Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 20

Editor’s Sidebar: The Next Caliph? Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi borrows heavily from an ancient predecessor in his quest to be considered the next caliph. Compare the speech excerpts of the two in the texts below. Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Editor’s note—Born in 573 AD, Abu Bakr, a prosperous merchant, converted to Islam in approximately 621 AD. He subsequently became Mohammad’s closest friend, described in the Muslim hadith writings as serving in the capacity of traveling companion, advisor, sometime military lieutenant, and intimate confidant. Following Muhammad’s death in 632, Abu Bakr was selected by a group of Mohammad’s leading companions (though not all (Image via Wikimedia Commons) supported his selection) to A sixteenth-cent ury depiction by an unnamed Turkish be Mohammad’s successor artist of Abu Bakr stopping (caliph) and to lead the an angry Meccan mob from developing and expanding stoning Mohammad. Islamic state, which was then embroiled in a series of expansionist wars and internal rebellions. Upon selection, Abu Bakr gave a short acceptance speech, prominently recorded in the Muslim hadith (sayings), excerpted below: O people, I have been appointed over you, though I am not the best among you. If I do well, then help me; and if I act wrongly, then correct me. Truthfulness is synonymous with fulfilling the trust, and lying is equivalent to treachery … No group of people abandons military/armed struggle in the path of Allah, except that Allah makes them suffer humiliation … Obey me so long as I obey Allah and His Messenger. And if I disobey Allah and His Messenger, then I have no right to your obedience. Stand up now to pray, may Allah have mercy on you. From Hadith Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah, vol. 6, 305–6, quoted in Seyed Ibrahim, “Caliph Abu Bakr Siddeeq’s (RA) Inaugural Speech: Text and Lessons,” Social, Political, Economic, Career weblog, accessed 4 February 2016, https://seyedibrahim.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/ abu-bakrs-inaugural-speech/. 18 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Editor’s note—”According to William McCants, Later that month [ June 2014], the Islamic State’s spokesman proclaimed the return of God’s kingdom on earth, the caliphate, and [Abu Bakr] Baghdadi reverted to his given name, [Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri] preceded now with the ultimate title: Caliph Ibrahim. To justify this outsized claim, his supporters circulated the genealogy of his (Photo via Wikimedia Commons) tribe, which traced its lineage Mug shot of Abu Bakr back to Muhammad’s descenal-Baghdadi, taken while dants. This was considered an in detention, by U.S. important qualification, for armed forces at Camp Bucca in the vicinity of some Islamic prophecies of the Umm Qasr, Iraq, in 2004. End Times say a man descendAn Iraqi-born religious ed from the Prophet will one scholar, he rose to day rule as caliph—an office prominence as a leader that hasn’t existed since the fall of Iraqi Islamists following of the Ottoman Empire after the death of al-Qaida World War I. (Iraq) leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, 7 June 2006, “The so-called caliph asoutmaneuvering leaders of cended to the pulpit in Mosul other organizations vying days later to deliver the Friday for control of opposition to sermon, his first and only the Shia-led, U.S.-supportpublic appearance since taking ed government of Iraq. the helm of the Islamic State in 2010. He wore black robes to evoke the memory of the Abbasid caliphs who had ruled from Baghdad; they, too, had come to power by claiming descent from the Prophet’s family and promising a return to pristine Islam. ‘I was appointed to rule you but I am not the best among you,’ he proclaimed. ‘If you see me acting truly, then follow me. If you see me acting falsely, then advise and guide me…. If I disobey God, then do not obey me.’ “This was a paraphrase of what the first caliph, Abu Bakr, had said when he was elected by Muhammad’s comrades.” Excerpt from William McCants, “The Believer, How an Introvert with a Passion for Religion and Soccer became Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Leader of the Islamic State,” Brookings Essay 19-20, 1 September 2015, accessed 4 February 2016, http://www.brookings.edu/research/essays/2015/thebeliever. March-April 2016  MILITARY REVIEW