Sheikh Izz ad Din al Qassam

Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam (Born: 1882 Died: 1935) was born in Jableh, Syria. He was educated at al-Azhar University. Upon his return he became a teacher and Imam at the local Musjid.
After Italy's 1911 invasion of Libya, al-Qassam declared Jihad and collected funds for Libyan resistance. He enlisted dozens of volunteers and set out for Libya, but was detained and ordered home by the Ottomans. He enlisted in the Ottoman army when World War I broke out. Returning home, al-Qassam organised a force to fight the French. Al-Qassam was a key figure in the 1921 Syrian revolt against the French. After being besieged, he fled to Haifa, Palestine then under the British. He concentrated on the lower classes, setting up a night school for casual labourers.
In 1929 he was appointed marriage registrar in Mufti Amin al-Husayni's Supreme Muslim Council Sharia court in Haifa. He started delivering fiery sermons encouraging villagers to organise guerilla cells to attack the British and Jews. He got a fatwa from the Mufti of Damascus authorizing those attacks. In 1930 al-Qassam established the Black Hand, an anti-zionist and anti-British military organization. He arranged military training for peasants and by 1935 had enlisted about 800 men. The cells attacked British rail-lines. In Nov 1935, al-Qassam and 12 of his men left Haifa to hide in the hills, spending 10 days on the move. The British surrounded al-Qassam in a cave near Ya'bad. In the battle, al-Qassam was killed. Palestinian organizations gained inspiration from him. His funeral drew thousands. He became a hero and inspiration to fighters, who in the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt, called themselves Qassamiyun, followers of al-Qassam. The military wing of Hamas, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, bears his name. The Qassam rocket is named after him. Al-Qassam is buried in Haifa. His grave has been damaged several times by Jewish extremists.