "is the most influential living Jihadi Theorist" and that "by all measures, Maqdisi is the key contemporary ideologue in the Jihadi intellectual universe".

Maqdisi is currently in the custody of the government of Jordan. The Tawhed jihadist website, which he owns, continues to operate; the USMA report describes it as "al-Qa`ida’s main online library".


This is our Aqeedah Millat Ibrahim Democracy is a Religion …So, Do Not Fear Them! Expecting the Best from Allah


Maqdisi was born in 1959 in the city of Nablus, Palestine. At a young age his family emigrated to Kuwait. He later studied at the University of Mosul in Iraq. It was during this time he began to take on an Islamist world view.

He began to travel around Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in order to visit with numerous religious students and sheikhs. However he came to believe that many of these religious figures were ignorant of the true state of affairs in the Muslim world. He then began to study the writings of Sheikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and Imam Ibnul Qayyim. While in Medinah he read the writings of Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab and was strongly influenced by them.

Maqdisi travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and met many of the jihad groups there at the time. He also confronted the members of Takfir wal-Hijra and wrote a book refuting their extreme views. In 1992 he returned to Jordan. He began to denounce the Jordanian government and what he believed were the man-made laws being implemented there. His teachings gained many adherents and this earned him the attention of the government, and he was arrested and imprisoned. During the years 1995-1999 both he and al-Zarqawi were in prison together and he exerted a strong influence on al-Zarqawi, shaping his Islamist ideology. After they were released from prison al-Zarqawi departed for Afghanistan while Maqdisi stayed in Jordan. He was later rearrested on terrorism charges for conspiring to attack American targets in Jordan. He was released again in July 2005, but arrested again after he gave an interview to al Jazeera. In 2009 he defended himself against "younger extremists accus[ing] him of going soft" by quoting the American Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, which identified him "as a dangerous and influential jihadi theorist." ] April 29, 2009]

Maqdisi has also told those thinking of fighting for the Yemeni government against the Sa’dah insurgency of the Houthis, that they should instead keep well out of the war against the Houthis because Yemeni’s must not help Yemen’s pro-Western government, which deserves to be overthrown.