Who or what is and what do they want?
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, commonly known as Daesh is a lethal mix of violence, human right abuses, and sexual exploitation under the pretense of Islam. As a self-proclaimed worldwide caliphate, Daesh claims religious, political and military authority over all Muslims- dissent and disobedience would result to apostasy which is punishable by death
What are the repercussions to the Muslim community?
In light of this event, existing xenophobic and islamophobic undertones in western nations have been amplified and many in the Muslim diaspora have been subjected to generalization that incorrectly linked them with those who constructed the attacks and was exposed to discrimination, isolation and much hatred.
One such example of the retaliation faced by the Muslim community would be the heartbreaking tale circulating on social media of a Muslim taxi driver in US who cried when someone finally took his taxi after over 2 hours because people were scared to approach him. The dilemma faced by that driver is symbolic of those faced by thousands of Muslims in the wake of the attacks.
How Daesh differs from Islam
Two sources of Islamic law will be used throughout this section;
AL-QURAN (Supreme primary source)
HADITH (Primary source but second-in-line in terms of authority next to Quran - despite that it is still profoundly important as it comes from Prophet Muhammad himself)
First, let's analyze their moral ethics from the perspective of Islam.
1. Before entering a war, there's a necessity not to be hasty to resort to military options and there's also necessity to favour peace and amicable solutions to conflicts as much as possible. "Do not wish to meet the enemy but if you meet them, be patient."(SAHIH BUKHARI)
In fact, the Qu'ran expressly sets some very stringent conditions before war is permissible. "Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged." (AL-HAJ 22:39)
But what does it mean to "have been wronged" and therefore bestowing permission to fight in self-defense? This is defined by the Qu'ran's very next verse;
"Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, 'Our Lord is God'" (AL-HAJ 22:41)
In circumstances where war is unavoidable, Allah forbade Muslims from fighting those who did not participate in the fight. Allah said repetitively in the Quran, "And fight in the cause of God those who fight against you, and do not commit aggression. Indeed God does not love those who are aggressors,"(AL-BAQARAH, 2;190) which means Muslims are only allowed to fight those fighting against them without transgressing through attacking the non-combatants.
In fact, the sacredness of the lives of innocent was so precious that Allah equated the killing of an innocent to the killing of all humanity; "Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely." (AL-MA'IDAH 5:32)
Islamic Codes of Conduct During War
Furthermore, Islam has strict codes of conduct and rules of war during conflict that has to be obeyed as laid down by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in various hadiths.
1. Do not kill any child, any women, or any elder or sick person (Sunan Abu Daud)
Daesh fighters never flinch when they shoot civilians as they bulldoze over an area. They killed Yazidi men- young and old. They also took Yazidi women to be kept as sex slaves.
2. Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle (Sahih Bukhari; Sunan Abu Daud)
Deash is notorious for their scorched earth policies, such as burning oil fields and agricultural land on areas which they have lost.
3. Do not kill the monks in monasteries and do not kill those sitting in places of worship.(MUSNAD AHMAD IBN HANBAL)
Daesh wasn't even being subtle when they declared war against the crusaders or the non-muslimto that effect, they have laid waste to multiple churches such as the thousand years old 'Mother of Aid' church in Mosul and even Shiite mosques such as the Al-Arba'een Mosque in Tikrit, containing forty tombs from the Umar era.
4. No one may punish with fire except the Lord of Fire (Sunan Abu Daud)
Daesh's execution of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh clearly goes against Prophet Muhammad's teachings
At the end of the day, every time someone blames the attacks on Muslims, conducts retaliatory xenophobic crimes such the case of a Muslim woman being doused in alcohol on a train ride in UK or right wing groups pressure politicians to close borders to refugees, Daesh gains tangible benefits through more human resources, intelligence, and allegiance from persecuted Muslims, and that emboldens their movement even more. To truly defeat Daesh, this conflict cannot be painted as 'West vs. Muslims' but 'Moderation vs. Extremism'. Being the better and more gracious side will help us delegitimize Daesh and weaken them significantly.
Sohail Hannani is student of Law, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)