For many of us wondering about the threat of ISIS and how they can justify their horrendous acts, The Atlantic published an insightful article by Graeme Wood, “What ISIS Really Wants.” It discloses how their barbarity is part of medieval tradition and how they are eagerly waiting for the apocalypse. The following liberally quotes from the article.
Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, who was born in Lebanon, is considered the leading expert on the group’s theology. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.”
The Koran specifies crucifixion as one of the only punishments permitted for enemies of Islam.
“We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,” said Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman. “If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”
In October, Dabiq, the magazine of the Islamic State, published “The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour,” an article that took up the question of whether Yazidis (the members of an ancient Kurdish sect that borrows elements of Islam, and had come under attack from Islamic State forces in northern Iraq) are lapsed Muslims, and therefore marked for death, or merely pagans and therefore fair game for enslavement.
“Enslaving the families of the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Koran and the narrations of the Prophet … and thereby apostatizing from Islam.”
Islamic State regards Shiism as innovation, and to innovate on the Koran is to deny its initial perfection. That means roughly 200 million Shia are marked for death. So too are the heads of state of every Muslim country, who have elevated man-made law above Sharia by running for office or enforcing laws not made by God.
The Islamic State has its share of worldly concerns (including, in the places it controls, collecting garbage and keeping the water running), but the End of Days is a leitmotif of its propaganda.
These include the belief that the armies of Rome will mass to meet the armies of Islam in northern Syria; and that Islam’s final showdown with an anti-Messiah will occur in Jerusalem after a period of renewed Islamic conquest.
The Islamic State has attached great importance to the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo. It named its propaganda magazine after the town, and celebrated madly when (at great cost) it conquered Dabiq’s strategically unimportant plains. It is here, the Prophet reportedly said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Rome’s Waterloo or its Antietam.
An anti-Messiah, known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal, will come from the Khorasan region of eastern Iran and kill a vast number of the caliphate’s fighters, until just 5,000 remain, cornered in Jerusalem. Just as Dajjal prepares to finish them off, Jesus—the second-most-revered prophet in Islam—will return to Earth, spear Dajjal, and lead the Muslims to victory.”
After reading The Atlantic piece I found this Islamic web site clarification about the Muslim version of the anti-Christ. “The word Dajjal in Arabic means Deceiver or Liar. The emergence of the Dajjal (AntiChrist or False Messiah) is the most dangerous among the signs that indicate the Day of Judgment is approaching, even people with strong faith will be shaken. Allah created the Dajjal to test people’s faith.
“Based on our numerical analysis of the Quran, Hadith, and Arabic Words for our End Times book, we believe that a Dajjal or evil person will appear in the beginning of the End Times. This will trigger the emergence of the Mahdi. In 2022, near the end of the phase of the End Times, the last Dajjal will appear. This will trigger the descent of Prophet Jesus Christ from Heaven.
“Some of the Jews are expecting two Messiahs for them in the End Times. They refer to first Messiah as Son of Joseph and the second Messiah as Son of David. Christians are expecting 2 Witnesses in the End Times. They tend to expect one of the witnesses to be Elijah.
“The Dajjal will finally be killed by Prophet Jesus who will descend to Earth and spread peace.”
In a follow-up interview with Think Progress, Bernard Haykel reported: “I see ISIS as a symptom of a much deeper structural set of problems in the Sunni Arab world. “[It has] to do with politics. With education, and the lack thereof. With authoritarianism. With foreign intervention. With the curse of oil … I think that even if ISIS were to disappear, the underlying causes that produce ISIS would not disappear. And those would have to be addressed with decades of policy and reforms and changes — not just by the west, but also by Arab societies as well.”