Being Islamic/being Muslim
Fatwa No: 86000

  • Fatwa Date:1-7-2003 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 2, 1424
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Question

I would like to know what is difference between being Islamic and being Muslim? Some people say some people are Islamic but not Muslim and some are Muslim but not Islamic.

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions. The word, "Islamic" in the terminology of this age is more specific than the word "Muslim". What distinguishes somebody who is Islamic from ordinary Muslims is the fact that he carries the comprehensive Islamic cause to reform people's belief and thought and purify that from all superstitions and corruptions that have affected it throughout ages, so that people might return to the belief and thought of the righteous predecessors. An Islamic person aims at correcting acts of worship and removing innovations that have been attached to them; he also aims at reforming the relationships among individual Muslims and groups, the way they relate with their leaders, and the way the Muslims relate with non-Muslims internally and externally. He also aims at reforming the Muslims' conduct, individually and collectively. The Islamist is therefore a person who bears the Islamic civilizational cause that calls for the reform of all the above things in addition to political, economic, health and educational reform. "Muslim" on the other hand is more general. It is used for every person who professes the religion of Islam regardless of whether he strives for the cause of Islam or not, and regardless of his adherence to Islamic injunctions or not. He is counted among the Muslims as long as he does not commit any of the things that violate Islam. The word "Islamic" in the ancient books of Islam means something that is attributed to Islam. We find that in the books of beliefs and sects. For example, Imam Al-Ash'ari wrote a book which he named: "Maqaalaat al-Islaamiyeen warradd alayhaa" [i.e. Saying of the Islamists and the rebuttals to that". He meant those sects that claimed to be Muslims. In the literature also, we find what is called Islamic literature and pre-Islamic literature; the Islamic age and pre-Islamic age. Allah knows best.

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