Understanding Islam

The Quick Guide to Comparing ISIS and Mainstream Islam!

  ISIS/ISIL/IS Mainstream Islam
Accusing someone of being a disbeliever (Mukaffir) Allowed Not Allowed: Considered a forbidden practice according to the Qur’an and Hadith. Accusing someone of being a disbeliever who claims to be Muslim is considered just as bad, if not worse, than actually being a disbeliever. In Islam, a person is not allowed to judge a fellow human being for how “correctly” they believe; only God can do that.
Women’s Rights – Niqab generally required when a female is of marital age, which ISIS has stated to be as young as 9 years of age.

– Must have a male chaperone at all times, and women tend to not be educated past the age of 15. Any further education should specifically focus on Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). Jobs for women in the Islamic State include taking care of her husband and children, raising her children, taking care of injured soldiers, and providing necessities of the home for her husband.

– Divorce is forbidden unless by the male, though women are allowed to remarry if her husband is martyred. Men are allowed multiple wives, however since there is a major shortage of women joining the Islamic State, it is not common practice.

– General consensus that the Hijab and Niqab are not required. Tends to be more of a cultural decision or an optional religious practice.

– Male chaperone is not required and women are allowed to be educated at any level. The Qur’an emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge for both men and women.

– Divorce is allowed for both men and women and can be brought to a court by either party. A man is allowed to take more than one wife, however, marriage in Islam is considered a contractual obligation, so if the wife states in the marriage contract that her husband cannot take any additional wives, the husband will be unable to take additional wives without renegotiating the marriage contract or filing for divorce.

Destruction of Cultural and Religious Heritage IS believes that any form of cultural or historical site or artifact should be destroyed due to its history of idolatry. IS tends to also destroy sites as a means of “cultural cleansing,” meaning that they want Muslims to turn away from identifying with their ancestral past or their countries, and instead identify only with their religion. IS uses this idea of cultural cleansing in their propaganda, trying to convince youth who are having a difficult time identifying with their current country of residence or culture. It has been one of the most effective ways of convincing young Muslims to join ISIS due to the amount of prejudice experienced by Muslim youth in the United States and European countries. The Qur’an does not state that cultural and historical sites should be destroyed.
Violent Jihad Allowed Considered acceptable only under very specific circumstances. Jihad directly translates to “struggle,” which is meant to be an inner struggle to understand and become closer to God. Violent or physical jihad is not seen as a common place practice in mainstream Islamic teachings.
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