[ by Charles Cameron — the London Times gets the Qur’an wrong, let’s hope it’s not this sloppy about cricket! ]
In an article titled Death to Cheshire florist, declares Isis magazine, London Times writers David Brown, Sara Elizabeth Williams, and Tom Coghlan write about Rumiyah, the new ISIS magazine:
Charlie Winter, a researcher who follows Isis media closely, said of Rumiyah: “Intriguingly, it features relatively little original content, suggesting Isis is having to cut corners in its media operations.”
It is not clear if the new magazine has replaced the main Isis title, Dabiq, which has appeared sporadically in recent months. Dabiq is named after a town in northern Syria where Isis believes a Koranic prophecy foretells the final victory for a Muslim army against an alliance of world armies before the apocalypse. Syrian rebel and Kurdish fighters are now less than five miles from taking the town.
“If you put out a publication about a place you no longer control it might raise eyebrows,” said Raffaello Pantucci, the Royal United Services Institute’s director of international security studies.
Okay, I’ve included the Charlie Winter and Raff Pantucci quotes because they’re both germane to the bigger question of how ISIS is faring these days. It’s the middle paragraph that disturbs me.
Dabiq in the Qur’an?
On the contrary — it’s not even in David Cook‘s two seminal books about Islamic end-times writing, ancient or modern, nor in J-P Filiu‘s Apocalypse in Islam.
Dabiq (the town) was mentioned by Abu Mus’ab az-Zarqawi (died June 2006) in a quote featured at the start of the first issue of Dabiq, the ISIS magazine (july 2014):
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.
The last page features the longish hadith that backs up Zarqawi’s point — I posted the whole thing just the other day in A Tale of Two Places – Dabiq and Rumiyah. And Will McCants gives it the detailed treatment in his fine book, The ISIS Apocalypse.
But the Qur’an?
Dabiq simply isn’t there. And yet three Times writers think — let me repeat —
Dabiq is named after a town in northern Syria where Isis believes a Koranic prophecy foretells the final victory for a Muslim army against an alliance of world armies before the apocalypse.
And so Times readers get the impression ISIS is basing its worldview on the strongest possible Islamic authority, when in fact it’s using a little-known saying attributed to Muhammed by Abu Hurayrah.
Consider also that Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi in his respected book, Hadith Literature: Its Origin, Development and Special Features (pp 19-20) comments on Abu Hurayrah — who contributed more hadith to the corpus than any other single Companion —
Bearing in mind Abu Hurayrah’s intense dedication to learning hadith, his devotion to the Prophet, and the various tests which were applied to his memory and scholarship by his contempories during his life, it appears very unlikely he himself fabricated any hadith. This does not mean, however, that material was not falsely imputed to him at a later date. The fact he narrated a uniquely large number of traditions itself did make inventing hadiths in his name an attractive proposition.
And not a fact checker in sight.
It all kinda makes LapidoMedia‘s point, doesn’t it? We need religious literacy in journalists who deal with current events that include sugnificant religious influences..