A False Caliph: Deception of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and ISIL
By Iftikhar Hussain Butt
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and ISIL have emerged from the shambles of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria but their violence, atrocities and criminality have even humbled Al-Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist outfits. Dr Ayman Al-Zawahiri had disavowed his ties with Baghdadi because he had provoked internal fighting in Al-Qaeda in which thousands of operatives were killed in Iraq and Syria. As a counter move, Baghdadi proclaimed himself a Caliph which had made him a hard pill for Zawahiri to swallow. As a result, Al-Qaeda is facing a strange challenge for the first time as a formal branch with belief in Wahabi/Salafi ideology claiming to be the true representative of Osama bin Laden (OBL).
Narrow-minded Baghdadi is killing Salafi-Wahabi Jihadis of his own sect indiscriminately, therefore he is even not acceptable for jihadi extremists groups. For the same reasons, not only Muslim extremist groups, militants and jihadis from all over the globe but also all sects had already categorically rejected Baghdadi and ISIL. Despite this outburst against ISIL in Muslim Countries, some isolated groups and their leaders are strangely joining it for their personal and political agendas. Baghdadi had even issued a global map of his dominion, is also embracing these groups desperately in order to find partners in every country of the world.
No doubt, ISIL is perpetrating terrorism in the name of jihad and Baghdadi is running a campaign of public purge under the guise of Caliphate. Baghdadi is a person with dubious character who has been an Al-Qaeda militant leader in Iraq for a few years. His proclamation of Caliphate is purely aimed at self-glorification, he rebelled against his benefactor Dr Zawahiri but contrarily he had beckoned the obedience of all Muslims for himself. Many analysts and journalists believe that actually Baghdadi and ISIL are the legacy of Saddam Hussein who was equally infamous in Western and Muslim world for his dictatorial regime in Iraq. This view is further consolidated by Muslim scholars and Ulema who doubt about Baghdadi’s motives behind this proclamation. In their view, neither Baghdadi is a learned person nor ISIL has a jurist among its ranks. Therefore, according to Islamic standards, the presence of Grand Muftis and Imams in the Muslim world make Baghdadi’s claim to caliphate obsolete and deceptive.
In fact, ISIL does not have a single ideologue that could create popular appeal for it even in Iraq and Syria. The group is using audio/ video contents to display its capacity for terror, which is only creating ISIL’s fear but its excesses and un-Islamic practices are also backfiring simultaneously. Interestingly, Al-Qaeda and its operatives active on the social media are the first to criticize ISIL for such audio video contents of brutality and cruelty.
Continuing its campaign of mass intimidation and terror, recently ISIL had burnt alive a Jordanian pilot who was in its captivity. The group had made a video of its brutal act which was being disseminated through the internet. This savagery has shown un-Islamic nature of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi beyond any doubt. According to Muslim scholars, there is not a single verse of Quran or hadith of Prophet (PBUH) which prescribes burning with fire as a punishment. In fact, the Prophet (PBUH) had strictly forbidden to penalize someone with fire. But Baghdadi and ISIL are committing mass atrocities, war crimes, murders, extortions, kidnappings, tortures, executions, rapes and many other hideous crimes. They are not ready to pay even a little heed to scholars who are opposing ISIL’s excesses on the bases of Quran and Hadith.
The most disgusting aspect of ISIL is that despite advices and warnings of Muslim scholars, the group is enslaving Muslim women with arrogance in Iraq and Syria. Even non-Muslim intellectuals know that Islam believes in human freedom and discourages the concept of slavery. In the initial days of Islam, stringent mechanism was introduced to deal with female slaves. In the light of Islamic values, Muslims were asked to treat female slaves with maximum respect, whereas ISIL acknowledges the enslavement of female of Yazidi sect after overrunning their villages. Ironically, ISIL is once again using Islam as a cover to justify their inhuman actions. ISIL is exploiting women to achieve their nefarious objectives as women are being used for suicide bombing. ISIL had recently released a list of rules about treatment of female slaves, women and children once captured by Jihadi warriors, which is totally against Islamic teachings. Women are facing torture, rape, forced marriages and are sold or given as gifts to ISIL militants and their supporters in Iraq and Syria. Recently about 150 women were executed in Iraq, who refused to marry militants of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
These facts are enough to open eyes of every Muslim who has little faith in his heart. We are living in the era of mass deception in the name of Islam and it has become obligatory upon us to adhere to Quran’s instructions to confirm the veracity of news before reacting to it. On the bases of these facts, we can conclude that Baghdadi’s violent behavior is against the essence of teachings of Quran and Sunnat. Therefore, he is not worthy of title of Caliph of Islam. He is just a power hungry man, who is exploiting the religious sensitivities of Muslims.
The restoration of caliphate and waging jihad for persecuted Muslims could be ideal of every Muslim, however people need to be aware of persons like Baghdadi who exploit Islamic ideology for their selfish agendas. The bottom-line is that we must reject those leaders and groups which glorify violence and terror in the name of Islam, jihad, Caliphate, Quran and Shariah.