21 March 2015
The self-declared Caliph of ISIS has no legitimacy and does not represent Islam. While he heads an armed militia, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s actions are opposed to how a Caliph should behave. The international media should repudiate his claim.
The claimed authority of the (self-proclaimed) Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)/Daesh is tied to its being a new Caliphate. The Caliph, literally the “one who replaces someone [dead or gone]”, is variously understood as the successor or deputy to Islam’s Prophet, or even as God’s regent on earth.
Therefore, some claim that it is the duty of all Muslims to follow the Caliph as successor of the Prophet. In using this motif ISIS/Daesh is investing in a deeply potent symbol. However, this raises questions including: what makes someone a Caliph; do you have to follow a Caliph, and, how do you recognise a Caliph?
…Paul Michael Hedges is an Associate Professor in the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
GPO / SRP / Online
Last updated on 23/11/2015