To begin with, let us define the terms. Political Islam is the part of the Islamic doctrine (contained in the Koran, Hadith and Sira) which deals with Kafirs, non-Muslims. Political Islam is dualistic: it says Kafirs can be treated well, but it also says that Kafirs can be killed, robbed, enslaved, raped, tortured, lied to, plotted against, and so on. Life of Muhammad (described in the Sira and Hadith) gives the example how Political Islam was implemented by the prophet, Islam’s perfect role model.
Muslims are those who have pronounced the shahada, Islamic declaration of faith in Allah and in Muhammad, Allah’s prophet. This is the only thing which can be said about ALL Muslims: they believe that the Koran is Allah’s message, and they believe that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger. I guess it will be safe to assume that they have a general positive view on the Koran and Muhammad, considering them a source of truth and goodness. But that is all what can be said about all Muslims, the rest of their views, attitudes and behavior patterns can greatly vary.
So I’d like to discuss in this post the relation between the ideas of Political Islam and views and actions of individual Muslims.
Of course, a Muslim can have views which contradict to the Koran and Muhammad. For example, a Muslim can believe that women should have equal rights with men, and I am sure quite a lot of Muslims do. However, this is a Muslim’s idea, but it’s not an Islamic idea, because the Koran clearly says that a woman’s share of inheritance is twice smaller than a man’s, or that a husband can beat his wife if she doesn’t obey. But human mind can be very inventive in rationalizing contradicting ideas, or ideas that contradict to reality. That’s not unique for Islam, all people do this, in greater all smaller degree.
So a set of a Muslim’s beliefs can contain Islamic ideas (coming from the Koran and Muhammad), and all sorts of other ideas, coming from other sources. However, what a Muslim cannot do is to disagree with the Koran and Muhammad. It is possible to explain away some uncomfortable verse, but it’s impossible to disagree with it or say that some of Muhammad’s actions were bad and immoral, and stay a believer in the Koran and Muhammad.
And now let us examine how Political Islam influences the world. To begin with, they have enough support to survive. There are people to donate to build and maintain mosques, centers of spreading Islamic ideas. There are people to invest their time and efforts into learning the Islamic doctrine and spreading it. There are people who hand over their views, attitudes and behavior patterns to their children and neighbours, just by living Islamic lifestyle and thus providing an example. And the main point is, it doesn’t matter if one individual Muslim contributes more or less, small contributions from thousands and millions of people give more effect than actions of a handful of devout believers who would dedicate all their lives to spreading of Islam. And we can see that this model works, for 1400 years the sphere of Islamic influence has been growing, and while it stalled (although didn’t really stop) around 1850-1950, in recent years we see Political Islam regaining influence in traditionally Islamic territories and penetrating areas where it has never been before.
What are your thoughts on this topic?