What’s going on in northern Africa? Why did it concern France so much that they very quickly deployed combative military in the deserts of Mali? How is what’s going on in Mali and Nigeria connected to events on the borders of India? The answer lies in one word: Caliphate (cal-ee-fet)
A caliphate is an Arabic word meaning empire. It is governed by a caliph (cal-eef) – a ruler. The ruler is both a political and religious figure. Historically, caliphate was a name given to successive Islamic empires that spread out from Arabia where Islam was born, through the Middle East and into central and south-eastern Asia and west into the European Balkans, though northern Africa and into Spain and Portugal. Conceptually, caliphate is the trans-border unification of the entire Muslim world (or Ummah) into one empire under Shariah Law to which the radical elements of modern-day Islam aspires. It was partly the resistance of the Frankish Empire in France that halted the advance of Islam into mainland Europe.
Not since the 1920’s has Islam been concerned with re-igniting the aspiration to restore the global caliphate and today to the vast majority of Muslims it is synonymous with the glories of Islam past. Yet a future restoration of a global Caliphate that will appear in what the Quran teaches will be the End Times remains central in Islamic thought and teaching:
Prophethood will remain with you for as long as Allah wills it to remain, then Allah will raise it up wherever he wills to raise it up. Afterwards, there will be a Caliphate that follows the guidance of Prophethood remaining with you for as long as Allah wills it to remain. Then, He will raise it up whenever He wills to raise it up. Afterwards, there will be a reign of violently oppressive rule and it will remain with you for as long as Allah wills it to remain. Then, there will be a reign of tyrannical rule and it will remain for as long as Allah wills it to remain. Then, Allah will raise it up whenever He wills to raise it up. Then, there will be a Caliphate that follows the guidance of Prophethood.
— As-Silsilah As-Sahihah, vol. 1, no. 5
I believe that we are seeing going on in countries ranging from north and west Africa to the western borders of India is the prelude to the building of the Islamic End Times Caliphate. None of the events going on across the Muslim world come as any surprise to me. Both the main branches of Islam – the Sunni and the Shia – are actively engaged in its creation and our news reports are increasingly filled with the tensions and outright violent hostility between secularists and Islamists in predominantly Muslim nations. Even in Tunisia, the birthplace of the ‘Arab Spring‘ only in recent weeks was the leader of the secularist opposition to the Islamist Government murdered. Similar struggles are taking place at this time of writing in Libya, Egypt and Syria.
The Quran teaches Muslims to convert the world to Islam by either persuasion or if that fails then by force. Both of these ideologies are at work today in a resurgent, confident radical Islam. One manifestation of the persuasive approach is Wahhabism – through teaching in Mosques, schools and Universities even here in the UK. Radical groups such as Al-Quaeda and Boko Haram have chosen the forceful way. Common in the belief and practices of radical Muslims who strive to restore the Caliphate under Sharia Law is Jihad. Jihad means ‘to struggle’. In Islam it’s interpreted in two ways: the greater Jihad is a spiritual struggle against the sinful self and the lesser Jihad against the enemies of Islam – the Infidel or faithless ones (anyone non-Muslim). Movements such as Al-Quaeda focus on the forceful way.
The two branches of Islam are divided as to who will rule the caliphate and this in part explains much about what we hear of Muslim-on-Muslim strife such as the ongoing suicide bombings in Iraq despite the fact there are no Western military there in any great number now. The two houses of Islam have been in an undeclared war over control of the hearts and minds of the Ummah (Muslim world) for centuries as I have written about before (here). The Sunnis believe that once this caliphate is created, it’s Caliph, or spiritual/political leader will be elected by the Ummah. The Shia believe that this End Times role can only be fulfilled by a direct descendant from Mohammed. They believe this person will emerge from among Shia Islam based primarily in Iran and Iraq. It would take a whole separate post for me to blog on what I have learned about President Ahmadinajab of Iran and his firm belief that he has a personal role to play in ushering in the End Times. It is something I will post on soon.
There are a couple of thorns in the side of the Islamist dream of restoring the Caliphate around the Mediterranean at least. One is Spain and Portugal. Both became part of the Islam’s caliphate at its zenith. In Islamic thinking, once a territory has been claimed for Islam, it remains forever an Islamic territory and therefore part of the global Caliphate. We should expect to see the rise of fundamentalist Islam in these nations. The Spanish in particular have already been served notice that their infidelity to Islam will not be tolerated in the Madrid bombings of 2004.
As I write, Egypt and Syria are in turmoil. I also predict the destabilisation of Jordan soon. In Syria what started as a civil uprising against n unpopular autocrat has been hijacked by practitioners of Jihad who want to add fundamentalist Islamic Syria to the rising Caliphate. When they succeed, as I believe they will, they will start to turn their focus on Israel. Egypt, too, is still going through the throws of revolution but the secularists, Christians and Islamists who were once brothers in arms against President Mubarak are now at each others’ throats in the struggle for power. More worrying for me is the man the Egyptians elected to rule them; Mohamed Morsi. Only in January this year did Western media pick up on his view of Israel. The Israelis and others such as I who watch the Middle East closely, knew of these comments long before. The New York Times reported as follows:
His scurrilous comments from nearly three years ago about Zionists and Jews, which just came to light, have raised serious doubts about whether he can ever be the force for moderation and stability that is needed. As reported by David Kirkpatrick in The Times, Mr. Morsi is shown in a video from 2010 delivering a speech in which he urges Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists. In a television interview months later, he described Zionists as “these bloodsuckers who attack Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”
That neatly brings me to the other thorn in the side of the rising Caliphate…Israel. The creation of any Islamic End Time Caliphate will inevitably be faced by the existence of the Jewish (Infidel) state breaking the chain through the hoped for unified caliphate across the Muslim believing nations that rim the Mediterranean Sea and into Asia. The entire world is heading for an almighty collision when Islamic fundamental ideology and the Jewish state meet each other head on. Anyone who knows me well enough, knows my interest in and many travels to Israel. I am a friend of Israel, though not an uncritical one. This friendship does not in any way cause me to be anti-Islamic but it does cause me to watch closely at what is going on concerning that region. I am also a Christian and in the extreme views of the radical Islamists, I fall into the category of the Infidel along with the Jews that must be subjugated or wiped out. It was among my travels to Israel that I first heard the saying: “First we kill the Saturday people, then the Sunday people”. It is a belief held among many radical Islamists that basically means – first we will kill the people who worship on a Saturday (the Jews) and then those who worship on a Sunday (Christians). Muslims worship on a Friday. This short video explains it better than I can from people experiencing this already.
The desire to build the End Times Caliphate among radical Islam is not confined to the nations that were once part of the original empires of Islam but to the whole world. That includes countries such as the UK where Wahhabism is highly active and where Jihad has also reared its ugly head as on 7/7 in London. I was just at Euston Station just after the 4th bomb detonated that day. Though it is barely reported in the national news, Christians are perishing across the world at the hands of Islamic extremists. In Egypt and Nigeria, churches are being bombed with worshipers in them. I am party to these stories and much, much more because I work in Christian media. Just today, a friend of mine posted up on Facebook an alarming message he’s got wind of posted by Islamist radicals concerning the safety of Christians in Tanzania. The guy works for a charity that is working to be a voice for Christians being violently persecuted across the world. I have known this guy some 16 years and can personally vouch for his sanity and lack of any hysterical tendencies. I’ve not known him to post such a message before but here’s what he said:
This is very sinister and worrying
TANZANIA: “THE COMING EASTER WILL BE ONE OF DISASTER” WARNS “ISLAMIST” EXTREMIST GROUPS. Geita (Agenzia Fides) – “We thank our young men, trained in Somalia, for killing an infidel. Many more will die. We will burn homes and churches. We have not finished: at Easter, be prepared for disaster”; Signed “Muslim Renewal”. Fides was told about a terrifying SMS in Tanzania, received by local bishops and priests , in which Islamist extremists claim responsibility for the murder of the Catholic priest Fr. Evarist Mushi, aged 55 , killed in front of the Catholic cathedral early on Sunday 17 February.
The Catholic Church in Tanzania is concerned and anxious. Reaction has come also from national leaders: Tanzania’s Prime Minister called an immediate meeting with leading members of the Christian and Muslim communities, but the outcome was not positive. Certain Muslim leaders called for the release from prison of the suspected assassins of a local Protestant pastor, Mathew Kachira, killed on 10 February. Local Catholic Church sources told Fides that clearly, behind these attacks and murders lies Islamist extremism spreading across the country.
Fides sources also say that some responsibility falls on Tanzania’s president, Mr Jakaya Kikwete, because during the electoral campaign he promised the Muslim population he would change the Constitution and introduce measures in keeping with Islamic Sharia Law. Today the majority of Tanzanians oppose the plan, but Islamist extremist groups, in reaction, have started a campaign of terror.
The local Catholic Bishop of Geita, Bishop Damiani Denis Dallu, told Fides: “All we desire is peace and unity and love to reign among the citizens of Tanzania, irrespective of religious beliefs”. This is also the desire of other Christian leaders, heads of traditional religions and moderate Muslim leaders. The latter, however, the Bishop told Fides “are afraid because they too are targeted by Islamic extremists”
PLEASE LETS PRAY FOR GOD GUIDANCE AND PROTECTION FOR THE BELIVERS, THE CHURCH IN TANZANIA.
[This post is not intended in any way to be anti-Islamic. It s my personal take and interpretation of the world events I see unfolding around me. My views are personal and do not reflect those of my employers.]