The Concept of Bay‘a in the Islamic State’s Ideology

By Joas Wagemakers


Given the long roots of bay‘a (pledge of allegiance) in Islamic tradition and the controversial claim by the Islamic State (IS) to be a caliphate, the application of bay‘a to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his project is a contested issue among radical Islamists. Based on secondary literature and IS ideologues’ own writings, this paper analyses IS’s claims of validity in their calls for allegiance to “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and how radical Islamist critics of IS have responded to this. IS’s arguments resemble quite closely the theories on bay‘a that its jihadi opponents themselves claim to adhere to. Although the latter take their inspiration from early Islam and far less so from the theories that developed afterwards, it sometimes also appears as if they have idealised the caliphate so much that they find its reality as represented by IS hard to swallow.


After the leader of the Islamic State (IS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a caliphate (khilafa) on 29 June 2014, his spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-‘Adnani, stated that “pledging allegiance (mubaya‘a) and giving assistance to the caliph (khalifa) […] has become incumbent upon all Muslims.”[1] Such pledges of allegiance (bay‘a) have since been given by numerous radical Islamist groups from around the world, including in Afghanistan/Pakistan[2], the Sinai desert[3], North Africa[4] and Nigeria[5] as well as others[6]. Some pledges have been announced on the Internet, others in the real world.[7] IS has also publicly accepted some of these pledges as signs of its expansion[8], although they appear to be carefully vetted and are therefore not always (immediately) approved by al-Baghdadi.[9]

Such expressions of allegiance to IS may give the impression that bay‘a is something radical Muslims agree upon. This is not the case, however. Given the long roots of the concept in Islamic tradition and the controversial claim by IS to be a caliphate, the pledge of allegiance to al-Baghdadi and his group is a contested issue among radical Islamists. Based on secondary literature and IS ideologues’ own writings, this paper analyses IS’s claims of validity in their calls for allegiance to “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This topic has briefly been dealt with by Cole Bunzel in his analysis of IS’s claim to be a caliphate[10], but it merits further attention because much of the discussion on IS’ legitimacy partly hinges on this concept. In what follows, I will first deal with the meaning and application of the concept of bay‘a in classical and modern Islam and then show how the Islamic State legitimises the pledge of allegiance to its supposed caliph. As we will see, much of the discussion on bay‘a pivots around the question of whether or not IS is a legitimate caliphate. Moreover, although its critics are in favour of a caliphate in theory, they seem to shy away from it in practice.

Bay‘a in Classical and Modern Islam

The meaning of the term “bay‘a” is not entirely clear. It is said to refer to the Arabic verb ba‘a-yabi‘u (to sell), which would denote a sort of sale of one’s allegiance to somebody else. Others claim it is rooted in the physical act of clasping someone’s hand known as “bay‘a”, which was used to indicate the conclusion of an agreement between people and was based on an ancient Arab custom. This latter meaning is said to have been applied to the election of and submission to a leader, which similarly involved the clasping of a person’s hand and was therefore naturally also labelled “bay‘a”.[11] It is in the latter sense that early Muslims seem to have used the concept. Milton tells the story of believers pledging allegiance to the Prophet by physically touching Muhammad through the holding of hands. This allegedly led to the revelation of Qur’an 48:18[12], which states that “God was well pleased with the believers when they were swearing fealty to thee (idh yubayi‘unaka).”[13]

Bay‘a and the Caliphate

Broadly speaking, this pledging of allegiance to a person of authority has become the practical meaning of the term “bay‘a” in Islam. It was first and foremost applied to the Prophet but, after his death, also to other leaders of the Muslim community, primarily the caliph, the successor to the Prophet in political affairs and in upholding Islamic rule. This pledge of allegiance to a caliph would ideally take place through his election, but it could also happen through appointment by his predecessor. According to ‘ulama’ (Muslim scholars), the caliph himself had to satisfy several conditions, including ruling on the basis of justice (‘adala), possessing knowledge (‘ilm) of Islamic tradition and law, having physical and mental fitness, being courageous and determined, waging jihad and being a descendant of the Quraysh tribe, which the Prophet Muhammad himself also belonged to.[14]

The bay‘a of a caliph thus constituted a contract (‘ahd or ‘aqd) in which not only the latter was involved as the person receiving fealty, but also those voluntarily expressing the wish to obey their leader. The ‘ulama’ differ, however, on the number of people required to pledge allegiance by electing the caliph (ahl al-ikhtiyar) for the bay‘a to be legitimate, ranging from all “upright men” in Muslim empires to a single person. In practice, the actual electors were mostly officials with senior positions in the caliphate referred to generally as the “people of loosening and binding” (ahl al-hall wa-l-‘aqd), whose oaths of fealty were seen as binding upon themselves and the larger Muslim community, particularly since they were not just undertaken towards the caliph, but – by extension – also towards God. As such, scholars saw violating the bay‘a as punishable by death, unless the caliph did not live up to his duty to uphold the rules and regulations of Islam, in which case those who pledged allegiance were freed from their obligations towards the ruler.[15]

The seriousness with which (a violation of) the bay‘a was treated by the ‘ulama’ is a reflection of the strong tradition of obedience (ta‘a) to the caliph that had developed in the Sunni Islamic tradition.[16] On the one hand, this can be ascribed to the supposed Qur’anic basis of the caliphate[17], which is said to be found in verses such as Q. 2:30 (“And when thy Lord said to the angels, ‘I am setting in the earth a viceroy (inni ja‘il fi l-ard khalifa)’”)[18], as well as the Qur’an’s call on believers to express obedience to such rulers, as in Q. 4:59 (“Oh believers, obey God (ati‘u llah), and obey the Messenger (wa-ati‘u l-rasul) and those in authority among you (wa-uli l-amr minkum)”).[19] On the other hand, such obedience was also inspired by the belief that almost anything (even an unjust and oppressive ruler) was preferable to fitna (chaos, strife) and civil war among Muslims in the absence of powerful leadership, which might cause the entire Islamic empire to collapse.[20]

At the same time, however, it was clear that in practice, bay‘a could not be expressed to the caliph by every single Muslim, even if the process of pledging allegiance was not confined to a private oath by a limited number of dignitaries (bay‘at al-khassa) and a variable number of subsequent public fealty-swearing occasions (bay‘at al-‘amma) was added.[21] Moreover, the Muslim world may have been nominally ruled by a caliph, but local leaders soon emerged whose actual power was sometimes greater than that of the ruler himself, further complicating the direct bay‘a from the people to the caliph. Given that in classical Islamic political thought, all power flows down from the caliph and other sources of political authority cannot exist[22], a solution had to be found for this.

Muslim scholars such as al-Mawardi (974-1058) solved the contradiction – between theoretically only having one caliph who enjoys everyone’s allegiance and practically having several actual rulers – by describing local leaders as at least theoretically subservient to the caliph and dependent on the latter’s approval.[23] Later ‘ulama’ tended more towards the recognition of the authority of non-caliphal rulers in and of themselves, besides the caliph.[24] In the writings of al-Ghazali (1058-1111), the actual person in power – the sultan – must still pledge allegiance to the caliph, but he is also the one who gets to decide who the caliph should be.[25] The role of the sultan was further increased at the expense of the caliph by the scholar Ibn Jama‘a (1241-1333), who added the usurpation of caliphal power to the other two ways of attaining the caliphate – election and appointment – as a legitimate way of becoming caliph.[26] Under the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923), sultans even came to claim the title of caliph entirely for themselves, taking the usurpation of the caliphate to what could be described as its logical conclusion.[27]

Bay‘a after the Fall of the Caliphate

The above makes clear that the way the power and position of the caliph was legitimised by Muslim scholars shifted quite dramatically from absolute ruler to nominal leader. Subsequently, so did the means of making a pledge to his successor, changing from bay‘a through election of a new caliph or allegiance after the appointment by the previous caliph to implied loyalty to a usurping ruler. The development of Muslim thinking on these issues was greatly influenced by the actual practice of Islamic rule in their time, incorporating political reality into the theory of what constituted a valid bay‘a.[28] Thus, it was not a great surprise that the Ottoman sultans, who were clearly not descendents of the Quraysh tribe and therefore did not fulfil one of the conditions of the caliphate, nevertheless made use of the classical bay‘a ceremony whenever a new ruler became sultan.[29]

With the annulment of the caliphate by the newly formed Turkish republic in 1924, the whole idea of bay‘a to the caliph became obsolete. Given the flexible application of the concept, whose use was seemingly always partly a reflection of political considerations and power relations, it was only natural that the rulers of the states that arose in the Middle East after the demise of colonialism would use the concept of bay‘a again to legitimise their own rule.[30] Moreover, in the perceived absence of truly Islamic states, Muslim groups and organisations have sometimes also used bay‘a to indicate the relationship between their leaders and followers. This has been particularly the case with radical Islamist groups, including al-Qa‘ida[31], whose belief that the rulers of the modern-day Muslim world are “apostates” only strengthens their desire to provide an alternative to them.[32]

Muslim scholars opposed to political parties and certainly radical or violent groups, such as quietist Salafi scholars, reject the application of bay‘a to organisational leaders[33] and claim instead that such a pledge should only be given to the ruler, by which they usually mean the king or president of their country.[34] Yet the terms they associate with this pledge – ta‘a, wali l-amr (ruler) and, of course, bay‘a itself – are all strongly linked to the caliph. Thus, while they clearly apply the caliphal mandate to their country’s rulers in practice, they are quite vague about this in theory and have apparently not allowed bay‘a to make the theoretical leap from caliph to king. This ambiguity is at least partly kept alive by their use of the term amir al-mu’minin (leader of the faithful), which is a title applied to the caliph but has also been used to describe other rulers. As a consequence, some scholars’ practical application of bay‘a to contemporary kings seems to be an acceptance of reality framed in classical Islamic terms, rather than a new theoretical dimension of an age-old concept.[35] This ambiguity towards the modern-day applicability of bay‘a, combined with the claim by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to be the new caliph according to at least some of the norms of classical Islam, makes IS’ call for allegiance seem at least somewhat plausible. This, in turn, has hampered critics of IS in their efforts to refute the validity of the Islamic State’s bay‘a, to which we must now turn.

Bay‘a in IS’s Discourse and its Radical Islamist Critics

The supporters of the Islamic State now label their organisation a caliphate and its leader has assumed the title of caliph. This was not always the case, however, since IS used to be known under various other names, including “the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham” (ISIS). Even when the group did not claim to be a caliphate, however, the concept of “bay‘a” played a significant role in its discourse in a way that sometimes seemed to lay the groundwork for the foundation of the caliphate that was still to come.

Preparing for the Caliphate

One of the most prominent scholars involved in the debate on bay‘a of IS (and, before 29 June 2014, ISIS) was the Mauritanian scholar Abu l-Mundhir al-Shinqiti, a prolific scholar about whom little is known other than his early support for ISIS. He stated in early 2013 that founding an Islamic state is important because in it lies “a reminder to the Muslims of the absent caliphate.”[36] This theme of having a caliph or imam[37] was developed further in a different document written by al-Shinqiti, in which he stated that appointing such a leader is actually a duty for all Muslims.[38] In fact, al-Shinqiti even stated that “its delay is disobedience (ma‘siya) through which all Muslims sin”[39], a sentiment that was echoed by other scholars sympathetic to ISIS in early 2014.[40]

The duty to appoint a caliph is followed, according to al-Shinqiti, by the equally necessary act of bay‘a to a leader who fits all the criteria of such a ruler. Objecting to this, he states, is forbidden and he lists examples from early Islamic history of Muslims rushing to perform bay‘a to make his point.[41] Al-Shinqiti also explicitly called on other jihadi movements in Iraq and Syria to pledge allegiance to ISIS and stated that maintaining one’s independence from that group is not allowed.[42] This is even the case, he claimed, if ISIS can be accused of making mistakes. “Despite that”, al-Shinqiti maintained, “the state remains the state. It is entitled to the legitimate pledge (al-bay‘a al-shar‘iyya) and listening to it and obeying it (al-sam‘ wa-l-ta‘a la-ha) is a duty.”[43] This need to be obedient to ISIS was also stressed in other writings, with one ISIS-supporting scholar going so far as to state that this group supersedes all other jihadi organisations and that not joining it will result in corruption (fasad) and the division of Muslims (tafriq al-muslimin).[44] It is therefore not surprising that, in early 2014, the Jordanian scholar ‘Umar b. Mahdi Al Zaydan called on Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani, the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra – which had been founded by ISIS but later turned against it – to stick to his previous bay‘a to al-Baghdadi, adding that he was the one that sent al-Jawlani to Syria on his behalf in the first place.[45]

To his supporters, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was more than worthy of people’s bay‘a. The Bahraini scholar Turki al-Bin‘ali (also known as Abu Humam al-Athari)[46] praised al-Baghdadi’s Qurashi descent, piety, knowledge, jihad experience, leadership, and cooperation skills.[47] Al-Baghdadi’s supporters rejected possible obstacles to pledging fealty to al-Baghdadi, such as the argument that ISIS had not settled in enough territory to justify bay‘a to its leader. The technical expression for this idea is that ISIS lacks tamkin (empowerment). Tamkin, however, is not a prerequisite for bay‘a, pro-ISIS scholars argued, because Muhammad himself did not control any territory and he was nevertheless given the pledge by his followers.[48] Moreover, they pointed out that ISIS does have territory under its control.[49] The same reasoning applied to ISIS’s power (shawka), which it needs to be able to qualify as a force to be reckoned with (and pledged allegiance to).[50]

The scholars supporting ISIS similarly pointed out that having few bay‘as from people is not an objection to being viewed as legitimate. As long as a small number pledge allegiance, that suffices.[51] Also, they dismissed the idea that al-Baghdadi should be well known to deserve the bay‘a and cite the aforementioned medieval scholar al-Mawardi to point out that a ruler need only be known to those directly involved in electing him.[52] Given the flexible rules on how bay‘a should be given (through election, by appointment or after usurpation), citing al-Mawardi here does not seem out of place, in fact. For similar reasons, the pro-ISIS scholars claimed that the permission of the ahl al-hall wa-l-‘aqd or the consultation (shura) of the scholars is not strictly necessary and only advisable.[53] Moreover, al-Athari claimed that al-Baghdadi did consult ‘ulama’ and that they agreed with him.[54]

IS’s Post-Caliphate Bay‘a

Given the case pro-ISIS scholars made for the bay‘a to al-Baghdadi, the founding of a caliphate was perhaps only a matter of time. When it was announced, however, there was a lot of criticism from radical Islamist scholars who supported al-Qa‘ida but found the newly announced IS a bridge too far. Some radical Islamist critics point out that they do not object to a caliphate as such, of course, but that IS has created divisions with its caliphate by leaving the overarching framework formed by al-Qa‘ida, and they advise its leaders to correct their mistakes and return to that organisation.[55] Others refer to stricter conditions for a bay‘a-worthy caliphate by pointing out that only succession and election through the majority of the ahl al-hall wa-l-‘aqd are valid forms of giving allegiance to the caliph.[56]

More interesting than this general criticism is the argument that there already was a caliph: Taliban leader Mullah ‘Umar. As Bunzel has shown, after the announcement of the caliphate by IS, al-Qa‘ida – clearly aware of IS’s challenge to its previously almost undisputed role of jihadi king of the hill – began promoting the view that its first leader, Osama bin Laden, had pledged a “supreme bay‘a” to Mullah ‘Umar, thereby indicating that he was the caliph and that al-Baghdadi’s claims were null and void. Although this line of thinking was muddled somewhat by the fact that the current leader of al-Qa‘ida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had apparently been less unambiguous in his bay‘a to Mullah ‘Umar, the organisation stuck to this defence of their “own” caliphate.[57]

Al-Qa‘ida’s line of defence against IS’s rival caliphate was supported – surprisingly – by one of the staunchest supporters of ISIS: Abu l-Mundhir al-Shinqiti. The latter stated in July 2014 that bay‘a had been given to Mullah ‘Umar and even if his rule was not generally portrayed as a caliphate, this was nevertheless the case because of this pledge. The fact that “unbelievers” were now governing Afghanistan did not diminish Mullah ‘Umar’s bay‘a since, in an echo of an argument he had used earlier to defend ISIS, controlling territory is not strictly necessary for a bay‘a to be valid. All bay‘as, al-Shinqiti maintained, are subservient to the one given to Mullah ‘Umar, who is the legitimate imam whether people call him that way or not, and one therefore cannot simply found a second caliphate.[58] The fact that Mullah ‘Umar does not have Qurashi origins is not a problem, al-Shinqiti claimed, since people have already given bay‘a to him on the basis of the conditions of being an imam and have based their pledge on these.[59] The reality of the bay‘a to Mullah ‘Umar, al-Shinqiti seemed to say, supersedes any claims that al-Baghdadi might have.

Al-Shinqiti’s words seemed to contradict his own earlier statement about ISIS: “…the ahl al-hall wa-l-‘aqd who pledged allegiance to the leader of the state of Islam (i.e., ISIS) called it a ‘state’. They did not call it an ‘organisation’. Therein lies the clear proof that their bay‘a is a bay‘a on the basis of the supreme imamate (al-imama al-‘uzma), not on the basis of the smaller imamate (al-imama al-sughra).”[60] Although al-Shinqiti had, in fact, indicated more than a year before the announcement of IS’s caliphate that he believed Mullah ‘Umar was “the leader of the faithful”[61], supporters of IS were quick to point out his inconsistency.[62] Some of them argued that the Taliban cannot represent the caliphate because of their supposedly deviant religious views[63]; others pointed out that according to al-Qa‘ida itself, the bay‘a to Mullah ‘Umar did not represent allegiance to the supreme imamate, but only to a partial one.[64] Still others stated that the bay‘a is a contract of which both parties involved want to know the conditions: “How can Mullah ‘Umar be caliph when nobody has known that until now!”[65] Another point of disagreement concerned the validity of the bay‘a to a supposed caliph of non-Qurashi descent. IS supporters insisted that this is a strict condition for the caliphate and thus also for the legitimacy of the bay‘a.[66] The validity of the latter concept, even though it is claimed by scholars who are ideologically largely alike and is derived from classical Islam, thus remains highly contested.


The concept of bay‘a in classical Islam refers to a reciprocal contract between the ruler and the ruled, with the latter giving his allegiance to the leader – usually the caliph – in exchange for protection and political and military leadership. It has its roots in the Qur’an, but mostly also in the practice of medieval Muslim rule, which ensured that the process of bay‘a – while ideally done through an election of a caliph – developed into a concept that could also be embodied by the appointment of a ruler or even the usurpation of his power. This increasing influence of what could be termed a “might makes right philosophy” was also discernable in the early jurists’ conditions for bay‘a to the caliph, especially his required Qurashi descent, which was often flouted by rulers.

Although various caliphs, modern-day kings and Islamic groups have used the bay‘a in ways that perhaps deviate from the concept’s classical meaning, the theoretical link with the caliph was always maintained. This made it relatively easy for IS to justify its invitation to Muslims to pledge allegiance to its newly founded caliphate in 2014. The fact that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi claimed to be a caliph seemed to make at least part of the tradition of bay‘a applicable to him and put the group one step ahead of its radical Islamist critics. It is therefore not surprising that IS’s jihadi opponents, in their efforts to dispute the validity of bay‘a to al-Baghdadi, focused mostly on questioning his claim to be a caliph.

Given the relatively wide-ranging bay‘a tradition, which is quite tolerant of oppressive and usurping rulers and within which IS seems to fit fairly neatly, the unwillingness of the Islamic State’s radical Islamist critics to accept the group’s claims is interesting. To be sure, there are real and important ideological differences between IS and its critics. Yet with regard to bay‘a, IS’s arguments resemble quite closely the theories that its jihadi opponents themselves claim to adhere to. Although the latter take their inspiration from early Islam and far less so from the theories that developed afterwards, it sometimes appears as if they have idealised the caliphate to such an extent that they find its reality as represented by IS hard to swallow. If that is indeed the case, it may be easier for them to postpone the announcement of an actual caliphate, to render it largely theoretical and to equate it with a romanticised ideal that might just come about one day.

Keywords: Jihadism, ISIS, ideology, theology, allegiance

About the Author:

Joas Wagemakers is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen. He would like to thank Thomas Hegghammer, Nelly Lahoud, and Will McCants for their useful comments on an earlier version of this article.


[1] Abu Muhammad al-‘Adnani, Hadha Wa‘d Allah, online at:, n.d. (accessed 25 May 2015), 7.

[2] Don Rassler, “Situating the Emergence of the Islamic State of Khorasan,” CTC Sentinel 8, no. 3 (March 2015): 7-11.

[3] Nelly Lahoud, “The Province of Sinai: Why Bother with Palestine if You can be Part of the ‘Islamic State’?” CTC Sentinel 8, no. 3 (March 2015): 12-4.

[4] Geoff D. Porter, “What to Make of the Bay‘a in North Africa?” CTC Sentinel 8, no. 3 (March 2015): 15-6.

[5] Jacob Zenn, “A Biography of Boko Haram and the Bay‘a to al-Baghdadi,” CTC Sentinel 8, no. 3 (March 2015): 20-1.

[6] See (accessed 25 may 2015).

[7] Philipp Holtmann, The Different Functions of IS Online and Offline Plegdes [sic!] (bay‘at): Creating a Multifaceted Nexus of Authority, online at, published 15 November 2014 (accessed 25 May 2015).

[8] “Remaining and Expanding,” Dabiq, no. 5 (Muharram 1436 [October/November 2014]): 22-33, esp. 25.

[9] Daniel Milton, “Pledging Bay‘a: A Benefit or Burden to the Islamic State?” CTC Sentinel 8, no. 3 (March 2015): 4-7.

[10] Cole Bunzel, From Paper State to Caliphate: The Ideology of the Islamic State, Analysis Paper no. 19 (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, Center for Middle East Policy, 2015), 32-4; id., Al-Qaeda’s Quasi-Caliph: The Recasting of Mullah ‘Umar, online at:, published 23 July 2014 (accessed 28 May 2015). Bunzel’s blog post provided me with many of the sources used in this paper, for which I would like to thank him.

[11] Ella Landau-Tasseron, The Religious Foundations of Political Allegiance: A Study of Bay‘a in Pre-Modern Islam, Research Monographs on the Muslim World 2, no. 4 (Washington, D.C.: Hudson Institute, 2010), 1; E. Tyan, “Bay‘a,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam – New Edition, Vol. I, ed. H.A.R. Gibb, J.H. Kramers, E. Lévi-Provençal, J. Schacht, B. Lewis and Ch. Pellat (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1986 [1960]), 1113.

[12] All Qur’anic quotations are from A.J. Arberry, trans., The Koran Interpreted (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996 [1955]), but with the Egyptian verse-numbering.

[13] Milton, “Pledging,” 2.

[14] E.I.J. Rosenthal, Political Thought in Medieval Islam: An Introductory Outline (Cambridge, etc.: Cambridge University Press, 2009 [1958]), 29-30, 35-6, 40-41.

[15] Antony Black, The History of Islamic Political Thought: From the Prophet to the Present (New York: Routledge, 2001), 84-5; Rosenthal, Political, 44-5; Tyan, “Bay‘a,” 1113-4.

[16] Landau-Tasseron, Religious, 6-7.

[17] See also Landau-Tasseron, Religious, 5-6.

[18] The surrounding verses appear to indicate that this verse refers to Adam.

[19] Rosenthal, Political, 26.

[20] Black, History, 84, 103-4;

[21] Landau-Tasseron, Religious, 9; Rosenthal, Political, 31; Tyan, “Bay‘a,” 1113.

[22] Rosenthal, Political, 22-3.

[23] Black, History, 85-90.

[24] Ibid., 94.

[25] Ibid., 103-4; Rosenthal, Political, 39-41.

[26] Black, History, 143-4; Rosenthal, Political, 43-4. Scholars such as Ibn Hanbal (780-855) also legitimised the rule of successful usurpers of power a few centuries earlier. See Black, History, 84; Landau-Tasseron, Religious, 13.

[27] Black, History, 203-7.

[28] Rosenthal, Political, 31, 33, 38.

[29] Elie Podeh, “The Bay‘a: Modern Political Uses of Islamic Ritual in the Arab World,” Die Welt des Islams 50, no. 1 (2010): 125-7.

[30] Id., 127-48.

[31] Kévin Jackson, The Pledge of Allegiance and its Implications, online at:, published 27 July 2012 (accessed 27 May 2015).

[32] One group in Jordan even had the term “bay‘a” in its name, although this was not used by the members of the group itself. See Joas Wagemakers, “A Terrorist Organization that Never Was: The Jordanian ‘Bay‘at al-Imam’ Group,” Middle East Journal 68, no. 1 (2014): 63-4.

[33] Sa‘ud b. Muluh b. Sultan al-‘Anzi, “Al-Bay‘a bayna l-Dawabit al-Shar‘iyya wa-l-Tanzimat al-Hizbiyya,” Al-Asala 8, no. 41 (15 Safar 1424 [18 April 2003]): 34, 36-42; ‘Ali Hasan ‘Ali ‘Abd al-Hamid [al-Halabi], Al-Bay‘a bayna l-Sunna wa-l-Bid‘a ‘inda l-Jama‘at al-Islamiyya (Amman: Al-Maktaba al-Islamiyya, 1985), 9, 24-5.

[34] Several quietist Salafi scholars from Jordan have indicated that they are willing to pledge allegiance to King ‘Abdallah II if asked to do so, for instance. Interviews with Muhammad b. Musa Al Nasr, Amman, June 2012; Basim b. Faysal al-Jawabira, Amman, June 2012.

[35] Al-‘Anzi, “Al-Bay‘a,” 34-6; al-Halabi, Al-Bay‘a, 17-22, 28-30.

[36] Abu l-Mundhir al-Shinqiti, Mata Yafqahuna Ma‘na l-Ta‘a? Allahu Akbar: Nusra li-I‘lan Dawlat al-Islam, online at, published 9 April 2013 (accessed 25 March 2014).

[37] These two words are often used synonymously.

[38] Id., Fusul fi l-Imama wa-l-Bay‘a, online at:, published 10 December 2013 (accessed 2 January 2014), 3-13.

[39] Ibid., 8.

[40] Abu Muhammad al-Azdi, Ahwal al-Mu‘aridin li-Dawlat al-Muslimin, online at:, n.d. (accessed 26 March 2014), 11-3; Abu Sufyan Turki b. Mubarak al-Bin‘ali, Al-Qiyafa fi ‘adam Ishtirat al-Tamkin al-Kamil li-l-Khilafa, online at, published 30 April 2014 (accessed 28 July 2014), 1-3.

[41] Al-Shinqiti, Fusul, 26-8.

[42] Id., Raf‘ al-Malam ‘an Junud Dawlat al-Islam, online at:, published 2014 (accessed 28 July 2014)), 3-4, 23.

[43] Id., Fatawa bi-la Tayyar..! online at:, published 8 January 2014 (accessed 12 February 2014), 12.

[44] Abu l-Hasan al-Azdi, Mujibat al-Indimam li-l-Dawla al-Islamiyya fi l-‘Iraq wa-l-Sham, online at:, published 2013 (26 March 2014), 11-21, 29-30;

[45] ‘Umar b. Mahdi Al Zaydan, Al-Naqd li-Qawl Man Ja‘ala l-Khilafa al-Islamiyya min Din al-Rafd, online at:, published 2 January 2014 (accessed 12 February 2014), 2.

[46] For more on him, see Cole Bunzel, The Caliphate’s Scholar in Arms, online at:, published 9 July 2014 (accessed 28 May 2015).

[47] Abu Humam Bakr b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Athari, Madd al-Ayadi li-Bay‘at al-Baghdadi (, 2013 (accessed 20 August 2013)), 3-11. See also Joas Wagemakers, Al-Qaida Advises the Arab Spring: The Case for al-Baghdadi, online at:, published 21 September 2013 (accessed 28 May 2015).

[48] Al-Athari, Madd, 15; al-Shinqiti, Fusul, 14; id., Raf‘, 7.

[49] Al-Athari, Madd, 15; Bin‘ali, Al-Qiyafa, 4; al-Shinqiti, Raf‘, 7.

[50] Al-Bin‘ali, Al-Qiyafa, 4; al-Shinqiti, Fusul, 17; id., Raf‘, 7.

[51] Al-Athari, Madd, 11-2; al-Shinqiti, Fusul, 29-33.

[52] Al-Shinqiti, Raf‘, 6-7.

[53] Al-Athari, Madd, 16-7; al-Shinqiti, Fusul, 22-5.

[54] Al-Athari, Madd, 17.

[55] ‘Abdallah b. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Shinqiti, Al-Khilafa laysat Hiya l-Khilaf, online at:, published 10 August 2014 (accessed 18 August 2014), 2-5. See also

[56] Muhammad b. Salih al-Muhajir, Al-Khulasa fi Munaqashat I‘lan al-Khilafa, online at:, published 29 August 2014 (accessed 29 August 2014), 2-7.

[57] Bunzel, Paper, 32-4; id., Al-Qaeda’s.

[58] Abu l-Mundhir al-Shinqiti, I‘lan al-Khilafa fi l-Mizan al-Shar‘i, online at:, published 18 July 2014 (accessed 28 July 2014), 1.

[59] Ibid., 7.

[60] Al-Shinqiti, Raf‘, 6.

[61] Abu l-Mundhir al-Shinqiti, Man Huwa Amir al-Mu’minin al-Yawm? Wa-Hal Yajibu Tahqiq Shart al-Qurashiyya fi l-Khalifa? online at:, published 25 May 2013 (accessed 28 May 2015).

[62] See, for example, Ahmad Bawadi, Izhar al-Hujaj wa-Ibtal Ma fi Maqal al-Shinqiti min Lujaj, online at:, n.d. (accessed 28 July 2014); Abu Khubab al-‘Iraqi, Tahqiq al-Mizan fi I‘lan Khilafat Dawlat al-Islam, online at:, published 2014 (accessed 28 July 2014); Abu Salma al-Shinqiti, Al-Maqal al-Tafsili fi l-Tashkik bi-Ma Nasaba li-l-Shaykh Abi l-Mundhir al-Shinqiti, online at:, published 21 July 2014 (accessed 24 July 2014).

[63] Abu Maysara al-Shami, Khilafa ‘ala Minhaj al-Nubuwwa am “Khilafa” Qutriyya… , online at:, n.d. (accessed 28 July 2014).

[64] Id., Radd ‘ala l-Fattan al-Maftun Wara’ al-Kuwalis, online at:, n.d. (28 July 2014).

[65] Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman ‘Ubayda al-Athbaji, Waqfat Muhadhdhir min Kalam Abi l-Mundhir, online at:, n.d. (accessed 28 July 2014), 6.
[66] Al-Athbaji, Waqfat, 7; Abu ‘Umar al-Kuwayti, Tanbīh al-Mujāhid al-Mustanfir min Takhlīṭ al-Shinqīṭī Abī l-Mundhir, online at:, n.d. (accessed 28 July 2014), 1-2.


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