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The Desperate Dream of the Islamic Caliphate

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi 01

Francois Gatete / youtube

Samir Khalil Samir, S.J. - published on 07/17/14 - updated on 06/08/17

Most Muslims no longer dream of an empire but are simply trying to live in a nation.

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s announcement of the creation of an Islamic Caliphate reveals a sense of hopelessness. His proclamation was strongly ideological, but to usher in this new era of a worldwide caliphate, he had to overturn an entire area: not in Syria, where ISIS will probably be wiped out by Bashar Assad’s army, but in Iraq’s weak underbelly, the Sunni area where the government did not have a strong army.

The very fact that they no longer refer to themselves as ISIS, in which the words "Iraq" and "Syria" were present, but simply "Islamic State," as if it were a global entity, is ridiculous from the practical point of view. At the same time, it reveals the ideological dimension of the project to restore the caliphate of Baghdad, regarded as the most brilliant period of Islam.

But most Muslims no longer dream of the caliphate, nor an empire without borders. Most are simply attempting to live in a nation, so much so, that for years now the Kurds have been attempting to give birth to their own independent nation.

1. The end of the Caliphate and the birth of the "Muslim Brotherhood"

The end of the Caliphate dates back to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. On Nov. 1, 1922, he deposed the Sultan Mehmet VI, and 18 days after Abdülmecid Efendi was elected Caliph, for a short period. Ataturk founded the Republic on Oct. 29, 1923, and after being elected president, proclaimed the definitive abolition of the Islamic Caliphate on March 3, 1924.

This symbolic decision was a shock to the entire Islamic world. Especially following the decisions taken by Ataturk, particularly the secularization of the state and the de-Islamization of society: equality of the sexes; prohibition of the use of the Islamic veil in public places; prohibition of the fez and the turban; ban on beards for public officials; adoption of the Latin alphabet in place of Arabic; the Gregorian calendar year instead of the Hegira; of Sunday as a public holiday; of the metric system, etc..

Since then, many groups have tried to revive the caliphate. In 1928, a project led by the Imam Hassan al-Banna azharita Rashid Rida gave birth to the "Muslim Brotherhood" with the precise purpose of restoring the caliphate. After prolonged discussion and a series of studies into the feasibility of establishing a new caliphate in Egypt or Saudi Arabia, they themselves concluded that "it is no longer possible to have a caliphate" and changed course: we need to Islamize the various countries and governments, introducing sharia as our constitution. This was especially successful in Saudi Arabia, which does not have a constitution, just sharia. In other countries, legislation "inspired" by sharia was enacted. Nowadays, it is well-known that the majority of Muslim countries, especially the developed countries, are not headed in this direction and do not apply sharia as an ideal.

2. Who is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Like all Muslim terrorists, the new "Caliph" has a new "war name." He is no longer called Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. His real name is Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, who was born in Samarra in 1971. His full name of war is: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi.

This name, for any educated Muslim, is already a program in itself. Abu Bakr is the name (or more precisely the kunyah) of the first caliph, that is, of Muhammad’s first successor. Al-Baghdadi evokes the period’s most famous Islamic caliphate, the Abbasid, whose capital was Baghdad (750-1258). Al-Husseini refers to Hussein, son of Ali and Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, the most revered figures in Shiite Islam. Finally, al-Qurashi, refers to the tribe of Muhammad, originally from Quraysh. According to a hadith the legitimate caliph must be a descendant of Muhammad. The latter two names (two nisbah) mean that he is the rightful caliph par excellence, which satisfies both Sunnis and Shiites.

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IraqIslamIslamist MilitantsIsraelPoliticsSyria
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