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Encyclopedia > Islamic fundamentalism

Islamic fundamentalism is a term used to describe religious ideologies seen as advocating a return to the "fundamentals" of Islam: the Quran and the Sunnah. Definitions of the term vary. It is attacked by some as problematic since Islamic belief requires all Muslims to be fundamentalists,[1] and by others as a term used by outsiders to describe perceived trends within Islam. [2] The Quran (Arabic al-qurʾān أَلْقُرآن; also transliterated as Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book of Islam. ... Sunnah(t) () literally means “trodden path”, and therefore, the sunnah of the prophet means “the way of the prophet”. Terminologically, the word ‘Sunnah’ in Sunni Islam means those religious actions that were instituted by Muhammad(PBUH) during the 23 years of his ministry and which Muslims initially received through consensus...

One of its most defining features is the "reopening" of the gates of Ijtihad.[3] This distinguishes it as distinct from (but sometimes overlapping with) Islamism, which is the term for a political ideology of Islam, but which may use one of the four preexisting schools of the Shari'ah. Exemplary figures of Islamic fundamentalism who are also termed Islamists are Sayyid Qutb and Abul Ala Mawdudi.[4] This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article is about political Islam For the religion of Islam, see Islam. ... Sharia (Arabic شريعة also Sharia, Shariah or Syariah) is traditional Islamic law. ... Islamism is a political ideology derived from the conservative religious views of Muslim fundamentalism. ... Sayyid Qutb Sayyid Qutb (IPA pronunciation: []) (also Syed, Seyyid, Sayid, or Sayed; last name also Koteb or Kutb) (Arabic: ; born October 9, 1906[1] – executed August 29, 1966) was an Egyptian author, Islamist, and the leading intellectual of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 60s. ... Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi (alternative spelling Syed; often referred to Maulana Maududi) was one of the most influential Muslim theologians of the 20th century and the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Party), an Islamist political party in Pakistan. ...



The definition offered by American historian Ira Lapidus distinguishes between mainstream Islamists and Fundamentalists. Although a fundamentalist may also be an Islamist, a Fundamentalist is "a political individual" in search of a "more original Islam," while the Islamist is pursuing a political agenda. He notes that Islamic fundamentalism "is at best only an umbrella designation for a very wide variety of movements, some intolerant and exclusivist, some pluralistic; some favourable to science, some anti-scientific; some primarily devotional and some primarily political; some democratic, some authoritarian; some pacific, some violent."[5]

Author Olivier Roy distinguishes between fundamentalists (or neo-fundamentalists) and Islamists in describing fundamentalists as more passionate in their opposition to the perceived "corrupting influence of Western culture," avoiding Western dress, "neckties, laughter, the use of Western forms of salutation, handshakes, applause." While Islamists like Olivier Roy (born 1949) is the research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a lecturer for both the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) and the Institut dEtudes Politiques de Paris (IEP). ...

"Maududi didn't hesitate to attend Hindu ceremonies. Khomeini never proposed the status of dhimmi (protected) for Iranian Christians or Jews, as provided for in the sharia: the Armenians in Iran have remained Iranian citizens, are required to perform military service and to pay the same taxes as Muslims, and have the right to vote (with separate electoral colleges). Similarly, the Afghan Jamaat, in its statutes, has declared it legal in the eyes of Islam to employ non-Muslims as experts." It has been suggested that Introduction of Islam (book) be merged into this article or section. ... Hinduism is a religious tradition[1] that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ... Ayatollah Khomeini founded the first modern Islamic republic Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini (آیت‌الله روح‌الله خمینی in Persian) (May 17, 1900 – June 3, 1989) was an Iranian Shia cleric and the political and spiritual leader of the 1979 revolution that overthrew Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the then Shah of Iran. ... This article is about dhimmi in the context of Islamic law. ... For military service in the meaning of an army as a military defense organization, see armed forces. ...

Other distinctions are in

  • Politics and economics. Islamists often talk of "revolution" and believe "that the society will be Islamised only through social and political action: it is necessary to leave the mosque ..." Fundamentalists are uninterested in revolution, less interested in "modernity or by Western models in politics or economics," and less willing to associate with non-Muslims. [6]
  • Sharia. While both Islamists and fundamentalists are committed to implementing Sharia law, Islamists "tend to consider it more a project than a corpus."[7]
  • Issue of women. "Islamist generally tend to favour the education of women and their participation in social and political life: the Islamist woman militates, studies, and has the right to work, but in a chador. Islamist groups include women's associations." While the fundamentalist preaches for women to return to the home, Islamism believes it is sufficient that "the sexes be separated in public." [8]

Graham Fuller describes it not as distinct from Islamism but as subset, "the most conservative element among Islamist." Its "strictest form" includes "Wahhabism, sometimes also referred to as salafiyya. ... For fundamentalists the law is the most essential component of Islam, leading to an overwhelming emphasis upon jurisprudence, usually narrowly conceived." [9] Sharia (Arabic: transliteration: ) is the body of Islamic religious law. ... Sharia (Arabic: transliteration: ) is the body of Islamic religious law. ... A chador (Persian چادر) is an outer garment worn by some Iranian women when they venture out into public; it is one possible way in which a Muslim woman may follow the Islamic ħijāb dress code. ...

Interpretation of texts

Muslims believe that the Qur'an is the unadulterated word of God as revealed to Muhammad through the angel Jibril (Archangel Gabriel). The Qur’ān [1] (Arabic: , literally the recitation; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Koran, or Al-Quran) is the central religious text of Islam. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Muhammad in a new genre of Islamic calligraphy started in the 17th century by Hafiz Osman. ... This article is about the archangel Gabriel. ...

Islamic fundamentalists, or at least "reformist" fundamentalists, believe Islam is based on the Qur'an, Hadith and Sunnah and "criticises the tradition, the commentaries, popular religious practices (maraboutism, the cult of saints), deviations, and superstitions. It aims to return to the founding texts." Examples of this tendency are the 18th century Shah Waliullah in India and Abd al-Wahhab in the Arabian Peninsula. [10] This view is commonly associated with Salafism today. Hadith ( transliteration: ) are oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of Prophet Muhammad. ... Sunnah(t) () literally means “trodden path”, and therefore, the sunnah of the prophet means “the way of the prophet”. Terminologically, the word ‘Sunnah’ in Sunni Islam means those religious actions that were instituted by Muhammad(PBUH) during the 23 years of his ministry and which Muslims initially received through consensus... A marabout is a personal spiritual leader in the Islam faith as practiced in West Africa, and still to a limited extent in the Maghreb. ... It has been suggested that Wali Allah Dahlawi be merged into this article or section. ... This article is on an Islamic movement. ...

Social and political goals

As with adherents of other fundamentalist movements[citation needed], Islamic fundamentalists hold that the problems of the world stem from secular influences. Further, the path to peace and justice lies in a return to the original message of Islam, combined with a scrupulous rejection of all Bid'ah ("religious innovation") and perceived anti-Islamic traditions.[citation needed] Fundamentalism is a movement to maintain strict adherence to founding principles. ... This article is about secularism. ... This article is about the concept of justice. ... Bidah (Arabic: بدعة ) is an Islamic term meaning (improper) innovation of religious beliefs or worship. ...

Some scholars of Islam, such as Bassam Tibi, believe that, contrary to their own message, Islamic fundamentalists are not actually traditionalists. He points to fatwahs issued by fundamentalists such as “every Muslim who pleads for the suspension of the shari‘a is an apostate and can be killed. The killing of those apostates cannot be prosecuted under Islamic law because this killing is justified” as going beyond, and unsupported by, the Qur’an. Tibi asserts; “The command to slay reasoning Muslims is un-Islamic, an invention of Islamic fundamentalists”.[11][12] Bassam Tibi, born 1944 in Damascus, is a political scientist of Syrian origin with German citizenship known for his analysis of international relations concerning Islamic countries and civilisation. ... A fatwā (Arabic: ; plural fatāwā Arabic: ), is a considered opinion in Islam made by a mufti, a scholar capable of issuing judgments on Sharia (Islamic law). ... The Quran (Arabic: al-qurān literally the recitation; also called Al Qurān Al KarÄ«m or The Noble Quran; or transliterated Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book of Islam. ...

Conflicts with the secular state

Islamic fundamentalism's push for Sharia and an Islamic State has come into conflict with conceptions of the secular, democratic state, such as the internationally supported Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Among human rights disputed by fundamentalist Muslims are: Sharia (Arabic: transliteration: ) is the body of Islamic religious law. ... Caliph is the term or title for the Islamic leader of the Ummah, or community of Islam. ... This article concerns secularity, that is, being secular, in various senses. ... For other uses, see Democracy (disambiguation). ... The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (abbreviated UDHR) is an advisory declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/217, 10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris). ...

  • freedom from religious police
  • the equality between men and women (the dispute is supported by such things as the Sharia law that a "man gets double the share of a woman in inheritance" because "he has much more responsibilities." (sic) The Prophet is said to have told early Muslims 'The best woman is she who, ... when you direct her she obeys." .... [13])
  • the separation of religion and state;
  • Freedom of religion. Muslims who leave Islam, or criticise it, "should be executed" [14][15][16][17][18][19] while the right of non-Muslims to convert to Islam is celebrated.

As a result of this sharp conflict, some say that fundamentalist Islam is incompatible with modern liberal democratic states. The Mutaween (مطوعين in Arabic) (variant English spellings: mutawwain, muttawa, mutawallees, mutawa’ah, mutawi’) are the government-authorized or -recognized religious police (or clerical police or public order police) within Islamist theocracies which adhere to varied interpretations of Sharia Law in which governments are either directly controlled by or significantly under... Liberal democracy is a form of government. ...

See also

For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... Protestors take to the street in support of Ayatollah Khomeini. ... Fundamentalist Christianity, or Christian fundamentalism, is a movement that arose mainly within British and American Protestantism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by conservative evangelical Christians, who, in a reaction to modernism, actively affirmed a fundamental set of Christian beliefs: the inerrancy of the Bible, Sola Scriptura, the... Haredi or chareidi Judaism is the most theologically conservative form of Orthodox Judaism. ... This article is on an Islamic movement. ... Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaah: ( Arabic, أهل السنة والجماعة ) This Arabic phrase means the adherents to the Sunnah and the community. This is a term used by some Sunni Muslims to refer to themselves, especially the salafis. ... Not to be confused with Mohammad Yazdi. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...


  1. ^ Bernard, Lewis, Islam and the West, New York : Oxford University Press, c1993.
  2. ^ " 'The Green Peril': Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat," Leon T. Hadar, Policy Analysis, Cato Institute, August 27, 1992.
  3. ^ Esposito, Voices of Resurgent Islam ISBN: 019503340X
  4. ^ Esposito, Voices of Resurgent Islam ISBN: 019503340X
  5. ^ Lapidus, 823
  6. ^ Roy, Olivier, The Failure of Political Islam, Harvard University Press, 1994. p.82-3, 215
  7. ^ Roy, Olivier, The Failure of Political Islam, Harvard University Press, 1994. p.59
  8. ^ Roy, Olivier, The Failure of Political Islam, Harvard University Press, 1994. p.p.38, 59
  9. ^ Fuller, Graham E., The Future of Political Islam, Palgrave MacMillan, (2003), p.48
  10. ^ Roy, Olivier, The Failure of Political Islam, Harvard University Press, 1994. p.31
  11. ^ Bassam Tibi, The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder. Updated Edition. Los Angeles, University of California Press: 2002. Excerpt available online as The Islamic Fundamentalist Ideology: Context and the Textual Sources at Middle East Information Center.
  12. ^ Douglas Pratt, Terrorism and Religious Fundamentalism: Prospects for a Predictive Paradigm, Marburg Journal of Religion, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Volume 11, No. 1 (June 2006)
  14. ^ "Murtadd", Encyclopedia of Islam
  15. ^ Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri: "Not Every Conversion is Apostasy", by Mahdi Jami, In Persian, BBC Persian, February 2, 2005, retrieved April 25, 2006
  16. ^ What Islam says on religious freedom, by Magdi Abdelhadi, BBC Arab affairs analyst, 27 March 2006, retrieved April 25, 2006
  17. ^ Fatwa on Intellectual Apostasy, Text of the fatwa by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
  18. ^ S. A. Rahman in "Punishment of Apostasy in Islam", Institute of Islamic Culture, Lahore, l972, pp. 10-13
  19. ^ The punishment of apostasy in Islam, View of Dr. Ahmad Shafaat on apostasy.

Bassam Tibi, born 1944 in Damascus, is a political scientist of Syrian origin with German citizenship known for his analysis of international relations concerning Islamic countries and civilisation. ... University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. ... University of Marburg - Department of Social Sciences and University library The old university The University of Marburg, officially Philipps-Universität Marburg, was founded in 1527 by Landgrave Philipp I of Hesse (usually called the Magnanimous) as the worlds first and oldest Protestant university. ...

Further reading

  • Sikand, Yoginder Origins and Development of the Tablighi-Jama'at (1920-2000): A Cross-Country Comparative Study, ISBN 81-250-2298-8
  • Roy, Olivier, The Failure of Political Islam, Harvard University Press, 1994
  • Shepard, William. "What is 'Islamic Fundamentalism'?" Studies in Religion. Winter 1988.

External links

Look up Islamic fundamentalism in
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Islamic fundamentalism

Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Wikiquote is one of a family of wiki-based projects run by the Wikimedia Foundation, running on MediaWiki software. ... is the 40th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... Martin Kramer (b. ... Martin Kramer (b. ...

Opposing views

  Results from FactBites:
Islamic fundamentalism - definition of Islamic fundamentalism in Encyclopedia (962 words)
The phrase Islamic fundamentalism is primarily used in the West to describe Islamist groups.
Islamic fundamentalism and especailly Islamism is becoming more and more in conflict with the secular, democratic state, based upon the widely supported Universal Rights (as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Many modern Islamic writers and imams (as Soheib Bencheikh, Mohammed Arkoun, Bassam Tibi, Abdoldjavad Falaturi and Nasr Abu Zayd write on a modern, secular interpretation that is perfectly compatible with modern secular democrary and with the legislation in the EU-states.
Fundamentalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4020 words)
Fundamentalism is a continuing historical phenomenon, illustrated by the creation of the Sikh Khalsa Panth in 1699, it is increasingly a modern phenomenon, characterized by a sense of embattled alienation in the midst of the surrounding culture, even where the culture may be nominally influenced by the adherents' religion.
The "fundamentals" of the religion have been jettisoned by neglect, lost through compromise and inattention, so that the general religious community's explanation of itself appears to the separatist to be in terms that are completely alien and fundamentally hostile to the religion itself.
Fundamentalism is therefore a movement through which the adherents attempt to rescue religious identity from absorption into modern, Western culture, where this absorption appears to the enclave to have made irreversible progress in the wider religious community, necessitating the assertion of a separate identity based upon the fundamental or founding principles of the religion.
  More results at FactBites »



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