“Islamic State” and The War for Hearts and Minds

What is “Islamic State” as they like to call themselves – at least that is what the media says? Call me skeptical but any organisation where the leader is never seen is a fiction. How dare anyone claim such a title as the Caliph of Islam and then just hide. Not that such a claim has any automatic legitimacy even if he has a huge army and territory.

In Islam there is only one legitimate source of political authority, it is the principle in Islam that “our decisions require consulting one another – shurah” from the verse of the Quran أَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ) 42:38 ) . What we have seen of the alleged leader of the “Islamic State” has offered nothing but silence in the face of all kinds of appeals and claims of atrocities. Is he some kind of shy virgin who we can assume, by his silence that he consents to the marriage he is being declared to have accepted with the actors in every barbaric video produced for the media. Do we assume by his silence when “boko haram” slaughters boys in schools and kidnaps girls from schools that they are allied to him with his consent and that he approved every crime they commit?

The whole think stinks of a collection of black ops. These organisations represent no one and seek no one’s opinion in their support. They just want to use brutal force to gain power and declare that they do it in the name of Islam. These organisations are riddled with people working for enemies of Islam, whose sole objective is to defame Islam. Sure there may be some sincere people there but they are deluded. In particular, they follow an approach to understanding Islam that says the primary mode of behavior is simplistic obedience “we hear and we obey”. The problem with this is who they listen to. This kind of obedience is only due to God. Such obedience is absolutely not due to the innumerable hypocrites empowered by the enemies of Islam. In this category, I would include the bulk of the salafi movement leaders as well as the various self appointed tyrants that declare themselves leaders in the Muslim world.

Slavish adherence to traditional Islamic law can be just as bad. What becomes established by tradition is often far from the actual teachings of the founders of any religion. But so is the attitude that salafi movement encourages which is that if someone comes to you with an opinion that appears to have a plausible claim to be based on Islam (they say ‘where is your “daleel”‘) then you should just follow it. This is a recipe for people being deceived into doing the wrong thing. An action is not good just because you think it is good based on what someone told you. You need to be aware that there are many liars and hypocrites and cowards who just go along to get along rather than really seek to know what is morally the right action. Not everyone can study all the evidence, but just following a small part of very selectively chosen evidence is not a way to get it right and making such adherence to essentially flawed judgments into a virtue is what is at the core of the salafi movement, which is arguably the biggest ideological base of the so called “Islamic State”. This attitude makes people in it pliable and essentially tools of the enemies of Islam.

It is not a new thing either, the British at the height of their empire manipulated Arabs into various factions to fight the Turkish Caliphate which destroyed the last claimed Caliph of the Muslim world. Similar strategies have been in use for ages. Today, as always, the manipulation is to try and defame Islam and what better way than and get Sunnis and Shias and whatever Muslim factions can be created to fight one another.

Muslims need a leader to unite around, but one who leads by delivering a good message following the example of the prophet Muhammad (saws) not leaders who deliver appalling messages by the actions they do or fail to do and not leaders who are apparently so shy or scared that they cannot be seen or heard by anybody such that their very existence is something easily doubted.

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