A reader emailed this morning and asked me to post the meaning of the text shown on the Black Flag of Jihad. I don’t read Arabic myself, but I’ve been told that the flag displays the shahada, the basic statement of the Islamic faith:
“La illaha ila Allah, wa Muhammadun rasul Allah.”
Or more fully (including the implied affirmative declaration):
“[’ašhadu ’an] la ilaha illa-llah, wa [’ašhadu ’anna] muhammadan rasulu-llah.”
The recitation of the shahada in front of witnesses is necessary and sufficient to announce conversion to Islam. Once you have declared it, you are a Muslim for life. Under sharia, there is no way to reverse the shahada. Those who attempt to are considered apostates, and must be killed.
A few years ago two Fox News journalists were kidnapped in Gaza and recited the shahada — declaring their conversion to Islam on camera — to earn their release. Once one of the journalists was safely home, he said he didn’t mean it, that he was forced to convert just to save his neck and get out of Gaza.
He may not realize it, but he is now a Muslim forever. If he should ever publicly reverse his conversion, his life will be forfeit, and under sharia he may (and should) be lawfully killed by any faithful Muslim.
That’s what the Black Flag of Jihad is all about.