As always, translation below. Suggestions for revisions welcome. To listen to the original, see here.
Be with God, pure, and worry not.
The Islamic State- previously ISIS- has published numerous da'wa pamphlets over the past two years on matters of religious doctrine and practice, primarily in the name of its al-Himma Library. This pamphlet- on aqeeda ('creed/doctrine') and manhaj ('ideological program/direction')-is one of the most basic outlines of Islamic State ideology available from the Islamic State itself. I have translated it in full at the request of Shiraz Maher. I have also included commentary mainly in the form of endnotes and occasional notes in the form of square brackets within the text for Qur'an quotations and clarity in translation.
As with basic textbooks on Islam for training camp recruits, there is much content here that reflects standard Islamic teachings (e.g. the oneness of God, the Qur'an as the literal word of God etc.). More distinct ideological influences come out with the emphasis from on concepts like 'nullifiers' of Islam, the anti-Shi'ism and some interesting cases of word-for-word quotation without proper referencing of the original cited texts.
Jund al-Aqsa- a jihadi group founded in 2013 and officially independent but in practice closer to Jabhat al-Nusra with several al-Qa'ida operatives in its senior ranks- has recently fallen into controversies regarding its relationship with the Jaysh al-Fatah ('Army of Conquest') coalition in Idlib province in which it has played a key role since the spring of this year. Arguably the main issue has been suspicion regarding the group's sentiment towards the Islamic State. Though Jaysh al-Fatah denied earlier rumours of thedefection of 50 members of Jund al-Aqsa to the Islamic State, a more recent dispute has come up regarding the question of whether to actively fight the Islamic State. Jund al-Aqsa, like most ostensibly 'third-way' jihadi groups, has generally opted for the stance of neutrality for the sake of preventing 'fitna', only resorting to engagement if attacked directly. This is so even as Jund al-Aqsa officially rejects the Islamic State's Caliphate declaration and makes clearer than ever towards the end of its latest statement here the leadership's ideological alignment with al-Qa'ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
This treatise of the Diwan al-Buhuth wa al-Eftaa' (Research & Fatwa-Issuing Department), previously unseen in the outside world, concerns the question of whether one can use 'Miladi' dating, best known in its current and most widely used form as the Gregorian calendar. In short, the conclusion is that the Islamic State must ultimately erase all traces of Miladi dating as it is a system of dating associated with the disbelievers, in particular the Christians. On the basis of the principle that one must not imitate the disbelievers, one should not use Miladi dating. Rather, the system to be followed is the 'Hijri' dating, which begins from the time of the migration [hijra] of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina [c. 622 CE] and follows the Arabic lunar calendar.
The process of editing a piece often leads to oversimplification for the sake of word limits and the like. Here is some original content that did not make it into the final piece I co-wrote with Daveed Gartenstein-Ross for Foreign Affairs on the issue of the Druze of Jabal al-Summaq in Idlib province and jihadist interactions with them, both historically and following the Qalb Lawze massacre:
The concept of repentance (tawba in Arabic) is key for the Islamic State (IS) whenever it takes over a new area and aims to consolidate control. Whoever undergoes repentance under IS successfully is issued a repentance ID document that stipulates the person has abandoned his/her apostasy and is to be treated like the rest of the Muslim populace under IS rule (Specimen 3V). The repentance process has two main applications. First, it is used to subdue people who had been affliated with rival forces primarily through the quid pro quo principle of sparing one's life in exchange for surrendering all weapons to IS. This generally includes members of Syrian rebel groups, Sunni conscripts to the Syrian army, and members of the Iraqi army and police. For a sample case, see Specimen 1B in the archive of IS admin documents with the case of the Albukamal area in Syria. At times, IS has faced agitation against its rule from those who had repented, such as in the Fallujah area, which led to the tightening of repentance conditions last year (Specimen 6Q).
Jaysh al-Muhajireen wa al-Ansar was arguably the largest contingent of the 'third way' Jabhat Ansar al-Din jihadi coalition of northern Syria, having absorbed a component of the coalition- the Green Battalion- last year. Linked to the Caucasus Emirate through its amir Salah ad-Din al-Shishani, Jaysh al-Muhajireen wa al-Ansar had been reluctant to advocate openly denouncing and confronting the Islamic State [IS] on account of an anti-fitna stance, even though such a position is not tenable in the face of IS' demands for allegiance. The other members of Jabhat Ansar al-Din- Harakat Fajr al-Sham al-Islamiya and Harakat Sham al-Islam- lambasted IS at length in separate statements (see here and here) following its renewed offensive on rebel-held areas of north Aleppo countryside beginning at the end of May 2015. Harakat Fajr al-Sham al-Islamiya had acknowledged the prior stance of neutrality regarding IS.
This nasheed is apparently by the deceased Islamic State munshid Maher Mesh'al. My translation below:
"We will move forth to excellence, we worry not. [chorus]
Truly we have come as the destiny in the heights.
Be not gentle, be not disdainful: be lofty like the mountains.
We will strike the soul in the enemy like arrows.
Dawlat al-Islam [Islamic State], we will raise it by the corpses of men.
The Islamic State's videos regularly feature very short nasheeds not released as individual productions by Ajnad Media. One example was covered on this blog here regarding Boko Haram's pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State to become West Africa Province. Below is another of these nasheeds, by no means wholly new but featured most recently in a Ninawa Province video regarding the renewal of allegiance from the tribes of the Ninawa plain. For the focus on Baghdad and Damascus, compare with e.g. the nasheed 'Squadrons of my State' from the ISIS era (pre-Caliphate declaration).
"This path and these banners,
My initial translation below. Be sure also to read MEMRI's superb overview today of the most prominent Islamic State nasheeds here. Besides analyzing the poetic metre and language, the translations are more eloquent than my own, and they have made me rethink some of my own prior translations:
We have risen, we have risen, we have risen, we have risen,
We have come, we have come,
We have destroyed fortresses, we have smashed the borders.
We rise swiftly, we dismantle the bonds.
We have cut the heads, we have sought to rise,
We have cut heads, we have sought to rise,
You have wanted to remain in the land per treaties
We have cut throats, we have broken sheaths