Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 23

DAESH the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics found that 87 percent of jihadist propaganda included “justifications from the Quran, Hadith, or scholarship.”30 For example, the study analyzed one statement that contained twenty-four Quranic references, with thirteen different suras, or chapters, mentioned.31 Therefore, to understand Daesh, one must become familiar with the Quran, Islam’s holy book, which is believed to be the literal word of God. According to Masood Farivar, a former Taliban leader, some Muslims do not know the meaning of the word quran, and some have expressed surprise to learn that it means to “read or recite.”32 Some Muslims are unaware that one chapter in the Quran is missing the bismillah (an invocation meaning in the name of Allah, or God). As these examples suggest, the Quran is not an easy book to read or understand, and when translated, it loses the rhythmic quality for which it is famous. For example, the first sura, titled “The Opening” or “Al-Fatiha,” is recited by all Muslims. The verses rhyme, which adds additional significance to the words. Numerous suras begin with random letters, (Photo via Wikimedia Commons) their meaning said to be known only to God. An image from a manuscript of the Shahnameh (Book of Kings), considered One such chapter begins with the letters, alif, the national epic of Greater Iran, depicts Saʿd ibn Abi Waqqas leading the laam, and meem, which in Quranic recitation is armies of the Rashidun caliphate during the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah. sung, with the letter and word meem rhyming with the word that precedes it, raheem.33 the heinous acts Daesh has committed, including beAnother difficulty in understanding the Quran is headings, drownings, and burning of individuals, have that suras are arranged by length, not chronologicalprecedents in Islamic history.36 ly, with the longest suras at the beginning, except for Daesh has designed its black flag based on one “Al-Fatiha” being followed by the shortest. The ninth described in books about Islamic history. The original sura, believed to have been revealed shortly before was called Okab, or Black Eagle, and was carried into Mohammad died, appears near the beginning of the battle in the days of Mohammad.37 It was a “black flag Quran, while a sura about Qasim, which would have … bearing the inscription, ‘there is no God but God. been revealed early, appears near the end.34 Mahomet [Mohammad] is the messenger of God.’”38 As stated earlier, numerous revelations came during Ibn Ishaq, author of one of the earliest biographies or after key events in Islamic history, including various of Mohammad, whom he sometimes calls the aposbattles; therefore, readers wishing to understand the tle, discusses it: “The apostle set out in the month of Quran should develop an understanding of Islamic Ramadan. He gave the flag to Mus’ab …. The aposhistory. As Hassan Hassan, coauthor of a book on tle was preceded by two black flags, one with Ali Daesh, says, “when ISIS burns someone alive, they do it called al-Uqab [Okab] and the other with one of the because someone in Islamic history did it.”35 Many of Ansar.”39 Ishaq writes, “The apostle said, ‘Tomorrow MILITARY REVIEW  March-April 2016 21