Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 22

Raqqa: Capital of Daesh During World War II, western archaeologists uncovered fresh ruins of Harun’s palace in his northern capital of Raqqah.21 —Nabia Abbott It is no coincidence that Daesh selected the Syrian city of Raqqa as its capital. Raqqa was the home of the fifth Abbasid caliph, Harun al-Rashid, or “Aaron the Rightly Guided.” Harun moved the caliphate from Baghdad to Raqqa and “took an active interest in the further development of the city, with its new canals and palaces and other surrounding estates.”22 The Abbasid caliphate got its name from Mohammad’s uncle named Abbas. The Abbasid caliphate ushered in the Islamic Golden Age and building boom as the region prospered.23 By using Raqqa as its capital, Daesh wants to profit from its historic significance and from the pride that Muslims have toward this period in their history. Many believe their new caliphate will achieve similar success and prosperity. Abu Qasim: The Messenger of Islam Do not be bothered with him; he will die without descendants and that will be the end of his mission.24 —A critic of Mohammad During his lifetime, Mohammad was referred to as Abu Qasim, meaning “father of Qasim.” Qasim was the name of his firstborn son, who died young.25 If Qasim had lived, however, there would likely be no Shia or Sunni schism for Daesh to propagate because Qasim would have taken over at Mohammad’s death (instead of Abu Bakr). Mohammad had four daughters and four sons, all from his first wife Khadija, but only one child survived him—his daughter Fatima.26 Fatima married Mohammad’s cousin Ali, later the fourth caliph, and they had two sons, Hassan and Hussein. Mohammad fought in various battles, where he received some of the revelations that comprise the Quran. Details surrounding his death are controversial; numerous accounts attribute it to poisoned meat.27 After Mohammad died, a rift developed between Fatima and her stepmother Aishah, as Fatima thought Ali should succeed Mohammad instead of Abu Bakr. This is where the word Shia comes from, meaning “followers of Ali.” This rift is still felt today in the SunniShia schism. The Iranian al-Quds force commander, Qasim Suleymani, likely was named after Mohammad’s son who died, as the Shia revere his family members. The Quran You are incorrect. Every surah has the bismillah.28 —Muslim military officer (Photo via Wikimedia Commons) The former Mosque of the Prophet Younis ( Jonah) in Mosul, Iraq, which Daesh jihadists demolished 25 July 2014. 20 As Daesh correctly stated in Dabiq magazine, many Islamic “people are ignorant of their religion and they thirst for those who can teach them and help them understand it.”29 Daesh capitalizes on this ignorance in its propaganda, including audio and video statements, magazines, and chants called nasheeds. The study by March-April 2016  MILITARY REVIEW