Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Islam or Islamism

We have recently been questioning what difference, if any, exists between "Islam" and "Islamism"." Islam" is often used to refer to a religion, the world's second-largest. "Islamism" is often used to refer to a particular movement within Islam that adheres to and promotes a militant and/or fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. By "fundamentalist", We, at least, refer to a movement that seeks to reform a movement by going back to the movement's fundamental beliefs and sources, which in the case of Islam would be al-qur'aan (Islam's sacred text), al-aHadiith (sayings of Muhammad, the prophet and ostensibly the founder of Islam, and others (early prominent Muslims (aS-SaHaabah) for Sunnis, certain descendents of Muhammad for Shiites)), as-sunnah (the example of Muhammad and others (early prominent Muslim for Sunnis, certain descendents of Muhammad for Shiites), and ash-sharii'ah (Islamic law as formlated by the four great a'immah/Imams for Sunnis, religious jurists (al-fuqahaa') for Shiites). Islamist movements often include the Wahhabis, Salafis, Taliban, Deobandis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other various groups throughout the world of Muslim peoples. Some Sunnis even believe that these movements are outside the pale of Sunnism (and thereby their authenticity is questionable) because unlike what Sunnis have believed, there is no one true interpretation: there are four interpretations and all who follow them are rightfully Muslims. The Islamists' tendency to takfiir (proclaiming others as non-Muslims) is particularly troublesome: like the Kharijites/al-khawaarij of before, each Islamist organization believes that all those who do not follow their standards (those who are heteroprax from their perspective) are non-Muslims.

Yet, We question this division. It is true that Islamists do not follow traditions and do not accept aspects of Islamic tradition that have been the norm for centuries, but the Islamists claim that these traditions and aspects were incorrect to begin with. The Islamists proclaim that Muslims have strayed from the True Path, and that they must reform their practice and traditions (in belief and practice) to conform to true Islam. Where do the Islamists get their touted true Islam? The traditional/fundamental sources of Islam mentioned above. Sunnis and Shiites also claim to be following the traditional/fundamental sources of Islam, but We must admit that the Islamists make a compelling case. They are fond of taking traditional beliefs and practices and contrast them with statements, exhortations, and commands from the Sources. They are also adept at justifying their practices and beliefs with the Sources. If the Islamists are so faithful to the Sources, does this not make true the Islamists' claim that others are wrong and unfaithful to the Sources? What justification do the others have against the Islamists' inconveniently well-supported claims?

wa naHnu a'lamuun.


At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. I think I understand. Sort of like the difference between Christians and the Christianist/Christianizers who see nothing wrong in forcing their religion on the other peoples in our world, like say....Native Americans, Shintos, Buddhists, and (today in Iraq...Muslims.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Muslihoon said...

May We ask how Christians are enforcing Christianity, in any way, on Iraq's Muslims?


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