One of arguments made about the nature of Political Islam is that if it was indeed violent and totalitarian ideology, why aren’t all or most Muslims behaving in a violent and totalitarian way? Since most of them aren’t violent jihadists, they must believe something different. So let us examine how ideas of Political Islam influence behavior of Muslims.
The starting point of Islam is the Shahada, declaring belief in Allah and Muhammad, Allah’s messenger. This implies there is also the message, namely the Koran. So all Muslims believe in the Koran and Muhammad, and that is the only this which can be said for sure about what all Muslims believe. Declaring belief in Allah and Muhammad makes one a Muslim. A Muslim rejecting this belief becomes an apostate.
However, a Muslim does not necessarily know all of the Islamic doctrine contained in the Koran and Muhammad’s Sunna (his words and deeds used by Islamic scholars for interpretation of the Koran) or even its main concepts. Just like in any other religion. And as the saying goes, what you do not know, cannot harm you:)
Secondly, even when Muslims are aware what the Koran and Muhammad teach, they do not necessarily follow it. The motivation for this can be different, most often, it is just being more interested in worldly affairs than in heavenly reward, again, like in other religions.
Thirdly, Islam is dualistic. Muhammad’s career had two distinct periods, very differing from each other. In Mecca Muhammad was just a preacher with a handful of followers. When he migrated to Medina, he became a political leader and a warlord. This is reflected in the Islamic doctrine.
A devout Muslim can follow the peaceful teachings and example of Muhammad in Mecca, focus on prayer and rituals, and hope to be admitted to Allah’s Paradise.
Or a devout Muslim can follow the violent teachings and example of Muhammad in Medina, aspire to get killed when attacking Kafirs (non-Muslims) and be admitted to Allah’s Paradise.
Both patterns are valid, both are mainstream Islam, coming from the same Koran and the same Muhammad, only from different parts. This is not difference of interpretation, this is application of different parts of the doctrine. As for differences in interpretation, they exist too, however they are not so numerous and not so different as one might expect.
To sum it up, Muslims who believe in the same Koran and the same Muhammad can behave very differently depending on how well they know the doctrine, how zealous they are, and whether they choose to follow the peaceful teachings and example of Muhammad in Mecca or the violent teachings and example of Muhammad in Medina.
Do you have similar understanding how Muslims Follow The Koran and Muhammad?