FULL INTERVIEW: Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi & Dabiq
Dabiq: When did you become a Muslim and how did it happen?
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: All praise is due to Allah. May blessings and peace be upon Allah's Messenger.
I come from a family of Baptist Christians, so from a very young age they would send my cousin and me to Sunday school. There I would learn about the Bible, parts of which I even memorized, and also learn about the prophets. My journey towards Islam began when I was around 7 or 8 years old. My mother would take me to church on Sundays. While attending service one day as the members of the congregation were singing and dancing, I took a look around at the pictures they claimed to be of Jesus, angels, and others, as well as the crosses. I said to myself, “Something is wrong here,” because I remembered that the first two commandments were, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,” as I had been taught in Sunday school.
So this had an affect on me as well as the fact that I used to see the pastor – who was married with children – coming next door to commit adultery. I would wonder how this man could lead me when he himself didn't follow the Bible. I told my mother that I didn't want to go back to church, and I would pray on my own based on what I'd learned from the Bible. Years later, my grandmother bought me a silver chain with a cross pendant. When I would wear the chain I would think to myself, “This pendant is an idol.” So I took it off and kept the chain. My knowledge of only the first two commandments gave me the understanding that what they were practicing was not in line with the truth. At this point, I didn't consider myself part of any of the Christian denominations, but that was as far as I got.
In school, I was exposed to all the various religions but I remained upon what I knew. When I was around twenty years old, I would come to accept the religion of truth, Islam. I was working at a call center and got to know a Muslim co-worker there. We happened to share many of the same worldly interests, and for this reason, I would spend much time with him. I used to ask him many questions about the religion. In our conversations I would ask him about the beliefs of Muslims, and would also ask him about Jesus and Muhammad, and everything he told me made sense to me and was in line with what I remembered of the first two commandments, so I quickly gravitated towards Islam and soon found myself debating Christians because I knew their beliefs were corrupt.
Sometimes, because I was drawn to Islam, when I saw him praying, I would pray like him, and when I did, I would feel very calm afterwards. I accompanied him to the Friday sermon a couple of times to see what it was about, and then became certain that this was the true religion – the religion of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. In the last conversation we had before I embraced Islam, I told him that I was planning on selling drugs to support my family. He said that this was wrong and that the ends don't justify the kill people but I can't sell drugs to feed my family?”
He then began explaining to me the ultimate purpose of jihad as well as enlightening me concerning some of the Muslims' plights, and after the conversation, I was settled. So I declared the testimony of faith and became a Muslim.
Dabiq: How did you find the da'wah to jihad?
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: There was a faction of Muslims in Trinidad that was known for “militancy.” Its members attempted to overthrow the disbelieving government but quickly surrendered, apostatized, and participated in the religion of democracy, demonstrating that they weren't upon the correct methodology of West, the da'wah to jihad took hold of me through the lectures of Shaykh Anwar al-'Awlaqi . After listening to his various lectures repeatedly, I gained a firmer understanding of what we as Muslims were supposed to be doing.
I listened to his lecture series titled “Constants on the Path of Jihad” and his lecture series on “The Book of Jihad.” By Allah's grace, there was a man of sound knowledge who I was able to refer to and who would answer any questions I had. His name was Shaykh Ashmead Choate and he had studied hadith and graduated from one of the Islamic colleges in the Middle martyrdom fighting in Ramadi.
Dabiq: Tell us about your jihad endeavor in Trinidad and Tobago.
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: I, along with my brothers in Christian paganism is widespread in Trinidad and Tobago Islam Abu 'Abdillah (another convert from Christianity), Abu 'Isa , and a number of other brothers from Trinidad that later made hijrah after us formed a group and would deal with some of the issues of the Muslims that people were afraid to deal with. One of our goals was to eventually make hijrah – when we had the ability to do so – and join the mujahidin striving to cleanse the Muslims' usurped lands of all apostate regimes, and as a result, I would keep myself up to date on all the latest news around the Muslim world and the jihad fronts. We would weigh all of our options as we awaited our opportunity for hijrah. At the same time, we knew that we couldn't just sit and dream while doing nothing, so whenever the disbelievers in Trinidad would kill or harm a Muslim, we would take revenge. We would work to accumulate money in order to buy weapons and ammo. Alhamdulillah, we were successful in many operations, and this was only by Allah's grace.
Abu 'Abdillah, my wife, and I were arrested at one point, but the police weren't able to make a case against us. We were nonetheless charged for possessing guns and ammunition. They seized my computer and phones and found the videos, books, and lectures on jihad. The taghut government of Trinidad then plotted against us, claiming that we were planning on assassinating the prime minister and a number of other ministers in order to cause chaos and panic in the country. That would have been an honor for us to attempt, but the reality of our operations was much smaller, as I described before. We were imprisoned for terrorism along with some Muslims who merely knew us as well as others whom we had never even met before. Alhamdulillah, they planned and plotted but Allah is the best of planners. They were unable to make a case against us and we were freed, by Allah's permission, and despite being placed under surveillance, we went back to doing what we knew we had to do, commanding the good and prohibiting the evil.
Dabiq: After making the decision to perform hijrah to the Levant with two of your closest friends, Abu 'Abdillah and Abu 'Isa, you experienced some delay. What happened?
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: The three of us decided to make hijrah to the Levant and join the Islamic State after witnessing the plight of the Muslims in the Levant, but we had some unfinished business with some disbelievers who had wronged the Muslims in the community. Our tickets were already booked, and we were ready to depart within a week but we felt guilty leaving without finishing what needed to be taken care of. It was a difficult decision, and it was for this reason that we would later look back at this moment and say that perhaps it was a final test from Allah to see if we were worthy of being granted the honor of hijrah and jihad. As painful as it was, we decided to delay our hijrah, and there soon came an opportunity to exact revenge on the two kafir criminals we were hunting.
The operation was carried out in the middle of the city in broad day light and was caught on camera. It wasn't our plan for it to occur that way, but it happened according to Allah's decree. Following the operation, Abu 'Abdillah and Abu 'Isa were arrested, and I went into hiding. We decided that we had to leave Trinidad nonetheless because nothing was going to stop our hijrah, by Allah's permission. Once more, Allah bestowed a tremendous favor on us as Abu 'Isa was released pending investigation. Abu 'Abdillah was also released and we left Trinidad one-by-one. I left first along with my wife, followed by Abu 'Abdillah, and then Abu 'Isa, and we met up in Venezuela. We had missed our original flights so we had to stay there for some time until we were able to book new flights.
Dabiq: What role do you currently play here in the Caliphate?
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: Alhamdulillah, I am currently one of many snipers in the ranks of the mujahidin here in the Caliphate. I head out regularly with my team and get to take part in many fierce battles against the various enemies of the Islamic State.
Dabiq: You and your two companions in hijrah, Abu 'Abdillah and Abu 'Isa, were the first three Muslims to make hijrah to the Levant from Trinidad and Tobago
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: Alhamdulillah we were blessed with the opportunity to make hijrah and wage jihad, and also play a part in the revival of the Caliphate. Abu 'Isa and Abu 'Abdillah have both been blessed with martyrdom. I consider them so, and ALlah is their judge.
Abu 'Isa was martyred in Marista, a village close to Azaz, during the height of the Sahwah in the Levant. While he was stationed in ribat in the village, the apostates came and attacked with a large force, including BMPs and heavy weapons. The brothers were about 15 in number and were only armed with decided to withdraw. Abu 'Isa and another brother stayed back to cover them as the others withdrew.
When they were looking to make their exit they were flanked by the apostates and Abu 'Isa was shot several times, but he didn't die until the apostates approached and executed him with a close range head shot as he was lying on the ground wounded. Alhamdulillah,
later on that day the brothers took back the village, and they later mentioned to us that when they buried Abu 'Isa and the other martyrs, there was a very strong smell of musk.
As for Abu 'Abdillah, then he was martyred in Maghribtayn, a village close to the town of Sirrin in the Aleppo countryside, after spending almost two years fighting for the cause of Allah. His martyrdom came as he and the brothers with him were engaged in fierce battles against the Crusader-backed forces in the region. The Crusader planes and drones were flying overhead and Abu 'Abdillah was leading a team of 4 snipers. He was doing such a good job that the apostates would not shoot at the other brothers and would instead focus on his position. How it got to that point was that everyone would call him to engage all the different positions of the apostates, including their heavy weapons, and it soon became apparent when the brothers were eavesdropping on the apostates' radio chatter that the bulk of their attention was focused on him.
His spotter, Abu Samir, also from Trinidad and a convert from Christianity, was shot and had to leave for medical treatment, but Abu 'Abdillah didn't stop was, “My position is compromised. I'm changing apostates going towards his position and he was hit in the head before he could make his move. When the brothers found his body, he was smiling and looked like he was sleeping.
Dabiq: How did your family react when they found out you became a Muslim?
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: When I became a Muslim, my mother told me that she respected my decision.
Alhamdulillah, she too embraced Islam, a few years after me. She loved Islam so much that she would later say she wished that she had learned of Islam long before so she could have embraced it earlier. Alhamdulillah, one of my brothers also began practicing Islam. As for the rest of my family, I ask Allah to guide them.
Dabiq: How did your family react when they found out you became a soldier of the Islamic State?
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: Some of my disbelieving Christian relatives have used the fact that I am a soldier of the Islamic State in their quarrels with others. They've said, for example, “My relative is an ISIS terrorist, so you better watch out!” Subhanallah, when it comes to the honor that Allah has granted the Caliphate, we even see many disbelievers recognizing it.
Dabiq: Tell us about the Muslim community in Trinidad and Tobago.
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: In Trinidad, about 7-10% of the population ascribes to Islam, although many of them are apostates having nothing to do with Islam except its name. When I still was living there, there were Murjiah, modernists, and Tabligh, with a few pockets of pro-Saudi “Salafi” deviants. There are very few people upon the sound creed now, especially as most of them have performed hijrah. Those who've remained behind and have neglected to perform hijrah – while having the ability to do so – clearly have some weakness in their faith which they have to correct.
Dabiq: We see many mujahidin from Trinidad and Tobago here in the lands of the Caliphate along with their families. Are they mostly converts, or do they mostly come from Muslim families?
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: About 60% of the mujahidin from Trinidad here in the lands of the Caliphate come from Muslim families, with the remaining 40% or so being converts. The converts are overwhelmingly converts from Christianity.
Dabiq: How does it make you feel to be from among the pioneers who paved the way for many of your people to make hijrah to the lands of the Caliphate?
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: I praise Allah for granting me the opportunity to make hijrah and wage jihad. This was truly an immense favor from Him. When we first made hijrah, we never imagined that we would witness the dream of Caliphate becoming a reality. We felt that it was close, but we thought that our blood would water the ground and our skulls would prop up the flag of tawhid (Islamic monotheism), paving the way for others to carry on in this mission and revive the Caliphate, but by Allah's grace, Abu 'Abdillah and I saw that dream become a reality. I could never thank Allah enough for allowing me to be among the first of our people to share in making this dream a reality.
Dabiq: Jihad is not without its hardships. Tell us about some of the trials you faced after making hijrah and how you overcame them.
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: Alhamdulillah, I can't really say that I've faced that many hardships after making hijrah. I think the hardest thing for me was losing many close friends. Besides that, I'm now on the fourth house that I've had to leave because they keep getting bombed or damaged in the airstrikes, but praise is due to Allah in all circumstances.
Dabiq: What message would you like to direct to the Muslims of Trinidad?
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: The first part of my message is to those who claim Islam and yet blindly follow the muftis and imams: In calling you to vote for the taghut leaders they are calling you to commit kufr, yet you obey and follow them, thereby apostatizing. I say to you, fear Allah and return to the religion.
Return to the book of Allah and the Sunnah of our beloved prophet g, for they are sufficient for us as a to follow these evil leaders. Read the biography of our beloved prophet g so you can see how he dealt with various matters. Following the palace scholars is not from the religion of truth. Fear Allah as he should be feared, and wake up and come back to the true religion before it's too late.
To those I know who have learned the sound creed, I say, what is the matter with you? You've been deceived and deluded by the devil. Years have gone by and you still haven't performed hijrah to the land of Islam, your land, the place that we used to speak about and dream of. It has become a reality, and yet you've become from amongst those who remained behind.
You wanted your children to live in a land where Allah's law is the highest, yet you now remain in a place where you have no honor and are forced to live in humiliation, subjugated by the disbelievers. Do not be from those about whom Allah c mentioned in the noble Qur'an. “Indeed, those whom the angels take [in death] while wronging themselves – [the angels] will say, 'In what [condition] were you?' They will say, 'We were oppressed in the land.' The angels will say, 'Was not the earth of Allah spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?' For those, their refuge is Hell – and evil it is as a destination” (An-Nisa 97). Who were they? They were the ones that did not perform hijrahto the land of Islam.
I also say to you, my brothers, that you now have a golden opportunity to do something that many of us here wish we could do right now. You have the ability to terrify the disbelievers in their own homes and make their streets run with their blood. Where is your jealousy for the religion? They are bombing your brothers and sisters day and night in the land where Allah's law is supreme. It is an obligation upon you to act and force them to think thrice before bombing the Muslims. Therefore, terrorize the disbelievers and make them feel fear everywhere, even in their own default is lawful to spill. How much more obligatory is it to do so after they've waged war against the Muslims and killed their women and children. For this reason, amongst others, the Islamic State leadership emphasized the importance not to differentiate between disbelieving soldiers and their so-called “civilians.”
Attack the interests of the Crusader coalition near you, including their embassies, businesses, and “civilians.” Burn down their government institutions just as they try to bomb our buildings where Allah's law is Belgium, the example of the blessed couple in California, and the examples of the knights in Orlando and Nice. If you do so then your reward is with Allah and you will have no regrets when you meet Him. If, however, you abandon your brothers while continuing to live in the shade of an enemy at war with Islam, within a petty distance from many Crusader interests, then do not be shocked if Allah strips you of the speck of faith remaining in your dying hearts, as a punishmentfor your sin and insincerity.
Dabiq: As a convert from Christianity, what message would you like to direct to Christians?
Abu Sa'd at-Trinidadi: To the Christians I say, you know that you have strayed far away from the true teachings of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus . Your book was corrupted long ago by your leaders. I call on you to remember the first two commandments, for they are what led me to Islam and to the true teachings of all the prophets. Submit to the one who created you and do not differentiate between the prophets, for they all came with the same message. Follow the final messenger, Muhammad g, for in doing so you will be following all of the prophets . If you refuse, then we offer you the option to pay jizyah and live under the authority of Islam in humiliation. If you refuse, then the only thing between you and us is the sword.