Institutionalised Ideologies

Peace be with the servants of God.




We see terrorism, honour killings, corrupt rule, and so forth coming out of societies of Muslims, so how do some Muslims deviate from the divine religion which is perfect? In this reading I mention the difference between human error and ideological error and how they affect us.

Human Error

Turning to human error first: some of the pain of this world is not caused by errors in people’s relationships to God, but simply failures to execute. I.e. a person understands correctly, but fails in action. Call it human error. In this situation, there is no ideological problem, as such.

If an action is sanctioned by Islam, then turmoil that springs from human error occurring in the execution of it could not be harmful to society at large. If human errors committed while acting upon Islamic commands caused society at large to suffer, then Islam would be harmful to the world.

Is that possible? No. Did Allah ask Muslims to be perfect? No. Would Allah make make us suffer just because of that? No. Allah said that He would grant peace to society run by Islam. Islam brings peace.

Ideological  Error

Ideological error causes suffering. That is because it is not from God. Allah doesn’t order us to write ideologies. He wrote ideology for us. He knows we err a little, but He would never direct us to an ideological error that caused millions to suffer. We do that. We misguide ourselves.

In fact, this is a point that we must note. The sign of an ungodly ideology is that it causes suffering. Let me make my point now that I want to get across, and the point of this article:

The sign of an ungodly ideology is that it causes suffering. If it was from God then it could not.

Allah reveals to human beings sufficient religion for a happy life, and societies who fail to accept the religion, or they change it, or they disabuse it in some way, they fail to reap the benefits of divine revelations and they misguide themselves in some way.

Making Error Into Ideological Error

Institutionalising an ideology will magnify the error. Looking at the behaviour of the people, we can see whether an idea has become an institution. Once a group of followers begin manifesting a particular behaviour or belief regularly, in significant number, then there is institutional regulation of some kind behind it. Usually it can also be observed written into creeds and laws.

Examples of Institutionalised Religion

Sunni Islam and Shia Islam are man-made forms of institutionalised religion. They are not found in revelation. The words ‘sunnah’ and ‘shi’a’ are found in the Qur’an, but never mentioned as religions, nor placed together with the word ‘Islam’. Each of these terms (Sunni and Shi’a) has a literal meaning.

The literal meaning is not the point here. Any idea could become an institution if linked to the word ‘Islam’, especially if people are enticed to believe in it. You could have Mango Islam or Macadamia Islam, even both, if you sanctified them enough.

This may sound crazy, but its actually not too far from reality. There are sects that sanctify their own ancestors and claim it is the real Islam, and others who sanctify leaders, particular days, particular scholars, particular verses of the Qur’an, and so on. Usually, each group claims that their ‘Islam’ is the right one.

All of that is idol worship. We know this from the Qur’an itself, which dismissed sectarianism as idolatrous and forbade us from institutionalising man-made ideologies.