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Islamic Wall Posters in Tetuan,Morocco, July and August, 1921



[The following two posters were put up on the walls of religious buildings in Tetuan, the Spanish “capital” of their protectorate in Morocco following the great defeat of Spanish troops by Rifi tribes in the unoccupied part of the Protectorate (July 1921). They were transcribed and then translated on the instructions of the British Consul in Tetuan, who attached them to a despatch to the Foreign Office in London: FO 37l/7067/W8710/184/28, White to Curzon, 6 Aug. 1921, Confidential.]

DOCUMENT 1: On the wall of the Great Mosque

In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful: God has purchased of the believers their persons and their goods. For theirs, in return, is the Garden of Paradise. They fight in his cause, slay and are slain, as a promise binding on Him in truth, made in the Turah, the Gospel and the Qura'an. 'And who is more faithful in his promise than God'.

Oh Muslims, the Spanish have drowned us in every calamity. They have soiled our honour, killed our children, possessed themselves of our goods, ruined our religion. They have committed every evil which would have frightened you if you could see them. You would have lost your joy in the best things, you would no longer wear silken garments, you would no longer be able to live well. Could you have been happy in the face of this shame, oh our brothers? No, by God, death is preferable.

If you could see your brothers on the fields of battle, some dead, some wounded, you would cry tears of blood, you would not hesitate to come to their aid. We see the Spanish help one another, and they are infidels and unjust people, but we see no one come to our aid, who have the true faith. Do we not make war in the cause of God? Is not our conduct in conformity with the precepts of 'Islam? Are not our dignity and your dignity one, as our shame and your shame are one? Where are your `ulema? Oh, `ulema are you not the descendants of the prophets? What are you thinking of? Is there any doubt about God?

How will you excuse yourself tomorrow in front of God, if you are among those who through fear neglect war in the cause of God? The Ignorant have no responsibility. Return oh `ulema to the ranks of the Muslims, do what you wish to do. Leave to one side what is forbidden, and victory is ours.

Are there any who wish to win Paradise by their personal cooperation? Are there any who wish to gain it by the gift of their goods? Are there any men of knowledge who would gain it by their exhortations? This world is perishable. It will not last for anyone, but what a difference there is between those who die bathed in blood, and those who die in their bed. Reply:

Put yourself in the shelter of death if you are true. Do not believe that those who have died fighting in God's cause are dead: they live close to God and are fed by him. Full of joy for the benefits that God has heaped upon them, they rejoice that those who follow in their tracks, who have not yet reached them, will be sheltered against terrors and agonies.

If it is difficult for you to come to our aid, oh Muslims, address yourselves to the leader of the faithful, our lord Yussif, that he should give you the provisions necessary to accomplish our task. Let him apply the laws that he wills-through the intermediary of any country that he wills, except Spain, and let him pray to God for his subjects. Peace be upon you and God's mercy and blessing.

15 Qa'da al-Haram, 1339 (i.e. 21 July 1921). .
The Muslim Muhammadan assembly of the Rif,

DOCUMENT 2: A letter affixed to the outer wall of the Darqawiya zawiya in the Dar al-Burud quarter of Tetuan

Praise be to God,
I look to God for a shelter against Satan the stoned, in the name of God the compassionate the merciful. Truth has come, falsehood had disappeared. Indeed falsehood is bound to disappear,
Praise be to God, Lord of the universe, Glory is in God, victory is near, tell the believers.

Oh believers, be patient, have recourse to patience and unite with each other against the enemy. Fear God, perhaps you will be successful. Unite yourselves through the link of faith and do not separate, The Prophet has said 'Divine aid is with those who are united'. He also says 'He who fights in God's cause is the same as he who fasts and prays continually, until the day when he returns home'.

Oh Muslims what is wrong with you? You do nothing except eat and drink and your brother Muslims fight in the cause of the king of kings. The pleasures of this life are nothing compared with those of the next world. Is not your religion the same for everyone? Is not our country of Morocco a single country? Where is your care for your religion and your country?
Do they not suffer as much as we, while we have hopes that they have not? Where are your wise men? Friday preachers, Incite your brothers with your brilliant quotations from the hadiths. Rich men, aid your brother mujahids with your wealth. This is the moment to give, oh you who make no difference between charity and egoism. Oh you who are the torches of the Darqawa, where are your words of action, that you propagate to be shining and powerful?

You, who are full of illusions, do you believe that the two nations, France and Spain have come to Morocco to restore it? On the contrary, they have come only to ruin it and to scatter its leaders. So have you not learned from history, what Spain did in Andalusia? Did they not massacre the children who were at their mothers' breasts. Did they not disembowel the women? You forget that Andalusia was a country of criminals. What has become of the mosques of Cordoba and the knowledge that was taught there? What has become of the schools of Seville and their teachers. What has become of the books of the Muslims? The mihrabs have become places dedicated to the worship of idols, and the schools centres for the education of infidels.

Look at Algeria and Tunisia, Where are the ulema and the shaykhs? Where are the rich men of these countries and their fortunes? The call of the faithful to prayer is no longer heard from the minarets, women and girls are no longer respected.

Awake from your Indolence, oh Muslims. The hour is coming, the moon is divided in two. The half moon of Islam has risen and shines. Stop the rush of the two nations who move against us in our country, and who wish to scatter our people and to destroy our religion. They have forgotten what happened to the Portuguese nation, which conquered Morocco and believed that there was no more opposition. Do they not have enough territory in their own lands? They do not follow the example of the great powers, England, Germany and America who have had important commercial relations with us for years which have been very profitable. They have never shown any desire to interfere with our religion. After taking the precaution of asking for advice and listening to it carefully, they remained at home and kept only commercial links. Peace is good and treachery Is evil. Oh believers, obey the words of God who helps those who rely on Him.
Oh believers fight against those infidels who make you perish. They will find in you a harsh resistance. Know that God is with the pious.
We have made enquiries, which a large amount of information has confirmed, and we have found that since the war there has remained only one notable for twenty Muslims because of the misfortunes that befell them since your country was invaded. The witness of the eyes is preferable to verbal declarations. Call on God for help. He will help you and make firm your path. Demand, each of you, justice and patience. Do not be frightened of cannons, for these things will fall into your hands.

Look what we have done in a single morning. We have taken cannons, shells, cartridges and large amounts of money. The booty is still mounting up, and men embrace the religion in crowds. The armed men are without number, they come from every side so that we do not know where they came from. Join the struggle, oh Muslims. The wise men of the great powers are happy about this great victory. Pray to God to help: us, for the prayer of Muslims is answered. Praise be to God, the Lord of the universe.

Done on 28 Qa'da [i.e. 3 Aug. 1921] in the year of the stupendous war and the victorious miracle.

This notice is one of several which will be distributed in the east and the west. May God destroy the parents and the - - - - (sic) of he who destroys this call, may He make his death painful, and dedicated to disgrace. I have charged people that you know not to watch that no one touches this letter. God, may he be praised, gives us aid as he helped the prophet Soloman. May blessings be upon him and on our Prophet.

Contributed by C. R. Pennell, University of Melbourne, rpennell@unimelb.edu.au

04252013