Kalashnikov rifle of an al Qaeda fighter
Kalashnikov rifle of an al Qaeda fighter Shutterstock

When considering waging jihad, it's important to be well prepared. There's an appropriate diet, a proper way to clean a Kalashnikov, and correct methods for “Swedish exercises,” also known as Pilates. This may not seem like standard fare for a guerrilla manual, but it's actual content from a sort of jihadi manual created by an al Qaeda branch, the Mujahedeen in the Arabian Peninsula (al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula).

The jihadi guide, named Muaskar Al-Battar (Camp of the Sword), has been a resource for young jihadi hopefuls for years, but it is now available online. The first 64-page volume made the rounds on extremist-affiliated social media accounts Thursday, following a call from the Islamic State group’s leader to “erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere.”

According to Islamic doctrine, jihad is the struggle against nonbelievers and the religious duty of all Muslims. However, “many young Muslims do not know how to carry weapons or how to use them,” so the Mujahedeen in the Arabian Peninsula took it upon themselves to spread their knowledge. And International Business Times obtained a copy of their document.

jihad guide
Safety procedures when dealing with a Kalashnikov, according to a jihad preparation guide released online Mujahedeen in the Arabian Peninsula

The first part includes a detailed exercise and diet regimen, an in-depth explanation of “military science,” information about the “crusade,” and “security and intelligence.”

Following an introduction about the importance of jihad, the guide introduces different types of assault weapons, with photos and descriptions of their parts, detailed instructions on what to call them, how to assemble and clean them, and a short history.

A Kalashnikov, considered a “light weapon,” is “one of the best weapons mechanism in terms of strength and endurance, so I find it is used in more than 40 regular armies in the world, and most revolutionary and jihadist movements used this weapon due to its efficiency and durability,” according to the jihadi guide.

Aside from a well-stocked arms arsenal, every good jihadi needs to be physically fit. Sports are “one of the most important means of jihad,” the guide says, highlighting the other benefits of physical activity, including being a “cure for diabetes.”

The best kinds of sports for jihadis are running, swimming and bicycle riding. One must exercise five times a week and try to keep Friday as a day of rest, the guide said. The other day of rest can be taken at one's leisure. After beginning the weekly fitness regimen, one must try to avoid “stimulants” such as coffee, tea and soft drinks, red meat and carbohydrates. The good jihadi must also drink a lot of water.

The guide devotes an entire section to what AQAP writers referred to as “Swedish Exercises.” Judging by the description and a quick Google image search, the exercise bears a striking resemblance to the workout preferred by celebrities and stay-at-home moms the world over: Pilates.

The author wisely notes that in Pilates “speed in the exercise is not important, but the correct application is important.”

The Pilates motto is in keeping with AQAP’s advice to young recruits: It’s not important how fast you can start your jihadi journey, it’s important that you do it right.