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Dabiq #2, follow-up post — punishment by Flood and Fire

Monday, July 28th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- Dabiq issue #2 ends with a note about the Dajjal -- thus bookending the issue with apocalyptic references ]
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Hello Kitty's caliphate -- see below

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There’s not a whole lot more that’s distinctively oriented to the “end times” in the second issue of Dabiq, although as I noted in a comment on my earlier post today, there are in fact references to both flood and fire in “It’s either the Islamic State or the Flood” (p.6):

Allah ta’ala said: {And We had certainly sent Nuh to his people, [saying], “Indeed, I am to you a clear warner. That you not worship except Allah. Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a painful day.”} [Hud: 25-26]

Ash-Shawkani (rahimahullah) says, “The sentence {Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a painful day} is explanatory. It means: ‘I warned you against worshipping other than Allah because I fear for you’. This sentence contains a true warning. Furthermore, the painful day referred to is the Day of Judgment or the day of the flood.”

The word “or” in Ash-Shawkani’s statement above undoubtedly combines both items mentioned. This is because the punishment promised by Nuh (‘alayhis-salam) includes both the punishment of Hellfire on the Day of Judgment, and the punishment of drowning in the flood in this dunya. As a result, his people were ultimately afflicted by both punishments.

Allah ta’ala said: {Because of their sins they were drowned and put into the Fire, and they found not for themselves besides Allah [any] helpers} [Nuh: 25] .

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The apocalyptic references I noted in my previous post and above are from the first few pages of the magazine. And once again, they are book-ended with a final apocalyptic reference.

On the back page, page 44, the magazine closes with another hadith, this one mentioning the Dajjal — the end times Muslim “antichrist”:

Again, the eschatological nature of the caliphate and its jihad is clearly implied.

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There’s much else in the magazine, beyond my remit to comment on — a section on the PKK, photos of the destruction of various shrines and at least one hussaynia, an interesting and lengthy discussion of mubahalah specifically including early theological debates with Jews and Christians…

… and a certain American Christian named Daniel McGivern will, I fear, be surprised to find himself mentioned on page 7, in connection with his expedition to find Noah’s Ark:

In fact, the people’s faith in these truths – in spite of their differing creeds – reached the extent that a wealthy christian businessman named Daniel McGivern was prepared to invest $900,000 to send a team of explorers to investigate a site believed to be the location of the ark of Nuh (‘alayhis-salam). All this was only because of a decree of Allah mentioned in His book, which He brought to pass concerning the ark. He decreed that the ark would remain as a prominent sign in the lives of the people.

He ta’ala said: {But We saved him and the companions of the ship, and We made it a sign for the worlds} [Al-‘Ankabut: 15].

Before I go, here are a couple of other odd notes.

On p. 11, obesity is mentioned as an extreme symptom of degenerate Islam:

On the authority of ‘Imran Ibn Husayn (radiyallahu ‘anhuma) who stated that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The best of my Ummah are those of my generation, and then those who follow after them, and then those who follow after them.” ‘Imran said: “I do not remember whether he mentioned two or three generations after his generation.” Then the Prophet added, “There will come after you, people who will bear witness without being asked to do so, and will be treacherous and untrustworthy, and they will vow and never fulfill their vows, and obesity will appear among them.” [Al-Bukhar? #3693 and Muslim #6638]

And on p. 29, they’ve posted the same photo [see above, top] that drew amused tweets and blog comments earlier this month, along the lines of @sundance’s That Awkward Moment..

when you realize that your badass jihadi boss owns a “Hello Kitty” notebook for his military battle plans

Oy.

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The Caliphate, Hamas, and the Gharqad Tree hadith

Monday, July 28th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- The second issue of the caliphate's Dabiq magazine leads with another "end times" reference ]
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The second issue of the caliphate’s digital magazine Dabiq is now out, and once again, it contains a clear “end times” reference in the Foreword, p. 4:

As for the massacres taking place in Gaza against the Muslim men, women, and children, then the Islamic State will do everything within its means to continue striking down every apostate who stands as an obstacle on its path towards Palestine. It is not the manner of the Islamic State to throw empty, dry, and hypocritical words of condemnation and condolences like the Arab taw?gh?t do in the UN and Arab League. Rather, its actions speak louder than its words and it is only a matter of time and patience before it reaches Palestine to fight the barbaric jews and kill those of them hiding behind the gharqad trees – the trees of the jews.

The reference here is to the hadith of the gharqad tree, as found in context in the Charter of Hamas, Article 7:

… the Islamic Resistance Movement looks forward to fulfill the promise of Allah no matter how long it takes because the Prophet of Allah (saas) says:

The Last Hour would not come until the Muslims fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them, and until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say. Muslim or Servant of Allah there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree of Gharqad would not say it, for it is the tree of the Jews (Bukhari and Muslim).

This is a clearly apocalyptic hadith, as indicated by it’s reference to “the Last Hour” or Day of judgement.

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The Federation of American Scientists site offers a different translation, and footnotes this particular passage with the words:

The Egyptian troops who launched the assault on the Bar-Lev Line in October 1973, were equipped with “booklets of guidance” which included, inter alia, this same quotation.

Another noteworthy use of the “Gharqad tree hadith” comes from Bin Laden:

Doomsday shall not come until Muslims fight Jews. A Jew would be hiding behind a tree or a stone. The tree or the stone would say, O Muslim, O subject of God, there is a Jew behind me come and kill him. The only exception is [Gharqad] tree is a tree that belongs to Jews.

with his comment [p. 244]:

Whoever claims that there is lasting peace with the Jews is a disbeliever of what the prophet, may the peace and blessings of God upon him, said. Our conflict with the enemies of Islam will continue until Doomsday.

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The most interesting writing in English on the gharqad tree that I am aware of is to be found in Anne Marie Oliver and Paul Steinberg, The Road to Martyrs’ Square, pp 19-21.

This issue’s title and cover illustration, as you can see above, references the Flood, which is described in Suras 11 and 71 of the Qur’an, as well as in Genesis chapters 6 through 9. Apparently the caliphate’s editors have yet to read James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time.

And now to see if the rest of the magazine contains further insights.

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Order of business: Caliph first, Mahdi next up?

Friday, July 11th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- an old Jihadica post revisited ]
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In a 27th June 2008 post on Jihadica, Will McCants reported that one al-Fata al-Jurani had argued on the Eklaas fourm that “the Mahdi will not appear until a caliph once again rules Muslims. After the caliph dies, the black banners will be unfurled and the Mahdi will appear” — quoting two hadith in support:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Disagreement will occur at the death of a caliph and a man of the people of Medina will come flying forth to Mecca. Some of the people of Mecca will come to him, bring him out against his will and swear allegiance to him between the Corner and the Maqam. An expeditionary force will then be sent against him from Syria but will be swallowed up in the desert between Mecca and Medina. When the people see that, the eminent saints of Syria and the best people of Iraq will come to him and swear allegiance to him between the Corner and the Maqam. Then there will arise a man of Quraysh whose maternal uncles belong to Kalb and send against them an expeditionary force which will be overcome by them, and that is the expedition of Kalb. Disappointed will be the one who does not receive the booty of Kalb. He will divide the property, and will govern the people by the Sunnah of their Prophet (peace be upon him) and establish Islam on Earth. He will remain seven years… (Sunan Dawud)

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at al-A’maq or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best (soldiers) of the people of the earth at that time will come from Medina (to counteract them). When they will arrange themselves in ranks, the Romans would say: Do not stand between us and those (Muslims) who took prisoners from amongst us. Let us fight with them; and the Muslims would say: Nay, by Allah, we would never get aside from you and from our brethren that you may fight them. They will then fight and a third (part) of the army would run away, whom Allah will never forgive. A third (part of the army). which would be constituted of excellent martyrs in Allah’s eye, would be killed ani the third who would never be put to trial would win and they would be conquerors of Constantinople. And as they would be busy in distributing the spoils of war (amongst themselves) after hanging their swords by the olive trees, the Satan would cry: The Dajjal has taken your place among your family… (Sahih Muslim)

McCants then asked:

So if the caliphate were to be declared and acknowledged, would hitherto non-messianic Jihadi groups like al-Qaeda become messianic?

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Note also that the second hadith is the one that mentions Dabiq — which is also the title of the first magazine published by the new Caliphate.

We live in interesting times.

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Dabiq magazine: an end-times reference from the IS “Caliphate”

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- the new caliphate has a new magazine hot off the presses, and it's bookended with apocalyptic hadith ]
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A new caliphate’s new magazine demands a new name — and on this occasion the name chosen carries a very specific end-times connotation:

As for the name of the magazine, then it is taken from the area named Dabiq in the northern countryside of Halab (Aleppo) in Sham. This place was mentioned in a hadith describing some of the events of the Malahim (what is sometimes referred to as Armageddon in English). One of the greatest battles between the Muslims and the crusaders will take place near Dabiq.

So there you have it in a nutshell — the IS caliphate announced their arrival with the first issue of a magazine named specifically for an impending battle associated with Armageddon.

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To give those they seek to recruit to the cause more detail, the extended hadith is then narrated:

Abu Hurayrah reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“The Hour will not be established until the Romans land at al-A’maq or Dabiq (two places near each other in the northern countryside of Halab). Then an army from al-Madinah of the best people on the earth at that time will leave for them.

When they line up in ranks, the Romans will say, ‘Leave us and those who were taken as prisoners from amongst us so we can fight them.’ The Muslims will say, ‘Nay, by Allah, we will not abandon our brothers to you.’ So they will fight them.

Then one third of them will flee; Allah will never forgive them. One third will be killed; they will be the best martyrs with Allah. And one third will conquer them; they will never be afflicted with fitnah. Then they will conquer Constantinople.

While they are dividing the war booty, having hung their swords on olive trees, Shaytan will shout, ‘The [false] Messiah has followed after your families [who were left behind.]’ So they will leave [for their families], but Shaytan’s claim is false.

When they arrive to Sham he comes out. Then while they are preparing for battle and filing their ranks, the prayer is called. So ‘Isa Ibn Maryam (‘alayhis-Salam) will descend and lead them.

When the enemy of Allah sees him, he will melt as salt melts in water. If he were to leave him, he would melt until he perished, but he kills him with his own hand, and then shows them his blood upon his spear” [Sahih Muslim].

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The magazine next cites Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi:

Shaykh Abu Mus’ab az-Zarqawi (rahimahullah) anticipated the expansion of the blessed jihad from Iraq into Sham and linked it to this hadith saying,

“The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify -– by Allah’s permission -– until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq” [Ayna Ahlul-Muru’at].

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Finally, the editorial concludes:

According to the hadith, the area will play a historical role in the battles leading up to the conquests of Constantinople, then Rome. Presently, Dabiq is under the control of crusaderbacked sahwat, close to the warfront between them and the Khilafah.

May Allah purify Dabiq from the treachery of the sahwah and raise the flag of the Khilafah over its land. Amin.

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You thought, perhaps, that those who put forth the magazine were kidding about Dabiq as the location of an end-times battle, sometime shortly after which Jesus [the son of Mary -- ‘Isa Ibn Maryam] will descend? On the 50th and final page of the magazine, the entire long hadith that graced page 4 is repeated — with, hey, different paragraph breaks to provide a little novelty:

Abu Hurayrah reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“The Hour will not be established until the Romans land at al-A’maq or Dabiq (two places near each other in the northern countryside of Halab).

Then an army from al-Madinah of the best people on the earth at that time will leave for them. When they line up in ranks, the Romans will say, ‘Leave us and those who were taken as prisoners from amongst us so we can fight them.’

The Muslims will say, ‘Nay, by Allah, we will not abandon our brothers to you.’ So they will fight them.

Then one third of them will flee; Allah will never forgive them. One third will be killed; they will be the best martyrs with Allah. And one third will conquer them; they will never be afflicted with fitnah.

Then they will conquer Constantinople. While they are dividing the war booty, having hung their swords on olive trees, Shaytan will shout, ‘The [false] Messiah has followed after your families [who were left behind.]’ So they will leave [for their families], but Shaytan’s claim is false. When they arrive to Sham he comes out.

Then while they are preparing for battle and filing their ranks, the prayer is called. So ‘Isa Ibn Maryam (‘alayhis-Salam) will descend and lead them.

When the enemy of Allah sees him, he will melt as salt melts in water. If he were to leave him, he would melt until he perished, but he kills him with his own hand, and then shows them his blood upon his spear.” [Sahih Muslim]

The IS Baghdadi caliphate is part and parcel of the end-times, apocalyptic, Armageddon-style war as understood in one strand [see David Cook's books, below] of Islamic eschatology…

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Recommended readings:

  • JP Filiu, Apocalypse in Islam
  • David Cook, Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic
  • David Cook, Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature
  • Timothy Furnish, Holiest Wars
  • Richard Landes, Heaven on Earth
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    Quote from Baghdadi: 'The Muslims today have a loud, thundering statement, and possess heavy boots.'

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    The end of the world in footnote 35, page 18

    Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- how the "end times" aspect of the new "caliphate" gets buried somewhere under all the books, papers, and old burrito wrappings on my desk ]
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    Richard Barrett‘s report for The Soufan Group in June 2014, Foreign Fighters in Syria, runs 33 pages, but you’d have to get to page 18 to read:

    Indeed, the Islamist narrative of Syria as a land of ‘jihad’ features prominently in the propaganda of extremist groups on both sides of the war, just as it does in the social media comments of their foreign recruits. [35] The opportunity and desire to witness and take part in a battle prophesized 1,400 years earlier is a strong motivator. And for some, so too is the opportunity to die as a ‘martyr’, with extremist sheikhs and other self-appointed religious pundits declaring that anyone who dies fighting the ‘infidel’ enemy, whoever that may be, will be particularly favored in the afterlife.

    Then, buried in footnote 35 — burial is the right metaphor, isn’t it? — you’ll find this understated gem:

    35 Several hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad and his companions) refer to Syria as the land of Jihad where an epic battle between Muslim armies will take place, leading to the end of times.

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    I am being more than a little unfair here, so let me offer a corrective of sorts. I may be keenly aware that Muslim eschatology is a powerful and often forgotten driver in contemporary jihadist recruitment, morale, and perhas strategy, but that doesn’t make it the necessary topic of any and every article on AQ, its various affiliates, or the new IS “caliphate”. And I’m pretty sure Barrett knows this too, since he is writing as a Senior Vice President in Ali Soufan‘s group, ancd Soufan was the man who named his book The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al-Qaeda — Soufan is very clear on the “end times” connection. So I am half nitpicking here, focusing in on just one footnote — and half in deadly earnest.

    Look, Syria — or more precisely “greater Sham” — is at the heart of Abu Musab al-Suri‘s treatise on the apocalypse. Jean-Paul Filiu notes in Apocalypse in Islam that “the wandering jihadist is preoccupied above all by the central role reserved for his homeland at the end of the world”:

    It is self-evident to him that the “country of Sham” — Greater Syria, including Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan – looms as the apocalyptic theater par excellence, and that al-Qaida’s strategic conception of global jihad must be reoriented to take into account this final clash.

    Filiu also comments, as I have said before:

    There is nothing in the least theoretical about this exercise in apocalyptic exegesis. It is meant instead as a guide for action.

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    I want to give you some background on all this — on our tendency to politely overlook apocalyptic signs, as if only Rorschach [in the Watchmen illustrations with which I bookend this post] and a few sandalled and long-haired crazies with “the end is nigh” signs on the pavement outside upscale stores or in cartoons ever really think about that stuff — and perhap the easiest way is to offer you the text of the relevant passage of an essay I wrote for the 2007 National Security Strategy Essay Contest sponsored by the Army-G3 and the Combating Terrorism Center, and wnich I kept on adding to but never quite finished…

    My essay was titled How can the U.S. credibly and ethically deter adherents of extremist religious ideologies from engaging in terrorist activity? I’ll spare you the footnotes…

    One of the greatest current risks we face in the Islamic world is that we will be blindsided by apocalyptic fervor, either in the form of a Mahdist movement, or in reaction to extremist Christian or Jewish messianic attacks on Temple Mount / the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem. In view of this, the disdain in which “apocalyptic” is held is so great — and so significant from an analytic perspective — that I shall quote several authorities on the subject.

    David Cook is our foremost scholar on apocalyptic movements within the Islamic world, quoted at length and with respect by Benjamin and Simon (senior director and director, respectively, in the Clinton NSC) in The Age of Sacred Terror. He writes:

    Many monotheistic faiths encompass strains of belief that the end of the world is approaching, but such strains are not usually deemed “respectable.” The more specific these beliefs, the less respect they receive… The general disdain for such beliefs is so great that a scholar publishing on this subject is a source of acute embarrassment to any established religious institution of higher learning with which he — or very rarely she — is associated.

    Cook is writing particularly about the treatment of scholarly works in (e.g.) Islamic countries, and mentions al-Azhar University, the leading Sunni seat of learning, in this context, and in fact al-Azhar banned his earlier work, Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic, on the grounds that it “violated Islamic principles and harmed Islam’s image.” The same type of academic disdain, however, was prevalent enough in European circles that the psychologist Carl Jung wrote, “I will not discuss the transparent prophecies of the Book of Revelation, because no one believes in them and the whole subject is felt to be an embarassing one.”

    Disdain for the topic is easily conveyed by senior to junior scholars. Stephen O’Leary, now the author of the Oxford University Press classic, Arguing the Millennium, notes that “apocalyptic studies are or have been not reputable within the academy.” He says the most explicit attempt to dissuade him from such studies came from a faculty member a major university department where he was interviewing for a position: “The implication, if not the exact wording, was that a fascination with apocalyptic beliefs and movements was a waste of time, since these phenomena were marginal and unworthy of serious study.”

    And that disdain only to easily leads to an underestimate of the strength of the feeling involved. As O’Leary notes in his book,

    Apocalyptic arguments made by people of good and sincere faith have apparently succeeded in persuading millions; it is unfair and dangerous to dismiss these arguments as irrational and the audiences persuaded by them as ignorant fools. In a world where bright utopic visions compete with increasingly plausible scenarios of global catastrophe, it seems imperative to understand how our anticipations of the future may be both inspired and limited by the ancient logic of apocalypticism.

    One of our finest recent scholars of religious violence, Jessica Stern, was initially taken aback by the apocalyptic intensity of the terrorists she studied:

    I have come to see that apocalyptic violence intended to “cleanse” the world of “impurities” can create a transcendent state. All the terrorist groups examined in this book believe — or at least started out believing — that they are creating a more perfect world. From their perspective, they are purifying the world of injustice, cruelty, and all that is antihuman. When I began this project, I could not understand why the killers I met seemed spiritually intoxicated. Now, I think I understand. They seem that way because they are.

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    Now let’s put those quotes in the context of recent remarks by Tim Furnish:

    As if ISIS is not bad enough with its jihadism, there are disturbing hints of eschatological thinking and Mahdism among that group and its allies. [ .. ]

    No one has yet proclaimed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the Mahdi — but if Islamic history is any guide, it’s just a matter of time. Once the caliphate is firmly established, then the likelihood of a Mahdiyah being proclaimed increases. And as I noted in my book Holiest Wars, “Muslim messianic movements are to fundamentalist uprisings what nuclear weapons are to conventional ones: triggered by the same detonating agents, but far more powerful in scope and effect.

    Nobody may yet have proclaimed al-Baghdadi as the Mahdi, but he’s claimed the caliphate for himself since Tim wrote this. And even if you think “nuclear weapons” compared to “conventional ones” is a bit of a stretch, consider Khartoum — and then multiply by the increase in the destructive power of weaponry between the 1880s and today…

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