It was just four years ago today, but the situation was so very different. On June 29, 2014, as I detail in my new book The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS, the Islamic State (ISIS) declared its caliphate in the territory it controlled in Iraq and Syria, and stated its intentions to spread that caliphate throughout the world.
When Donald Trump became President, that dream rapidly diminished, as did the holdings of the nascent caliphate, although ISIS is still an international jihad terror force. It still hopes eventually to fulfill the promises of the document it issued four years ago today, “This is the Promise of Allah.”
The declaration, similar to so many other Islamic declarations throughout Islamic history, asserted that the caliphate frees human beings from oppression and subjugation: it is meant “for the purpose of compelling the people to do what the Sharia (Allah’s law) requires of them concerning their interests in the hereafter and worldly life, which can only be achieved by carrying out the command of Allah, establishing His religion, and referring to His law for judgment.”
Before Islam, according to “This is the Promise of Allah,” the Arabs were weak and disunited; once they accepted Islam, Allah granted them unity and power. Then followed success unprecedented in world history. Referring to the jihad victories of the seventh century, it declared: “Our dear ummah—the best of peoples—Allah (the Exalted) decrees numerous victories for this ummah to occur in a single year, which He does not grant others in many years or even centuries. This ummah succeeded in ending two of the largest empires known to history in just 25 years, and then spent the treasures of those empires on jihad in the path of Allah. They put out the fire of the Magians (fire-worshippers) forever, and they forced the noses of the cross-worshippers onto the ground with the most miserable of weapons and weakest of numbers…. Yes, my ummah, those barefoot, naked, shepherds who did not know good from evil, nor truth from falsehood, filled the earth with justice after it had been filled with oppression and tyranny, and ruled the world for centuries.”
This is all true, as The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS shows in depth.
As far as the Islamic State was concerned, nothing had changed—or should have changed: “The God of this ummah yesterday is the same God of the ummah today, and the One who gave it victory yesterday is the One who will give it victory today.” Accordingly, “The time has come for those generations that were drowning in oceans of disgrace, being nursed on the milk of humiliation, and being ruled by the vilest of all people, after their long slumber in the darkness of neglect—the time has come for them to rise.”135 The “vilest of all people” is a Qur’anic epithet for the “unbelievers among the People of the Book”—that is, Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians who do not become Muslims (98:6).
The Islamic State also announced: “The sun of jihad has risen. The glad tidings of good are shining. Triumph looms on the horizon. The signs of victory have appeared.” It made its case for embodying the caliphate based on the fact that in its domains, the Muslims were exalted, and the infidels were humiliated, paying the Qur’anic tax (jizya) and submitting in humiliation to the Muslims, as specified in the Qur’an (9:29)—in the process, sketching out a chilling picture of non-Muslims subjugated under the supremacy of Islam:
Here the flag of the Islamic State, the flag of tawhid [monotheism], rises and flutters. Its shade covers land from Aleppo to Diyala. Beneath it, the walls of the tawaghit [rulers claiming the rights of Allah] have been demolished, their flags have fallen, and their borders have been destroyed. Their soldiers are either killed, imprisoned, or defeated. The Muslims are honored. The kuffar [infidels] are disgraced. Ahlus-Sunnah [the Sunnis] are masters and are esteemed. The people of bid’ah [heresy] are humiliated. The hudud [Sharia penalties] are implemented—the hudud of Allah—all of them. The frontlines are defended. Crosses and graves are demolished. Prisoners are released by the edge of the sword. The people in the lands of the State move about for their livelihood and journeys, feeling safe regarding their lives and wealth. Wulat [plural of wali, or governors] and judges have been appointed. Jizyah [a tax imposed on kuffar] has been enforced. Fay’ [money taken from the kuffar without battle] and zakat [obligatory alms] have been collected. Courts have been established to resolve disputes and complaints. Evil has been removed. Lessons and classes have been held in the masajid [plural of masjid] and, by the grace of Allah, the religion has become completely for Allah. There only remained one matter, a wajib kifa’i [collective obligation] that the ummah sins by abandoning. It is a forgotten obligation. The ummah has not tasted honor since they lost it. It is a dream that lives in the depths of every Muslim believer. It is a hope that flutters in the heart of every mujahid muwahhid [monotheist]. It is the khilafah [caliphate]. It is the khilafah—the abandoned obligation of the era.
As I show in The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS, that was indeed the fate of non-Muslims who had the misfortune of living in Islamic states throughout history. Click here to preorder The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS, the book that cuts through the prevailing historical myths to bring you the full, grim reality of what Islamic jihad actually is.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His new book is The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
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