Islamism - is Islam militant?

In general, fundamentalists declare that the original Islam of Mohammad’s time is the ideal, and demand a return to those ways. Islamists emphasize the foundations of their faith yet little of this original society is researched by Islamic scholars. No clear notion of the characteristics of this ‘original Islam’ exists. It is merely emphasized that in those days Islam was ‘perfectly’ realized. Moderate Muslims claim that the true Islam is ‘Mohammed at Mecca,’ whereas radical or militant Muslims claim that true Islam is ‘Mohammed at Medina.'

Egypt’s military inferiority in the wars with Israel, together with Israel’s protection by the West, has incurred the wrath of fundamentalist movements which form secret societies with a strictly hierarchical organization. Their members practice self-denial and are willing to make great personal sacrifices, including the offering of their lives (martyrdom), if need be. By their unquestioning religious obedience, the individual hopes to contribute to the transformation of society.

Two trends in Islamism can be defined as follows:

  1. Islamic groups who aim for religious reform with peaceful means.
  2. Islamic groups who want reform by using all means at hand, including terrorism

Islamism is a movement which bred a number of organizations with a number of characteristics:

  1. They are convinced that Islamic law (Shari’a) is valid for all aspects of social life, politics, and economy.
  2. They strive for the unity of the Islamic community.
  3. They hold that scholars are at liberty to interpret the Qur’an and tradition for current situations.
  4. They believe that revelations passed to Muhammad are the only connection between Allah and man.
  5. They assert that the present Islamic nations are not compatible with Muhammad’s original teachings.


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