clock menu more-arrow no yes

Osama bin Laden's son's letter included chilling instructions for his children

DNI

While in hiding in 2008, Osama bin Laden's son Saad wrote a letter to his wife expressing his will for her and their children.

The letter summarizes Saad's undying love for family at the same time that it describes the nearing likelihood of his and their deaths. Here are some of the instructions included in the letter, which was recently released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as one of more than 100 newly declassified documents obtained during the US-led raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.


Saad's letter states that his wife should raise the children "properly," as it is his will:

My will: If I get killed, and you want to return to your family, then that is okay, but you have to raise my children properly, and to watch them, and be careful of bad company for them, especially after puberty, especially the girls `Asma` and (TN: possibly, Duha).

The daughters should be married to like-minded fighters:

So be very careful about them and if you can marry them to mujahidin, then that is best, or else to good people.

His son should be raised in the path of jihad:

As for `Usama, when he reaches adulthood, if there is someone else who cares for you, then send him to the battlefield at his grandfather's. I specify his grandfather because his path is clear and true without qualms on it, and because jihad is an obligated duty for all adults, so he has to conduct jihad.

After his death, the wife is allowed to marry again, although she'll need to make a choice about which husband she prefers when she meets them both on "Judgment Day":

If you want to marry after me, I have no objection, but I really want for you to be my wife in paradise, and the woman, if she marries two men, is given a choice on Judgment Day to be with one of them.

Earlier in the letter, he noted his struggle to ensure his wife's safe travel, commenting that her state was one of "psychological crisis":

I know that you are in a psychological crisis, so I doubled my thinking to find a way out for you, so I ask God to speed up the resolution for you and to get us together on the shores of safety sooner and not later.

A full review of documents will likely reveal more context. Below, a video of the original letter, published by ODNI:

Correction: This article originally misattributed the author of the letter both in the headline and text. The author of the letter is Osama bin Laden's son, and the text and headline have been updated to reflect this.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.