The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is a jihadist group.
In its self-proclaimed status as a caliphate, it claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world and aspires to bring much of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its direct political control, beginning with territory in the Levant region, which includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus, and an area in southern Turkey that includes Hatay.
The group has been officially designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia, and has been widely described as a terrorist group by Western and other media sources.
The group, in its original form, was composed of and supported by a variety of Sunni insurgent groups, including its predecessor organizations,
Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) (2003–2006), Mujahideen Shura Council (2006–2006) and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) (2006–2013), other insurgent groups such as Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura, Jaysh al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba and Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah, and a number of Iraqi tribes that profess Sunni Islam.
To understand, we must lift the proverbial veil which cloaks this caliphate. Firsty, we must take a look at the belief structure, philosophy, and history at the core of the Islamic State, which is Islam.
Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur’an, a book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God or Allah and by the teachings and normative example of Muhammad c. 570 CE – c. 8 June 632 CE], considered by muslims to be the last prophet of God. An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.
Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and the purpose of existence is to worship God. Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed before many times throughout the world, including notably through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, whom they also consider prophets.
They maintain that the previous messages and revelations have been partially misinterpreted or altered over time, but consider the Arabic Qur’an to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God.
Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are basic concepts and obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, providing guidance on multifarious topics from banking and welfare, to family life and the environment.
Most Muslims are of two denominations: Sunni or Shia. A very small but growing sect of Islam is to be considered radical islam which adhears to the quran strictly and practices Sharia Law. ISIS or ISIL, proclaim that they are practicing the true teachings of islam, and through them, there is only one path.
To Arabic-speaking people, sharia , also known as Qanun-e Islami means the moral code and religious law of a prophetic religion.
Sharia is Islamic law, it deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting. Adherence to Islamic law has served as one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Muslim faith historically, and through the centuries Muslims have devoted much scholarly time and effort on its elaboration.
Human interpretations of sharia vary between Islamic sects and respective schools of jurisprudence, yet in its strictest and most historically coherent definition, sharia is considered the infallible law of God.
There are two primary sources of sharia law: the precepts set forth in the Quranic verses (ayahs), and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Where it has official status, sharia is interpreted by Islamic judges (qadis) with varying responsibilities for the religious leaders (imams).
The Sharia law itself cannot be altered, but the interpretation of the Sharia law, called “figh,” by religious leaders is given some leeway.
For questions not directly addressed in the primary sources, the application of sharia is extended through consensus of the religious scholars (ulama) thought to embody the consensus of the Muslim Community (ijma). Islamic jurisprudence will also sometimes incorporate analogies from the Quran and Sunnah through Islamic Judges (qiyas), though many scholars also prefer reasoning (‘aql) to analogy.
The introduction of sharia is a longstanding goal for Islamist movements globally, including in Western countries, but attempts to impose sharia have been accompanied by controversy, violence, and warfare.
Most countries do not recognize sharia; however, some countries in Asia, Africa and Europe recognize sharia and use it as the basis for divorce, inheritance and other personal affairs of their Islamic population.
In Britain, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal makes use of sharia family law to settle disputes, and this limited adoption of sharia is controversial.
The concept of crime, judicial process, justice and punishment embodied in sharia is different from that of secular law. The differences between sharia and secular laws have led to an on-going controversy as to whether sharia is compatible with secular democracy, freedom of thought, and women’s rights.
In secular jurisprudence, sharia is classified as religious law, which is one of the three major categories that individual legal systems generally fall under, alongside civil law and common law.
Golden Age of Islam
The Islamic Golden Age started with the rise of Islam and establishment of the first Islamic state in 622. The end of the age is variously given as of 1258AD with the Mongolian Sack of Baghdad, or 1492 with the completion of the Christian Reconquista of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus, and Iberian Peninsula. During the reign of the Abbasid caliph Harun ar-Rashid (786 to 809), the House of Wisdom was inaugurated in Baghdad where scholars from various parts of the world sought to translate and gather all the known world’s knowledge into Arabic.
The Abbasids were influenced by the Quranic injunctions and hadiths, such as “the ink of a scholar is more holy than the blood of a martyr,” that stressed the value of knowledge. During the age, the major Islamic capital cities of Baghdad, Cairo, and Córdoba became the main intellectual centers for science, philosophy, medicine, trade, and education.
The Arabs showed a strong interest in assimilating the scientific knowledge of the civilizations they had conquered. Many classic works of antiquity that might otherwise have been lost were translated into Arabic and Persian and later in turn translated into Turkish, Hebrew, and Latin.
They assimilated, synthesized, and advanced the knowledge gained from the ancient Greek, Roman, Persian, Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, and Phoenician civilizations.
The government heavily patronized scholars. The money spent on the Translation Movement for some translations is estimated to be equivalent to about twice the annual research budget of the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council today. The best scholars and notable translators, such as Hunayn ibn Ishaq, had salaries that are estimated to be the equivalent of professional athletes today.
They were a ‘free thinking’ society, that encouraged philosophy, Science, Mathmatics,physics, biology, medicine, public education, the arts and architeceture. They encouraged travel and commerce amongst all.
Hospitals in this era were the first to require medical diplomas to license doctors. In the medieval Islamic world, hospitals were built in most major cities.
Medical facilities traditionally closed each night, but by the 10th century laws were passed to keep hospitals open 24 hours a day, and hospitals were forbidden to turn away patients who were unable to pay.
Eventually, charitable foundations called waqfs were formed to support hospitals, as well as schools. This money supported free medical care for all citizens. In a notable example, a 13th-century governor of Egypt Al Mansur Qalawun ordained a foundation for the Qalawun hospital that would contain a mosque and a chapel, separate wards for different diseases, and a library for doctors and a pharmacy.
The Qalawun hospital was based in a former Fatimid palace which had accommodation for 8,000 people. “It served 4,000 patients daily.” The waqf stated,
“…The hospital shall keep all patients, men and women, until they are completely recovered. All costs are to be borne by the hospital whether the people come from afar or near, whether they are residents or foreigners, strong or weak, low or high, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, blind or sighted, physically or mentally ill, learned or illiterate. There are no conditions of consideration and payment, none is objected to or even indirectly hinted at for non-payment.”
The first institutions for the care of mentally ill people were also established.
There is little agreement on the precise causes of the decline, but in addition to invasion by the Mongols and crusaders, and the destruction of libraries and madrasahs, it has also been suggested that political mismanagement and the stifling of ijtihad (independent reasoning) in the 12th century in favor of institutionalised taqleed or (imitation) thinking played a part. Ahmad Y. al-Hassan has rejected the thesis that lack of creative thinking was a cause, arguing that science was always kept separate from religious argument; he instead analyses the decline in terms of economic and political factors, drawing on the work of the 14th-century writer Ibn Khaldun.
It is this notion of institutionalised ‘taqleed’ or imitation thinking , combined with strict dogmatic ideas by the Islamic State Caliphate and other radical movements in the Middle East that continue to hold back society and progress for the Middle Eastern region causing mass suffering to millions for the past 1400 years and still we see this happening right before our eyes in 2014.