Islamic Perspectives

Ideology of ISIS: An Objective Analysis — ii


Prof. Manzoor Alam


F. The Apocalypse: It refers to the Day of Judgment when the dead will be brought back to life. All human beings shall have to account for their earthly deeds. The Day of Judgment is repeatedly stressed in the Qur’an and the Traditions of the Prophet. However, no one knows when it will happen. The Qur’an only reveals that the entire Creation will be rudely shaken, mountains will be torn to pieces and the earth will be completely flattened. There is no controversy about the Apocalypse. What is questionable is their prediction about its imminence. It is meaningless to stress its immediate occurrence because this catastrophic event is entirely in the domain of Allah (swt). No one knows when it will happen. The Prophet warned the people about this cataclysmic event but never predicted its period of occurrence.


G. Declaration of apostasy (Takfeer):The concept of apostasy (of calling a Muslim a non-believer) has been used very loosely and casually by the ideologues of the ISIS. They cannot condemn any Muslim as a kafir, or non-believer, if he or she believes in the Unity of Allah, the divine revelations, in all the Prophets of Allah (SWT) and that Muhammad (saw) was the last Prophet, the Qur’an is the last and final revealed book, and in the Day of Resurrection. IN calling such a person non-believer is a sinful act. In order to proclaim a fatwa of kufr, Islamic scholars have to be circumspect. They must bear in mind that Allah (SWT) has reiterated in the Qur’an that He may forgive all sins except that of shirk (joining other gods with Allah (SWT) ). It will be pertinent for Muslim theologians to keep in mind the following two Qur’anic verses while issuing a ruling ontakfeer:  An-Nisa (4): verse 48:” Allah does not forgive for partners to be set up with His worship. But He may forgive other sins. It is a grievous sin to associate partners with Allah”; and see verse 116 in An-Nisa); Al-Zumar (39): verse 53 “Say, O My servants who have transgressed themselves by sinning do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed Allah forgives all sins (of those who sincerely repent and seek forgiveness). Indeed, it is He Who is the forgiving and the merciful”. Remember how the Prophet (saw) tolerated the munafeqin (hypocrites) who pretended to be Muslims while they were secretly intriguing to undermine Islam.


H. Other crazy ideas advanced by the followers of ISIS:One of the prominent ideologues of the Islamic State called upon Muslims in western countries to find the infidel, smash his head with a rock, poison him, run him over with a car or destroy his crop” even when he has not hurt the Muslims in any way. This is clear incitement to violence which violates the Divine command. The Qur’an categorically states that if you “kill an innocent person you have killed the entire humanity. If you saved a life you have saved the entire humanity (Al-Maeda (5) verse 32). The Prophet (saw) and his companions firmly adhered to this noble principle enunciated in the Qur’an.

There are numerous other bizarre ideas expounded by the leaders of the Islamic State. For instance the caliph must wage jihad at least once a year even without any provocation. Obviously, they do not appreciate the meaning and significance of Jihad. Maarcel Brosard in his book “Jihad a Commitment to Universal Peace”, wrote about the Prophet’s battle with the enemies of Islam: “It is just in its causes, defensive in its initiative, decent in its proceeding, pacific in its treatment of the conquered enemy.” Thus jihad cannot be launched unless it is just in its cause.

They make a mockery of Islam when they assert that “to recognise the United Nations and send an ambassador to this organisation is polytheism”. It is meaningless and insensible to state that “a Muslim will cease to be a Muslim if he “wears western clothes, shaves his beard, and votes in an election even for a Muslim candidate.” A Muslim is not identified by his/her dress but by his/her deeds. By expounding of the aforesaid weird and irrational ideas the leaders of the Islamic State expose their narrow-mindedness and ignorance of the fundamental principles of Islam as enunciated in the Qur’an and the Traditions of the Prophet (saw).

Islam was a progressive religion in its incipient state and it ought to maintain this character in the modern context. The Prophet (saw) himself initiated the concept of ijtihad (independent reasoning) so that Islam may maintain its progressive character. The Prophet (saw) had realised that with the evolution of human society it may be observed that the Qur’an and Sunnah may not offer complete guidance in the conduct of human life. He asked Moaz bin Jabal, whom he had appointed Governor of Yemen, as to how he would deal with the problems in such a situation. Maaz bin Jabal said that would judge by the Qur’an. If this was not possible, he would judge byu Sunnah. If that also was not possible, he would apply his intelligence and ingenuity and make decisions which, while resolving problems of human society, also do not violate the fundamental principles of Islam as enshrined in the Qur’an and Traditions of the Prophet (saw). He agreed with him.

The Prophet (saw) and the four Rightly Guided Caliphs always preached and practiced a compassionate, just and tolerant Islam. The Prophet was an epitome of tolerance. He allowed the Christians of Najran who had come to meet him to offer their prayer with the Cross facing east right in the Prophet’s mosque. Omar (ra), the second caliph, offered generous terms of treaty to the vanquished Christians of Palestine. He allowed them complete freedom to celebrate their festivals with full pomp and pageantry. The Qur’an also encourages Muslims to repel evil with good deeds which may dramatically change the relationship between feuding parties. It proclaims that “the evil deeds and good deeds cannot be equal, repel evil with good deeds, then he, between he and you is enmity will become as though he was a close friend”( Ham Mim As-Sajdah (41): verse 32).

 The leaders of the Islamic State must remember and reflect on the truth that Islam was not spread by the sword. It was promoted by generous acts of rulers and preachers of the faith. In order to regain control of Palestine the Third Crusade was launched in 1187 by the Pope and rulers of France, Spain and Germany.They were routed by Salahuddin Ayyubi, governor of Egypt, in the battle of Hattin. The leaders of Christian forces, kings, princes, cardinals and bishops fled back to Europe leaving behind their soldiers. SalahuddinAyyubi treated these soldiers with compassion and generosity and they all voluntarily converted to Islam. It is the humanitarian values of Islam, as preached and practised by the Prophet (saw), that shall have universal relevance, not the obsolete and inhuman tribal culture of the7th century. Muslims should avoid brutal and repulsive actions that cause aversion to Islam. The Prophet (SAW) clearly stated, “treat the people with ease, do not be hard on them, give them glad tidings; do not fill them with aversion; love each other and do not create discussion” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol.1, p.503). The Prophet (saw) and his companions displayed love and compassion, justice and honesty, tolerance, peace, and patience and perseverance to attract non-Muslims to Islam. These were the methods used by the Prophet which Muslims should sincerely try to emulate. This prophetic method conforms to the commands of Allah (swt) as enshrined in the Qur’an.(Concluded)

The author is a noted social scientist.

He is a former Vice Chancellor, Kashmir University