As the savages – “barbarian” is too kind of a word – of ISIS continue their vicious rampage across Iraq and Syria, one thing about them continues to boggle my mind: why so many young Muslims from the West have joined their ranks. The exact numbers are hard to come by, but there is no doubt that a good number of young Muslims from the West have joined the ranks of ISIS (or as I like to call them, “KIL,” The Kharijites of Iraq and the Levant).
Why? Why would young Muslims – living relatively comfortable lives in the West – flock to join this horrifically barbaric group, which shows absolutely no regard for human life? While no studies have been conducted on this phenomenon, as far as I know, one thing that I posit is that these young, misguided men and women have lost hope. They have lost hope for a life of meaning, and thus they think that this can be regained by joining the “Khilafah.”
Nothing, however, can be farther from the truth. First, this group cannot be considered “Islamic,” even though they use symbols, phrases, and cloaks of Islam to cover their barbarity. Everything they stand for – everything they do – is wholly antithetical to both the letter and spirit of Islam.
Moreover, the door of God’s mercy is wide open, and murder and barbarity is not the way to gain this mercy. The Qur’an is full of positive messages of hope for the mercy of God:
Say: “[Thus speaks God:] ‘O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against their own selves! Do not despair of God’s mercy: behold, God forgives all sins – for, verily, He alone is much-forgiving and a dispenser of grace!'” (39:53)
“… With My chastisement, I do afflict whom I will – but My grace overspreads everything …” (7:156)
There is no need to burn people alive to gain the Mercy of God. There is no need to enslave women for sexual gratification in order to seek the pleasure of our Lord. God has no need for pillage, and murder, and mayhem on this earth. In fact, He expressly forbids the spreading of corruption. He said it himself, multiple times:
“Call unto your Lord humbly, and in the secrecy of your hearts. Verily, He loves not those who transgress the bounds of what is right: hence, do not spread corruption on earth after it has been so well ordered. And call unto Him with fear and longing: verily, God’s grace is ever near unto those who do good.” (7:56)
“Seek instead, by means of what God has granted you, [the good of] the life to come, without forgetting, withal, your own [rightful] share in this world; and do good [unto others] as God has done good unto thee; and see not to spread corruption on earth: for, verily, God does not love those who spread corruption!” (28:77)
“And do not deprive people of what is rightfully theirs; and do not act wickedly on earth by spreading corruption.” (26:183)
These misguided men and women are playing with fire, literally. They think that, by joining ISIS and committing horrific atrocities, they can attain pleasure in the Hereafter. They must think again.
I pray they see the error of their ways. I pray that those who have joined their ranks can come back to the mainstream, all the while facing justice for whatever crimes they have committed. I could care less about the Satanic forces behind ISIS. They will face the Lord for their crimes.
But I pray the ranks of the savages of ISIS is starved of further young Muslim recruits. Those that join them are toying with their very salvation.
Editor’s Note: Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago Doctor and writer. He has written extensively on a freelance basis, being published in newspapers across the country and around the world. His articles have been distributed worldwide by Agence Global, and Dr. Hassaballa has appeared as a guest on WTTW (Channel 11) in Chicago, CNN, Fox News, BBC, and National Public Radio. The views expressed here are his own.