Archive Of Jabhat Al-Nusra Billboards And Murals: Indexing Syria's Jabhat Al-Nusra And Its Public Relations
10 April 2015
By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
The Islamic State [IS] has become well known for its elaborate murals and
billboards in keeping with its state building project (e.g. see my posts here
and here). However, Jabhat al-Nusra, which has been increasingly building up
its own proto-Islamic emirate project in northwestern Syria partly to rival
IS, has also been putting up plenty of billboards and murals to advertise its
presence. Reflecting that phenomenon are the photos below, most of which date
from the last 4 months or so, by which time Jabhat al-Nusra had developed a
substantial network of strongholds in Idlib province in particular after
routing its main rivals the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and Harakat Hazm. Of
course this does not mean that Jabhat al-Nusra billboards and murals did not
exist previously, but the trend has become more noticeable.
One should compare with the evolution of the Jabhat al-Nusra judicial body
front known as Dar al-Qaḍa, reflecting a more hardline approach from Jabhat
al-Nusra as regards control of societal institutions and less willingness now
to work with other rebel factions in administration. This has given rise to
widespread rebel concerns about Jabhat al-Nusra's intentions, partly
explaining recent rebel merger formations such as the Levant Front in Aleppo
province and the absorption of Suqur al-Sham into Ahrar al-Sham.
Below is an archive I have compiled of over 50 Jabhat al-Nusra billboards and
"My prayer is my salvation. It is the first thing on which man will be held
accountable on the Day of Judgement."
"Jihad is for whosoever has spoken truthfully, not for whosoever has
"Corruption has appeared in the land and sea from what the hands of the
people have earned, that He may make them taste some of what they have done,
that perhaps they may return."- Qur'an 30:41.
On right: quotation of Qur'an 28:83. On left, partial quotation from Qur'an
2:197: "And take provisions, but the best provision is fear of God."
"When is the last time you read the Qur'an?." This billboard and the next
three below reportedly from Hama countryside.
"Do you know by heart more of the book of God than songs?."
"The first thing on which man will be held accountable on the day of
Judgement: Prayer. For if it is just, the rest of his deeds are just. But if
it is corrupt, the rest of his deeds are corrupt."
"The one who leads to what is best is like the one who does it." [a hadith]
"And remind: for a reminder benefits the believers." [Qur'an 51:55].
Directions are given to some Hama province villages such as al-Meluleh and
"I ask for God's forgiveness and I repent to Him." This billboard and the
next three below reportedly from Idlib countryside.
"To the people of loyalty, giving [i.e. to them] is insignificant." [title of
a speech by Jabhat al-Nusra's amir Abu Muhammad al-Jowlani]
"God is my reliance and He suffices a guardian."
"Whoever prepares a raider, has participated in the raid." [from a hadith on
the authority of Zaid ibn Khalid].
"So remember me and I will remember you." [Qur'an 2:152]. This one and next
three below reportedly from Hama wilderness.
"They have forgotten God, so He has forgotten them. [Qur'an 9:67] Don't be
among those about whom God has spoken."
"When a son of Adam dies, his deeds are cut off except for three things:
ongoing charity, knowledge from which one can obtain benefit, or the
supplication of a righteous son for him." [hadith on the authority of Abu
"The best people are those most beneficial to other people." [derived from a
hadith on the authority of Ibn Omar]
Jabhat al-Nusra "Development Office": On right: "If you support God, He will
support you" [Qur'an 47:7].
"And the Messenger said: 'Oh Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur'an as
a thing abandoned." [Qur'an 25:30]
"For God is the best preserver: He preserves the absent, restores the
strange, guides the misguided, heals the afflicted, cures the sick, relieves
"Sarmada [Jabhat al-Nusra stronghold in Idlib] welcomes you. To the people of
loyalty, giving [i.e. to them] is insignificant."
"Oh you who believe, fear God, indeed the earthquake of the hour is a great
affair." [Qur'an 22:1]
"And as for the one whose scales are light, his abode will be an abyss. And
what will make you know what that is? A Blazing Fire!" [Qur'an 101:8-11].
"We are your pious sons, your impenetrable fortress and your vigilant eye."
"Three ayahs [verses of the Qur'an] summarize life: 'from a drop of sperm He
[God] has created him and determined his fate. Then He has eased the path for
him. Then He has caused his death and buried him [Qur'an 80:19-21].' (a short
"Be a great friend before you become bones and worms." [saying of famous 20th
century CE Egyptian jurist Sheikh Shaarawi]
"Oh man, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous [Qur'an
82:6]? Threat, promise, challenge, mercy, reprimand and affection."
"Know that the best of your deeds is prayer."
"Al-Rahman [God] has mercy on the merciful."
"Oh mujahid: your car is a guarantee on your neck and you will be asked about
"Your car is a guarantee and you will be asked about it, oh mujahid."
"Indeed We will not allow the reward of anyone who did well in deeds to go
amiss [Qur'an 18:30]. Plough in the land the seeds of grapes and you will
know for certain that it will not make thorns sprout."
Depicting the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. On right: "Jabhat al-Nusra: by
God's permission we will free it." On left: "And I am behind your walls Omar,
so wait for me."
"The burden of religion oh Capital of Martyrs: Homs." Reportedly from Idlib
"Oh Sham, be a pearl on a front that has arisen so that the state of the
Qur'an may be announced. Damascus."
"The Messenger of God (PBUH) said: 'The people most beloved to God are those
who most benefit other people."
"Indeed the fall of Bashar [al-Assad] is an aim for us and we will bring his
downfall by God's permission, but our highest aim is to cultivate a
generation among whom there are not the likes of Bashar."
"All will go to God after death but the happy one will go to God in his
"They have celebrated Christmas. So some of the Muslims have celebrated with
them on the pretext of New Year. They have celebrated Valentine's Day, so
some of the Muslims have celebrated with them on the pretext of visit of
loved ones. They have celebrated Mother's Day, so some of the Muslims have
celebrated with them on the pretext of parents. But when one of the Sunna
precepts of the Prophet comes by them, they ignore it on the pretext that it
is only Sunna and not obligation. Thus they are more keen to observe the
festivals of the kuffar [disbelievers] and establish innovation than they are
to establish the Shari'a and uphold the Sunna of the Lord of Mankind [Prophet
"If moderation had meant the middle ground between two sides, the manhaj
[direction] of Abu Talib would have been moderation between the manhaj of the
Quraysh and Muhammad [PBUH]. Rather, moderation is following revelation
regardless of the rank of its owner among the people." This refers to the
fact that Abu Talib- Muhammad's uncle- offered the Prophet protection from
retribution by the Quraysh tribe who opposed his revelation in Mecca, but he
himself never converted to Islam.
Marking Jabhat al-Nusra's control of Salqin in Idlib province, featuring a
partial quotation of Qur'an 24:35: "A blessed olive tree, neither of east nor
west, whose oil would almost glow." The use of this quotation likely refers
to Idlib province's role as a production centre for olives.
"The town of Salqin welcomes you."
"Our blood is in sacrifice for your blood" [featuring a map of
"Sniper of our front, oh heart of our force."
"Migrate to your Lord. Migrate to Him by abandoning insubordination. Migrate
to Him and your provisions are obedience."
"The Day of Penetration: one of the Muslims' Days." The billboard refers to
one of Jabhat al-Nusra's operations targeting the Interior Ministry in
December 2012. 'Abu Hamza al-Kurdi'- the first person referenced in the
billboard- was a suicide operative used in this attack.
"Deraa Checkpoint Raid"- another billboard commemorating a Jabhat al-Nusra
suicide operation, carried out by one Abu al-Mo'atasem on 18 Sha'aban 1434
AH/27 June 2013 CE. See here for more.
"Pillars Operation in the heart of the capital Damascus"- this refers to an
operation conducted in 2012. See here for more.
Billboard commemorating the Jabhat al-Nusra assault on the village of Rahjan
in the Hama countryside in July 2014, using one Abu Bakr al-Kuwaiti as a
suicide bomber. See here for more.
"So arise, oh son of jihad, unsheathe your sword, oh boy...and bear the
banner of the free, striking with the swords and firing with arrows, striking
with arrows, striking with daggers and bayonets: the strength of your
determination, the promise of your preparation. And head on the path of the
blessing of God."
On right: "Rejoice, oh one who prays. The Messenger of God (PBUH) said:
'Through the five prayers God cleanses sins.'" On left: "Take heed, oh one
who abandons prayer. The Messenger of God (PBUH) said: 'Between man and
idolatry and disbelief is abandoning of prayer.'"
"Participate in the victory. Your knowledge is weapons for the victory of the
Ummah. Your manners are weapons for the victory of the Ummah, your
faithfulness, your purity, your honesty, and your worship are all reasons for
the victory of God and His success. So do not shrink/reject what is right in
any way, and offer what you can, and don't be a reason for the defeat of the
Ummah through your faults and insubordination."
"People of al-Sham, we have sacrificed our souls and blood for you."
Another billboard featuring the Dome of the Rock: "Rejoice oh Misra, good
tidings have come to you." The words refer to a nasheed. Reportedly in Idlib
The loss of power in the east of Syria: the replacement of an old Jabhat al-Nusra
banner in Albukamal with the Islamic State's flags.
"The Messenger of God (PBUH) said: 'Islam began as something strange and will
return as something strange just as it began, so give good tidings to
"Oh rebels: do not be content except with a Caliphate on the program of the
An old mural from the days when Jabhat al-Nusra had a presence in Tabqa [al-Thawra]
in Raqqa province (now controlled by the Islamic State): "We are a people-
whom God has made mighty in Islam and if we should seek might in something
besides it [Islam], may God lower us."