Borysfen Intel

Islam: The Way to the Light or the Road into the Darkness of the Middle Ages?

September 24, 2014
<p>Islam: The Way to the Light or the Road into the Darkness of the Middle Ages?</p>

Part 1: Islam and Islamism.

The prim and traditionally conservative Great Britain, pragmatic and disciplined Germany, temperamental and impulsive Spain and Italy, France, with its spirit of freedom and rebellion – this is Western Europe.

If today you suddenly get into the London Underground you won't realize at once in what country you are — in India, or Pakistan, or even in one of the countries of the Maghreb. In Berlin, in Vienna and in Paris early in the morning you'll be woken up by the voice of the muezzin calling the faithful to morning prayer... Turkish and Arabic have become familiar. Female figures, tightly wrapped in hijabs, don't make anybody interested or surprised. All this is common for most countries of the Western Europe. Islam has come and dug in toes for a long time.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001 the attention of the Western world has focused on Islamist organizations that have declared their willingness to resort to violence, and the main enemies of the West have been recognized so-called «jihadists.» All other organizations, starting with a really mild and ending with Salafists (supporters of the ideas of radical Islam — Wahhabism), who promised to build a «caliphate» by peaceful means, fall into the category of «moderate» ones. How important for European elites have become relationships between Muslim communities of so-called «Western Islam”? Who are «jihadists”? What is the difference between the Islamic and Islamist?



Islam (Arabic الإسلام) monotheistic, relatively young world religion. In pre-Islamic times in the Arabian Peninsula, each tribe had its own god. Arabs-herdsmen were pagans, worshiped spirits of their ancestors; astral cults, as well as fetishism (worshipping trees, rocks, stones) and totemism (a tribe of the lion, the fox, the wolf; the cults of the bull and the ram) took place.
MeccaAt the beginning of the 3d century, the main center of economic and religious life of the Arabs became Mecca, the region of which was considered sacred, where killing and abusing was forbidden. Here was the black stone of the Kaaba, revered by all the tribes, who saw in it a symbol of the supreme deity. Around the Kaaba were located 360 images of pagan deities, the main of which was the god of war Hubal, and nearby was dug out an ancient well Zemzem, the water from which was considered sacred. Each year, the Arabs made ​​pilgrimage to Mecca. About 440 A.D, the keeper of the Kaaba of Mecca became a Quraysh tribe, from which came the Prophet-to-be of Islam, Muhammad. It is believed that his family tree goes back to the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael.
Kaaba The word «Islam» means «delivering oneself to God». «obedience». «complete submission» to the laws of Allah. In the terminology of Shariat, Islam is an absolute monotheism. Followers of Islam are called Muslims.
The main Islam's holy book is the Koran. It treats a clear notion of «faith» (iman), and under the umbrella term «Pillars of Faith» are outlined ideological foundations of Islam. There are six of them:

  • belief in Allah — the Creator of all things. Includes a number of provisions, most of which is monotheism;
  • belief in angels. Angels — beings that were created by Allah from light, executors of God's will;
  • belief in Holy Scriptures, sent by Allah through the prophets. This refers to divine revelations sent in different periods of human history. Muslims recognize as true the texts of Taurat (Torah), Zabur (Book of Psalms of the Prophet David), Injil (Gospel), as well as more ancient scrolls, which were granted to several prophets. But all the previous scriptures were abolished by the Koran. From the point of view of Muslim scholars, modern versions of all the holy books except the Quran are distorted;
  • belief in prophets (messengers) of God. The Qur'an and Sunnah prescribe to accept as the true all the messengers of Allah. They were sent to different peoples and tribes, but Muhammad alone was and is the messenger to all mankind;
  • belief in the Day of Judgment. Includes belief in the end of the world, the coming resurrection, God's Judgment, existence of Heaven and Hell;
  • belief in predestination. Muslims believe that Allah has ordained destiny of all things (Kadar), that is, that all events occur according to the Creator's plan. Predestination is understood as Allah's eternal knowing about all events and processes taking place in the universe; all events occur with the approval of Allah, according to his knowledge. Man has free will, ability to choose between good and evil, and therefore is responsible for his/her actions.

KoranThe language of services is classical Arabic. Historically, Islam originated in the 7th century in Muhammad's preachings. He is a prophet (all in all in Islam there are about 124 thousand prophets), the most recent (“Seal of the Prophets”) and great, after him there will not be others.
In the world today, according to various estimates, there are 1.2 to 1.57 billion Muslims (22.74  % of the total population of the Earth). Islamic Ummahs cover more than 120 countries around the world, mostly in the Western, Southern and South-Eastern Asia and Northern Africa. In 35 countries, they make up the majority of the population, and in 28 countries they are state religion — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and others.


Muslims in countries
Muslims in countries

By the end of the 19th century in Islam there were two tendencies — conservative and modernist ones. Conservatives urged to return Islam to its original base, to «pure Islam». to the literal perception of sacred texts and of bequeathed by the prophet theocratic government.

Modernists sought to adapt certain provisions of Islam to the modern world. By the end of the 19th century almost all Muslim countries had been turned either into colonies of European countries or into states dependent on them. Struggle against colonialism led to an unprecedented politicization of Islam. This process lasted almost the entire twentieth century. That is how the political Islam (Islamism) appeared. It strengthened its positions after the Islamic Revolution of 1978-1979 in Iran. Radicalization of Muslims led to the emergence of Islamic terrorism.



Islamism is the religious-political ideology and practical activities aimed at creating of conditions under which any contradictions within the society and the state, where there is a Muslim population, as well as the state's international relations with their participation, will be settled on the basis of Shariat. Islamism is introduced into practice through the «revival of the concept of Islamic jihad» (holy war) in its most severe forms».
The most characteristic features of Islam are as follows:

  • fundamentalism — as a return to the basics of «pure Islam» (Salafism);
  • revival of active faith and rituals;
  • integralism — the union of all spheres of life of the society and state under the Sharia law, and the related to it theonomizm, literally «the rule of law of the Lord,» a direct, literal and full application of Shariat's norms;
  • theocracy — restoration of Allah as the highest power;
  • terrorism — as a way to cause maximum damage to the enemy without taking into account any long-term consequences.

The well-known American historian, journalist, writer and political commentator, an expert on Islam and the Middle East conflict Daniel Pipes believes that Islamism is the third totalitarian ideology, offering a ridiculous medieval approach to problems of modern life, the carrier of suppression of non-Muslims, women, justifying the extension of the authority of Islam by force.


Dividing Islamists into «moderates» and «radicals». depending on whether they apply violent actions in their practice, has caused dislike among many politicians and researchers. Thus, an Israeli Professor, a renowned expert on Islam Emmanuel Sivan points out that those who received the status of «moderate». adhere to the exactly same ideology, as those who are referred to as «radicals.» Islam, in their opinion, is facing a mortal danger: destruction by the «western poison» — modern secular and materialistic ideas and the appropriate way of life. True Muslims should unite in voluntary associations — Jamaats, a kind of out of the reach of the state «enclaves». The goal of Jamaats is to maximize their influence and, ideally, to come to power in the state, using all sorts of methods: participation in parliamentary activities, influencing the elite, unleashing destabilizing terror, etc. That is why Muslims in Western Europe, as a rule, do not assimilate, do not accept the culture of these countries, live in isolation, strictly observing their morals and customs, subordinating the local culture to their own laws.

According to E.Sivan, to draw a distinction between the «moderate» and the «radical» means to lose sight of the fact that the former and the latter's choice of the «remedy» from «Western Poison» depends entirely on the ability to realize the main goal: to seize political power and establish a regime guided by the Islamic law (Shariat).

Despite the criticism of the new division of Islamic organizations, the term «moderate» has become firmly established in the political practice of the Western world. Proponents of this division believe that the «moderate Islamists» will help cope with the terrorist threat. And here there are two different approaches.

The first approach assumes that «moderate Islamists» are able to transfer the energy of radical Islam into «peaceful course.»

The second approach suggests that «moderate Islamists» are at the moment natural allies of the West and that some radicalization of the «Western Islam» is even useful for the West. According to Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former employee of the CIA Middle East Division, an expert of the American Enterprise Institute, «bin Ladenism can be digested only by fundamentalism. «Moderate» Muslims will not be able to defeat the bin Ladenism until they speak to its audience in the language that audience understands and with the same passion».

Characteristically, the supporters of both, the first and the second approach, consider the radical Islamist organization «Muslim Brotherhood» as an ally. While in «the Muslim Brotherhood’s» Motherland, in Egypt, the organization is officially banned, in Europe its branches are almost playing a leading role in the formation of the European policy of Muslim organizations.



The “Muslim Brotherhood’s” logo

«Muslim Brotherhood» (Arab. «Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen”) — members of religious-political organization «Association of Muslim Brothers,» created in Ismailia (Egypt) in 1928, by Sheikh Hassan al-Banna. The organization emerged as an Islamic reform movement, aiming to return Islam to the fundamentals of the Koran and Sunna (interpretation of the Koran), to resist Western colonialism and imperialism, to create a society based on the principles of justice by strict adherence to Islamic norms prescribed by the Koran and Shariat (Code of Muslim laws).
An important place in the development of the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, apart from Hassan al-Banna's teaching, is also occupied by the works of famous scholars Sayyid Qutb, Mustafa al-Sibai, Muhammad al-Ghazali, and many others, who first formulated the basic principles of the «Islamic socialism.» A number of concepts developed by ideologues of the Muslim Brotherhood are still widely used by figures of the Muslim World League, Shiite theologians and leaders of many Islamic organizations. The Muslim Brotherhood as its main goal sees the construction in countries where Islam is widely spread, of a society based on the principles of «Islamic justice» under the Islamic norms of life. According to the Muslim Brotherhood, only the Islamic way of development can lead to this goal.
In the period from 1928 to 1936 the members of the organization had been actively engaged in educational and charitable activities. In 1936, the movement got actively involved in the political life of Egypt, and further participation in the struggle of Palestinians against the Israeli occupation made the movement international.
During this period, branches of the organization emerged in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and Sudan. The association called for uniting of all Muslims in struggle against the Western expansion of the Muslim world. During the Second World War, Hassan al-Banna was arrested because of opposition sentiment in relation to the UK, and in 1949 he was killed by a secret agent of the Egyptian police. But the movement had not lost its activity. In 1950, the ideologist of the movement was the writer Sayyid Qutb, who was executed in 1966. The movement continued to speak against the British colonialism. In the days of the first Egyptian republic, the president of which was Gamal Abdel Nasser (1956), for activities against the republican regime, and an attempt to assassinate the president, the organization was banned. It went underground. In the time of President Anwar Sadat (1970), the organization by the permission of the authorities became legal and re-intensified its activities in Egypt.
Currently, the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood exists in almost all Arab countries. Since the beginning of the «Arab Spring» in 2011, representatives of the Movement came out of hiding and occupied key positions in a number of Arab countries. September 23, 2013 an Egyptian court banned all activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, to the death penalty was sentenced the chief mentor of the Brothers, Mohammad Badia and 682 other members of the organization. The verdict was imposed in absentia of Badia, as the leader of the Islamist movement is hiding from the Egyptian justice. December 24, 2013 the Government of Egypt declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization, and March 7, 2014 it was recognized a terrorist organization in Saudi Arabia.
Currently, some of the leaders of the grouping are located in Turkey and consider the possibility of opening the headquarters of the movement in Ankara.


In the areas of settlement of Muslims in different countries, Islamism spreads through the formation of an alternative identity, that is, Muslims do not consider themselves citizens of the state, but only members of the ummah (worldwide Muslim community), in reality ummah is substituted by a specific Islamist organization.

Islamists seek to establish control over all sorts of separatist and protest movements, involving into struggle Islamists from so-called «ethnic Muslims». that is, people whose ancestors were Muslims, but they themselves are not faithful Muslims. Like, for example, the second and third generations of immigrants from Islamic countries, today living in Western European countries. Besides, a growing number of young people takes Islam and joins the Islamist terrorist organizations.

Islamist ideology authorizes a jihad against all unbelievers, including Muslims who are not and do not want to be radical Islamists. Such Muslims are declared apostates (takfirs). Islamists, using specific interpretations of Shariat, allow and recommend terrorist acts, including «blind» ones against a random set of people in places of their concentration, with wide involvement of suicide bombers.

slamists accept and recommend terrorist acts

Islamists accept and recommend terrorist acts, including “blind” ones, with wide use of suicide bombers

With the rapid development of Internet technologies, ideologues of struggle for pure Islam (pan-Islamism) have got another tool for their development — social and organizational resources of the World Wide Web. In 2011, Muslim entrepreneurs from Russia and Turkey, having invested considerable sums, began to develop a social network Salamworld, aimed at creating a sole online space for Muslim Youth.

So, Islam or Islamism?

The term «Islamic terrorism» which has become widely used, according to political scientists and theologians, is considered politically incorrect because it implies association of terrorism with the Islam as a whole, which association is perceived negatively by majority of Muslims. They argue that Islam is a religion, while Islamism is a political ideology, appealing to religion. Also, a number of Islamic philosophers and theologians, express their opinion about the impossibility of existence of «Islamic terrorism». since it «contradicts the very essence of Islam,» and, hence, the term is «false and wrong». The famous Turkish writer Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya) devoted to this his book «Islam condemns terrorism.»

At the same time a number of Muslims themselves perceive Islam not as a religion, but as a political ideology, which greatly complicates the attempt to hold the line to protect the so-called «traditional Islam» by elimination and separation of the political component from Islam itself.

Until now, many experts argue that religion and politics should not be mixed. Religion is a private matter, and therefore it should not be imposed on society. What is often misunderstood by both Muslims and non-Muslims — is the fact that politics cannot be separated from Islam. It is part of its ideology, because it is intended to solve the problems faced by Muslims. The Quran reads, «The Prophet said,» The Imam is responsible for his citizens. «Therefore, in Islam there is no division into spiritual and secular, there is no separation of religion from economy, domestic and foreign policy. The same society cannot be guided simultaneously by Islam and other ideologies, such as capitalism or communism.

Here is the answer, giving understanding of the continuity between Islam and Islamism, Islamic terrorism and all processes associated with them.

To be continued

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