ISIS is a theological movement grounded in a very specific kind of Muslim eschatology.
In his groundbreaking analysis in The Atlantic, Graeme Wood argues that ISIS “has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.”
The Islamic State differs from nearly every other current jihadist movement in believing that it is written into God’s script as a central character. It is in this casting that the Islamic State is most boldly distinctive from its predecessors, and clearest in the religious nature of its mission . . .
One must read Wood’s lengthy piece in its entirety to grasp the fullness of ISIS’s view of itself as the key inducer of the final days, but that this is its theological position is indisputable.