Blog Post

The politicization of Islam

A Blog Post

Anyone who is familiar with Islam agrees that it has many positive features such as its emphasis upon unconditional surrender to God, and submission to His will, its commitment to a certain way of life that would purify the mind and heart, a child like faith in the word of God, emphasis upon purity, discipline, virtue and mortality, and so on. However, unfortunately, since its origin Islam has been misused by political authority for personal ends. Since the first Caliphate was formed, the power to regulate the religious lives of people remained vested with the rulers, unlike in Christianity where the kings had to contend with the Pope in matters concerning faith. As a result, from the beginning Islam had been used and misused by rulers to enforce their rule. In doing so, they did not claim divine authority, but the authority of the scriptures to invoke their authority and for them it was easier and more convenient than claiming a direct affinity with God. Thus, rulers and dictators alike used the faith of the people to impose their will and authority upon them and subject them to oppression and innumerable hardships. One of the great features of Islam is its emphasis upon having a direct relationship with God instead of through middlemen. But Islamic rulers insisted that they would act as the middlemen and stand in between people and God to see if they were practicing their faith rightly. Thus, they became the self-styled guardians of faith, to punish whomever they disliked for personal, political or religious reasons. Personally, these rulers represented the worst of humanity. They had many vices and there was nothing divine or humane about them. You can say they represented the lowest denomination to which human beings can descend in any aspect of life. Yet, they believed, and still many do, that they had a right to act as the moral guardians of the people they oppressed. Whether it was Genghis Khan or Aladdin Khilji, Timor, Aurangzeb or Mohammad Tughlak, they have been personally responsible for the deaths of millions of people in the name of religion and all they cared was how to strengthen their rule and extend their power so that they could collect taxes from poor people and use that money to wage more wars. Yet, each of them pretended that they were upholding a faith, which they never really practiced. Thus far, for the selfish rulers Islam has been both the shield and the weapon to stay in power and avoid being challenged.