Mohammed Atta, “The Last Night” (2001)

1. Make an oath to die and renew your intentions. Shave excess hair from the body and wear cologne. Shower.[1]

2. Make sure you know all aspects of the plan well, and expect the response, or a reaction, from the enemy.

3. Read al-Tawba and Anfal[2] and reflect on their meanings and remember all of the things that God has promised for the martyrs.

4. Remind your soul to listen and obey and remember that you will face decisive situations that might prevent you from 100 percent obedience, so tame your soul, purify it, convince it, make it understand, and incite it.

5. Pray during the night and be persistent in asking God to give you victory, control and conquest, and that he may make your task easier and not expose us.

6. Remember God frequently, and the best way to do it is to read the Holy Quran. . . . It is enough for us that it are [sic] the words of the Creator of the Earth and the planers, the One that you will meet [on the Day of Judgment).

7. Purify your soul from all unclean things. Completely forget something called “this world.” The time for play is over and the serious time is upon us. How much time have we wasted in our lives? Shouldn’t we take advantage of these last hours to offer good deeds and obedience?

8. You should feel complete tranquility, because the time between you and your marriage [in heaven] is very short [soon to come]. Afterward begins the happy life, where God is satisfied with you, and eternal bliss “in the company of the prophets, the companions, the martyrs and the good people, who are all good company.” Ask God for his mercy and be optimistic….

9. Keep in mind that, if you fall into hardship, how will you act and how will you remain steadfast and remember that you will return to God and remember that anything that happens to you could never be avoided, and what did not happen to you could never have happened to you….

10. Remember the words of Almighty God [lines from the Quran]: “You were looking to the battle before you engaged in it, and now you see it with your own two eyes.” Remember: “How many small groups beat big groups by the will of God.” And his words: “If God gives you victory, no one can bear you. And if he betrays you, who can give you victory without Him? So the faithful put their trust in God.”...

12. Bless your body with some verses of the Quran [done by reading verses into one’s hands and then rubbing the hands over whatever is to be blessed], the luggage, clothes, the knife, your personal effects, your ID, your passport, and all of your papers.

13. Check your weapon before you leave and long before you leave. (You must make your knife sharp and you must nor discomfort your animal during the slaughter.)...


When the taxi takes you to (M) [this initial probably stands for matar, airport in Arabic] remember God constantly while in the car.

When you have reached (M) and have left the taxi, say a supplication of place [“O Lord, I ask you for the best of this place, and ask you to pro- tea me from its evils”], and everywhere you go say that prayer and smile and be calm, for God is with the believers. And the angels protect you without you feeling anything. Say this supplication: “God is more dear than all of his creation.” And say: “O Lord, protect me from them as you wish.” And say: “O Lord, take your anger out on them [the enemy) and we ask you to protect us from their evils.” And say: “O Lord, block their vision from in front of them, so that they may not see.” And say: “God is all we need, he is the best to rely upon.”…

All of their equipment and gates and technology will not prevent, nor harm, except by God’s will. The believers do not fear such things. The only ones that fear it are the allies of Satan, who are the brothers of the devil This is only the Devil scaring his allies” who are fascinated with Western civilization, and have drunk the love [of the West] like they drink water. , . and have become afraid of their weak equipment “so fear them not, and feat Me, if you are believers.”...

You must remember your brothers with all respect. No one should notice that you ate making the supplication, “There is no God but God,” because if you say it 1,000 times no one will be able to tell whether you are quiet or remember God. And among its miracles is what the prophet peace be upon him, said: Whoever says, “There is no God but God,” with all his heart, goes to heaven. The prophet, peace be upon him, said: “If you put all the worlds and universes on one side of the balance, and ‘No God but God’ on the other, ‘No God but God’ will weigh more heavily.” You can repeat these words confidently, and this is just one of the strengths of these words.

Also, do not seem confused or show signs of nervous tension. Be happy, optimistic, calm because you are heading for a deed that God loves and will accept [as a good deed]. It will be the day, God willing, you spend with the women of paradise.


When you ride the (T) [probably for tayyara, airplane in Arabic], before your foot steps in it, and before you enter it, you make a prayer and supplications. Remember that this is a battle for the sake of God. . . . When the (T) moves, even slightly, toward (Q) [unknown reference], say the supplication of travel. Because you are traveling to Almighty God, so be attentive on this trip….

And then it takes off. This is the moment that both groups come together. So remember God, as he said in his Book: “Oh Lord, pour your patience upon us and make our feet steadfast and give us victory over the infidels. Pray for yourself and all of your brothers that they may be victorious and hit their targets and [unclear] and ask God to grant you martyrdom facing the enemy, not running away from it, and for him to grant you patience and the feeling that anything that happens to you is for him.

Then every one of you should prepare to carry out his role in a way that would satisfy God. You should clench your teeth, as the pious early generations did.

When the confrontation begins, strike like champions who do not want to go back to this world. Shout, “Allahu Akbar" [“God is great”], because this strikes fear in the hearts of the unbelievers. . . Know that the gardens of paradise are waiting for you in all their beauty, and the women of paradise are waiting, calling out, “Come hither, friend of God.” They have dressed in their most beautiful clothing.

If God decrees that any of you are to slaughter, you should dedicate the slaughter to your fathers because you have obligations toward them.

… If you slaughter, do not cause the discomfort of those you are killing, because this is one of the practices of the prophet, peace be upon him.

Do not seek revenge for yourself. Strike for God’s sake. . . . This means that before you do anything, make sure that your soul is prepared to do everything for God only.

Then implement the way of the prophet in taking prisoners. Take prisoners and kill them. As Almighty God said: “No prophet should have prisoners until he has soaked the land with blood. You want the bounties of this world [in exchange for prisoners] and God wants the other world [for you], and God is all-powerful, allwise.”

If everything goes well, every one of you should pat the other on the shoulder in confidence. .. . Remind your brothers that this act is for Almighty God. Do not confuse your brothers or distract them. He should give them glad tidings and make them calm, and remind them [of God] and encourage them. How beautiful it is for one to read God’s words, such as: “And those who prefer the afterlife over this world should fight for the sake of God.” And his words: “Do not suppose that those who are killed for the sake of God are dead; they are alive And others. Or they should sing songs to boost their morale, as the pious first generations did in the throes of battle, to bring calm, tranquility, and joy to the hearts of his brothers.

… When the hour of reality approaches, the zero hour . . wholeheartedly welcome death for the sake of God. Always be remembering God. Either end your life while praying, seconds before the target, or make your last words: “There is no God but God, Muhammad is his messenger.”

Afterward, we will all meet in the highest heaven, God willing....

And may the peace of the God be upon the prophet.

[1] These are ritual acts of self-purification to prepare oneself for martyrdom and salvation.

[2] The ninth and eighth chapters (surahs) of the Quran, some times referred to as the “war chapters”; they describe the need for holy war against Islam’s persecutors.