‘The kafir’s blood is halal for you’: The Doctrine of Jihād in Dabiq and Rumiyah
The Islamic State movement (IS, formerly ISIS) is widely denounced by both Muslims and non-Muslims as ‘un-Islamic’, for, among other deeds, attacking fellow Muslims, inciting international terrorism, and taking female captives as sex slaves—all in the name of jihād. IS’s propaganda magazines Dabiq (15 issues) and Rumiyah (13 issues), published between July 2014 and September 2017, sought to justify and explain the movement’s ideology and actions, presenting its credentials as an almost uniquely authentic expression of current Sunnī Islam. Drawing on these magazines, this article constructs a systematic overview of IS’s jihād doctrine, showing its indebtedness to both traditional sources, the Qurʾān, sunna and fiqh, and to more recent Salafī Jihādī thought. IS aims to revive the genuine Islam of the Prophet and the first generations of Muslims, rejecting the modernist view of military jihād as purely defensive. While clearly Islamic and heavily indebted to traditional sources, IS’s jihād doctrine is anachronistic, apocalyptic, selective and sectarian.
Author: Christopher J. van der Krogt
2014 Can We Speak of Just War in Islam? History of Political Thought 35(2): 234–61.
1994 Islamic Law and Muslim Minorities: The Juristic Discourse on Muslim Minorities from the Second/Eighth to the Eleventh/Seventeenth Centuries. Islamic Law and Society 1(2): 141–87. https://doi.org/10.1163/156851994X00011
2003 Encyclopedia of Islamic Law (inside: Encyclopedia of Islam (Concerning Muslim Women). (1424 AH) Darussalam, Riyadh. 3 vols.
2016 ISIL Video Shows ‘Turkish Soldiers Burned Alive’. 23 December. Online:
2019 Social Construction of Jihad and Human Dignity in the Language of ISIS. In Mansouri and Keskin 2019: 53–72.
2018 Hamas and Ideology: Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi on the Jews, Zionism and Israel. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxford and New York.
2019 Understanding Key Themes in the ISIS Narrative: An Examination of Dabiq Magazine. In Mansouri and Keskin 2019: 139–61.
2006 Jihad in Islamic History: Doctrines and Practice. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
2014 Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy. Oneworld Publications, London.
2015 From Paper State to Caliphate: The Ideology of the Islamic State. Analysis Paper No. 19. Brookings Institution, Washington, DC.
2018 Dābiq et la frontière du Dār al-Islām: Histoire et représentations (Ier-Ve siècles H./VIIe-XIe siècles). Revue des Mondes Musulmans et de la Méditerranée. Online: https://journals.openedition.org/remmm/10395
2016 Inghimasi—The Secret ISIS Tactic Designed for the Digital Age. 1 December. Online: https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2016/12/01/inghimasi-secret-isis-tactic-designed-digital-age/
2002 Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic. Darwin Press, Princeton, NJ.
2007 Martyrdom in Islam. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
2009 Islamism and Jihadism: The Transformation of Classical Notions of Jihad into an Ideology of Terrorism. Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 10(2): 177–87. https://doi.org/10.1080/14690760903119100
2015 Understanding Jihad. 2nd edn. University of California Press, Oakland.
2020 From Dabiq to Jerusalem: Trajectories of Contemporary Salafi-jihādī Apocalypticism. In The Cambridge Companion to Apocalyptic Literature, edited by Colin McAllister, 270–87. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
2019 The Calypso Caliphate: How Trinidad Became a Recruiting Ground for ISIS. International Affairs 95(2): 297–317.
2004 Medieval Islamic Political Thought. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
2014–16 Published by al-Hayāt Media Center. 15 issues. Online: https://jihadology.net/category/dabiq-magazine/
2017 Mapping the Thematic Landscape of Dabiq Magazine. Australian Journal of International Affairs 71(6): 591–620.
2013 Wanted Fugitive Ahmad Abousamra. 18 December. Online: https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/boston/press-releases/2013/wanted-fugitive-ahmad-abousamra-added-to-the-fbis-most-wanted-terrorists-list
2016 ISIS: A History. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
2018 The Caliphate at War: The Ideological, Organizational and Military Innovations of Islamic State. Hurst, London.
2020 The Caravan: Abdallah Azzam and the Rise of Global Jihad. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
2017 ISIS: What’s a Poor Religionist to Do? In Fabricating Difference, edited by Steven W. Ramney, 77–91. Equinox, Sheffield, UK and Bristol, CT.
n.d. The Book of Jihad by Abi Zakaryya Al Dimashqi Al Dumyati ‘Ibn-Nuhaas’ (d. 814 Hijri), (abridged) translated by Noor Yamani, revised by Abu Rauda. Online: https://archive.org/details/TheBookOfJihadByIbnNuhass
2018 Islamic State’s English-language Magazines, 2014–2017: Trends & Implications for CT-CVE Strategic Communications. The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, The Hague 8(15). http://dx.doi.org/10.19165/2018.1.03
2019 Islam and the Islamic State’s Magazine, Dabiq. Politics and Religion 12: 32–54.
2017 How a US Citizen Became a Key Player in the Islamic State’s Rivalry with al Qaeda. FDD’s Long War Journal (7 April). Online:
2019 Causes of Radicalisation: Theological Arguments as the Ultimate Trigger. In Mansouri and Keskin 2019: 13–34.
2016 The Girl who Beat ISIS: Farida’s Story, trans. Jamie Bulloch. Square Peg, London.
2006 ‘Non-Combatants’ in Muslim Legal Thought. Hudson Institute, Washington.
2018 The Pact of ʿUmar. In Routledge Handbook on Muslim-Christian Relations, edited by David Thomas, 80–89. Routledge, London and New York.
2016 Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea. Hurst, London.
2016 The Mind of the Islamic State. Redback Quarterly, Carlton, Victoria.
2019 Contesting the Theological Foundations of Islamism and Violent Extremism. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Switzerland.
1996 The Ordinances of Government, trans. W. H. Wahba. Garnet, Reading.
2015 The ISIS Apocalypse: The History Strategy and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State. St Martin’s Press, New York.
2009 Global Salafism: Islam’s New Religious Movement. Hurst, London.
2019 Suicide Terrorism. In Routledge Handbook of Terrorism and Counterterrorism, edited by Andrew Silke, 216–25. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxford.
2017 The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight against the Islamic State. Tim Duggan Books, New York.
1996 Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam. Marcus Wiener, Princeton.
2006 Milestones, edited by A. B. al-Mehri. Maktabah Booksellers and Publishers, Birmingham, UK.
2019 ISIS: Ideology, Symbolics, and Counter Narratives. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxford.
2017 Jihad and Death: The Global Appeal of Islamic State, trans. Cynthia Schoch. Oxford University Press, New York.
2016–17 Published by al-Hayāt Media Center. 13 issues. Online:
2019 Caliphate, Hijrah and Martyrdom as Performative Narrative in ISIS Dabiq Magazine. Politics, Religion & Ideology 20(1): 94–120.
2014a What Should We Say about Muhammad? In The Teaching and Study of Islam in Western Universities, edited by Paul Morris, William Shepard, Toni Tidswell and Paul Trebilco, 153–74. Routledge, London and New York.
2014b The Rise of Fundamentalisms. In Controversies in Contemporary Religion, edited by Paul Hedges, vol. 3, 1–38. Praeger, Santa Barbara.
2016 Jihadi John: The Making of a Terrorist. Oneworld Publications, London.
2018 Theology, Heroism, Justice, and Fear: An Analysis of ISIS Propaganda Magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah. Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict 11(3): 186–98.