| Where Recherche duTemps Perdu
---- meets Kirchliche Dogmatik
And now to ISIS. As announced I will not give a history of this organization (except in the sketchiest terms), nor go into all of their present machinations in detail. The Wikipedia site is flush with details and will definitely send a chill down your spine. My goal here is the rather modest one of putting ISIS on the map of Islamic groups.
One very basic truth needs to be reiterated: Islam is never complete as a religion unless it encompasses a state, viz. a political entity. (For al-Qaeda, such a state would be a pure theocracy, arrived at by ungodly measures.) Thus, the fact that ISIS has the establishment of a state as its goal should not be surprising. Still, when my father and I were talking about Islam today on our weekly Skype, we agreed that neither the media nor the vast majority of politicians has yet to catch on to the fact that Islam cannot function as a private “faith,” but must establish the community (al-ummah) as a state. Islam and Christianity are very different in that respect—or should be, and I don’t want to go further along that line for now. See my article “God in the Early Twenty-first Century.” http://wincorduan.net/God and Ayodhya.pdf
ISIS is not Wahhabi, though there are many similarities. It promotes a supposedly “pure" kind of Islam. It identifies itself as Salafi and stresses the importance of tawhid, the oneness of God and the worship of him alone. Any practice that could be deemed to be shirk (idolatry) must be eliminated. But none of these matters require any link to Wahhabism other than a conceptual one. By engaging in aggressive warfare in order to expand its boundaries and killing Muslims as well as non-Muslims for merely political reasons, it goes far beyond Wahhabi ideology. And, for that matter, so does the genocide of non-Muslims apart from any manufactured war, which includes women and children, utilizing some of the worst tortures ever invented by monsters disguised as humans. Christians and Yezidi are easy targets for them; consequently there is now a growing community of Yezidi refuges in Germany. Please see my post about the Yezidi. http://wincorduan.bravejournal.com/entry/144001
Nor is ISIS Qutbite. The movement did arise out of al-Qaeda with its underlying Qutbite ideology, and it definitely shares Qutbite radicalism in designating all other Muslims to be in a state of jahiliyyah and, thus, making them legitimate targets of aggressive war. But al-Qaeda and ISIS could not coexist for long since ISIS is all about setting up a new government, while Qutbism eschews them all. In the matter of persecuting Muslims, ISIS has emphasized fighting against what they are calling “Shi'ite oppression." This notion would be laughable if it were not accompanied by such inhumane violence and brutality. It is true that since the American involvement in Iraqi politics the Shi’ites have had a greater amount of authority in Iraq than in most of Iraq’s history. However, Shi’ites do represent a majority of Iraq’s population, and, as I stated above, they have lived almost perpetually under Sunni governments. ISIS considers itself as neither Sunni nor Shi’ite, just as was the case for the Kharijites in the seventh century, but their main victims within Islam are the Shi’ites. Outside of Islam, it appears that anyone else is fair game for persecution.
Most significantly, in contrast to both Wahhabism and Qutbism, ISIS has resurrected the position of caliph. Thus, at this moment, they occupy a unique slot. Once again consulting history, after the initial skirmishes, the Umayyad dynasty held the caliphate until it was replaced by the Abbasids in 750. The only territory to which the Umayyads held on was Iberia, and they continued to designate their leaders as caliphs. Thus there was the truly powerful Caliph of Baghdad and the vestigial Caliph of Cordoba. The Abbasids eventually lost power, and in the eleventh century, the strongest caliphate was held by the Shi’ite Fatimid dynasty in Egypt. Thus, there were now three caliphs, the Caliphs of Baghdad and Cordoba—both of them dysfunctional—and the Caliph of Cairo. After the Ottoman Empire had consolidated the Muslim world under its rule, the Sultan also bore the title of “Caliph." The revolution by the “young Turks" in 1922 (that’s where the term originated) ended that practice, and, after several failed attempts to sustain the position in some way both inside and outside of Turkey, since 1924 there has no longer been a caliph of global recognition. I must add here, though, that caliphates in smaller settings are not unheard of, as I shall discuss in a future post.
ISIS has now attempted to revive the caliphate on a global scale. Its present leader goes by several names and titles, and I will only touch on a few highlights. Born as Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, he is the Emir (“prince" or “ruler") of ISIS. His popular name has been Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and you will immediately recognize the importance of “Abu Bakr" in that construction. Lately he has added “al Qurashi" to his title, implying descent from the prophet, who, you remember, was of the Quraish tribe. The shortest version with which one can refer to him is “Caliph Ibrahim."
Note: Much of the above is taken from the earlier posts with some modifications. I have not changed the passages below (except maybe for some spelling or punctuation mistakes) because it seems to me that matters have not changed all that much. ISIS has grown over the last year. Has there been progress in putting a halt to it, other than some trophy killings among their leadership?
ISIS displays all of the worst traits associated with the stereotypes of Islam, and in a world where it seems to be impolite to call an evil person "evil," surely this organization and its leader deserve that appellation. The U.S. has taken the lead in attempting to put an end to the travesties of ISIS. I’m not fond of the idea of the U.S. being the policeman of the world, but such a horror cannot be allowed to go on unimpeded. Some European countries have now joined the American effort, and the new Iraqi government is attempting to put an end to ISIS. Perhaps together they will succeed. Also, other Muslim countries have denounced ISIS.
And that last remark once again brings me to a rhetorical question that I have repeated several times. Why are the so-called moderate Muslim nations not playing a more active part in the war against ISIS? For Muslims to sit on their hands while they make frowny faces and verbally dissociate themselves from ISIS is simply not enough. If Islamic countries want to be taken seriously by the outside world, they need to earn that respect by neutralizing those groups that clearly violate the standards of Islam.
Perhaps Western-style democracy is not yet appropriate for some countries where tribalism is too deeply ingrained; simply imposing it seems to backfire in many cases, though I wish it weren’t so. But even an absolute ruler can and should abide by the Qur’an if he is a true Muslim. “There should be no compulsion in religion" (2:256). “People of the Book" (e.g., Christians and Jews) must pay the unbeliever’s tax (jizya) and occupy a lower standing in society than Muslims, but they should be allowed to live and worship God in their own way (9:29). (And, please, there is no way in which one can plausibly rationalize, let alone justify, Caliph Ibrahim’s and ISIS’s actions as a consequence of the Crusades. Unfortunately, if you’ve had conversations with Muslim apologists, you might not be surprised if someone at this very moment is attempting to do just that. )
Muslim leaders, if you want us to see any credibility in your claims concerning Islam, please join actively in the effort to put ISIS out of business!
This comment has been moderated by the blog owner
This comment has been moderated by the blog owner