Article source :  “Islamic” Doesn’t Represent Islam: How One Word Misrepresents the Faith

By Amal Ben Hadda

“Islamic” is a word that originates from the word Islam, but whether or not it accurately represents the religion of Islam is up for debate. It raises the question: What is the difference between Muslim and Islamic?

The word “Islamic” is used in many different contexts throughout the world. In the religious world, there are Islamic books, Islamic scholars and Islamic schools. In the political world, we hear about Islamic parties, an Islamic state, and Islamic laws. In the financial world, we find Islamic banks, Islamic loans, and Islamic investment.

In other contexts, we find Islamic charities, Islamic art, Islamic TV channels, Islamic clothing, Islamic food, Islamic perfumes, Islamic tourism, Islamic names, and even Islamic dream interpretations! The word “Islamic” has become an adjective synonymous with “Muslim,” regardless of whether or not it is legitimately connected to the religion of Islam.

The religion of Islam is characterized by submission to God. To submit means to worship one unique God, and no idols. People who accept Islam and follow this school of thought are called Muslims.

According to the Quran, the word “Muslim” was given by the Prophet Abraham to describe all of those who believe in one unique God.

However, the word Muslim is commonly restricted to describing the messenger Mohammed’s followers, excluding any of the other monotheistic believers.

The meaning of the word “Islamic” has only been defined linguistically. It has no reference in the Quran and has no specific meaning at a religious level. Many voices from within the Muslim community consider the word “Islamic” to be misleading.

The word “Islamic” is typically used to describe anything to do with the religion of Islam, whether it be negative or positive. In some parts of the world, using the word “Islamic” makes Muslims feel that they are both complying with and respecting the Muslim faith.

It has become a marketing tool to attract Muslim customers, for a political party to attract voters and for scholars to generate more followers.

In other parts of the world, the word “Islamic” generates feelings of terror, violence, persecution of women, and forced marriage. Islam is seen as a threat, as the dark side of humanity.

Many media sources perpetuate this vision by confounding the words “Islam” and “Islamic.” In both a positive and negative context, the labeling things as “Islamic” is predominantly justified based on the so called “Islamic” texts.

These texts could be the exegeses and interpretations of Quran called Tafasirs, the historical narratives about the life of the Prophet called Hadiths, or Muslims’ jurisprudence known as Fiqh.

These texts, among others, are considered by most Muslims to be religious passages that represent a “pragmatic” form of Islam based on different scholars’ interpretations.

In the Muslim world, these texts are reviewed and reconsidered with respect to the circumstances in which they were written and context of their applicability. They are not considered as a definitive way of practicing or representing Islam. However, Islam and the Quran are evaluated through these interpretations and deemed “Islamic,” with no distinction between what’s really said in the Quran and what has been interpreted in Hadiths or Fiqhs.

These interpretations of the Quran are examples of the confusion between the idea of “Islamic” and the religion of “Islam.”

Some of the more violent verses in the Quran have been interpreted as a “call to arms” in some translations of the exegeses, even though the Quran clearly states that these verses are only to be used within the context of self-defense or war.

This misinterpretation has caused endless debates between those who consider Islam to be a religion of peace, and others who want to fight Islam based on interpretations of the Quran rather than on the Quran itself.

Misuse of the adjective “Islamic” has generated misunderstanding and misconceptions about the religion of Islam. It has become a tool of manipulation to serve political and economic interests.

It has misled some Muslims about their own faith and has created hate among those who are not aware of the differences between Islam and being “Islamic.”

While the word “Islamic” is being manipulated to serve peoples’ interests, one thing should be kept in mind: Islamic doesn’t represent the religion of Islam.