By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi
An honest study of the holy Quran and Sunnah demonstrates the fact that terrorist groups like ISIS act in complete disagreement with the injunctions of Islam. The Quran, for example, equates killing of one person to the elimination of all mankind (5:32), and describes persecution and disorder on earth as an even worse offense (2:217). The study of the ahadith [plural of hadith in Arabic] also shows that the beloved Prophet warned us of the evolution of religious extremism and violence 1400 years ago in astonishing detail. For instance, he prophesized that a time would come when nothing would remain of the true spiritual essence of Islam except the word ‘Islam’, nothing of the Quran except its word and many “Mosques would be well-furnished but bereft of the guidance” (see the book of hadith “Mishkat Al-Masabih”).
The beloved Prophet went on to describe the terrorist groups such as ISIS that at the time of tribulation [fitna] there would appear “a group of young people who would be foolish and immature in thought”. They would “use the beautiful speech” but perpetrate the most heinous crimes. They would recite the Quran and call people to the Quran but its “teachings would not go past their throats” i.e. they would have nothing to do with the message of the Quran in reality. The beloved Prophet described these terrorists as “the worst of the creation”.
Relatively speaking, one hadith that a number of Arab and non-Arab Islamic clerics and scholars are quoting to refute ISIS and debar Muslim youth from joining the ISIS militants is as follows:
حَدَّثَنَا الْوَلِيدُ، وَرِشْدِينُ، عَنِ ابْنِ لَهِيعَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي قَبِيلٍ، عَنْ أَبِي رُومَانَ، عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ، رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: «إِذَا رَأَيْتُمُ الرَّايَاتِ السُّودَ فَالْزَمُوا الْأَرْضَ فَلَا تُحَرِّكُوا أَيْدِيَكُمْ، وَلَا أَرْجُلَكُمْ، ثُمَّ يَظْهَرُ قَوْمٌ ضُعَفَاءُ لَا يُؤْبَهُ لَهُمْ، قُلُوبُهُمْ كَزُبَرِ الْحَدِيدِ، هُمْ أَصْحَابُ الدَّوْلَةِ، لَا يَفُونَ بِعَهْدٍ وَلَا مِيثَاقٍ، يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْحَقِّ وَلَيْسُوا مِنْ أَهْلِهِ، أَسْمَاؤُهُمُ الْكُنَى، وَنِسْبَتُهُمُ الْقُرَى، وَشُعُورُهُمْ مُرْخَاةٌ كَشُعُورِ النِّسَاءِ، حَتَّى يَخْتَلِفُوا فِيمَا بَيْنَهُمْ، ثُمَّ يُؤْتِي اللَّهُ الْحَقَّ مَنْ يَشَاءُ»(كتاب الفتن للعلامة الحافظ أبي عبد الله النعيم بن حماد المروزي، الجزء الثالث ، باب “في خروج بني العباس” رقم الحديث 573 (
It is narrated on the authority of Hadhrat ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah ennoble his countenance): “When you see the black flags, then remain on the ground, and do not move your hands or your feet. Thereafter there shall emerge a weak folk to whom no concern is given. Their hearts will be like the iron rods. They shall be the people of the State (Ashab al-Dawla). They will fulfill neither covenant nor agreement. They will invite to the Truth, though they are not from its people. Their names will be with ‘kuna’ [plural form of kunya; a teknonym in Arabic names. A kunya is expressed by the use of ‘Abu’ that means ‘father’], and their ascriptions will be to villages (or places) [i.e., al-Misri, al-Harrani, al-Baghdadi, etc.]. Their hair will be long like that of women. [They shall remain so] till they differ among themselves, and then Allah will bring the truth to whomever He wills.”Kitab Al Fitan (Book of Tribulations) by Nu’aym ibn Hammad)
Imam Nu’aym ibn Hammad, who is the Shahikh of Imam Bukhari, mentioned this hadith in the book of Tribulations [Kitab al- Fitan]. This means that this hadith is all about the people of Tribulations, or in other words, about those people who incite terrorism, violence and radicalism.
When pondering over the hadith, some questions strike us; what are the signs of these people holding the black flags and causing great tribulations? Who are these people? Do they exist today? Can we say that these people are none other than the ISIS militants? In order to resolve such questions, let us ponder over the same hadith into parts:
1. This hadith says to Muslims, “When you see the black flags, then remain on the ground, and do not move your hands or your feet.” This hadith suggests Muslims to remain where they are, when they see the black banners. We can see that the ISIS has the black banners; so the Muslims should not rush to join the ISIS.
2. It also says, “Thereafter there shall emerge a weak folk to whom no concern is given. Their hearts will be like the iron rods”.
When ISIS appeared as a small group of militants, no concern was given to it. However, with their brutal and merciless deeds, the ISIS gained power and captured some parts of Iraq and Syria by terrorizing, mutilating, beheading the citizens. Their hearts are merciless and as hard as iron rods just like the hadith tells us; so they kill everyone who goes against them.
3. The most important part of the hadith is that “They shall be the people of the State (Ashab al-Dawla)”
Interestingly ISIS refers to itself as “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” or Dawla al-Islamia in Arabic. The Arabic word “al-Dawla” mentioned in this hadith means ‘State’.
4. The hadith says, “They will fulfill neither covenant nor agreement”
From this perspective, we find that ISIS has fulfilled neither covenant nor agreement i.e. the covenant of peace, while it is incumbent upon Muslims to be loyal to the peace-treaty.
5. The hadith says, “They will invite to the Truth, but they are not from its people”.
This completely pertains to the habit of the ISIS. Even the elementary students of Islam can tell you that the ISIS militants are misguiding the people in the name of Truth, Islam, Jihad, and by misinterpreting the Quran and Sunnah. They apparently invite to Islam, but their merciless crimes and false creeds bear witness to the fact that they are not Islamic.
6. Another important sign of the ISIS that the hadith narrates is that “Their names will be with ‘kuna’ [plural form of kunya; a teknonym in Arabic names. A kunya is expressed by the use of ‘Abu’ that means ‘father’]”.
This holds true for the ISIS leaders and militants that their names are preceded by ‘kuna’ i.e. ‘Abu’ such as;
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’ (leader)
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (founder; killed in 2006)
Abu Ayyub al-Masri (killed in 2010)
Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi (killed in 2010)
Abu Suleiman al-Naser (head of military shura; killed in February 2011)
Abu Muhammad al-Shimali (key leader in ISIL’s Immigration and Logistics Committee and responsible for facilitating the travel of foreign fighters primarily through the border Turkey/Syria)
Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer (spokesman, appointed in December 2016)
Abu Talha al-Almani
Abu Luqman, governor of Raqqah
Abu Yusaf (senior security official)
Abu Yusaf (senior security official)
Abu Ahmad al-Alwani (Member of Military Shura)
Abu Muhammad al-Jazrawi, head of Hisbah (Islamic religious police)
Abu Jandal al-Masri, Chief of Information in Raqqa
Abu Ali al-Shishani
Abu Ahmed (senior official interviewed by the Guardian)
Abu Mohannad al-Sweidawi (Member of Military Shura; killed in November 2014)
Abu Sayyaf (senior leader overseeing ISIL’s gas and oil operations, killed in May 2015)
Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, deputy leader in charge of Iraq; killed on 18 August 2015)
Abu Nabil al Anbari (Leader of ISIL in Libya, killed in an air strike in November 2015)
Abu Saleh, senior Iraqi leader (killed in 2015)
Abu Atheer al-Absi (governor of Aleppo province and coordinator of the Islamic State’s media operations)
Abu Ala al-Afri (also known as Abu Ali al-Anbari, Deputy Leader of ISIL, killed in March 2016)
Abu Waheeb (commander in Al Anbar, Iraq; killed in May 2016)
Abu Omar al-Shishani (field commander in Syria, killed in July 2016)
Abu Wardah Santoso, senior leader in Sulawesi, Indonesia (killed in July 2016)
Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, (official spokesperson and senior leader, killed in August 2016)
Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti, (second-in-command in Syria, killed in December 2016)
Ahmad Abousamra (chief editor of Dabiq, killed in al-Thawrah, Syria in January 2017)
Abu Khattab al-Tunisi, (third-highest ranking commander in Syria, killed in June 2017 in Raqqa)
Abu Anas al-Shami (Strategist, and Al-Zarqawi’s adviser, killed in 2004)
Abu Azzam (killed in 2005)
Abu Omar al-Kurdi (captured in 2005)
Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi (captured in 2006)
Abu Yaqub al-Masri (killed in 2007)
Abu Usamah al-Maghrebi, (military commander, killed in March 2014)
Abu Jurnas (Mosul Governor, killed in December 2014)
……….. (Ref: List of ISIS members Wikipedia, Dabiq, Rumiya)
7. Another important sign of the inciters of tribulations mentioned in the above referenced Hadith is that “Their ascriptions will be to villages (or places).”
If we look into the names of ISIS militants, we find that they ascribe to the places, villages and cities such as al-Misri, al-Harrani, Zarqawi, al-Baghdadi, al-Kurdi, al-Iraqi, al-Maghrebi, al-Kurdi, al-Alwani, al-Jazrawi, al-Shishani, al-Almani etc. To see more, please see the list of ISIS members mentioned above.
8. The hadith says, “Their hair will be long like that of women. [They shall remain so] till they differ among themselves, and then Allah will bring the truth to whomever He wills.”
Please search the pictures of ISIS members on internet, you will find that their hair is long like that of women.
Given the signs of the inciters of tribulations clearly mentioned in the referenced hadith above, one cannot deny the fact that this hadith relates to the ISIS militants. As for the message taken out of this hadith in the present context, it suggests Muslims to remain on the ground or wherever they are, that is, the Hadith prevents Muslims from joining ISIS.