Islamic State’s Dabiq 8 Focuses on Unifying Ummah, Criticizing Islamists

The Islamic State issued it’s eighth edition of the glossy web magazine Dabiq. While most editions focus on some theme or another, Dabiq 8 may be the most clear yet. Each article is clearly selected to carry across the theme that the Islamic State represents the whole of the Muslim Ummah, and that Islamist organizations which purport to operate within a “nationalist” context are not legitimate.

The magazine begins by establishing the Sharia obligations for unity and against factionalism, citing the hadith, “whoever is killed under a blind banner, calling to ‘asabiyyah (tribalism or factionalism) or supporting ‘asabiyyah, then his death is a death of Jahiliyyah.”  Free Fire Blog has previously referenced this hadith, as it forms the basis of the Al Qaeda work “Jihad and the effects of intention upon it” by Sheikh Abul Qadir Abdul Aziz.

Building on this theme, Dabiq quotes “Khalifah” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi from his Ramadan message saying,

“By Allah’s grace- you have a state and a khilafah, which will return your dignity, might, rights, and leadership. It is a state where the Arab and Non-Arab, the white man and black man, the easterner and westerner are all brothers. It is a khilafah that gathered the Caucasian, Indian, Chinese, Shami, Iraqi, Yemeni, Egyptian, Maghribi, American, French, German, and Australian.”

This is a direct rebuttal to analysts who mistakenly stressed racism as a factor expected to impede Boko Haram joining Islamic State, and a general policy of the U.S. government which has stressed the jihad in West Africa as being linked solely to “local grievances”.  The writers of Dabiq 8 stresses, “it was a rejection of nationalism that drove the Mujahidin in Nigeria to give bay’ah to the Islamic State and wage war against the Nigerian Murtaddin (apostates)…” They continue on this theme by applauding the Danish Muslim who targeted free speech cartoonist Lars Vilks and a Copenhagen Synagogue for rejecting a conception of “Danish” citizenship in favor of religious identity.

The writers continue on this theme in order to criticize Al Qaeda’s operation in Syria accusing Jabhat Al-Nusra of allying with Islamist militias who remain focused solely on Syria, rather than global jihad across borders, noting:

The scenario of nationalist “Islamism” working together alongside nationalist secularism to set up a nationalist government with elements of “Islam” and democracy within a constitutional framework is the same scenario that Egypt, Libya and Tunisia have experienced. the crusaders, expecting the eventual division of the two sides over the cake, sit back and wait to support the side more favorable towards their interests against the other…

Although the game is clear to those with a sound understanding of iman and waqi (faith and current affairs), it was unclear to the jihad claimants of sham (the Jawlani front).

The focus then pivots slightly to a discussion of Caliph AbuBakr as-Siddiq (the first Caliph following Mohammed) who prosecuted the “Ridda Wars” and discusses the logic behind As-Siddiq’s unwillingness to compromise with Arab tribes that refused to pay Zakat (a tithe which is one of the pillars of the faith.) The point being raised regards what the Islamic State views as the failure of other Islamic groups to implement the full shariah, and seeking justification for IS’ prosecution of violence against those groups.

This theme is touched on again as the magazine celebrates the swearing of bayah by Boko Haram, the attack on the Tunisian Bardo Museum, and the suicide bombings of two Shiite mosques in Yemen noting:

“May Allah Accept all those mujahidn who fight, massacre and terrorize the Kuffar while not differentiating between them under the influence of irja (an Islamic heresy which is understood to separate Islamic belief from the fulfillment of religious obligations) or on the grounds of nationalism.”

This leads into articles focusing on Islamic State’s expansion into Libya, which relies on these claims to justify IS’s attacks on Islamist militia faction “Libyan Dawn.” In particular the writers criticize the “Manhaj (school of Islamic jurisprudence) of the Muslim Brotherhood, accusing them of attempting to implement Shariah in Libya on a piecemeal basis. In particular AbdelHakim Belhadj, a major Libyan jihadist figure and leader within Libyan Dawn, is labeled as a Murtadd (apostate), which would appear to dispel earlier reports that he may have been aligning with Islamic State.

Islamic State’s quarrel with the Muslim Brotherhood is based on their opposition to the tactic of “gradualism” articulated by Muslim Brotherhood Jurist Yusuf Al Qaradawi, but which draws upon the program established by Sayyid Qutb in his work Milestones, and on the work of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Banna, both of whom supported utilizing progressive revelation to develop Islamic societies towards the eventual full establishment of Shariah law. Historically, this difference has always been a source of tension, with Islamic State’s predecessor, Al Qaeda in Iraq, coming under criticism from Al Qaeda

Dabiq 8 goes on to provide a substantial criticism of “Ijra”, the heresy of the Murji’ah, and a term which the Islamic State has utilized to refer to the Brotherhood and its related forces since the Caliphate Declaration which stated:

So let those leaders be ruined. And let that “ummah” they want to unite be ruined – an “ummah” of secularists, democrats, and nationalists… an “ummah” of murji’ah (a sect that excludes deeds from faith), ikhwān (the “Muslim Brotherhood” party), and surūriyyah (a sect influenced by the ikhwān claiming to be Salafī).

About Kyle Shideler

Kyle Shideler is the Director of the Threat Information Office (TIO) at the Center for Security Policy. Kyle works to inject serious research and analysis on the subject of Islamic terrorism and Shariah law into the beltway policy discussion, by challenging false assumptions and providing fully documented resources, primary research and influential talking points to policymakers, journalists, and foreign relations professionals. Kyle has previously served as a Director of Research and Communications, Senior Researcher, and Public Information Officer for several organizations in the field of Middle East and terrorism policy since 2006. He is a contributing author to “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace,” and has written for numerous publications as well as briefed legislative aides, intelligence and law enforcement officials, and the general public on the threat posed by Islamist influence and penetration operations.