Islam Versus Islamism

Islam is a monotheistic religion that originated in the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century CE. Its founder, the prophet Muhammad (570–632 CE), is said to have received revelations from God, which are contained in Islam’s sacred book, the Qur’an. The Qur’an can be interpreted as apolitical, advocating no particular political system or governance model. Those who interpret Islam as apolitical highlight its focus on the greatness of God (Allah in Arabic) along with human conduct and interaction at the individual and community levels. However, immediately following his death, Muhammad’s companions established a caliphate, the first Arab-Muslim Empire, which sought to establish Islam’s political authority across the Arabian Peninsula and beyond. Islamism, an ideology that utilizes Islam for political purposes, was born of this fusion ...

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