Noth; Donner, Narratives). These literary layers began accumulating in the period immediately following the Battle, when story-tellers (Ar. qāṣṣ, pl. quṣṣāṣ) embellished their narrative, often in an attempt to glorify past ancestors. This process continued in the hands of the later tradents and collectors of traditions (Ar. akhbār), who compiled the early surviving works of Islamic historiography. Thus, contemporary allusions to al-Qādisiyyah, an incident during the foundational period of Islam, carry broad implications and suggest more than a simple historical reference.
Ṣaddām’s Qādisiyyah(Ar. Qādisiyyat-Ṣaddām). The first instance of this naming occurred on 02 April 1980, a half-year before the outbreak of hostilities, on the occasion of a visit by Ṣaddām Ḥusayn to al-Mustanṣiriyyah University in Baghdād, where a bomb attack on the previous day had injured his vice-president, Tarīq ʿAzīz. Ṣaddām blamed the newly-founded Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) and, drawing the parallel to the Seventh-Century battle, he announced:
In your name, brothers, and on behalf of the Iraqis and Arabs everywhere we tell those [Persian] cowards and dwarfs who try to avenge Al-Qadisiyah that the spirit of Al-Qadisiyah as well as the blood and honor of the people of Al-Qadisiyah who carried the message on their spearheads are greater than their attempts (see Ṣaddām, E3).
The maquette was worked from plaster casts of the [Ṣaddām]’s arms, taken from just above the elbow, with a sword inserted into each fist. The monument serves as a Baʾthi equivalent of the Arc de Triomphe in the Champs Elysées. The Baʾthi arch, however, is bigger. The President’s forearms and fists, sixteen metres in length (the same height as the Arc de Triomphe), burst out of the ground like gargantuan bronze tree-trunks and rise with their firmly grasped swords to an apex forty metres above the ground. War debris in the shape of five thousand Iranian helmets taken fresh from the battelfield [sic] are gathered up in two nets (2,500 each) which are torn asunder at the base, scattering the helmets around the points at which the arms rise from the earth. … [T]he raw steel used [for the swords] was obtained by melting down the weapons of Iraqi ‘martyrs’ who died in the fighting (see Makiya, 3-4).
God is most great(Ar. Allāhu akbar) to the country’s flag and arranged for a fringe group to declare him the caliph of Islam. This trend towards religio-political manipulation of al-Qādisiyyah has continued most prominently among the proponents of radical Islam, who have cited the battle as an inspirational example of a small, but righteous and zealous group overcoming a wicked and immoral reigning super-power. Thus, for example, a group of insurgents operating against the American-led coalition forces in Iraq called itself
Luwāʾ Qādisiyyat Saʿd (Saʿd’s Qādisiyyah Brigade). In particular, Sunnī radicals, such as those active in al-Qāʿidah (al-Qaeda), have cited al-Qādisiyyah in their messages to the faithful. In January 2011, the Global Islamic Media front, a European propaganda organisation that supports al-Qāʿidah and other radical groups, announced the creation of al-Qadisiyyah Media Productions, which would translate Arabic-language materials into South Asian languages, including Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Pashto, and Persian. Likewise, a branch of a Sunnī militant group opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran calls itself the
Qadesiyoon Media Brigadeon the Internet, seeking apparently to follow in the footsteps of the Seventh-Century invaders and to overturn to the government of Iran.
Usher). The al-Qāʿidah activist in charge of running its internet activities, Shaykh Yūsuf al-ʿAyyīrī (d. 2003), reportedly wrote:
Oh the mother of men, how many sons do you have? … Are you not taking the female predecessors as an example and role model? Give what they gave, so you may attain a reward like theirs. [Al-Khansāʾ] is a famous woman, who, if our women were like her, no one would remain behind. If the women were like her, the men would leave for jihad in groups. … [When] news of [her sons’] deaths reached their mother, … she said:
Praise be to God who honored me with their deaths, and I hope my God will gather me with them in His everlasting mercy (see ʿAyyīrī).
Such invocations demonstrate the appeal of the Qādisiyyah narrative to radical Islamists, much as it attracted the attention of Ṣaddām Ḥusayn and the Baʿthist régime in Iraq. Although Ṣaddām and al-Qāʿidah may have highlighted different aspects or interpretations of Qādisiyyah, the memory of the Seventh-Century engagement continues to possess emotive significance in the modern Middle East.
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