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Defining Islam – Religion or Political System

April 21, 2011

There is a large discrepancy between most Americans perception of what a religion is versus what defines the whole of Islam. In America, through custom, Constitutional Law, and because of religious distinction which separates religion from State, most Americans find it difficult to associate religion from a religion that is also a political system. However, in Islam, there is little distinction between religion, politics, law, and custom.

Merriam-Webster defines ‘politics’ as:  “a : the art or science of government b : the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy c : the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government”.  A political system might then be defined as “the members of a social organization who are in power”, but a political system is also representative in part of the customs of the society in which it is involved.

Examples of political systems would be:

Anarchism (Rule by all/no one)

Democracy (Rule by majority)

Republic. (Rule by law)

Theocracy (Rule by alleged representative of God)

In some cases, a political system strives to control the population under which it has gained power. Where absolute control is desired, a political system may become Totalitarian – Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a political system where the state, usually under the power of a single political person, faction, or class, recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible. Examples of totalitarian rule include Hitler and the Third Reich, and Joseph Stalin and Communism. However, there is political system in existence today which takes Totalitarianism to the most extreme, and that is traditional Islam.

The application of law under Islam is called Sharia. Sharia law is promoted by Islam as the divine law sent to mankind by Allah Himself, and as such is perfect, indisputable, and is beyond scrutiny or attempted alteration. Thus, the laws of Islam are intent on remaining as they are forever. Under Sharia/Islam, there are rules for conducting business, arranging marriages and divorce, punishing “sinners” against Allah, defining women as being equal to ½ of that of a man, issuing the mandate that women must submit sexually to their husband and giving husbands the authority to chastise and then to use physical measures to enforce his dominance over his wife, and regulations relating to how individuals must submit through religious dogma to Islam. The two worst offenses under strict Sharia is blasphemy against any aspect of Allah, Muhammad, and Islam, or apostasy, which is to leave Islam. Traditionally, it was up to clerics to interpret Sharia law and encourage followers as to what appropriate actions should be taken. Today, while most Islamic countries have State officials and some State sponsored courts, the real power still resides with political/religious leaders who guide the application of Sharia law.

The third and least talked about aspect of Islam regards the customs of Islam. While Islamic customs vary from region to region, it is worth noting that many Islamic customs find dominance over previously held customs once Islamic rule overtakes that particular region. In line with a totalitarian means of control, Islam has texts which define among other things, how people are to dress, how to defecate, how to wear/grow/groom hair, the order in which to put on clothes, personal grooming habits, etc. In some respects, these texts have affected customs, while in others they have not. Traditionalists men may adhere to the command to cut their hair and mustache short, but to assure that their beard is never shorter than the length of their fist. Certainly women are encouraged to wear a hijab, with consequences that are often quite brutal if they stray from that custom/Islamic command. Perhaps the most heinous custom that has emerged out of Islam is that of Honor Killings against a family member by another family member in order to “maintain family honor”. In most cases, the murdered individual is a young girl or woman who has either simply been accused of any form of contact with a man not her husband, or because a girl/woman is not deemed submissive enough to her husband’s demands. While these are customs, their roots are Islamic texts and the essence of Sharia Law.

Today, there are many differences in how Islam and Sharia is practiced in Islamic countries. Customs and the applications of Sharia vary by regions even within the confines of a singular country. However, there are segments of Islam all throughout the world who wish to see Islam and the world be ruled under the most totalitarian form of Sharia, and it is this group which will engage in any means necessary to reach that end. That segment is not as small as some would have the rest of us believe. Two recent surveys speak volumes concerning the prevailing attitudes among the world’s Muslims. In one survey, the majority of Muslims indicated that they wish to select the form of rule in which they will abide, but the overwhelming majority indicated that the type of political rule they would select is Islam. A second survey of Muslims asked how and if apostasy should be punished – most confirmed that they felt people who left Islam should be punished with one third of Muslims indicating that those committing apostasy should be put to death. Unfortunately for those who wish to leave Islam, most clerics and other forms of Islamic leaders would agree which makes leaving Islam an act of extreme bravery and often disenfranchisement from family.

To citizens of America, the religion is accompanied by the inalienable right (so far), to choose whether or not they will declare themselves of any particular religion and whether or not they will practice that form of religion or adhere to any of its dogmatic customs, (going to church, kneeling, praying, etc). To Americans and others who feel that Islam is just a religion, I offer this argument along with all the other arguments available on the web about why Islam is namely a political system – in a country under Islamic rule, the laws of Islam apply to you whether you want them to or not. Even in Egypt that has been criticized by other Islamic countries as being too westernized, Christians must receive permission from Islam just to build or remodel a church. Christians are also murdered in the name of Islam for issues relating to Islam only. They live under Islamic rule.

Strict and traditional forms of Islam, such as those practiced in Iran and Saudi Arabia, are the most heinous forms of totalitarian rule on the planet.

Islam is first and foremost a political system.

  1. You are correct Gonzo… Islam is a Theocratic system that destroyed the Middle East. And now the West has to make similar choices.

    Become ‘dhimmis’ or die…

    I like being a ‘infidel’ instead of a moslem so muhammads henchmen can kiss my @$$

  2. In it’s true form Islam is a totalitarian system, a crime syndicate which is designed especially for killing, looting, raping and destroying.
    Whenever a Muslim want to do any such act he just has to say – “it’s permitted by Quran”
    One more similarity – You can’t leave Mafia, the only way out is grave, same is with Islam.

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