The concept of Islamic state as opposed to the very foundations of Islamic civilization are attributing factors that may well lead to clues into the “genesis” of the unabated violence that is carried out by Muslim extremist organizations across the world and the subsequent ad continuum anger surfacing against the entire Muslim population irrespective of whether they are actually connected or subscribe to any such acts of violence. There are social and political causatives to the whole issue which I will attempt to address in this write-up.

The social part focuses on the fact that there are two derivatives of narratives about God in Islam and these concern fear and love for the Almighty. While Islamic civilization was premised on love for God, the concept of and the ideologues of Islamic state derive their strength from (instilling) fear of the same God. The political part which may also be interpreted as the “power” part concerns the fact that Islamic civilization prospered in medieval times at the behest of its quest for knowledge while the Islamic state “proponents” seek limitation of knowledge to fundamentalist teachings.

Let us first delve on the concept of the social part which basically focuses on the concept of love for the Almighty in Islam. In the actual circumstance, fear of God, sacrifice for God, prayer and belief are stages that eventuate into the final stage that is the love of God. While the first precepts of the path to firm belief are practised by most Muslims, the eventuation into the love of God is seldom attained because it is preceded by sacrifice or annihilation of ill-place desire and greed. Conquering desire and greed are difficult stages to attain and thereof the eventual rise to love God is even conceptually “abandoned” and all appeal is attached to the “path” to realization of love rather than love itself. There is another side to the coin here. Once a Muslim walks the path and starts loving God, he/she becomes inherently apparent about the structures to follow thus forfeiting the clerics their dominion over religion. This leaves the clerical clan powerless which over the ages has been calculated to the proportion of loss in terms of anticipated “personal gains”. As the clerics cannot afford to surrender their “power” they delimit Islam to the chapter of fear and sacrifice which in turn lays the seed for violence while there is hardly any place for violence in Islam except for conditions where coercion is used by anyone to “confiscate” the rights of a Muslim.

“Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah): They love them as they should love Allah. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah…” – Quran, Chapter (2) Sūrat l-Baqarah (The Cow) 2:165, translation by Yousuf Ali. The “overflowing in their love” for Allah is the prime driving force for a Muslim, a true Muslim, which leads to coalescence of the self with the soul (concepts and precepts) of Islam. It leads to adherence as a matter of faith and not fear. Besides, Islam as a religion prefaces the concept of love as intrinsic to all socio-economic relations. “It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.” – Quran, Chapter (2) Surat I-Baqarah (The Cow) 2:177). Love is primal to this verse from the Holy Quran. It is in love for the Almighty that Muslims are expected to benefit others, the poor and the downtrodden. Unfortunately, as stated earlier, the concept of love in Islam has brushed under the carpet by Muslim clerics and the whole point has been subdued to the point of fear and sacrifice. Fear is used as a tool by Muslim extremist organizations and their ideologues to freeze-frame the concept of benevolent Islam into a clause for the extermination of non-Muslims. By brewing this potion of hatred the ideologues benefit to the point that they do not lose hold in Muslim populations which are generally always brushing shoulders with the modernistic world. The fear of the Almighty (as preached in isolation) keeps the Muslims from “wandering” into the “woods” of reason and scientific intervention. This purpose is mainly served through the “effluent” chain of “madrassas” where Muslim young are targeted with intensified agendas of hatred imbibed by way of fear of the Almighty.

Coming to the concept of civilization crossing paths with the concept of Islam as a state, there is more than enough historic (recorded) evidence that the Islamic civilization was very rich in terms of knowledge, heritage, scientific advances and arts. Retracing our steps into Islamic history we find that centres of religious learning served as platforms for knowledge and scientific development, especially during the Abbasid period (750-1258 A.D.). It was in the 10th century that the formal concept of the Madrassah was developed in Baghdad. The Madrassah had a curriculum and full-time and part-time teachers, many of whom were women. Madrassas led to the establishment of Maktabat (libraries) with the two most famous being Bait al-Hikmah in Baghdad (ca. 820) and Dar al-Ilm in Cairo (ca. 998). The Madrassa and the Maktabat were centres of intrinsic learning and knowledge from across many parts of the world passed through these centres. By the mid-800s Islamic culture as well as commerce and contacts with many other parts of the world flourished. Syria, Baghdad, and Persia channelized knowledge, essentially Greek and Syriac and Indian. Muslim philosophers i.e., Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), Ibn Sina (Avicenna, d. 1037), Ibn Rushd (Averroes, d. 1198), al-Farabi and al-Ghazali translated the works of Greek philosophers while adding their own insights and interpretations to the originals, enriching the wealth of the Islamic civilization with new ideas and thoughts which later on influenced European thought too. Muslim scholars such as al-Shaybani contributed to legal theory also. al-Shaybani initiated the method of teaching Islamic international law. These practises laid the basis for writings of legalists of the 15th and 16th centuries in terms of international law.

Algebra was essentially developed by Muslims. Among the most prominent scholars in algebra was Ibn al-Haytham (965-1030), who developed the "Alhazen problem," one of the basic algebraic problems, and who made great contributions to optics and physics. He also advanced thesis that extra-terrestrial phenomena governed the motion of the earth and stars and this was much before Newton. In terms of medical sciences, multi-scale developments were marked through the works of Ibn Sina (Avicenna), al-Razzi, and Husayn bin Ishak al-Ibadi, who translated Hippocrates and other Greeks. Ibn Sina became a famed physician at 18 who wrote 16 books and an encyclopaedia on all known diseases in the world. In the same length, the social and natural sciences were being advanced by men such as Ibn Khaldun, the first historian to explicate the laws governing the rise and fall of civilizations.

Muslims have an edge in terms of navigation, shipbuilding, astronomy, and scientific measuring devices which led to unprecedented development of commerce and trade. The Arabs were at the crossroads of the trade routes from the Mediterranean, the Arabian Gulf, East Africa, and the Indian subcontinent, all the way to China and this proved to be a point of latent advantage. Muslim scholars contributed equally to architecture, construction, decoration, painting, mosaic, calligraphy, design, metalcraft, wood carving and music. This was a point where Islamic civilization had reached a point of glory in history. “Nothing in Europe,” notes Jamil Ragep, a professor of the history of science at the University of Oklahoma, “could hold a candle to what was going on in the Islamic world until about 1600.” What changed thereof?

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) envisioned Islam as a combination of spirituality, politics, economics, and social orders. After the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) it was a struggle for power owing to which led to the first division in Islamic society, segregating Sunnis from Shias. A century later Islamic rulers sought conquests of foreign lands, with armies marching into neighbouring empires and establishing their rule in these empires. Eventually a de facto separation of religious and political power took shape and while descendants of the Prophet (PBUH) or the Caliphs held religious authority, monarchs or sultans emirs wielded political power. Consequently the Muslim empire(s) that was established brought together a mass of people belonging to various regions and the need to develop a set of laws that could be applied uniformly to all Muslim subjects was felt and thus the development of the Sharia -  set of rules codified into law - by the Ulema. Consequently the Ulema were then entrusted with the task of formulating Sharia. The Sharia encompassed almost all spheres of life from those governing commerce and crime, to rules about marriage, divorce, property, hygiene, and various aspects of interpersonal relationships. However, the Ulema were subservient in relation to the political leadership.

The eventuality that surfaced was a distinctive men of the “pen” and the men of the “sword”, the ones who devised effected judicial and administrative duties and the ones who expanded the dominion of Islamic rule. This later coincided with the age of capitalism. Muslim rulers lost some territories to European colonial powers, and as a result Muslim rulers of the Ottoman, Egyptian, and Persian empires introduced programs of modernization, capitalistic reforms, and Westernization. Even though the ideation of the rulers of the Muslim world was to gain integral support for development of military and warfare, it had its repercussions on the socio-economic order in the Muslim world. There were legal, administrative, educational and social reforms. Thus a brand new educated secular middle class emerged among the Muslim world under the influence of the West which eventually led to the erosion of the stature of the Ulema. Islamic society underwent massive changes and these changes were not anticipated by the rulers who sought military interventions of the West. To save the day the political elite, the rulers of the Islamic world a spate of revivalist tendencies were “unveiled” to counter Western influences. Thus the revivalists who saw European colonialism and imperialism as a vital threat to Muslim political and religious identity. This laid the seed of the Salafiya school of thought which later in the twentieth century called for the overthrow of “secular” Muslim governments the world over. This marked the rise of Political Islam with Saudi Arabia becoming the major playfield. Saudi Arabia was consistently backed by the United States of America (the “aggressor) which had its own agendas to pursue elsewhere at the behest of the power and status enjoyed by King Saud among the Muslim world. This amalgamated into the idea of the contemporary Islamic State trampling the very ideas and history of Islamic civilization in the process.

Thus the shifts in social and political imperatives in the Islamic world from love for God to fear of God in case of the former and the quest for knowledge to the retraction to fundamentals in Islam in the latter case solidified into the state of chaos in the Muslim world. The state of chaos is bubbling up into retrogressive violence against not only the “aggressor” West but much of the world including Muslim populations itself for the phenomenon(s) of violence can never contain itself to its targeted-assumed “oppressor”. The trajectory of Islamic terrorism is unpredictable since the factions involved, though following a peculiar ideology, operate at segregated levels as splinters to elude the hunt.