Why Did ISIS Change Its Name To The Islamic State (IS)?

Back in June, Inquisitr explained how the proper name for the brutal Sunni insurgent group terrorizing Iraq and Syria is ISIS, not ISIL. Since then, this sordid team of terrorists has decided to change its name once again (it was previously known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq) to just the Islamic State, or IS.

Why Did ISIS Change Its Name To IS?

According to Fox News, this transformation of sorts occurred in late July on the first day of Ramadan, when ISIS declared the formation of an Islamic caliphate known as the Islamic State (IS) and designated its leader (or caliph) as Abu Bakr al-Bahddadi:

“The spokesman [for ISIS or IS], Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, described al-Baghdadi as ‘the imam and khalifah (caliph) for the Muslims everywhere.’ He also said that with the establishment of the caliphate, the group was changing its name to just the Islamic State, dropping the mention of Iraq and the Levant.”

NBC News reveals that Al-Adnani also declared all other jihadi factions invalid and pressed them to pledge full allegiance to the new Islamic State, lest they be made its enemy: “If you forsake the State or wage war against it, you will not harm it. You will only harm yourselves.”

This move coincides perfectly with what Breitbart contributor Frances Martel describes as ISIS or IS’ five-year plan to expand beyond it current borders in Iraq and Syria and take over other parts of the world (map of the plan included in the top picture).

This move also makes sense given ISIS’ goal to basically organize itself into one cohesive almighty Islamic unit, or what is known as a caliphate.

What Is An Islamic Caliphate?

A caliphate as an all-encompassing state or nation that functions off Islamic law and is in effect a unified community of Muslim believers, or what Vox more poignantly describes as “the idea of a glorious and unified Islamic civilization.”

The very first caliphate popped into existence back in 632 AD, which just happens to be the exact same year the Prophet Muhammad perished from illness. This matters greatly because it was Prophet Muhammad who founded the Islamic religion and launched the first “self-governing political system that included all Muslims.” The premise is that “Islam was founded as a religion and a state.”

When Prophet Muhammad died, the size of his flock was only as large as the green-colored area in the map below:

Islamic State Under Prophet Muhammad

After his death, leadership of the community was passed on to successors known as caliphs. It was through these caliphs that an actual caliphate (think size and power) eventually formed:

Caliphate Expansion After Muhammad's Depth


There were several legitimate caliphates between 750 AD (when the last known caliphate ceased to exist) and the Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632 AD. What ISIS basically wants to do is resurrect the caliphate.

What Happens Now?

Unfortunately for the so-called Islamic State, establishing an actual caliphate is a lot more complicated than merely making a cursory name change. The problem is that the Middle East contains numerous insurgent groups that are all competing for power. And since ISIS has established itself as a singular entity that allegedly represents all Muslims (and thus taken away the option of shared power), other insurgent groups have no reason to work with them.

Furthermore, the new caliph, Abu Bakr al-Bahddadi, has a bad relationship with current Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri. In fact, according to Fox News, al-Zawahri officially disavowed ISIS (and its newly formed Islamic State) back in February.

So to summarize, ISIS changed its name to the Islamic State (or IS) because it wants the citizens of the world to believe that they are on the verge of witnessing the rise of another civilization-rocking caliphate. However, given the opposition the Islamic State faces from other insurgents, and given the opposition it faces from the civilized world, it’s not very likely to become as all-encompassing and powerful as it ultimately envisions.

Image via [Breitbart]