Jump to content
Islamic Forum

Reclaiming Islam

Recommended Posts

Recent media coverage focusing on the Syrian crisis has illustrated the rampant use of the term "Islamist." Many journalist and experts continue to freely use the term Islamist in describing the various factions and political proponents in the Muslim majority world. Historically, though inaccurately, the term "Islamist" has been associated with totalitarian, oppressive, and terrorist affiliations. This negative implication intrinsically vilifies Islam, portraying it as the enemy, therein creating the problem.

There is a legitimate disconnect with the application of Islamist and the context in which the term is used. While there is no such word as "Islamist" in the Muslim vocabulary; this terminology has been used to build an obscure image of Islam. If we had to define Islamist, it would literally be: one who is motivated to pursue the Qur'anic view of humanity in all aspects of life; one who serves humanity first, prevents harm and protects society. For at its very core, Islam prescribes the principles of justice and equity for peace and human development for all of mankind. Not to mention the very root word of Islam itself is derived from the word peace. The Qur'anic worldview is one that inherently places peace at the very foundation of all human development activities, the backbone of Islam.

Continuously placing Islam front and center of activities related to violence, extremism, or tyranny is grossly inaccurate. It actually relinquishes all personal responsibility and shifts blame on religion. This has created confusion and fear of the religion of Islam and its 1.6 billion followers based on misinformation, half-truths, and gross negligence. It speaks nothing of the millions and millions of Muslims, who follow Islam, strive to prosper with peace, justice and equity each and every day throughout the world.

The misconceptions stem from trying to link independent political, violent or radical ideologies to religion. This thought process is not only false but it is impractical and counterproductive; for example when we identify radical factions as "Islamic radicals" or violent extremists as "violent Islamist extremists," we create misnomers, because radical, violent and extreme practices go against the very nature of Islam. For Islam promotes and teaches humans to practice balance in all aspects of life with moderation and without excess to acquire peace.

As humans we are influenced by our culture and traditions; political, economic and psychological experiences not only shape our attitudes and behaviors but separate and divide us. Consequently our world views and religious views differ from place to place, era to era and cross cultures. Thereby continuing to irresponsibly link religion, in this case Islam, to violent and radical elements takes the world's focus away from understanding the overwhelming problems of both the Muslim world and the cause of its troubles. Not to mention, it provides an easy scapegoat for those looking to legitimize their illegitimate actions which are detrimental to humanity.

The critics of Islam say that at best, not more than 1 percent of the world's Muslim population might be extreme, radical or violent. I say, that those in the media, experts and Muslims themselves must stop purporting religion as the reason for radical, extreme and oppressive actions and stop this 1 percent from using Islam in placing a distance between themselves and their evils. We must look deeper to examine the real cause of their actions when the insight to follow the very basic values of Islamic principles is absent from anyone labeled or claiming to be "Islamist."

More so now than ever Muslims around the world must take a stand -- not defensive or offensive, but one to that leads to the path of education and awareness by becoming better acquainted with their Islamic values and heritage. We must first and foremost hold ourselves and others accountable. We must condemn the use of this terminology, whether it refers to groups in Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt, Africa, Asia or the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. Muslims need to reassert themselves, end this cycle of ignorance, spark the conversation -- or it will not be long before our faith is redefined to us by those with false authorities




  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. Definitely there needs to be a reaction from the Islamic community. You know the way these people who identify Islam with bad things and call us extremists even if we are just following our religion in the correct way, they have caused some Muslims to react by calling themselves modern Muslims. Its like these modern Muslims do not want to be associated with people who actually follow the quran because that is viewed as being extreme by some non Muslims and therefore they do not want to suffer the discrimination. You know it causes this attitude like I have met many non Muslims who say they know a Muslim and they immediately follow it up with 'oh but he/she isn't a strict Muslim, he/she drinks alcohol etc'. I mean it sounds so stupid but they don't realise. But one of the reasons they have started saying things like this is because there are some Muslims who describe themselves like this too in order to distance themselves from what is considered extreme. 

I watched a series a while ago on kalamullah.com and I can't remember the man's name but his word really stuck in my mind. He was saying how we should not feel we have to defend ourselves because of the comments of non Muslims who are against Islam. When they ask us questions which we know they have anti Islamic content for we shouldn't rise to this and be on the defensive. We should always be proud of what we follow because it is the word of Allah. We should never feel we have to distance ourselves from some things in Islam just because non Muslims misunderstand it. We have to obey the limits of what Allah has set not what some humans are trying to set on us. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. To me there are 2 extremes in Islam. There are those who try to justify things like murder & oppression. Then on the other hand are those that speak against Sharia without understanding what it really is, condone eating pork or drinking or other such things

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now