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April 22, 2022


This is a poem composed by Muhammad Sheet Khattab, one of the Iraqi officers who participated in the Battle of Jenin in Palestine in 1948, the year of the Nakba (the Great Catastrophe).

1948 will go down in the annals of history as the ill-fated year when the illegitimate state of Israel was created by a largescale land grab and when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs – about half of prewar Palestine's Arab population – fled or were expelled from their homes.

Since that unilateral ”Declaration of Independence” in a land belonging to the Palestinians, there has been unending aggression, violations of basic human rights and total disregard for international laws and resolutions. The world has for decades witnessed forceful expulsions, demolitions and invasions, and has remained for the most part silent or complicit.

This abnormal situation and the oppression and inhumane treatment of innocent people, the brutality and the illegal occupation of the Apartheid state continues unabated until this day, and many parts of the poem “Jenin” are as relevant today as they were 74 years ago!

These are the graves of our immortal heroes who died

As martyrs aspiring to liberate other nations.

They fought in Jihad against the enemies, attaining martyrdom,

And dying on the battlefield as brave warriors;

Dying, defending the beautiful valleys, desecrated

By the most despicable of all of God’s creation in this world.

O Jenin! You have indeed witnessed our Jihad,

And seen our soldiers ultimately meet their death.

O Jenin, we will not forget the spirited courage

Of your sons, until we are shrouded for burial.

I testify that your people have repelled

The attacks of the Jews and vanquished the enemy.

Glory is for people who resist patiently,

Even if they taste death in all its forms.

The Aqsa Mosque is calling out to the believers

Who have abandoned it to a most vulnerable state:

“Indeed I know that the religion of Muhammad (SAW)

Never accepts denigration for any Muslim.

Everlasting life is for those who die fighting,

Everlasting life is not for those who live as cowards.”

[NB: These are selected verses from the poem. The translation Is my own and I take full responsibility for any errors or liberties therein.]

رحم الله اللواء الركن محمود شيت خطاب وجميع الذين شاركوا في معارك الإسلام الفاصلة ضد أعدائه.

May Allah Almighty have mercy on Major General Muhammad Sheet Khattab (1338-1419 AH/1919-1998 CE) and all those who participated in the decisive battles of Islam against its enemies.

May Allah, most Compassionate, shower his grace and aid on the people defending the honor and dignity of the Aqsa Mosque and their homes, and assist them in the long struggle for justice.

May Allah, most Powerful, alleviate the suffering of the innocent and displaced and reward them for their patience. May He, most Just, restore the rights of the downtrodden and the deprived.

May Allah, most Glorious, continue to bless the third most sacred masjid of Islam and its precincts, and restore its glory and its noble people to their rightful places.

May love, truth, justice and peace prevail at all times.

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