- Islam - What Is It?
A critical question we should all address is this: What, exactly, is Islam? Is it a religion, a society, a cult, a political movement, an aggressive conqueror? Actually, it is all of the above.
The United States pioneered the concept of the separation of any specific religion from political government and this concept is accepted in most non-Islamic countries today. This isn’t true in Islam. Sharia law is a legal system based on the Koran and sunnah. Elements of Sharia law are in force in most Islamic countries, evidence that Islam is a legal system as well as a religion. We will discuss Sharia law a little deeper elsewhere on this website, but right now we want to deal with the question of what, exactly, Islam is.
We have seen that Islam is completely based on the revelations of Allah’s will as delivered and interpreted by Mohammad. In fact, the verses Mohammad delivered in the Koran dealt with many more things than the relationship between humans and their god. However, it is in the sunnah where the majority of instructions to Muslims are found that deal with how to live an acceptable Muslim life. There is financial instruction, instructions on how to wage war, instruction on how to beat a wife, instructions on how men and women should dress, and even instructions on which shoe to put on first. Many of the instructions Mohammad gave to his followers mirrored requirements found in the Rabbinical Jewish Torah and Takanot. Few Muslims will recognize how much of Islam has its foundation in ancient Jewish Pharisaical practice.
Two closely-related concepts rule almost every aspect of a devout Muslim’s life. “Deen” is the subjugation of humans by Allah. “Islam” is submission of humans to Allah. If we go onto the internet and search “What does Islam believe about x” (“X” being any chosen topic, including the ones we mentioned above), you will probably find a very precise answer. Islam rules nearly every aspect of life, not just the relationship between humans and their god. In fact, that is where the problem lies for non-Muslims.
The critical point of this page of the website is that non-Muslims need to realize that the worldview of practicing Muslims is probably quite different from our own. To us it is reasonable and possible to have separation of church and state. To Islam, this is totally wrong – all states must become Islamic and, ultimately, subject to the Caliphate. To us, free-will and freedom are critical needs and things to be protected. To Islam, the objective of humans must be to submit to the will of Allah and Allah’s role is to subjugate all humans. To us, democracy is the ideal way to choose a government. To Islam, a theocracy is the ideal. We value individual freedom. To Islam, the ideal is submission to the will of Allah as interpreted by the Islamic ruler currently in power. To most non-Muslims, religion is about the relationship of the individual with his/her god, and is a very personal thing. To Islam, the relationship of human to god is simply one of obedience in all aspects of life. Islam is about being a slave to Allah. Christianity allows us to become children of Jehovah and siblings of Jeshua.
It seems that people of all ideologies tend to “pick and choose” the teachings that they will follow most closely. Few people are both willing or able to comply fully with every rule and precept of their religion. Muslims are no exception. The critical difference with Islam is that their god, Allah, authorizes and expects believers to enforce compliance by other believers and non-believers either through intimidation or with the sword. As a result, Islamic extremists kill more Muslims than non-Muslims by a ratio of more than 2 to 1!