Many Muslims claim to us on the surface that ISIS is not a Muslim organization and is not following the Islamic scriptures , but on the other hand we see that they quote various Quran and Islamic books showing that in context of war what they do is allowed. So does ISIS really follow Islamic Politics? if it does follow then should we deal with Islam itself or only such groups which keep popping up every now and then?

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    I'm not sure I want to spin it into an answer, but this article in The Atlantic very decisively proves that yes, from an informed point of view, ISIS are really the only ones who do.
    – user4012
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 15:51
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    This is a rather leading question. Also rather broad as it's about interpretation of scripture.
    – user1530
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 19:21
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    If you want a more theologically-focused answer you might want to check out Islam.SE. Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 10:35
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    @PointlessSpike Islam.SE policy forbids any political questions
    – azerafati
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 11:57
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    Hence why I said "If you want a more theologically-focused answer". Obviously you would need to modify the question if you wanted to ask it on there. I'm unsure whether the OP wants an Islamic perspective on the subject though. Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 10:38

6 Answers 6


This is a question that many different people will disagree on. However, I'll try to give an answer.

I saw a video recently that claims that far from being uneducated, many in Islamic State are well-versed in the religious texts that Muslims adhere to and have consistent, coherent beliefs. He talked to an individual in IS for several months over Skype. I suspect this is what you want to know- whether IS is idealogically-based or not. But here's some food for thought- not everyone in the organisation is a psychopath. There's an interview on the BBC website with a man who had been captured by IS who claimed that they had doubts about what they were doing. These people aren't psychopaths- they are simply fanatical in their beliefs.

So I think I've established that they are following Islamic beliefs. However, many Muslims believe there are only one version of true Islamic beliefs and will claim that IS' claims have been refuted, that they are simply incorrect. Defining who is and who isn't a Muslim is difficult as all will likely disagree and say that only they are a true Muslim. I think this is the crux of your problem. No-one can even say for sure what Islam is or who is a Muslim, so I suspect that trying to treat it as one concrete entity is a bad idea. It would be much easier, but then you risk lumping in a lot of people who have contributed positively to society and hurt nobody. For example, I know a Muslim programmer who believes in everything the Qur'an claims, including magic and the evil eye. He opposes IS completely.

So to summarise, different sects have their own view on the answer to this. There's no consensus on a true version of Islamic politics, so that makes the question of whether they follow them unanswerable from an outside perspective.

We really don't have a choice but to deal with each group that pops up based on their own politics. But we should also stray from declaring that they aren't motivated by their religious beliefs (as Obama did), because they plainly are. But not everyone shares those beliefs. I think we should deal with people from a secular standpoint- talk about the harm they're doing and understand why they're doing it but don't generalise. That's how atrocities start.

  • I agree that we shouldn't generalize--as do many, which is why they avoid making this an issue about Islam in general. It's an issue about a very particular group with a very particular interpretation of Islam.
    – user1530
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 0:44
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    I think part of the problem is that many Muslims like to portray the religion as a unified entity when it's anything but. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 16:42
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    That sums up most religions. :)
    – user1530
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 16:58
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    @PointlessSpike Many non-muslims fall prey to that fallacy too. I've seen non-muslim people ranting about how all muslims are the same, but who weren't even aware that there is a difference between Shia and Sunni.
    – Philipp
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 13:19
  • See also: No True Scotsman. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 17:04

As the well researched article "What ISIS wants" correctly points out that ISIS follows Islam to the "I". The west due to political correctness tries to portray Islam as a "peaceful religion". Knowing true nature of our enemy is paramount to our success. Some political leaders fail to see the history of Islam and its prophet and his immediate successors. These early Muslims including Muhammad and his successors were the pioneers and inventors of the concept of Islamic Jihad, Muhammad was himself prosecuted in the beginning by other nations\ tribes while he was in Mecca and lacked any ability and support from his peers. But the migration to Medina and forming an Islamic state in Madina marked the creation of a base for future offensive expansions which involved :

1) Beheading

2) Burning opponents alive

3) Taking Slaves

4) Execution of gays by burning, stoning or throwing them from the highest point

5) Conversion by coercion

and many more atrocities you see in todays Islamic State ISIS. The other answer here by a Muslim "Ziyad" is clearly a cover up post and selective reading of the Quran ignoring the other verses. To give an example the much popular verse :

2:256 : There is no compulsion in religion

The above is a segment of a verse which is very oft quoted by some less informed Muslims to appease us. But their Islamic scholars themselves rule that the verse is abrogated and that the verse actually does not say what it means when a full reading of the entire verse is made.

In Islam the verses revealed post Hijra abrogate the verses revealed in Mecca when the Islamic state was not even present. This is why in Islam there is a well accepted science of "Abrogation"

Moreover Islam is very clear that it wants the subjugation of entire world as stated in its hadith:

Bukhari (8:387) - "Allah's Apostle said, 'I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah.'"

The above authentic narration very clearly lays out a condition that if one accept Islam only then his life and property is protected as per the verse:

"Verily the only acceptable religion to Allah is Islam." [Quran 3:19]

Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 959 - Then Muhammad sent Khalid bin Walid… to the Banu al-Harith and ordered him to invite them to Islam three days before he attacked them. If they accepted then he was to accept it from them, and if they declined he was to fight them. So Khalid set out and came to them, and sent out riders in all directions inviting the people to Islam, saying, “If you accept Islam you will be safe.” So the men accepted Islam as they were invited.

The text goes on to say that Khalid taught the al-Harith about Islam after their "conversion," proving that it was based on fear of slaughter rather than a free and intelligent decision.

ISIS follows the same footsteps as above and actually implements the above hadith on the poor truck drivers who gave wrong answers to his quiz about Islamic prayers, on getting wrong answers on prayer units they were barbarically executed implementing the hadith "pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us"

So now the question arises as how to politically deal with Muslims who try to bring the meccan verses to defend Islam?

We should accept them but we need to also point out the true nature of Islam to them and ask them to condemn what Muhammad did as we should be very clear to them that even if Muhammad and his devotees were to be present today we would not allow them to carry out any expansion and would not hesitate to even bomb them. This is very important as in a war it is very important to know the true intention and nature of the enemy , as this enemy is ideologically very powerful and prefers death over defeat which means the only way it can be confronted with is clear force. And the Muslims living on western welfare may say cherry pick peaceful things from Quran to deceptively appease us, but if ISIS manages to capture a region these same Muslims would align with the people of their faith as we can see in ISIS controlled regions. Moreover Muslims who don`t join ISIS are either ignorant, non practicing or weak not wanting to cope up with the sacrifice it demands. And there is no reason to believe that a Muslim won't realize the "truth" about Islam and join ISIS.

Also it is important to support endeavours which cause Muslims to leave Islam and this can be very helpful in long run. One policy the political think tank RAND corporation suggests is to build "Moderate Muslim Networks" to infuse , sponsor and aid moderate thinking among Muslims which rejects the unacceptable notions in Islam like Jihad, Sharia Law etc. This is a long term approach which actually helps us in making Muslims themselves reject the Islamic doctrines without them realizing it. Telling them on face to leave Islam is counter intuitive rather such approaches and conditions created by us which cause them to forsake the fundamental tenets of their religion without them realizing is the way ahead. Which also means we need to devise ways to keep them away from their primary religious texts and implant our own scholars which give more emphasis on derived opinions in harmony with the modern democratic society.

Intra Muslim Politics and ISIS

This is not the first time that a caliphate has been declared and there is opposition from Muslims themselves who did not wish to compromise their freedom for caliphate, such people were decried as apostate who fought them and did not pay Zakat by none other then the most respected and the first caliph of Islam interestingly with the same name:Abu Bakr:

The Ridda wars (Arabic: حروب الردة), also known as the Wars of Apostasy, were a series of military campaigns launched by the Caliph Abu Bakr against rebel Arabian tribes during 632 and 633 AD, just after Muhammad died. The rebels' position was that they had submitted to Muhammad as the prophet of God, but owed nothing to Abu Bakr.

These people were considered to be rebels and apostates by the first caliph and he actively fought them and even enslaved them which is actually more worse then what ISIS does as ISIS does not enslave women who are sunnis even if they don't pledge allegiance to their caliph. Also a widespread apostasy was reported:

In the fourth week of August 632, Abu Bakr moved to Zhu Qissa with all available fighting forces. There he planned the strategy of the Campaign of the Apostasy to deal with the various enemies who occupied the entire land of Arabia except for the small area in the possession of the Muslims. 5 The battles which he had fought recently against the apostate concentrations at Zhu Qissa and Abraq were in the nature of immediate preventive action to protect Medina and discourage further offensives by the enemy. These actions enabled Abu Bakr to secure a base from which he could fight the major campaign that lay ahead, thus gaining time for the preparation and launching of his main forces. Abu Bakr had to fight not one but several enemies: Tulayha at Buzakha, Malik bin Nuwaira at Butah, Musaylima at Yamamah. He had to deal with widespread apostasy on the eastern and southern coasts of Arabia: in Bahrain, in Oman, in Mahra, in Hadhramaut and in Yemen. There was apostasy in the region south and east of Mecca and by the Quza'a in northern Arabia.

The word apostasy is used even for cases where people believed in Muhammad but refused to recognize the first caliph Abu Bakr. Hence we know exactly from where ISIS is drawing its political inspiration from.

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    There is no "tee' to any religion. It's all interpretation. This answer is simply incorrect that ISIS follows Islam 'to the tee' more than/less than any other group of Muslims.
    – user1530
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 19:31
  • Yes but there is also a thing called fair academic interpretation and cherry picking things to suit a particular agenda which Muslim apologists often do.
    – Blanc
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 6:26
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    to call an incredibly small subset of Muslims as being the ones that follow it "to the tee" is a particular agenda.
    – user1530
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 6:58
  • @DA. Calling them a small subset or 'extremists" is a bit misleading. It gives the dangerously false impression that Islamic jihad violence isn't widely supported by Muslims all throughout the world. These guys are part of the Sunni insurgency in Syria. And the insurgency in Syria is widely supported by Sunni Muslims all across the planet. And worse, Western non-Muslims also widely praise the Sunni Islamic insurgents in Syria as heroic and noble freedom fighters.
    – Blanc
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 7:01
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    "In most countries where the question was asked, roughly three-quarters or more Muslims reject suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians. And in most countries, the prevailing view is that such acts are never justified as a means of defending Islam from its enemies. Yet there are some countries in which substantial minorities think violence against civilians is at least sometimes justified. This view is particularly widespread among Muslims in the Palestinian territories (40%), Afghanistan (39%), Egypt (29%) and Bangladesh (26%)." That's from the Pew polls. Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 10:45

Muslims believe that Quran, the holy book of Islam was revealed from God during a span of 23 years. In the early years of Islam muslims were persecuted by polytheists in mecca because of calling towards monotheism. So they were forced to migrate to another city called Medina, where they were able to settle down and flourish. Till then Muslims didn't wage war with those who persecuted them. It was only after Quran allowed fighting for self defense, Muslims fought with the enemies.

Quran contain lot of verses that commands for the tolerance towards others, like 2:256 which says there is no compulsion in religon, 60:8 which says to do good to non believers who are not waging war with muslims etc. There are other verses that were revealed during war, which Quran allowed for defending, like verses in chapter 9. What extremists claim is that verses revealed during war has nullified or abrogated verses of tolerance and so they believe it ok to force others to Islam. see detailed answer for this here https://islam.stackexchange.com/questions/14595/are-muslims-supposed-to-kill-all-non-believers/14601#14601

But they claim they follow some scholars who hold this belief and they believe they are following true Islam. See a famous question answer site which holds similar belief and says it is ok to compel others to Islam http://islamqa.info/en/34770

That is reason, when ISIS captured Sinjar, they gave option of convert or die to Yazidis there. But Christians they consider as people of book and so were given option of Jizya or non Muslim tax. See How does jizya exactly work in the Islamic State?

Acutally it is against Quran to say some verses have nullified other parts of Quran because Quran says

So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. Quran 2 :85

So to answer your Question, do ISIS really follow Islamic politics ? they believe to be doing so But by disregarding many verses of Quran as nullified, it would not be right to say they are following true Islam.

  • This is a very subjective answer based on theology, not politics. Admittedly it's not helped by the question, but still, you should try to keep your answer theologically neutral and deal with it purely as political. Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 10:29
  • @PointlessSpike, correct! Though he's got a point, these guys are not known to be Muslims by an extreme majority of Islamic scholars
    – azerafati
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 18:47
  • @Bludream I see you are from Iran a Shia nation, ofcourse they wont be considered as Muslims there. I am yet to see an official declaration of they being ""Non Muslims" from notable scholarly Islamic QA sites like islamqa.info/en . I had asked them these questions many times but they blankly refuse to answer just any question on ISIS. And it is surprising there is not a single question on that site about ISIS. But we have floods of questions on ISIS on other sites including this one.
    – politika
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 5:58
  • What do you define as a Muslim? Is not a Muslim one who says there is one god and Muhammad is his messenger? Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 8:06
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    All you had to say was that the majority don't agree with what they're doing. This is obviously true. I personally would say that even if there was a religion based entirely on war with a majority that were warlike, you wouldn't want to deal with the whole religion, just those that are violent. Almost nobody is suggesting we adopt their tactics and start butchering every Muslim in existence. Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 10:24

Simple answer is no, and these people here who are saying otherwise, don't know anything about Islam except what they hear on CNN or FOX.

Islam, like any other religion, has scholars who learn the religion the way it was taught and meant to be understood (the correct interpretation of it). They do this over many years, similar to university degrees that go for a lot longer then university education.

The Quran was accompanied by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and he explained its meanings and verses, forming the religion and rules.

That's like me learning E=mc2, or F=ma, and saying that now I know everything about physics and relativity theory, and that I am going to dictate how it runs and what it means, about all matters regarding it - and anything you say contrary to me is wrong because I am right, etc..

Islam, like any other religion, isn't simple, and it can't be learnt/known over night by taking one verse from the Quran, and hence you're now going to tell it how it is.

That is exactly what the extremists do and how they fool the stupid masses.

So if you are stupid like them and believe these ignorant people above who do exactly what the extremists do, then you would have fallen for the same trap as the people who are uneducated fools and who fell for ISIS not using a moment of their brain to question things and ask the appropriate questions.

Same way if somebody came to you and told you he can do something extraordinary and now he wants you to jump of a cliff or take a drink of cyanide or attack an abortion clinic, then you would be the fool for falling for such pathetic proof.

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    BTW, this answer applies not only to islam, but to any religion used to promote particular political ideas.
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 14:29
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    That's true. We can see that the teachings of Christianity were hijacked by the crusaders to support their crucifixions. The teachings of Judaism have been hijacked by the Zionists to legitimise the occupation of Palestine and Islam has been hijacked by Takfiri terrorists to support their evil doing. In all three cases, the political strategies and aims have nothing to do with the religion.
    – Noor
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 11:14
  • But most of followers of those religions live in secular countries. Too many muslims still demand government act "respecting" their religions. You don't get much support from christians for terrorism. Christians and jews have well functioning states and their citizens can tell their state to terror on their behalf. The muslims are in a mess
    – user4951
    Commented Jan 20, 2019 at 16:50

No, ISIS is not following Islamic politics or the Qur'an, as they state they would. And every Muslim who claims, that they don't follow Islam is right. Even if we know nothing about Islam and his Holy book how can anyone even only consider that the atrocities IS are committing can be in accordance with one of the main monotheistic religions, which Islam is.

Does any thinking person seriously believe, that the Creator of the universe, the Creator of mankind has commanded to kill, torture, butcher and burn innocent people. Does any thinking person seriously believe, that the Most merciful Most compassionate God would tell his creation in his holy book to do this criminal acts to each other.

All atrocities we have to witness these days being carried out by ISIS are not following a divine command, but are manmade by evil minded people or evil minded states.

The politics of the true Islam look different as they are following a divine command, which is full of love and mercy in order to let the people strive, develop and reach nearness to the creator.

The first "politician" of Islam was of course the Prophet himself, who succeeded to build a nation based on the divine teachings. The prophet accomplished this by being kind, understanding, patient and merciful to the people. And the fact that he was also involved in war is not a contradiction to this.

Here we have to recognise, that the wars the prophet fought, were to defend his religion and it's followers. These were wars of defence, being forced on him by the tribes who did not agree with his mission and wanted to kill him and his followers. Even the behaviour in the actual fighting and afterwards was controlled by him. Lootings, plundering, attacking the women or children, destroying the houses of the enemy or their land, plants or livestock were NOT allowed. The prophet of Islam was not only a politician or teacher, he was an ecologist by protecting trees from being chopped off and he was the first human rights activist, who brought rights to the oppressed women, who freed slaves, who treated people equally, who made sure that the captives were taken care of and who never forced his religion on anyone. He was successful because of his kind behaviour not because of his sword.

Read about the politics and warfare of the prophet in the following link:


What the three caliphs after him did in the name of Islam is a completely different story as well as the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties. They changed the teachings of Islam and did not follow the Sunna (sayings, lifestyle) of the prophet. And this fact, that his successors did not obey his teachings and made amendments to it and allowed false ideas to enter into it , by simultaneously preventing the true teachings from being spread, results in the problems and difficulties we are facing today. ISIS is a result of what happened nearly 1400 years ago.

Read: al-Qazwini, When Power and Piety collide http://iecoc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/When-Power-and-Piety-Collide.pdf

Nobody can claim to understand the meaning of the Holy Qur'an except of those who possess divine knowledge. Any other person has to refer back to these divine sources in order to try to understand and to apply its teachings. Respected scholars of Islam need to study for many, many years to be able to interpret the meaning of the holy verses to some extent and here and everywhere people come forward to cite parts of the Holy book to underline their statements or to prove that Islam is a bloodthirsty, violent religion or to take permission from it to kill so called disbelievers, as IS does.

The same happens with so called authentic hadith, which are the sayings of the prophet. One may think that these sayings are not so important, but they are, as these hadith explain the Qur'an. Unfortunately, a lot of these sayings we can find are false. The fabrication of hadith was a political act to stabilise the government, who was claiming to rule the nation according to Islam. Because of these fabrications, it was necessary to develop the hadith sciences accepting only traditions which were delivered by trustworthy narrators in the chain of narrators and which do not contradict the Qur'an.


if it does follow then should we deal with Islam itself or only such groups which keep popping up every now and then?

We should deal with violent extremists. 'Dealing' with religion, in general, would be great but rather naive given the totality of human existence.

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