What is DAESH and what is it not

The word DAESH is the abbreviation of the Arabic phrase “ad-Dawlatu'l-Islamiyya fi'l-Iraq wa'sh-Sham”. ISIS is the English abbreviation of the phrase “the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ash-Sham)”. If we say we should not call this organization Islamic State since they oppress and terrorize people, cause the people of the world to fear Islam and Muslims, we cannot fulfill this purpose by calling them DAESH instead of ISIS. I think the most appropriate one is to call them “al-Baghdadi Movement”.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim, was born in 1971 in Samarra, Iraq. After graduating from high school, he wanted to study law, if it is not possible education or language, at Baghdad University; however, his marks were not so good. Therefore, he went to Islamic Shari'ah Faculty; after graduating from university, he did his master's and doctorate on the Quran and reciting it. His younger brother died when he was a soldier in Saddam's army. He was not recruited to the army because of an eye defect.

Baghdadi movement was subject to Abu Mus'ab az-Zarqawi, who found al-Qaeda of Iraq in 2004 and who was subject to Bin Ladin. This connection continued until February 2014. Al-Qaeda broke off its ties with this movement because they regarded it extreme.

Baghdadi declared his caliphate in 2014; first, he declared himself as the ruler of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Then, he declared that he was the caliph of "the Islamic State" encompassing all Muslims in the world.

It is said that Baghdadi has fifty thousand soldiers in Iraq and thirty thousand in Syria. Most of these soldiers consist of Arabs and Berbers but the number of the people coming from Africa, Europe, the USA, etc and joining his army is quite high.

It is necessary to think carefully about the reasons why so many people go to join him from near and distant places by overcoming so many obstacles. Among these reasons, which can be the topic of a long article, are lack of knowledge and education, economic distress, foreign invasion and exploitation, pressures in the field of religion and thought, lack of motivating young people to satisfactory targets through appropriate methods, feeling of adventure, the existence of this organization which uses the internet and propaganda very successfully, etc.

The claim of Baghdadi is to establish the state of caliphate again and to apply shari'ah; however, there are grave mistakes both in his understanding of caliphate and shari'ah, and the method he chose in order to reach his target.

His understanding of Islam/shari'ah is based on that literal and narrow interpretation of verses and hadiths by ignoring the purposes of shari'ah - like the latter Salafis. The understanding and practices of this movement related to music, women, pictures and sculpture are apparent examples regarding the issue.

Their understanding of caliphate does not correspond with "the presidency of the Islamic ummah", which can be realized today. As it is known, caliphate - in its perfect sense - ended in the 30th year of the Migration when the Umayyad sultanate started; the rightly guided caliphs were replaced by sultans, who were sometimes cruel. This institution, which was insistently called caliphate, was transferred to the Ottomans when Selim II was the sultan. When the Ottoman administration ended, it was stated that the caliphate was transformed into the legal personality of the National Assembly in the Republic of Turkey, which was founded on the small land - compared to the previous land - left from the Ottoman State.

To bring back the caliphate means to return to the first four caliphs' understanding and practices of Islam, politics, state and ummah. It is not possible to include what Baghdadi does in this framework.

Let me give only one example: The rightly guided caliphs did not kill the people who did not pay allegiance to them for a certain time or at all, did not regard them as dhimmi, did not demand jizyah from them and did not punish them. Hz. Ali (r.a.) addressed the Kharijites, who did not pay allegiance to him and who declared war against him later as follows: “If you want to come to our mosque, the doors are open. If you fight against the enemies of Islam together with us, we will regard you as our warriors. If you attack us with your weapons, we will attack you, too.”

The way of establishing an Islamic political structure and administration that will encompass the whole ummah without disrupting the believers and without making them fight one another is not the way that Baghdadi chose; besides, this movement does not have the capacity of thought and knowledge to realize this great task with short, medium and long term programs and applications.  

Muslims are badly affected due to these things. The blood that is shed, the houses that are perished and the wealth that is wasted all belong to Muslims. This movement breaks Muslims into pieces instead of uniting them. It practices savagery, which intimidates people and alienates them in the name of Islam. It plays into the enemies' hands and paves the way for them to exploit Muslims.

It is understood that it is up to Allah for Muslims to use their ability to act based on their mind, foresight and prudence; in fact, Allah wants them to use it.

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