RECOMMENDED READING: Understanding The Islamic Caliphate State

While apologists in the west are clinging to a theme that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam …” Al-Baghdadi is emulating the Prophet Muhammad – the ultimate Islamic role model.”

Much of the western world is under the impression that ISIS/IS (Islamic State) is preparing  to attack western targets.  A report by  The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI),  Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State, notes that while global attacks are part of the Islamic State’s long term strategy,  it’s current focus is on  “establishing and consolidating a state”:

The successive atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS, previously called the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham – ISIS) have diverted the discussion away from an understanding of this organization’s political program, creating the erroneous impression that it is simply a more vicious version of Al-Qaeda. According to this view, this organization presumably intends to attack the West by means of its foreign militants who hold Western passports and could return to Western countries to carry out terror attacks – and hence it is paramount to destroy the IS forthwith. Saudi King ‘Abdallah bin ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz promoted this approach when he said that he was certain that those jihadists “would arrive in Europe within a month and in America within two months”.

This report seeks to clarify the IS’s doctrine based on the organization’s official writings and speeches by its leaders. It will argue that, unlike Al-Qaeda, the IS places priority not on global terrorism, but rather on establishing and consolidating a state, and hence it defers the clash with the West to a much later stage. In this, it is emulating and reenacting the early Islamic model.

In The Islamic State – building its infrastructure, we highlighted how witness accounts out of Raqqa, Syria indicate  an effort by the Islamic State to attract foreigners to serve as jihadis and experts in various fields to provide infrastructure support.  These accounts seem to fit the narrative of the MEMRI report:

What supplants the struggle against the West at this stage are the duties of hijra [migration to the Islamic calipahte state] and bay’ah [pledge of allegiance to the Caliph], both of them central components in building the caliphate. In an audio message published immediately after the caliphate was declared, Al-Baghdadi said to Muslims everywhere,  including in the West: “Whoever amongst you can migrate to the Islamic State should migrate. Hijra to Dar Al-Islam is obligatory.” In his first public appearance, his Friday sermon in Mosul,  he referred to the implementation of the shari’a as “a religious obligation,” while avoiding any call to global jihad or to harming the West. Both Al-‘Adnani in the declaration of the caliphate and Al-Baghdadi in his Mosul sermon refer to the caliphate as an “obligation that has been forgotten for generations.” In this, their discourse contrasts sharply, for example, with the discourse of Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Salam Faraj, a major theorist of the Egyptian jihad movement in the 1980s, who termed jihad (rather than the establishment of a caliphate) the forgotten obligation.

The MEMRI report also notes that Al-Qaeda publications such as Inspire constantly call for terror attacks on the west and include advice/instructions on how to proceed as a “lone wolf” or in groups.  In comparison, an issue of  the Islamic State’s English publication Dabiq included,  “A life of jihad is impossible until you pack your belongings and move to the caliphate.” :

The issue also says: “Many readers are probably asking about their obligations towards the Khilafah right now. Therefore the Dabiq team wants to convey the position of the Islamic State leadership on this important matter. The first priority is to perform hijra from wherever you are to the Islamic State, from darul-kufr to darul-Islam. Rush to perform it as Musa (‘alayhis-salam) rushed to his Lord, saying {and I hastened to You, my Lord, that You be pleased} [Taha:84]. Rush to the shade of the Islamic state with your parents, siblings, spouses and children. There are homes here for you and your families. You can be a major contributor towards the liberation of Makkah, Madinah, and al-Quds. Would you not like to reach Judgment Day with these grand deeds in your scales[?] Finally, if you cannot do any of the above for reasons extremely beyond your control, inshallah your intention and belief that the Islamic State is the Khilafah for all Muslims will be sufficient to save you from the warning mentioned in the hadith, ‘Whoever dies without having bound himself by a bay’ah dies a death of jahiliyya.'”

While apologists in the west are clinging to a theme that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, the MEMRI report points out:

In his approach that prioritizes the consolidation of the Islamic State over an all-encompassing battle with Islam’s enemies, Al-Baghdadi is emulating the Prophet Muhammad – the ultimate Islamic role model. The Prophet, while displaying cruelty in battle ­– cruelty mirrored by the IS – put off battles with his enemies and integrated compromises and tactical agreements in his policy, in order to gather strength prior to renewing action to obtain his ultimate goals. The IS, ruling from its informal capital in Syria’s Al-Raqqa, conducts itself in a similar manner, enforcing the laws of the shari’a while selling oil to Europe via the black market.

In other words, Al-Baghdadi and his Islamic State are attempting to repeat history as described in the Quran.

Despite the emphasis on the Islamic State’s current priority in  establishing and consolidating a state, the MERI report cautions:

It should be emphasized that, although the doctrine of postponing the clash with the West is solidly entrenched, as reflected in the organization’s writings and actions, it cannot be ruled out that certain developments, such as a massive Western attack, could change the organization’s order of priorities and advance the stage of conflict with the West. The Western strategy of nipping the Islamic State in the bud may provoke counterattacks that were not planned by the organization at the outset. This places the West in a bind: inaction endangers the West in the long run, while immediate action may exact a heavy price that Al-Baghdadi did not plan to exact in the present stage.

The full report, Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State can be read HERE

 

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3 responses to “RECOMMENDED READING: Understanding The Islamic Caliphate State”

  1. lburt says :

    This supports Gen Jack Keane’s view that it is a myth that IS wants to lure us into a battle that will bring about their end times as Clare Lopez believes. Rather, they are enacting the beheadings in order to break our will to engage them militarily.

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