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Islamism (also often called political Islam) is a religio-political ideology. The advocates of Islamism, also known as "al-Islamiyyun", are dedicated to realizing their ideological interpretation of Islam within the context of the state or society. The majority of them are affiliated with Islamic institutions or social mobilization movements, often designated as "al-harakat al-Islamiyyah."[1] Islamists emphasize the implementation of sharia,[2] pan-Islamic political unity,[2] the creation of Islamic states,[3] (eventually unified), and rejection of non-Muslim influences—particularly Western or universal economic, military, political, social, or cultural.

In its original formulation, Islamism described an ideology seeking to revive Islam to its past assertiveness and glory,[4] purifying it of foreign elements, reasserting its role into "social and political as well as personal life";[5] and in particular "reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam" (i.e. Sharia).[6][7] [8][9] According to at least one observer (author Robin Wright), Islamist movements have "arguably altered the Middle East more than any trend since the modern states gained independence", redefining "politics and even borders".[10]

Central and prominent figures in 20th-century Islamism include Sayyid Rashid Riḍā,[11] Hassan al-Banna (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood), Sayyid Qutb, Abul A'la Maududi,[12] Ruhollah Khomeini (founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran), Hassan Al-Turabi.[13] Syrian Sunni cleric Muhammad Rashid Riḍā, a fervent opponent of Westernization, Zionism and nationalism, advocated Sunni internationalism through revolutionary restoration of a pan-Islamic Caliphate to politically unite the Muslim World.[14][15] Riḍā was a strong exponent of Islamic vanguardism, the belief that Muslim community should be guided by clerical elites (ulema) who steered the efforts for religious education and Islamic revival.[16] Riḍā's Salafi-Arabist synthesis and Islamist ideals greatly influenced his disciples like Hasan al-Banna,[17][18] an Egyptian schoolteacher who founded the Muslim Brotherhood movement, and Hajji Amin al-Husayni, the anti-Zionist Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.[19]

Al-Banna and Maududi called for a "reformist" strategy to re-Islamizing society through grassroots social and political activism.[20][21] Other Islamists (Al-Turabi) are proponents of a "revolutionary" strategy of Islamizing society through exercise of state power,[20] or (Sayyid Qutb) for combining grassroots Islamization with armed revolution. The term has been applied to non-state reform movements, political parties, militias and revolutionary groups.[22]

At least one author (Graham E. Fuller) has argued for a broader notion of Islamism as a form of identity politics, involving "support for [Muslim] identity, authenticity, broader regionalism, revivalism, [and] revitalization of the community."[23] Islamists themselves prefer terms such as "Islamic movement",[24] or "Islamic activism" to "Islamism", objecting to the insinuation that Islamism is anything other than Islam renewed and revived.[25] In public and academic contexts,[26] the term "Islamism" has been criticized as having been given connotations of violence, extremism, and violations of human rights, by the Western mass media, leading to Islamophobia and stereotyping.[27]

Following the Arab Spring, many post-Islamist currents became heavily involved in democratic politics,[10][28] while others spawned "the most aggressive and ambitious Islamist militia" to date, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).[10]

  1. ^ "Islamism". Oxford Reference. Retrieved 25 August 2023.
  2. ^ a b Eikmeier, Dale (2007). "Qutbism: An Ideology of Islamic-Fascism". The US Army War College Quarterly: Parameters. 37 (1): 85–97. doi:10.55540/0031-1723.2340.
  3. ^ Soage, Ana Belén. "Introduction to Political Islam." Religion Compass 3.5 (2009): 887–96.
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference Burgat-IMiNA-1997 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference Berman, S 2003, p. 258 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference BYERS-2013 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference shepard-1996-40 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ Tibi, Bassam (1 March 2007). "The Totalitarianism of Jihadist Islamism and its Challenge to Europe and to Islam". Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions. 8 (1): 35–54. doi:10.1080/14690760601121630. ISSN 1469-0764.
  9. ^ Bale, Jeffrey M. (1 June 2009). "Islamism and Totalitarianism". Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions. 10 (2): 73–96. doi:10.1080/14690760903371313. ISSN 1469-0764. S2CID 14540501.
  10. ^ a b c Wright, Robin (10 January 2015). "A Short History of Islamism". Newsweek. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  11. ^ Zhongmin, Liu (2013). "Commentary on "Islamic State": Thoughts of Islamism". Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (In Asia). Routledge: Taylor & Francis group. 7 (3): 23–28. doi:10.1080/19370679.2013.12023226.
  12. ^ Fuller, Graham E., The Future of Political Islam, Palgrave MacMillan, (2003), p. 120
  13. ^ Zhongmin, Liu (2013). "Commentary on "Islamic State": Thoughts of Islamism". Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (In Asia). Routledge: Taylor & Francis group. 7 (3): 38–40. doi:10.1080/19370679.2013.12023226.
  14. ^ Matthiesen, Toby (2023). The Caliph and the Imam. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America: Oxford University Press. pp. 270–271, 276–278, 280, 283–285, 295, 310–311. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190689469.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-068946-9.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  15. ^ Milton-Edwards, Beverley (2005). Islamic Fundamentalism since 1945. New York: Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group. p. 141. ISBN 0-415-30173-4.
  16. ^ B. Hass, Ernst (2000). Nationalism, Liberalism, and Progress: Volume 2 The Dismal Fate of New Nations. Ithaca, New York 14850, USA: Cornell University Press. p. 91. ISBN 0-8014-3108-5.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  17. ^ B. Hass, Ernst (2000). "2: Iran and Egypt". Nationalism, Liberalism, and Progress: Volume 2 The Dismal Fate of New Nations. Ithaca, New York 14850, USA: Cornell University Press. p. 91. ISBN 0-8014-3108-5.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  18. ^ Matthiesen, Toby (2023). "10: The Muslim Response". The Caliph and the Imam. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America: Oxford University Press. pp. 280, 284–285, 295. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190689469.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-068946-9.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  19. ^ Pappe, Ilan (2010). The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian Dynasty: The Husaynis 1700–1948. Translated by Lotan, Yaer. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California, United States: University of California Press. pp. 147–148. ISBN 978-0-520-26839-5.
  20. ^ a b Roy, Failure of Political Islam, 1994: p. 24
  21. ^ Hamid, Shadi (1 October 2015). "What most people get wrong about political Islam".
  22. ^ Nugent, Elizabeth (23 June 2014). "What do we mean by Islamist?". Washington Post. Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  23. ^ Fuller, Graham E., The Future of Political Islam, Palgrave MacMillan, (2003), p. 21
  24. ^ Rashid Ghannouchi (31 October 2013). "How credible is the claim of the failure of political Islam?". MEMO. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  25. ^ "Understanding Islamism" (PDF). International Crisis Group. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2013.
  26. ^ Emin Poljarevic (2015). "Islamism". In Emad El-Din Shahin (ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 1 February 2017. Islamism is one of many sociopolitical concepts continuously contested in scholarly literature. It is a neologism debated in both Muslim and non-Muslim public and academic contexts. The term "Islamism" at the very least represents a form of social and political activism, grounded in an idea that public and political life should be guided by a set of Islamic principles. In other words, Islamists are those who believe that Islam has an important role to play in organizing a Muslim-majority society and who seek to implement this belief.
  27. ^ William E. Shepard; FranÇois Burgat; James Piscatori; Armando Salvatore (2009). "Islamism". In John L. Esposito (ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195305135. The term "Islamism/Islamist" has come into increasing use in recent years to denote the views of those Muslims who claim that Islam, or more specifically, the Islamic sharīʿah, provides guidance for all areas of human life, individual and social, and who therefore call for an "Islamic State" or an "Islamic Order." [...] Today it is one of the recognized alternatives to "fundamentalist", along with "political Islam" in particular. [...] Current terminology usually distinguishes between "Islam," [...] and "Islamism", referring to the ideology of those who tend to signal openly, in politics, their Muslim religion. [...] the term has often acquired a quasi-criminal connotation close to that of political extremism, religious sectarianism, or bigotry. In Western mainstream media, "Islamists" are those who want to establish, preferably through violent means, an "Islamic state" or impose sharīʿah (Islamic religious law)—goals that are often perceived merely as a series of violations of human rights or the rights of women. In the Muslim world, insiders use the term as a positive reference. In the academic sphere, although it is still debated, the term designates a more complex phenomenon.
  28. ^ Roy, Olivier (16 April 2012). "The New Islamists". foreignpolicy.com. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2017.

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