Islamic fundamentalism

The phrase Islamic fundamentalism frequently used as a blanket term in the West to describe Islamist groups. The more correct applications of the term are these:

  • It describes the beliefs of traditional Muslims that they should restrict themselves to literal and traditional interpretations of their sacred texts, the Qur'an and Hadith.
  • It describes a variety of religious movements and groups in Muslim communities which may be entirely apolitical. An example is the Tablighi Jamaat, a missionary-like organization whose main goal is to increase the personal piety of its members. In this sense, Islamic fundamentalism is just a term for religious conservatism which forms part of the spectrum of Muslim society.
  • It describes Muslim groups which advocate Islam as a political movement, especially Islamism, which advocate the replacement of state secular laws with Islamic law.

All the above perspectives are opposed by liberal movements within Islam to varying degrees; in fact, fundamentalism and liberalism often define the two poles of public opinion in Muslim society. This indicates that fundamentalism may be simply a kind of conservatism which finds expression in a religious context.

Islamic Fundamentalism - Wikipedia.