I am a Muslim. The first words my parents taught me were ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah, Muhammadun rasoolullah’ (there is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad ﷺ is the Messenger of Allah. Since then, everything I’ve been taught in my life has been aimed at making me a better Muslim.
Since hearing about the golden age of Islam, the days of khilaafah and Islamic rule, every Muslim’s heart yearns that Islam be revived to that state. Every Muslim desires unity and peace amongst their brethren and most importantly, one single reliable leader to look upto, who will lead the believers to victory.
Considering the above, you can imagine my joy when I first heard of ISIS. All of a sudden, the believers had a leader and the khilaafah was spreading fast. It seemed to be the answer to all of our prayers.
I wrote to a reputable aalim at the time, asking about the authenticity of the ISIS khilaafah. His response was that things were at the time rather murky in Iraq and Syria, but the group calling themselves ISIS in his opinion, were not a reliable khilaafah, most notably due to the fact that no one seemed to know who the Khalifa was. Other than what he was known as – Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi- no one knew what his history was, on which qualities he had been elected khalif, or what his deeni qualifications were.Still, my heart refused to accept that. It seemed inconceivable that something the Muslim ummah had been waiting for for so long, was nothing but a fake. Surely he must be mistaken, I decided. The truth would reveal itself soon enough.And so continued my investigation into ISIS. At the time, few people had any proper information about them, which just served to confuse me even more. I started praying istikharah salaah, asking Allah to open my heart to the truth.I was so scared of falling into the wrong side. What if I rejected them and they proved to be a reliable khilaafah? Or what if I accepted them and they were just a fake? What should I do?In those days, I tried to tread a cautious path between the two. Reading everything with an open mind, I neither promoted them nor defamed them. If someone sang their praises, I’d try to find out if it was based on personal observation and if it wasn’t, I’d caution them against it. And if someone reviled them, I’d do pretty much the same. And my istikharah continued.
Finally, Allah presented me with the opportunity to travel to the blessed land of Shaam. I hoped that in doing so, I would be able to observe the truth from an objective perspective and make up my own unbiased decision with regards to them. And thus my journey began…I learned and saw more than I wished to. I observed ISIS fighters who seemed utterly sincere and driven in their goal to establish Islamic rule. Many had left behind luxurious lives for this purpose so surely they must be sincere. No one would give up their lives for nothing unless they believed in their cause.
Then, the little things started drawing my attention… things which no one on the outside seemed aware of. Such as the fact that majority of the land gained by ISIS and currently under ISIS control was not actually captured by them. Rather, it was other groups who bore the victory but somehow, ISIS took control, either because the neighbouring groups didn’t feel capable of fighting Muslims or because the ISIS supporters in the area just happened to be the majority. The actual ISIS takeovers such as Palmyra, was nothing but desert area, easy pickings for anyone.But that’s not what got to me. After all, if Allah really wanted, He could allow anyone control over anything, friend of His or foe.
What hit me, was the qualities that I started noticing in those who supported ISIS. Besides the general obsession with them, they had a kind of harsh, arrogant mentality. Wallaahi, I am not saying this because I oppose them, I am speaking out of experience of dealing with these people. For them, there was only one right or wrong. You were either Muslim or Kaafir.Now that may not seem such a bad thing, but what it meant was that if you did not conform to their expectations, you were a Kaafir. For example, if you had any differences on Fiqh – Fiqh, not Aqeedah, in you- you were not of them. This despite the fact that even the sahaabah ( radhiyallaahu anhum ) differed in jurisprudence.
Another quality that I noticed was that you could do the world for them, but if you disagreed on one issue, you became the worst person in their midst. However, what got to me the most, was that they seemed to think it okay to break pledges. I had been brought up with the teaching that lying is a sin which can make you from amongst the munaafiqeen, yet these people saw no wrong in not keeping to their agreements.I remember a case of a brother who was forced by his ISIS supportive in laws to divorce his wife. Why? Because she wanted to go to Raqqah and he didn’t. So he agreed, but after taking a promise from them that his son would not be taken without his permission, nor would she leave during her iddah (which is Islamic anyway) and that he would get to be with his son 3 out of the 7 days a week.Just over a month down the line, the girl and her family disappeared. It was later that day that he learnt they had left for Raqqah.
Is this what the Islam of our so called khilaafah teaches us? Ungratefulness, bad character and broken promises? But this was not the worst…What happened in Halab was the point which made me figure there is no point in trying with them. Groups of mujahideen were fighting Bashar Al Assad and from all appearances, were close to a victory. Now when I say mujahideen, I speak of other men who have also given up their lives to fight to establish Shari’ah rule in Syria. Men who may not be perfect, but neither do they claim to be. Men who have been branded Murtaddeen by ISIS just because they fight alongside others fighting the regime who may have ulterior motives. This, despite the fact that Nabi ﷺ set out for Uhud with one thousand men, three hundred of whom were hypocrites. Yes, Allah weeded the hypocrites out and this we see happening in Syria too – that the groups sponsored by the kuffar slowly end up disbanding or backing off. But why should the rest who fight the kuffar be branded thus?So what does ISIS do? ISIS sends in men to pull off a ‘martyrdom operation’ on Muslim brothers fighting the regime. Muslim brothers backed by Muslim people, fighting to establish the rule of Allah, get blown up because ISIS considers them Murtaddeen.
SubhaanAllah, I wanted to weep when this news reached us. Suddenly, the Muslims were attacked from both sides, the regime on one end and ISIS on the other. What a mess!
So yes, my beloved brothers and sisters seeking the truth: ISIS seems all green and rosy on the outside, but Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) has warned us against the false dawn that comes before the true dawn. Don’t allow the rosy picture painted by ISIS supporters to fool you.
Wallaahi, if I thought there was any good in them, it would be my obligation as a believer to expose it to the world, but the deeper I dig, the more dirt I find.I am not saying that there are no sincere brothers and sisters in ISIS. Definitely, there are those who followed them believing them to be true but when you live in something, you are either blinded by its faults or change with it. I pray that those who still have sincere hearts amongst them, will make it back to the truth without destroying their imaan. Aameen.I leave you with the du’aa of Rasoolullah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) – read it enough and Allah will make it clear to you:
اللهم أرنا الحق حقا وارزقنا اتباعه وأرنا الباطل باطلا وارزقنا اجتنابه
O Allah, show us the truth as true and enable us to follow it and show us falsehood as false and enable us to abstain from it. Aameen ya Rabbal aalameen.
(Written by Abdullah Aadam)