The term Islamic fundamentalism in the recent years has been used in relation to the extremists and terrorists in the Islamic world. The term fundamentalist indicates a person with an ideology that is opposite to the modern trends. This term has originated from Christianity.
But in the modern world, Islamic context is the main focus of using this term. Islamic fundamentalism means to follow the basic fundamental principles of Islam. Islam a religion of peace does not advocate militancy and extremism. The teachings of Islam strike a balance between worldly affairs and spirituality.
Reason for the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism:
The main reason behind the rise of Islamic fundamentalism is the failure to adopt the practices that are beneficial for the public good. For example in many Muslim countries, power is in few hands. There is no devolution of power and due to the parochial interests of ruling elite people have lost interest in them.
Islamic fundamentalism demands fairness and justice based on the principles of Quran and Sunnah. As you know that Islam is not just an ideological vision; it has its relevance in almost all spheres of life. It is fully familiar with the actual needs of mankind. Moreover, it focuses on establishing equilibrium between the needs of an individual and needs of community. Islam has stressed on equality. Everyone is equal in front of God. Islam has forbidden its followers to not enforce its teachings on mankind. The Holy Quran says:
“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion.”(Al Baqarah)
And you can witness that these aspects of Islam as a practical religion have encouraged the spirit of Islamic fundamentalism.
Concept of Islam as a complete code of life:
The concept of Islam as a complete code of life does not mean that Islam is a rigid religion. You are conversant with the method of Ijtihad. From the Quran and Sunnah, Muslims seek guidance for a better worldly and spiritual life.
But in the contemporary world, in which different issues are arising ever other day, Muslims can resolve those issues in the light of Holy Quran and Hadith and by following the principles of Qiyas and Ijma. Islam has a solution for each and every issue that the modern world is facing. These challenges of life can be tackled by practicing the true spirit of Islam.
There is a need to understand and interpret the teachings of Islam. Islam has guidance on socio-economic issues as well as on religious and political matters. We can better understand Islamic fundamentalism in the context of the universality and practicality of Islam.
Economic system of Islam and Islamic fundamentalism
You must have heard that the proponents of Islamic fundamentalism believe that Quran has a complete and comprehensive guidance for a suitable economic system. This economic system is available for each and every individual. It is against the spirit of oppression and poverty. It does not burden a person beyond his power.
Additionally, it ensures the distribution of wealth among all the classes of society. It has created a balance in which wealth is not accumulated in a particular class of society. Islam is a religion that ordains the ruler to establish justice by accommodating all the segments of society.
Law of inheritance in Islam:
The advocates of Islamic fundamentalism believe that this law is an example of the justice of the Islamic principles laid down in Quran. Islamic fundamentalism promotes the strict adherence to principles of Islam. In this context, the law of inheritance laid down in Quran, clearly states that wealth should be distributed among all the members of family.
The distribution of this wealth has been made logically according to the role and responsibilities of each and every member of the family. Islam gives the women their just share in property. In this way, by sticking with the fundamental principles of Islam, rights of every individual are protected.
Zakat is one of the five fundamental pillars of the Islam. Islam is a religion of compassion. It safeguards the rights of all the segments of society. It ordains the rich segment of the society to pay Zakat. So that the poor segment of the society can get the basic necessities of life.
Hoarding of wealth has been proscribed in Islam. It promotes give-and-take kind of relationship and condemns exploitation. This spirit of kindness has greatly inspired the believers of Islamic fundamentalism.
Interest free banking:
You must be aware of the concept of interest free banking. The concept of interest free banking has also been derived from Quran. This system abstains from interest. Interest has been prohibited in Islam because it increases the burden on a person beyond his capacity. The Holy Quran says:
“We have made buying and selling lawful and interest unlawful.”Al Quran
It is another favorable thing for the supporters of Islamic fundamentalism.
Labor in Islam:
Islam protects the right of the laborers. In Islam, laborer has special position. The holy Prophet pastured goats in Makkah. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said that a laborer should be paid before his sweat dries up. In Islam every profession is a noble profession.
All these basic things related to economic system have been derived from Quran and they do not promote spirit of extremism. In fact all these economic policies of Islam promote economic equality if followed in letter and spirit. The supporters of Islamic fundamentalism believe that when wealth is not distributed equally and judiciously among the masses, it results in poverty, . Ultimately, poverty leads toward economic deprivation and extremism.
Political System of Islam:
The adherents of Islamic fundamentalism believe that in Islam the center of power is God; the owner of supreme power. In Surah Ad Dhariyat, Allah says:
“Indeed, it is Allah who is the provider, the firm possessor of strength.”Surah Ad Dhariyat
This verse vividly declares that all strength and power lies with God. Human beings have been sent on the earth and they have been delegated the authority by the will of Allah. Allah says in the holy Quran:
“And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.”
In this verse it is evident that humans have been sent on earth by God and power has been delegated to them. So that they may make decisions in the light of divine revelations. With this mechanism, the concept of monarchy has been abolished. The system of rule of people by the people in the light of the teachings of Quran became prominent. It is quite similar to the modern trends of government. Islamic state is a welfare state. It proclaims justice and equality.
The concept of Islamic state inspires the believers of Islamic fundamentalism. They believe that in Islamic state, all the matters are discussed and decided in a Majlis e Shoora. Consensus is the key in decision-making. There is no discrimination on the basis of color, or race.
In Islamic state, judiciary is independent, and caliph is also equal to the ordinary citizens in the court of law. According to Islamic principles, citizens elect the ruler.
Muslim laws related to wars and battles:
Muslim laws related to war are also compassionate in nature. There is a distinction between belligerents and fighters. The killings of minor, women, old and sick have been strongly prohibited in Islam. So, the overall concept of Islamic fundamentalism that non-believers usually associate with Muslims is totally wrong.
Safeguard of the rights of minorities:
The proponents of Islamic fundamentalism consider that it is the duty of the Islamic state to ensure the liberty of all the minorities. In the light of Islamic principles they must be provided all the facilities to practice their religion.
Islam has given equal rights to man and woman. Women have the right to hold property. Marriage is a contract which women can use to put in their genuine demands with their husbands.
Rights of citizen in Islamic state
Citizens have been provided social, economic and political rights in an Islamic state.
In social rights, every person has the right to live, to purchase and sell property, right of equality, and right of honor. There is no bias on the basis of color, cast and creed. Right of marriage and right of education has also been provided to the citizens regardless of their gender. So, Islam is basically the religion of equality.
Each and every citizen in the Islamic state has economic rights. They have the right of job and profession. There is no discrimination on the basis of color and race. Merit is the sole criterion. So, that every individual gets equal opportunity for improving the standard of living.
Right to speech and writing are the most important that Islam give to the citizens of an Islamic state. Participation in law making and to question the authority of the ruler are same for every individual.
All these rights provide a clear idea of the role of Islam in the lives of Muslims. Islamic fundamentalism is basically a wrong term that has been misrepresenting Islam. With these rights highlighted, we are sure that a clear and definitely a truer picture would be available for you.
Islam is definitely a complete code of life and the best religion that Allah has provided to the Muslims.