Sunday, April 28, 2013

Islam For Dummies: Religion or Ideology?

Most people think of Islam is a religion like any other, carrrying a spiritual message that each of the faithful are trying to fulfill to the best of their ability. Nothing could be further from the truth. Islam descends deep into the daily life and the social interactions of Muslims. It is correct what some Muslims say: Islam is an all comprehensive system that includes the following fields of activity: 

CULTURE: The customs which people enact in their daily lives. For example, how to greet another person, whom to greet first, personal hygiene, how to eat and drink, how to treat guests, et cetera.

SOCIAL SYSTEM: Islam determines the relationship of the Muslim with other Muslims, the relationship with infidels, and with slaves (Islam has never abolished slavery).

LAW: An important part of society is the judiciary dealing with family law, inheritance, property, transactions, contracts and slaves. It is codified in the Koran and the traditions of Mohammed which must be closely emulated - the Hadith. New laws can only be made related to fields which have not yet been cofified by the Koran and the Hadith.

RELIGION: Rules relate=ing to prayers, lent, pilgrimage to Mekka, charity, the relationship with parents and fellow Muslims.

MILITARY: The last ten years of his life Mohammed was permanently at war. His successors have kept up this tradition. There are quite a number of rules pertaining to warfare. These are an integral part of Islamic law. The ideology of Jihad, in order to defend Islam and to spread the faith is well developed and integrated in Islamic law. No religion has such a well described war doctrine as Islam.

LEGAL PROCEDURES: Islamic scholars have written law books on the basis of the Koran and the Hadith. Procedures regarding witnesses are deemed important. There is however no description of the judicial apparatus and the procedures regarding the defense, appeal, et cetera. Mohammed was himself a judge and his will was law. He has ordered people executed without a hearing. His successors have simply copied that tradition. The judge sets his own rules. In Saudi Arabia an effort has been made to emulate Mohammed as closely as possible. As a result, in the 21st century there is still no judicial body in which the rights of citizens are protected. Punishments deemed inhuman are still practiced today.

POLICAL SYSTEM: In the Islamic system there is no division of powers. All power (political, judicial, military) is concentrated in the Caliph or his representatives. Unconditional obedience is due to the Caliph, unless he breaks with Islamic law. The system of the Caliphate is in the tradition of all power concentrated in Mohammed. There is no system for elections or democratic representation, which resulted in immediate problems regarding his succession, primarily involving the fourth successor, Ali. These turbulations have caused the schism between Shias and Sunnis.


Dutch: "Islam Voor Dummies: Religie of Ideologie"