8 Islamic Concepts Daesh Distorts

8 Islamic Concepts Daesh Distorts

Below are the eight core Islamic concepts that Daesh distorts to form the basis of its twisted ideology. Al-Wala' wal Bara' (loyalty and disavowal) is meant to reject those who are not with them, and forms their “us versus them” mentality. They consider themselves to be the “rightfully” guided ummah (community), and defenders of the faith. As the jama'ah (group), a term commonly used for congregational prayer, they claim to represent the global Muslim majority. They label others as kufar (unbelievers), and declare takfir (excommunication) to justify the murder of innocent civilians. They demand bay'ah (allegiance) to their leader and the group’s doctrines. They limit jihad (struggle) to mean “Holy War,” in order to fight the enemy and justify killing. They call on Muslims to make a hijrah (migration) from their “impure” environments and to live with “true Muslims” like them. They ask followers to become shaheed (martyrs) by committing suicide. They invite Muslims from all over the world to populate their khilafah (caliphate), which will usher in the “golden age” of Islam.


AL-WALA' WAL BARA' “Loyalty and Disavowal” TRUE
Wala': love of God, Prophet Muhammad, and your protectors, i.e., family, friends, etc.; Bara': disavowal of all immoral things

Loyalty understood in absolute terms — “Us vs. Them”; standing with them, and disavowing all non-believers, including other Muslims


UMMAH / JAMA'AH “One Community” TRUE
Ummah: humanity, united by a shared belief in God; Jama'ah (quorum): representing the Muslim majority

Claim to be the only rightly guided Muslims who speak on behalf of the entre ummah


KAFIR / TAKFIR “Unbeliever” TRUE
Kafir: an “unbeliever” who denies the existence of God; Takfir: “excommunication”

An unbeliever who is accused of apostasy (perceived “enemy” of Muslims), whose killing is “justified”


BAY'AH “Allegiance” TRUE
Pledge of allegiance given to the Prophet before entering Mecca; not required for Muslims

A rite of passage for all Daesh recruits, signaling their belonging to the group and designating them as “true Muslims”


JIHAD “Struggle” TRUE
To struggle for the sake of God. Highest form of jihad is the struggle with one’s own ego; lesser jihad is to fight back in self-defense only.

Define preemptive attacks as “self-defense” in an attempt to justify killing of innocent people


HIJRAH “Migration” TRUE
The Prophet Muhammad's migration from Mecca to Medina to flee religious persecution; also, the first year of the Islamic calendar

Promoted as an obligation to migrate to the so-called caliphate, to aid in their state-building operation


A shaheed is one who witnesses the Truth of God. It can also mean a martyr, e.g., one who is slain while upholding God's justice. Someone who commits suicide to kill others is not a shaheed.

Claim that those who kill themselves to create chaos, death, and destruction will become shaheed.


KHALIFAH / KHILAFAH “Successor” / “Caliphate” TRUE
All humans are placed on earth as khalifah (individual stewards of God on earth). Khalifah also refers to a successor of the Prophet, who led the Muslim community. The word khilafah does not appear in the Qur'an.

Claim that all Muslims automatically fall under the authority of the self-declared Khalifah, and it is the collective obligation of Muslims to migrate to the newly created khilafa (caliphate).