Guest Author: Pieter van Ostaeyen
The Story of 28 year old Chokri Massali – Abu Walae
Died on Sunday July 28
In an earlier post I presented you the story of Abu Baseer, who died in the Battle of Khan Touman. Here is the story of one of his older brothers, who died only a few months later.
Abu Walae and two other brothers from the Netherlands were waiting for Iftaar in their base camp, when via the radio they heard that a group of Mujahideen was surrounded by al-Assad’s troops in a village nearby. The brothers quickly prepared for battle and left camp. When they arrived on the scene they were immediately fired upon by snipers. Nonetheless the war party breached the enemy ranks; after heavy fighting Abu Walae and ten other brothers were ordered to control the left flank of the occupied village.
It was a pitch dark night; they only had limited sight on the frontline. After a little while they stumbled upon Bashar’s troops and opened fire. Abu Walae turned his weapon on automatic and stormed forward; he almost immediately took a bullet through the head. This action, led by Abu Walae, resulted in the death of all 22 enemy soldiers. On our side only Abu Walae got killed, another brother got shot in his leg. Abu Walae never feard the Kufar, he was a brave man …
A man asked: “Who is the superior Martyr?” The Prophet answered: “Those who stand in the line of battle and do not turn their heads until they die. They will dwell in highest region of Paradise, their Lord will smile at them. And when Allah smiles at one, there will be no reckoning on Judgement Day.” [at-Targheeb wa’t-Tarheeb]
Earlier this week, in the wonderful battle of Khan Asal in which the life of our Belgian brother Abu Mujahid was taken, several brothers witnessed Abu Walae killing six or seven soldiers all by himself. In the end we took over the town, killing about 250 Kufar.
When the Mujahideen captured soldiers of Bashar’s army on the battle field of Khan Asal, Abu Walae offered one of the captives some of his soft drink; laughing “They don’t even realize they’ll get a one way ticket to hell.” He told another soldier “hey, I know you ! Aren’t you one of the Mujahideen from our group ?” The soldier thought he found a way to escape death and replied “yes, that’s right ! I was in your group but they captured me at the checkpoint and made me fight you guys.” Abu Walae turned to one of the brothers: “Put your weapon on automatic and shoot this guy …”
Abu Walae prayed to God frequently, asking Him to kill lots of enemies before dying as a martyr himself. He dreamt of being united in Paradise with his younger brother Abu Baseer. And Insha’allah his prayers have been answered in this Holy month of Ramadan. May these two martyred brothers be offered the favors of the Shuhadaa. What an honor for this family to have two of their sons martyred.
For a Mujahid it is very important to be tolerant towards others, for in this Jihad you will be meeting people from different nations, with different habits and cultures. Furthermore you are in a completely different country, far away from life as you knew it. You have to adapt to the situation and the variety of people you will deal with. If you do not have an open heart and are impatient then you will probably not persevere this Jihad. It is during Jihad that you will truly get to know your comrades; it is here your true friends will be revealed.
One may believe the only thing you will deal with in Jihad are bullets and shelling. A Mujahid however must also stand hunger, pain, insomnia. He must be patient with the people he meets and has to adapt to a whole new situation. Sometimes you will have to stay put for weeks, enduring hunger, cold, rain … This asks for endurance and patience.
I knew Abu Walae for years, he was my best friend. I knew him for years at home and I got to know him better, thousands of kilometers away from home, fighting on the Syrian battle field. It was an honor to get to know him better whilst fighting together. He was a great man, he became even more exalted in Jihad. The same goes for all the other brothers I knew back home and here, both in good as in harder times. Me and Abu Walae were friends, for five years we shared everything. We left for Syria together, we followed each other from basecamp to basecamp, we fought side by side on the battle field. We shared everything, every day with him was a pleasure. We spent many hours at nights sitting together drinking tea or coffee, talking with other brothers. Daily we talked about Martyrdom and how it would be like to die like a Shaheed. He always stated firmly “if that bullet comes, so be it.”
Abu Walae was a well-informed brother, his Arabic was excellent and both at home as in Syria he was very involved with Dawah. He offered help to other brothers translating Arabic for them. If the brothers had any questions, he patiently took his time to explain everything in length. He did this in a humble way, never humiliating them with his knowledge. Other wise people could learn from Abu Walae. He was straightforward in his words yet easily forgiving.
Jihad without patience is impossible and our brother Abu Walae was a very patient man. Here you have to cope by yourself; there is no loving mother here cooking and washing for you. Here you learn to be independent. Jihad is a school of life; it’s not only fighting, you learn to be obedient and disciplined. If you fail to be patient, if you do not have these virtues, you will fail in Jihad. In a way your Jihad starts before you leave for the battle field. You will have to fight your own will, your doubts and fears. You will be in two minds, thinking about your family, you will worry. You have to be strong to overcome these feelings and to take the next step.
Abu Walae enjoyed Jihad even despite the hardship and sacrifices. Those who didn’t wage Jihad will hardly understand but for Muslims here’s a comparison. The Holy Month of Ramadan means fasting during the day and praying at night time. Both the fasting and praying are hard to endure, yet we see Ramadan as a time of joy, time flies by because of this. The same stands for Jihad; as in Ramadan, we are surrounded with brothers and close friends, you feel close to Allah.
It is quite evident why Abu Walae enjoyed Jihad. Jihad bestows the Ummah with life and nobleness, it is a source of victories for the Muslims. As we witnessed, leaving Jihad means indignation and dismay. Although at times you will have no food, no shelter, sleeping under trees or on a concrete floor, the Mujahid feels joy and satisfaction. Compare this with living in the West, where, despite having all they need, people live in sorrow and depression.
About a month ago, a brother had a dream about Abu Walae. He saw him drinking and asked what it was. Abu Walae said he was drinking the wine of Paradise. This brother saw this dream as a prediction of his Martyrdom. He later talked Abu Walae about this dream and Abu Walae answered that there was no worth in this life, that he wanted to be with Allah. Indeed a few weeks later Abu Walae was martyred.
Abu Walae’s mother had a similar dream. She saw her son entering the living room wearing his qamis, his gun over his left shoulder. He approached his mother and embraced her firmly. “My son, did you return?” “No,” he said, “I came to see you and will go back.” This dream was like a confirmation for his family that Abu Walae would die as a Martyr.
My family told me about the faith and perseverance the family of Abu Walae shows. This mother sacrificed two of her sons and when Allah will ask her what she did in her life she can tell Him she raised two sons whom she sacrificed for Allah’s cause. How many are there who can claim that these days ? Is there a greater sacrifice any mother can make ? May Allah protect her and unite her with her two martyred sons in Paradise.
If parents in the Netherlands love their children, they shouldn’t stand between them and Paradise. Indeed, they should give their children the example by first sending in the fathers to fight Jihad. Abu Walae cared deeply for his mother, he understood why for Islam it is so important to take good care of your mother. If he heard about one of the brothers not calling home for a long time, he would reprimand them. He would talk to the brother and convince him to call home. He was one of the brothers who took good care for the younger brothers from The Netherlands.
We ask Allah to accept our brother as a Martyr and to reunite us all in Paradise. Oh Allah, favor us with martyrdom and take our blood, our possessions, our effort and our sacrifices until it favors you.
Your Brothers from Bilad as-Sham
Pieter van Ostaeyen is a Belgian historian, Arabist and islamicist on current affairs in the Middle East. He is also active on Twitter: @p_vanostaeyen. This post was previously pbulished on Jihadology.net and is also to be found on his own blog. This is the second of a series of articles on Dutch foreign fighters in Syria. You can read the first here.