From The Global Secular Humanism Group:
“Should ‘Islam’ be considered as a political ideology and a religion at the same time?”
The question should be restated in this fashion in order to illustrate Islam’s political content:
A) Should Islam be considered a Religion? (Yes/No)
YES: Religions consist of Myths and rituals. It does appear that religions require some form of magian reasoning. However, scientism, secular humanism, progressivism, all require ‘faith’ (in methodology, reason, or technology) that is expressly counter to the historical evidence. So, it is quite possible to create a personal philosophy that is the premise for a religion (scientism, secular humanism, progressivism) on faith. Scientism has myths, rituals and institutions. Progressivism has them too. Secular humanism is getting close, but I tend to treat secular humanists as simply anti-christian atheists and progressives as Democratic Secular Humanists. That means Secular Humanism is a minor ideology, and Democratic Secular Humanism as a major ideology. Both of which rely upon faith. But Democratic (Socialist) Secular Humanism, like islam, has both laws (human rights), institutions (academia, the press, the party structure, and it’s developed expressly for use in majority rule under parliamentarianism). So it appears to be both an ideology, a religion and a political system.
B) Should Islam be considered a political Ideology? (Yes/No)
YES: The purpose of an ideology is to obtain political power through excitation of the masses. Islam was invented to obtain political power. Islam was used as a means of conquest, and succeeded in obtaining political power. Islam is used to obtain, justify and use political power. Political power is the power to enforce the primacy of a set of laws. Islam contains a code of laws with explicit commandment to their primacy. Therefore islam is a political ideology.
C) Should Islam be considered a political system? (Yes/No)
YES: While a primitive political system only requires the ability to resolve disputes, A political system capable of coordinating investments (taxes and expenditures on infrastructure) requires at a minimum, laws, and an organization that mandates the exclusivity of those laws above all other laws, rules and norms. Islam has both a set of laws (Sharia) and a system of producing judges for those laws (Mullahs) and a system of intergenerational teaching for the purpose of propagating those laws (Religious Schools). In effect islam is a legal system with magian origins (instead of natural rights). That islam does not include other formal institutions (a parliament) is simply a function of it’s antiquity and tribal authoritarianism. Islam conquered a roman state (Byzantium) and assimilated it’s administrative structure. But did not include it on it’s own. In fact, much of islamic administration relied upon slaves and eunuchs because the byzantine administration could not adapt to Arab tribalism. (See Fukuyama’s recent book.)
Islam is a religion, a political ideology, and a political system. If one argues that it is not, then one must define the terms religion, political ideology, and political system. And that exercise would lead to either confirmation of that it is a religion, ideology and political system, or one would define those terms using selection bias by sampling normative rather than structural rules.