The Islamic State (ISIS) is wreaking havoc around the world and has become one of the most central factors in global current events. Remarkably, the jihadist terror organization is widely misunderstood.
Also referred to by the Arabic acronym Daesh (which ISIS considers insulting), the White House administration is unique in referring to the group as ISIL, an acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. US President Barack Obama has made statement referring to ISIS as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team team,” though both these statements are horribly inaccurate.
Dr. Timothy Furnish, an international media commentator on radical Islam and author of “Ten Years’ Captivation with the Mahdi’s Camps”, told Breaking Israel News that counter of Obama’s claims, ISIS is “quite Islamic and very much in the mainstream of prior Islamic eschatological movements.”
The key to understanding ISIS lies in a small town in northern Syria, about 40 kilometers northeast of Aleppo. The name of the town, Dabiq, is synonymous with a concept in Islam under the same name that discusses a much awaited battle between Islam and Christianity that will mark the end of the world. ISIS has made numerous claims that it wishes to quickly usher in the armageddon, called malahim by the Muslims.
Dabiq was the site of a battle in 1516 in which the Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamluk Sultan. In the Hadith, a collection of Islamic traditions relating to the Prophet Mohammed, including many direct quotations from him that has become the second most important source in Islamic literature, it is written that the city of Dabiq is one of two possible locations for an epic battle between invading Christians and the defending Muslims. It is foretold that this battle will result in a climactic Muslim victory.
Abu Hurayrah, companion to the Prophet Mohammed, transmits in the Hadith:
“The Last Hour would not come until the Romans 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 fight them).”
According to traditional teachings, Romans are understood to be Christians and today ISIS uses this title for the US and its coalition partners. Last year, when ISIS beheaded former US Army Ranger turned Muslim convert Peter Kassig, they did so quite intentionally in the town of Dabiq.
In the video of the execution, ISIS referred to US President Barack Obama as “the dog of Rome.” The video carried their messianic statement to the Western world:
“We remind you of the words that our Sheikh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi told you: ‘The spark has been lit here in Iraq and its heat will continue to intensify by Allah’s permission until it burns the Crusader army in Dabiq.’ Here we are, burning the first American Crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive.”
The eagerness of ISIS jihadists to face death and destruction by confronting an overwhelming enemy army is due to their belief that the arrival of the US, or as they call them, Rome, in Syria is the precursor to the ultimate Islamic victory over the infidels.
According to Islam, the war against “Rome” in Syria will be accompanied by a great fire and “redness in the sky.” The Hadith prophecies a Muslim victory, followed by the conquering of Constantinople, known today as Istanbul, Turkey. This is all part of the process heralding in the Islamic Messiah, referred to as Mahdi, which includes the return of Jesus, who converts to Islam, killing off all the Christians and Jews who refuse to convert.
“ISIS, like other Sunni Muslim terrorist groups (such as al-Qaeda), believes in trying to ‘hotwire the apocalypse’ (to borrow Reuven Paz’ brilliant phrase) – that horrible violence against ‘infidels’ can coax Allah into commencing the eschatological timetable, in particular sending the Mahdi, the ‘rightly-guided’ warlord who, along with help from the returned (Muslim) prophet Jesus, will make the entire world submit to Islam,” Furnish explained to Breaking Israel News. “No depredations are too vile for such a purpose, be they beheadings, immolations, mass executions or, if such could be obtained, usage of Weapons of Mass Destruction to include nuclear weapons.”
Dabiq has become such a central belief inside the ranks of ISIS that the terror group has even named its online magazine that it uses to recruit its new members, Dabiq. Every issue of Dabiq begins with the same quote: “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.”
While many western officials are treating ISIS as just another terror organization, their blind faith in the concept of Dabiq highlights an essential difference between them and every other terror organization. The most obvious difference is that ISIS, unlike many other terror groups, has pan-Islamic nationalistic aspirations based on a messianic vision.
Unlike their predecessor, al-Qaeda, and other jihadist groups, ISIS is not compartmentalized into terror cells. ISIS controls an area larger than Great Britain, containing millions of people. It perpetrates acts of terror in other countries, but it also has a military branch, a real army for conquering territory. The CIA estimates ISIS has 35,000 fighters, but other western estimates have placed that number at closer to 200,000 jihadis.
ISIS issues its own currency and refer to their leaders as Sheikh or Caliph. The group sees itself as an emerging nation, or more accurately perhaps, the long-dormant caliphate revived, based on Koranic laws for civil government. Dabiq is their prophesied Valley Forge.
“I think that this is a major difference between ISIS and its Sunni ilk, on the one hand, and the Twelver Shi`i Islamic Republic of Iran, on the other; the latter, based on my years of research and contra much conventional wisdom, does NOT harbor any ideas of hotwiring the apocalypse,” Furnish told Breaking Israel News.
The battle of Dabiq marks an auspicious time for the future of the world. Recent events are bringing together elements in a manner never seen before in history. With all the world’s superpowers poised for war, will the West conform to ISIS’s prophetic plans?