However, they are indeed far from any concept of what a Caliph or a Caliphate represents. The concept of Caliph is based on the great responsibility of succeeding the Prophet s.a.w. and representing the magnificence of Allah's Attributes in managing the community and the environment.
A Caliph must establish and implement integral aspects of Islam, aspects which have been honed in varying disciplines over the centuries. It requires great leadership to adapt the essential aspects of Islam into each community and age, and there is no one right way. Throughout Islamic history respected Muslim scholars have studied from each other, agreed and disagreed with each other, and advanced their opinions and arguments - each contributing to the body of law called the Shariah. This process clearly demonstrates that diversity and depth of understanding are hallmarks of the Muslim community.
Money and power - which ISIS has managed to obtain through its capture of resources and its terrorism amongst the population - is not a legitimate basis to declare a Caliphate. The Caliph must be recognised by the community and must be exemplary in his behaviour and scholarship. Most importantly there must be dedication to the principles demonstrated by the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Again, the brutality, lack of justice and criminal activities of ISIS are the complete opposite of any action of the Prophet they claim to follow.
A Caliphate is established in order to bring peace and order to its community, living by the teachings of the Quran and the example of the Prophet s.a.w.. The Prophet Muhammad's (s.a.w.) example was mostly clearly established when he entered the city of Mecca, a city where he and his followers had endured years of persecution and suffering. Despite the innate desire for punishment, no person was to be harmed unless they were attacking, no retribution was to be taken against any household despite what they may have done in the past, not even a tree was to harmed. The city of Mecca was taken in peace and its people shown Mercy and respect. This is not the behaviour of ISIS.
It appears that ISIS has tried to force the conversion of minority sects, non-Muslims and People of the Book to their creed, on penalty of death. The only example of this type of behaviour in the Quran is with the Firaun of Moses - Pharaoh of Egypt to whom Moses was sent. Firaun demanded that his magicians worship him alone or they would be crucified, with their hands and feet cut off beforehand on opposite sides. In contrast, most countries and their populations accepted Islam after learning about it, without any coercion, just as Islam is spreading in Western countries today. The Quran clearly states in Surat al Baqarah v 256 that there should be compulsion in religion. As a result, minority sects and other faiths have always been allowed to live peacefully in Muslim lands - and never treated with the wanton callousness and cruelty as ISIS is now showing.
It is with shame and horror that Muslims around the world look on at the terrible destruction of Muslim lands, where great civilisations once flourished and developed the bedrock of knowledge - Maths, History, Medicine, Architecture etc on which we rely today.
The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. predicted that there would come a time when Muslim numbers would increase, but their influence would decrease and descend into ignorance. It appears that this time is upon us and we pray fervently that it will pass soon. In the meantime, all those Muslim nations who sit idly by watching the destruction of Iraq and Syria are also to be condemned.
May Allah s.w.t. grant wisdom, compassion and strength to be returned to the Muslim community.