What Is the Difference between 'Muslim' and 'Islamic'?

Islamic Societies Review, Nov. 6, 2016.

3 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2017

See all articles by Ahmed Souaiaia

Ahmed Souaiaia

University of Iowa; University of Washington

Date Written: November 6, 2016


Social labels and categories are exercise in control. They describe opponents, create boundaries, exclude social groups, justify discrimination, and promote persecution. They are imbued with sociopolitical power. Muslims used labels, internally for the first time, during the formative period of the community to privilege the elite and marginalize dissenters. They called those who challenged the established order, Khawarij [Outsiders]. Today, Muslims living in Western societies are often labeled radical Islamic extremists. But aside from this politically charged phrase, even common adjectives, such as Islamic and Muslim, are misused. So in what contexts should these adjectives be appropriately used and why is it important to use social labels judicially?

Keywords: Islamic Civ. Studies

Suggested Citation

Souaiaia, Ahmed, What Is the Difference between 'Muslim' and 'Islamic'? (November 6, 2016). Islamic Societies Review, Nov. 6, 2016., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3013643

Ahmed Souaiaia (Contact Author)

University of Iowa ( email )

314 Gilmore Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1097
United States

University of Washington

Seattle, WA 98195
United States

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