ISLAM IS FIRST A COMMUNITY, AND SECOND
A CULTURE AND A POLITICS
(by the late Doctor Mohummed Haroon, ‘The Islamic Times, Jan 1998, vol:13’
c/o North Gate Road, Edgeley, Stockport, SK3 9NL, England)
It is very common to read in Muslim political writing that Islam is not a culture but a politics. To many Muslims, these writers say, Islam is just Salat, and Milad - An - Nabi, and certain marriage rules. These writers go on to say: Islam should be politics, by which they mean a struggle for an Islamic State of the Maududi or Khomeini type. At the opposite extremes, some Muslim writers insist that politics has no place in Islam, but that Islam should be just a personal belief and a private practice. To them, culture means the five pillars, and that is what Islam should be.
It is the aim of this article to show that both of these view points miss the point, which is that Islam is also a community. It is a community in Britain, and in each separate country of the world where there are Muslims. It is also a world community, the Umma, with over one thousand million members. And all these Muslims are brothers and sisters of one another. And they share a common life, in the mosque, in the Sufi Tariqat, in the locality, in the family, in the nation ,and all over the word, and in all sorts of ways, to many to name.
The real point is for Muslims to see the Muslim community as the centre of their activities, and to put the culture and the politics second to the development of the community, for only through community development can the culture and politics of Islam succeed.
To very many Muslims in modern Britain Islam is just a culture. They will tell you that Islam is their personal belief, and they are Muslims in Britain in the same way that the Catholics and Anglicans are just believers in their personal belief. The real meaning of these ideas is that the Muslims ceases to be a member of the Muslim community, and just becomes a member of the Kaffir society, who just happens to do Salat, and Fast in Ramadan etc.