The Caliphate

Islamic State is, in theory, committed to fighting a global jihad that will return civilization to a seventh-century legal and religious environment, and ultimately bring about the apocalypse. It differs from nearly every other current jihadist movement in believing that it is written into God’s script as a central character in a series of pre-destined events that will bring about the ‘end of days’. In this sense, it is using modern weapons to fight ancient wars for ancient reasons, to recreate an ancient world and then end it.


The notion of the caliphate is central to these aims.  When the current leader of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announced the establishment of the caliphate in 2014,

 he said that supporting the caliphate was an ancient duty of all Muslims that had been neglected for centuries. Certainly, the Islamic State has been more successful than any other Islamist group in recent times in attracting volunteers from around the Muslim world and conquering and ruling territory.


But the caliphate is not just a political entity it is also a vehicle for salvation, and is linked to esoteric predictions about the future of mankind. These include the idea there will be only 12 legitimate caliphs, of whom Baghdadi is the eighth. The armies of ‘Rome’, Islamic State believes, will mass to meet the armies of Islam in northern Syria, near the Syrian city of Dabiq. The battle that takes place here will mark the final defeat of Rome, that is, the Christian West.

After this, the caliphate will expand in a period of renewed Islamic conquest, establishing its capital in Jerusalem. Some believe it will even cover the entire Earth.




Then, an anti-Messiah, known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal, will come from the Khorasan region of eastern Iran and kill a vast number of the caliphate’s fighters. Only 5,000 will remain, cornered in Jerusalem.  Just as Dajjal prepares to finish them off, Jesus (Isa)—the second-most-revered prophet in Islam—will return to Earth, spear Dajjal, and lead the Muslims to victory. Once this happens, the Day of Judgment will come, and the world will end.