Islam (Arabic al-islām الإسلام, ) "the submission to God" is a monotheistic faith and the world's second-largest religion.
In Arabic, Islām means "submission" and is described as a Dīn, meaning "way of life" and/or "religion." Etymologically, it is derived from the same root as, for example, Salām meaning "peace" (also a common salutation). A more precise translation of the word Islām would be the serenity that is created by submission. The word Muslim is also related to the word Islām and means "one who surrenders" or "submits" to God.
Followers of Islam, known as Muslims, believe that God (or, in Arabic, Allāh) revealed his direct word for mankind to Muhammad (c. 570–632) and other prophets, including Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Muslims assert that the main written record of revelation to mankind is the Qur'an, which they believe to be flawless, immutable and the final revelation of God. Muslims believe that some parts of the Bible and the Torah may have been misinterpreted or distorted by their followers. With that perspective they view the Qur'an as corrective of Jewish and Christian scriptures.
Muslims hold that it is essentially the same belief as that of all the messengers sent by God to mankind since Adam, with the Qur'ān (the one definitive text of the Muslim faith) codifying the final revelation of God. Islam sees Judaism and Christianity as derivations of the teachings of certain of these prophets - notably Abraham - and therefore see them as fellow Abrahamic religions, and People of the Book. Islam has two primary branches of belief, based largely on a historical disagreement over the succession of authority after Muhammad's death; these are known as Sunni and Shi'ite.
The basis of Muslim belief is found in the shahādatān ("two statements"): lā ilāhā illā-llāhu; muhammadur-rasūlu-llāhi — "There is no god but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God." In order to become a Muslim, one needs to recite and believe these statements. All Muslims agree to this, although Sunnis further regard this as one of the five pillars of Islam.
Six articles of belief
There are six basic beliefs shared by all Muslims:
- Belief in God, the one and only one worthy of all worship.
- Belief in the Angels.
- Belief in the Book (al-Quran) (sent by God).
- Belief in all the Prophets and Messengers (sent by God).
- Belief in the Day of Judgment (Qiyamah) and in the Resurrection.
- Belief in Fate (Qadar)1
The Muslim creed in English:
I believe in God; and in His Angels; and in His Scriptures; and in His Messengers; and in The Final Day; and in Fate, that Good and Evil are from God, and Resurrection after death be Truth.
I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship but God; and I testify that Muhammad is His Messenger.
Main article: Allah
The fundamental concept in Islam is the oneness of God (tawhid). This monotheism is absolute, not relative or pluralistic in any sense of the word. God is described in Sura al-Ikhlas, (chapter 112) as follows: Say "He is God, the one, the Self-Sufficient master. He never begot, nor was begotten. There is none comparable to Him."
In Arabic, God is called Allah, a contraction of al-ilah or "the (only) god". Allāh thus translates to "God" in English. The implicit usage of the definite article in Allah linguistically indicates the divine unity. In spite of the different name used for God, Muslims assert that they believe in the same deity as the Judeo-Christian religions. However, Muslims strictly disagree with the Christian theology concerning the unity of God (the doctrine of the Trinity and that Jesus is the eternal Son of God), seeing it as akin to polytheism. "O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth . The Messiah , Jesus son of Mary , was only a messenger of Allah , and His word which He conveyed unto Mary , and a spirit from Him . So believe in Allah and His messengers , and say not "three" . Cease! ( it is ) better for you! Allah is only One God . Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that he should have a son . His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth . And Allah is sufficient as its defender." [Chapter 4 : Surah 171]
No Muslim visual images or depictions of God exist because such artistic depictions may lead to idolatry and are thus prohibited. Moreover, many Muslims believe that God is incorporeal, rendering any two or three dimensional depictions impossible. Instead, Muslims describe God by the many divine attributes mentioned in the Qur'an, and also with the 99 names of Allah. All but one Surah (chapter) of the Qur'an begins with the phrase "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful". These are consequently the most important divine attributes in the sense that Muslims repeat them most frequently during their ritual prayers (called salah in Arabic, and in India and Pakistan called "namaz" (a Persian word)).
Main article: Prophets of Islam
The Qur'an speaks of God appointing two classes of human servants: messengers (rasul in Arabic), and prophets (nabi in Arabic and Hebrew). In general, messengers are the more elevated rank. All prophets are said to have spoken with divine authority; but only those who have been given a major revelation or message are called messenger.
Notable messengers include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, all belonging to a succession of men guided by God. Islam demands that a believer accept all of the Judeo-Christian prophets, making no distinction between them. In the Qur'an, 25 specific prophets are mentioned.
Mainstream Muslims regard Muhammad as the 'Last Messenger' or the 'Seal of the Prophets' based on the canon. However, there have been a number of sects whose leaders have proclaimed themselves the successors of Muhammad, perfecting and extending Islam, or, whose devotees have made such claims for their leaders. However, most Muslims remain unaffected by those claims and simply regard those said groups to be deviant.
Main article: Sharia
Muslims in Islamic societies have traditionally viewed Islamic law as essential to their religious outlook. For Muslims living in secular Western countries sharia ceases to be relevant as law, but remains a source of personal ethics (for example, the avoidance of pork and alcohol, and the use of Sharia-compliant banking services). The Qur'an is the foremost source of Islamic jurisprudence; the second is the Sunnah (the practices of the Prophet, as narrated in reports of his life). The Sunnah is not itself a text like the Qur'an, but is extracted by analysis of the Hadith (Arabic for "report") texts, which contain narrations of the Prophet's sayings, deeds, and actions of his companions he approved.
One hadith of special importance for Islamic contractual law should be mentioned here. A merchant named Hakim ibn Hizam reported, "I asked the Prophet: O Messenger of Allah! A man comes to me and asks me to sell him what is not with me, so I sell him and then buy the goods for him in the market. And the Prophet said: sell not what is not with you." This hadith has rendered controversial within the Muslim world much of what is considered routine finance outside of it, including the sale of futures and options, both of which might be characterized as the sale of 'what is not with you.'
In recent times, traditional Islamic law has often been questioned by liberal movements within Islam. In a related development, Mohammad Hashim Kamali has questioned the reliability and contemporary relevance of the above quoted hadith of Hakim ibn Hizam.
There is no official authority who decides whether a person is accepted to, or dismissed from, the community of believers, known as the Ummah ("Family"). Islam is open to all, regardless of race, age, gender, or previous beliefs. It is enough to believe in the central beliefs of Islam. This is formally done by reciting the shahada, the statement of belief of Islam, without which a person cannot be classed a Muslim. It is enough to believe and say that you are a Muslim, and behave in a manner befitting a Muslim to be accepted into the community of Islam.
Main article: Islamic eschatology
Islamic eschatology is concerned with the Qiyamah (end of the world) and the final judgement of humanity. Like Christianity and some sects of modern Judaism, Islam teaches the bodily resurrection of the dead, the fulfillment of a divine plan for creation, and the immortality of the human soul; the righteous are rewarded with the pleasures of Jannah (Paradise), while the unrighteous are punished in Jahannam (a fiery Hell, from the Hebrew ge-hinnom or "valley of Hinnom"; usually rendered in English as Gehenna). A significant fraction of the Qur'an deals with these beliefs, with many hadith elaborating on the themes and details.
Other beliefs include the Angels, the Jinns (a species of invisible beings), and the existence of magic (the practice of which is strictly forbidden).
The Five Pillars of Islam
The Five Pillars of Islam2 is the term given to the fundamental aspects of Islam. These five pillars are the most important obligations of a Muslim under Sharia law, and which devout all Muslims will perform faithfully, because they are essential to pleasing Allah.
The Five Pillars of Islam are:
- "Shahadah": The Testimony that there is none worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad is his messenger.
- "Salah": Establishing of the five daily Prayers (salah).
- "Zakat": The Giving of Zakaah (charity), which is one fortieth (2.5%) of the net worth of possessions kept for more than a year, with few exemptions, for every Muslim whose wealth exceeds the nisab , and 10% or 20% of the produce from agriculture. This money or produce is distributed among the poor.
- "Ramadhan": Fasting from dawn to dusk in the month of Ramadan (sawm).
- "Hajj": The Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca during the month of Dhul Hijjah, which is compulsory once in a lifetime for one who has the ability to do it.
NOTE: For the Shi'a a sect of Islam, the Five Pillars (uṣūlu-d-dīn), or more correctly translated "the principles of religion", are the five fundamental principles of Islam; no more, no less. The Shi'a sect consider the Sunni five pillars to be merely the most important obligations rather than these being the Five Pillars of Islam.
The Five Pillars of the Shi'a sect are:
- The Oneness of God (tawhīd).
- The Justice of God ('adl).
- Prophethood (nubuwwah).
- The Leadership of Mankind (imamah).
- The Resurrection (me'ad).
Main article: Qur'an
The Qur'an is the sacred book of Islam. It has also been called, in English, the Koran and the Quran. Qur'an is the currently preferred English transliteration of the Arabic original (قرآن); it means “recitation”.
Muslims believe that the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel on numerous occasions between the years 610 and Muhammad's death in 632. In addition to memorizing his revelations, his followers are said to have written them down on parchments, stones, bones, sticks, and leaves.
Muslims believe that the Qur'an available today is the same as that revealed to Prophet Muhammad and by him to his followers, who memorized his words. Scholars accept that the version of the Qur'an used today was first compiled in writing by the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, sometime between 650 and 656. He sent copies of his version to the various provinces of the new Muslim empire, and directed that all variant copies be destroyed. However, some skeptics doubt the recorded oral traditions (hadith) on which the account is based and will say only that the Qur'an must have been compiled before 750.
There are also numerous traditions, and many conflicting academic theories, as to the provenance of the verses later assembled into the Qur'an. (This is covered in greater detail in the article on the Qur'an.) Most Muslims accept the account recorded in several hadith, which state that Abu Bakr, the first caliph, ordered Zayd ibn Thabit to collect and record all the authentic verses of the Qur'an, as preserved in written form or oral tradition. Zayd's written collection, privately treasured by Muhammad's widow Hafsa bint Umar, was used by Uthman and is the basis of today's Qur'an.
Uthman's version organized the revelations, or suras, roughly in order of length, with the longest suras at the start of the Qur'an and the shortest ones at the end. Later scholars have struggled to put the suras in chronological order, and among Muslim commentators at least there is a rough consensus as to which suras were revealed in Mecca and which at Medina. Some suras (eg surat Iqra) were revealed in parts at separate times.
Because the Qur'an was first written [date uncertain] in the Hijazi , Mashq , Ma'il , and Kufic scripts, which write consonants only and do not supply the vowels, and because there were differing oral traditions of recitation, there was some disagreement as to the correct reading of many verses. Eventually scripts were developed that used "points" to indicate vowels. For hundreds of years after Uthman's recension, Muslim scholars argued as to the correct pointing and reading of Uthman's unpointed official text, (the rasm ). Eventually, most commentators accepted ten variant readings (qira'at ) of the Qur'an as canonical, while agreeing that the differences are minor and do not greatly affect the meaning of the text.
The form of the Qur'an most used today is the Al-Azhar text of 1923, prepared by a committee at the prestigious Cairo university of Al-Azhar.
The Qur'an early became a focus of Muslim devotion and eventually a subject of theological controversy. In the 8th century, the Mu'tazilis claimed that the Qur'an was created in time and was not eternal. Their opponents, of various schools, claimed that the Qur'an was eternal and perfect, existing in heaven before it was revealed to Muhammad. The Mu'tazili position was supported by caliph Al-Ma'mun. The caliph persecuted, tortured, and killed the anti-Mu'tazilis, but their belief eventually triumphed and is held by most Muslims of today. Only reformist or liberal Muslims are apt to take something approaching the Mu'tazili position.
Most Muslims regard the Qur'an with extreme veneration, wrapping it in a clean cloth, keeping it on a high shelf, and washing as for prayers before reading the Qur'an. Old Qur'ans are not destroyed as wastepaper, but deposited in Qur'an graveyards. The Qur'an is regarded as an infallible guide to personal piety and community life, and completely true in its history and science.
From the beginning of the faith, most Muslims believed that the Qur'an was perfect only as revealed in Arabic. Translations were the result of human effort and human fallibility, as well as lacking the inspired poetry believers find in the Qur'an. Translations are therefore only commentaries on the Qur'an, or "translations of its meaning", not the Qur'an itself.
For further discussion see the main article, Qur'an.
Main article: Apostasy in Islam
Muslims define apostasy as the condition of displayed disloyalty towards Islam by any Muslim who had priorly submitted to Islamic theology. It includes leaving Islam and numerous acts of blasphemy towards Islam. The concept has parallels in other religious systems.
In the period of Islamic empire, apostasy was considered treason, and was accordingly treated as a capital offense; death penalties were carried out under the authority of the Caliph. Although contemporary scholars may issue their own opinions in specific cases, there is today no central authority capable of identifying and carrying out legal proceedings against former Muslims who reject or speak out against Islam. The most prominent contemporary figure condemned of apostasy by individual scholars was probably Salman Rushdie.
Islam and other religions
Main article: Islam and other religions
The Islamic view of non-monotheist religions differs among scholars and varies according to time and place. For example, the relationship of Islam with Hinduism and non-monotheist religions varied greatly according to the religious outlook of individual rulers. In India, the Mughal emperor Akbar, for example, was very tolerant towards Hindus, while his successor Aurangzeb was less so. This variability persists today; while fundamentalists are often less tolerant, liberal movements within Islam often try to be more open-minded.
Islam's view of Jews and Christians
Main article: People of the Book
The Qur'an uses the term People of the Book to include all monotheists, including Jews, Christians and Muslims. According to Islam, all nations were given a Messenger and guidance from Allah.
Muslims believe that Judaism and Christianity started out with the same message as Islam, but that eventually, due to their abandonment of adherence to strict monotheism, the followers of Moses earned God's anger (by worshipping the Golden Calf, mentioned in the Biblical account of Moses, and later Ezra) and the followers of Jesus went astray (by worshipping him). "And when Allah saith : O Jesus , son of mary! Didst thou say unto mankind : Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah? he saith : Be glorified It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right . If I used to say it , then Thou knewest it . Thou knowest what is in my mind , and I know not what is in Thy mind . Lo! Thou , only Thou art the Knower of Things Hidden." [Surah 5:116]
It is popularly held by the vast majority of Muslims that the Holy Tawrat (revelation given to Moses) and the Holy Injil (revelation given to Jesus Christ) have been corrupted over time and that the present day Bible and Torah share little or no resemblance to the original message. According to Islam, Muhammad was sent during a time of spiritual darkness and once the Qur'an was finally established, all past revelations were abrogated, making the Last Testament not only for the Arab nation but for all mankind until the Day of Judgement.
Some parts of the Qur'an attribute differences between Muslims and non-Muslims to tahref-ma'any, a "corruption of the meaning" of the words. In this view, the Jewish Bible and Christian New Testament are true, but the Jews and Christians misunderstood the meaning of their own Scripture, and thus need the Qur'an to clearly understand the will of God. However, other parts of the Qur'an make clear that many Jews and Christians used deliberately altered versions of their scripture, and had altered the word of God. This belief was developed further in medieval Islamic polemics, and is a mainstream part of both Sunni and Shi'ite Islam today. This is known as the doctrine of tahref-lafzy , "the corruption of the text". Either way the Quran clearly states that the necessary information which was written in the previous scriptures can also be found in the Quran: "And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (this Qur’aan) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and Mohaymin (trustworthy in highness and a witness) over it (old Scriptures). So judge among them by what Allah has revealed" [Surah 5:48]
Historically, Islamic scholars have agreed that the Qur'an gives "People of the Book" special status, allowing those who live in Muslim lands (called dhimmi—protected people) to practice their own religions and to own property. People of the Book were not subject to certain Islamic rules, such as the prohibitions on alcohol and pork. Under the Islamic state, they were exempt from the draft, but were required to pay a tax known as jizyah, part of which went to charity and part to finance churches and synagogues. (They were, however, exempt from the zakat required of Muslims.) This agreement has in the past led to Islamic countries practicing religious toleration for Christians and Jews, although they were never accorded the full status enjoyed by Muslims.
Exclusivistic thought in Islam
One part—often seen as the largest or at least currently the most vocal—focuses on the differences takes an exclusivistic and aggressive approach to the differences between Islam and the Judeo-Christian community. Like in other faiths, this can lead to parts of the Muslim community holding beliefs like the necessity of bringing them back to the "Straight Path" by persuasion, or even force, and then acting them out.
Inclusivistic thought in Islam
Another part—often with a lower-profile, if not currently an outright minority—of Muslims focus on the similiarities and believe that people of faith in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism all serve the same God, and cite verses such as the following:
- "We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam)." (Surat Al Imran; 3:84).
- "Those with Faith, those who are Jews, and the Christians and Sabaeans, all who have Faith in Allah and the Last Day and act rightly, will have their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow." (Surat al-Baqara; 2:62).
- "The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believes in Allah, His angels, His Books, and His Messengers. "We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His Messengers." And they say: "We hear, and we obey, (we seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys." (Surat al-Baqara; 2:285).
- "Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way. Your Lord knows best who is misguided from His way. And He knows best who are guided." (Surat an-Nahl; 16:125).
- "...You will find the people most affectionate to those who have faith are those who say, 'We are Christians.' That is because some of them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant." (Surat al-Ma'ida; 5:82).
- "Only argue with the People of the Book in the kindest way - except in the case of those of them who do wrong - saying, 'We have iman in what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to you. Our God and your God are one and we submit to Him." (Surat al-`Ankabut; 29:46).
One verse of the Qur'an says "God forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for [your] faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loveth those who are just." (Qur'an, 60:8), which is interpreted as a clear admonition not to be disrespectful or unkind to non-Muslims. According to a hadith, Muhammad said to his people "The one who murders a dhimmi [non-Muslim under protection of the state] will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, even if its smell was forty years travelling distance" [Sahih Ahmed].
See also: Islam and Judaism -- Judeo-Islamic -- The Bible in Islam -- Islam and anti-Semitism -- Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs
Historical origin of Islam
Main articles: History of Islam, Muhammad
The growth of Islam today
Based on the percentages published in the 2003 CIA factbook, Islam is the second largest religion in the world. According to the World Network of Religious Futurists, the U.S. Center for World Mission, and the controversial Samuel Huntington, Islam is growing faster numerically than any other religion. It is a matter of great controversy whether this is due in large part to the higher birth rates in many Islamic countries, or whether a high conversion rate may also be a factor.
The Muslim population today comprises over 1.3 billion people (cf. Adherents.com); estimates of Islam by country based on US State Departement figures yield a total of 1.48 billion, 22.82% of the world's population (see Islam by country.) However, only 18% of Muslims live in the Arab world; a fifth is found in Sub-Saharan Africa, about 30% in the Indian subcontinental region of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, and the world's largest single Muslim community (within the bounds of one nation) is in Indonesia. There are also significant Muslim populations in China, Europe (especially in the Mediterranean countries), Central Asia, and Russia. There are approximately 5 million Muslims in North America. The world population is growing at about 1.10% per year, but the percentage of Muslim population is increasing by 1.4% per year, mostly due to higher birth rate of African and Asian countries. Birth rates in many Muslim countries have begun to decline, although more slowly than in other nations, which also may be a factor.
Denominations of Islam
There are a number of Islamic religious denominations, each of which has significant theological and legal differences from each other. The major branches are Sunni and Shi'a, with Sufism often considered as an extension of either Sunni or Shi'a thought. All denominations, however, follow the five pillars of Islam and believe in the six pillars of faith (mentioned earlier).
The Sunni sect of Islam comprises the majority of all Muslims (about 90%). It is broken into four similar schools of thought (madhhabs) which interpret specific pieces of Islamic practice. They are named after their founders Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanafi, and Hanbali. Each school of thought differs slightly on fiqh (thoughts on how to practise Islam) although all accept the fundamentals contained within the Holy Quran.
Shi'a Islam comprises most of the Muslims that are not counted among the Sunni. The Shi'a consist of one major school of thought known as the Jafaryia or the "Twelvers", and a few minor schools of thought, as the "Seveners" or the "Fivers" referring to the number of infallible leaders they recognise after the death of Muhammad. The term Shi'a is usually taken to be synonymous with the Jafaryia/Twelvers.
While some consider the Islamic mysticism called Sufism to constitute a separate branch, most Sufis can easily be considered Sunni or Shi'a. Sufism is the hardest to understand by non-practitioners because on first sight it seems that sufis are either of Shi'a or Sunni denomination, but it is true that some sects of Sufism can be categorised as both Sunni and Shi'a whilst others are not from either denomination. The distinction here is because the schools of thought (madhhabs) are regarding "legal" aspects of Islam, the "dos" and "don'ts", whereas Sufism deals more with perfecting the aspect of sincerity of faith, and fighting one's own ego. Other people may call themselves Sufis who may be perceived as having left Islam (or never followed Islam). There are also some very large groups or sects of Sufism that are not easily categorised as either Sunni or Shi'a, such as the Bektashi or those that can be categorised as both at the same time, like the Barelwi. Sufism is found more or less across the Islamic world, though bearing distinctive regional variations, from Senegal to Indonesia.
According to Shaikh Mahmood Shaltoot, Head of the al-Azhar University in the middle part of the 20th Century, the Ja'fari school of thought, which is also known as "al-Shi'a al- Imamiyyah al-Ithna Ashariyyah" (i.e., The Twelver Imami Shi'ites) is a school of thought that is religiously correct to follow in worship as are other Sunni schools of thought. This position was not generally accepted by mainstream Sunni scholarship, and al-Azhar itself distanced itself from this position.
Another denomination which dates back to the early days of Islam are the Kharijites. Members of this group in the present day are more commonly known as Ibadhi Muslims. A large number of Ibadhi Muslims today live in Oman.
Another more recent group are the "Wahhabis", though some classify them as the conservative branch of the Hanbali school of Sunni Islam. "Wahhabism" is a movement founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab in the 18th century in what is present-day Saudi Arabia.
Another recent group is the Ijtihadists, which represents a wide variety of views alternatively known as progressive, liberal or secular Muslims. They may be either Sunni or Shi'ite, and generally favour the development of personal interpretations of Qur'an and Hadith. See: Liberal Islam
See also: Imam -- Islamic philosophy -- Zaiddiyah
Religions based on Islam
The following groups call themselves Muslims, but are not considered Islamic by the majority of Muslims or Muslim authorities:
The following religions are said by some to have evolved or borrowed from Islam, but consider themselves independent religions with distinct laws and institutions:
The claim of the adherents of the Bahá'í Faith that it represents an independent religion was upheld by the Muslim ecclesiastical courts in Egypt during the 1920's. As of January 1926, their final ruling on the matter of the origins of the Bahá'í Faith and its relationship to Islam was that the Bahá'í Faith was neither a sect of Islam, nor a religion based on Islam, but a clearly-defined, independently-founded, Faith.
Some see Sikhism as a syncretic mix of Hinduism and Islam. However, its history lies in the social strife between local Hindu and Muslim communities, during which Sikhs were seen as the "sword arm" of Hinduism. The philosophical basis of the Sikhs is deeply-rooted in Hindu metaphysics and certain philosophical practices. Sikhism also rejects image-worship and believes in one God, just like the Bhakti reform movement in Hinduism and also like Islam does. However, Sikhs are forbidden from practices such as eating ritually prepared meat (halal) that are central in Islam.
The following religions might have been said to have evolved from Islam, but are not considered part of Islam, and no longer exist:
Islam in the modern world: What is "fundamental'?
Although the most visible movement in Islam in recent times has been fundamentalist Islamism, there are a number of liberal movements within Islam which seek alternative ways to reconcile the Islamic faith with the modern world.
Islamic traditions have several sources: the Qur'an, the hadiths, and interpretations of both by scholars. Over the centuries, there has been a tendency towards fundamentalism, with interpretations being regarded as immutable, even those that consist of folk religion not directly traceable to the prophet Muhammad.
Early shariah had a much more flexible character than is currently associated with Islamic jurisprudence, and many modern Muslim scholars believe that it should be renewed, and the classical jurists should lose their special status. This would require formulating a new fiqh suitable for the modern world, e.g. as proposed by advocates of the Islamization of knowledge, and would deal with the modern context. One vehicle proposed for such a change has been the revival of the principle of ijtihad, or independent reasoning by a qualified Islamic scholar, which has lain dormant for centuries.
This movement does not aim to challenge the fundamentals of Islam; rather, it seeks to clear away misinterpretations and to free the way for the renewal of the previous status of the Islamic world as a center of modern thought and freedom. See Modern Islamic philosophy for more on this subject.
The claim that only "liberalisation" of the Islamic Shariah law can lead to distinguishing between tradition and true Islam is countered by many Muslims with the argument that any meaningful "fundamentalism" will, by definition, reject non-Islamic cultural inventions -- by, for instance, acknowledging and implementing Muhammad's insistence that women have God-given rights that no human being may legally infringe upon. Proponents of modern Islamic philosophy sometimes respond to this by arguing that, as a practical matter, "fundamentalism" in popular discourse about Islam may actually refer, not to core precepts of the faith, but to various systems of cultural traditionalism. The debate continues; for the sake of reference, note that an organisation considered by many to be fundamentalist in nature is Hizb ut-Tahrir .
Islam around the world
See: Islam by country
- Shi'a muslims do not believe in absolute predestination (Qadar), since they consider it incompatible with Divine Justice. Neither do they believe in absolute free will since that contradicts God's Omniscience and Omnipotence. Rather they believe in "a way between the two ways" (amr bayn al‑'amrayn) believing in free will, but within the boundaries set for it by God and exercised with His permission.
- The Egyptian Islamic Jihad group claims, as did a few long-extinct early medieval Kharijite sects, that Jihad is the "sixth pillar of Islam." Some Ismaili groups consider "Allegiance to the Imam" to be the so-called sixth pillar of Islam. For more information, see the article entitled Sixth pillar of Islam.
- The Encyclopaedia of Islam
- The Koran Interpreted: a translation by A. J. Arberry, ISBN 0684825074
- Islam, by Fazlur Rahman, University of Chicago Press; 2nd edition (1979). ISBN 0226702812
- The Islamism Debate, Martin Kramer, University Press, 1997
- Liberal Islam: A Sourcebook, Charles Kurzman, Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0195116224
- Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism Omid Safi, Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 2003. ISBN 1-85168-316-X
- The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder, Bassam Tibi, Univ. of California Press, 1998
Online academic sources
Islam and the arts and sciences
Other meanings of the word
The word "Islam" is also sometimes used as a Muslim man's or woman´s name.