Purpose: This study aims to reveal how ISIS exploits apocalyptic prophecies stated in the Qur’an and hadiths to find new recruits and legitimize its ideology. The study tries to identify how sensitive issues of Islam are misinterpreted to mislead and terrorize young Muslims. It also elucidates how the misuse of innocent verses and hadiths leads to terrorism in the hands of people with fundamentalist beliefs.
Approach: All issues of two ISIS magazines, namely, Dabiq and Rumiyah, were reviewed, and the related articles were selected, examined and compared with traditional Sunni Islam’s eschatology. In addition to the content analysis of the two magazines entitled with the apocalyptic names, previously written literature was also examined for this study.
Findings: ISIS used eschatology to persuade Muslim youth to immigrate to its so-called lands and fight for its lofty cause. The terrorist group tried to realize this goal mainly by reinterpreting prophetic promises of Islam for its ends in the media. The analysis shows that ISIS did not serve religion but benefited its radical ideology. However, time has shown that ISIS’s brutal cause was far from the Islamic faith, as none of ISIS’s apocalyptic prophecies came true.
Originality: While there are many studies about ISIS, few or none of them analyzed how the movement deceived people with apocalyptic ideas, which need to be considered during an examination of the conflicts in the Middle East, where states (e.g., Israel) or regimes (e.g., Iran) are founded on the basis of apocalyptic prophecies. ISIS was another trial that failed. By not examining the core of ISIS ideology stemming from the distorted interpretation of Islamic prophecies, gray zones would be left in the literature. This study makes that zone clearer.