In the November issue of Dabiq Magazine # 12 (the monthly internet publication for the Islamic State)1, a phrase caught my eye that I had not noticed in prior editions– “the revived Khilafah.”  As most of us know, “Khilafah” is the transliteration of the Arabic word from which the english word, “caliphate” is taken. The word is a technical term in Islam describing the “community” (“Umma”) of Muslims that have professed loyalty to its caliph, in this case, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Read more. Read more), the  political, religious, and military head of ISIS.  In Dabiq #1, The Return of Khilafah, Al-Baghdadi made this important declaration:

Glad tidings for the Muslim Ummah
Amirul-Mu’minin said: “O Muslims everywhere, glad tidings to you and expect good. Raise your head high, for today – by Allah’s grace – you have a state and Khilafah, which will return your dignity, might, rights, and leadership. It is a state where the Arab and non-Arab, the white man and black man, the easterner and westerner are all brothers. It is a Khilafah that gathered the Caucasian, Indian, Chinese, Shami, Iraqi, Yemeni, Egyptian, Maghribi (North African), American, French, German, and Australian. Allah brought their hearts together, and thus, they became brothers by His grace, loving each other for the sake of Allah, standing in a single trench, defending and guarding each other, and sacrificing themselves for one another. Their blood mixed and became one, under a single flag and goal, in one pavilion, enjoying this blessing, the blessing of faithful brotherhood. If kings were to taste this blessing, they would abandon their kingdoms and fight over this grace. So all praise and thanks are due to Allah.”2

Notice the words used by al-Baghdadi– they are important. The “Khilafah” has not been in place since 1924 when Ataturk of Turkey dissolved the Ottoman Empire, the last Muslim caliphate of the world.

I decided to see how the Islamic State viewed its own announcement of Khilafah so I searched all twelve issues to date for the words “revive” and “revival.” I found the following uses per issue of either word:

Issue 1, 2x; page 7.

Issue 3, 1x, page 5 (and in footnote 1, not counted).

Issue 5, 1x, page 26.

Issue 7, 1x, page 54.

Issue 8, 2x, pages 22, 57.

Issue 9, 1x, page 12.

Issue 10, 1x, page 69.

Issue 11, 4x, pages 11, 22, 47, 52.

Issue 12, 5x, pages 3, 29, 32, 39, 57.

In total, there were 19 uses of the two words throughout the publications, 9 of which were in the last two issues. Here are a few of the actual statements taken from Dabiq magazine which seemed particularly relevant:

Issue #7, From Hypocrisy to Apostasy, p.  54:

This revival of the Khilāfah gave each individual Muslim a concrete and tangible entity to satisfy his natural desire for belonging to something greater. The satisfaction of this desire brought life back to the zeal latent in Muslims’ hearts and when this entity embodying them was threatened by the crusaders, attacks were immediately carried out by the zealous Muslims in different kāfir [unbeliever] lands in a way uniquely different to all attacks before.

Issue #8, Shariah Alone Will Rule Africa, p. 57:

Over the last month, a number of crusaders voiced their concerns over the power and drive of the Islamic State, its revival of Islam and the caliphate, and its eventual expansion into Europe and the rest of the world.

Issue #12, Just Terror, p. 29:

From the greatest of blessings granted to the Muslim Ummah in general and to the mujāhidīn in particular is the revival of the Khilāfah, the Muslim body which had been absent for several centuries since the collapse of the ‘Abbāsī Khilāfah. No one realizes this blessing more than one who has experienced the crusader lands of the West, then Shām tormented by the Baathist and Nusayrī tawāghīt, followed by Shām plundered by the apostates of the Free Syrian Army and its nationalist allies. Yes, the revived Khilāfah is a blessing that no matter how much one attempted and strived to thank Allah for, he would never be able to fulfill the gratitude due upon him.

What about Scripture? Does it prophesy of a “revived” empire in the end-of-days? If so, a “revived”  empire implies there was an empire in the past, then it was not an empire for a period of time, and now it has returned. Revelation 17:10-11 states:

and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. —Revelation 17:10-11 (NASB)

Notice verse 11: the “beast was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven [that have fallen] …” To interpret this passage, we must remember:

  1. Kings and their kingdoms are interchangeable in prophecy, that is, they are one and the same. Daniel 7:17, 7:23. King Nebuchadnezzar was the gold head as the Babylonian Empre that he headed (Daniel 2:38). If the beast “was and is not” then it existed in the past but has a period of time that it was non-existent. In Islam, there has been a caliphate in existence from the time of Muhammad through the Ottoman empire, i.e., from 622 a.d. until 1924, Islam “was.” In 1924, the Muslim Ottoman Turks repealed Shariah law, the caliphate, and the role of the caliph.  From 1924 until the present day, Islam “is not” because there was no caliphate after 1924 nor was there a caliph during this period.
    1. During the entire caliphate period of Islam there were five “fallen” caliphate empires 3:
      1. Ummayyads , 661 – 749 a.d.
      2. Abbasids, 749 – 932 a.d.
      3. Buyids – 932 – 1055 a.d.
      4. Seljuk Turks, 1055 – 1258 a.d.
      5. Mongols, 1255 – 1350 a.d.
    2. Ottoman Empire, 1342 – 1923 a.d, is not a “fallen empire.” It did not “fall” to any conqueror as the prior caliphates did. Ataturk of Turkey repealed Shariah law and Turkey was no longer a Muslim state but a republic.
  2. Is the “8th and is one of the seven” (Revelation 17:11). Islam has had 7 caliphal periods since Muhammad. (See Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, chapter 1o, for discussion). The next would be the 8th. The Islamic State is mathematically, the 8th. It is “one of the seven” because it is also a “caliphate,” and is the 8th caliphate, numerically, because there were seven before it.

Conclusion. The Islamic State has declared itself to be a “revived caliphate.” It appears to  fulfill Revelation 17:10-11 which requires an empire that was, is not, and is about to rise up to its destruction. The Islamic State, if it is the empire prophesied by Revelation 17, will be destroyed; but not before there is much more destruction. Revelation 17:12-14.

The only problem for me? In my book, I interpret the 8th caliphate to be a Shia Muslim revived empire based upon my interpretation of Daniel 2:36f and Daniel 7:7f. The Islamic State is Sunni. Hmmm. The pieces of the puzzle keep moving these days.

Jesus come quickly.



  1. “The name of the magazine “Dabiq” is taken from the area named “Dabiq” in the northern countryside of Haleb (Aleppo) in Sham [Syria]. This place was mentioned in a hadith describing some of the events of the Malahim (what is sometimes referred to as Armageddon in English). One of the greatest battles between the Muslims and the Crusaders will take place near Dabiq.” See Dabiq #1, p. 5. []
  2. Dabiq Issue 1, The Return of Khilafah, page 7. []
  3. see Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, page 202 for sources []