Political Character of Islam

Whether there is a political Islam and it is a new methodology that is separate from the Orthodox religion is one of the debatable issues. The current environment and potential uneasiness between the West and Islam are mostly rooted in the political aspects of Muslims. The question, therefore, arises as to whether is there a political Islam or it’s a radical rupture from the orthodox principles of the religion and a new phenomenon that emerged as a result of political ambitions of few. This paper will, therefore, attempt to discuss political Islam from this perspective.

A closer look at Islamic history would suggest that it emerged in two different strands i.e. the growth of Islam as a religion and growth of Islam as a social institution. The evolution of Muslim governments over the period of time and the spread of Islam in many geographical areas of the world has resulted into the deep changes not only at the personal level but at political, social as well as economic level.

Early Muslim history indicates that just after the death of the Prophet, the Islamic empire started to flourish at great speed. During its peak period, the Islamic empire spread over a large geographical area and its rule extended up to countries like Spain. This rapid increase in the way Islam influenced the ordinary lives of so many individuals across the different geographical regions also based on the commonly shared principles. Since Islam binds its disciplines in a quasi-political community – Ummah, therefore, its&nbsp.political dimensions advocate no geographical boundaries. The central authority which controlled ruled and provided the spiritual guidance to the Ummah was Caliphate. However, due to the weakening of governance, the spread of Colonialism, the last Caliphate seat of the Muslim world ended after the First World War when the Ottoman empire was disintegrated and final central political authority in Islam vanished. ( Beinin, &amp. Stork, 1997).