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AS6032: Contemporary

Relations of Islam and Politics:

Deconstructing Islamism, Salafism
and Jihadism
Lecture 1: Wednesday, 01 March 2017

Introduction to Islam: Theory

and Practice
Dr Mohamed Bin Ali
• Assistant Professor at Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP)
Programme, RSIS, NTU (current position)
• Associate Research Fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism
Research (ICPVTR) at RSIS, NTU from 2004-2013.
• Research interests include Islamic Jurisprudence, Islamist ideology, religious extremism,
inter-religious relations and rehabilitation of Muslim extremists.
• BA in Islamic Jurisprudence from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, MSc in International
Relations at RSIS and PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter,
United Kingdom.
• Aljunied Islamic School in Singapore from 1990-1995.
• Specialist Diploma in Counseling Psychology from Academy of Certified Counselors,
Singapore in 2006
• Vice-Chairman and counsellor of the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG)
• Member of Shariah Appeal Board of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS)
and member of Khadijah Mosque Management Board.
• Former member of Council for Asian Terrorism Research and former counselor at the
Singapore Prison Department.
• Research field trips in Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bangladesh, Indonesia
and the Philippines.
About this course
• New introduction in Asian Studies Programme (elective)

• Offered by Studies in Inter Religious Relations in Plural

Societies (SRP) Programme at RSIS

• SRP – Research, Teaching and Community Engagement

• Modules on religion and inter-religious studies

• Full MSc Programme in inter-religious studies

Why this course?
• Rise of Islamism, Salafism and Jihadism – some of the most
important developments of Islamic world in 20th century.

• Important to understand dynamic and challenges of modern

day Islamism

• Understanding terminologies

• A lot of misunderstanding and misperceptions of Islam today

• Understanding differences between Islam and political Islam

• Issue if religious extremism and violence.

Course Structure
• Part 1: Islam and Islamism
- Beliefs and Doctrines
- Islamic thought
- Political Islam

• Part 2: Salafism and Wahhabism

- History, development and politics
- Beliefs and doctrines
- Strands and Diversities

• Part 3: Jihad and Jihadism

- Jihad: Legal tradition and conduct of warfare
- Jihadism: History, development and ideologies
- Case studies: Countries and Individuals
Course Requirement:

• Attendance (13 weeks)

• Class participation / interaction (15%)
• Term Paper/Article Review - due week 7 (25%)
• Project/Presentation - due week 10 (10%)
• Written Exam (50%)
• Revision (week 12)
Learning Outcomes:
• Critically understand the nuances, dynamics and challenges of
Islamism, Salafism and Jihadism

• Familiarise with the main trends and inclinations of the different

modern Islamist groups and ideologies

• Analyse developments of Islamism and Salafism among the

relevant disciplines of Islamic studies, politics, sociology and

• Evaluate and critique scholarly and other writings on these topics.

Are there any differences?

• Islam and Islamism

• Salaf and Salafism

• Jihad and Jihadism

Understanding terminologies?
• Islam, Islamism, Islamists, Muslims, Islamiyyah

• Salaf, Salafi, Salafism, Salafiyyah

• Wahhabis, Wahhabism, Wahhabiyyah

• Jihad, Jihadism, Mujahid, Mujahidin

• Other Islamic terms and concepts e.g. Shariah, Takfir, Daulah,

Islamiyah, Hijrah, Al-Wala’ wal Bara’, Ummah, Sunni, Shiie, and
many others
Knowing Individuals
About Islam (1)
• Beliefs, doctrines, philosophy, values

• Religion and a way/system of life

• Various thoughts – legal, theological, mystical, political

• Divine revelation: Quran, Sunnah/hadith, hadith Qudsi

• Tradition of scholars – Islamic intellectual heritage

About Islam (2)
• The 5 pillars of Islam

• The 6 articles of faith

• Abrahamic religion

• A way/system of life

• Values and morals

The Prophetic Tradition









The Beliefs - The Six Articles of Faith

Belief in:

• The One God

• Angels
• Messengers of God
• Holy Books
• Day of Judgement
• The power of God to determine
one’s destiny
The Values

e.g Justice, Love, Compassion,

Mercy, Perseverance, Tolerance
Main Rituals - The Five Pillars

1. The Testimony of Faith

2. Solah / Prayer
3. Fasting
4. Zakat
5. Pilgrimage
The Way Of Life – Life Systems

e.g Family Systems, Social Systems,

Economic Systems, Political Systems,
Justice Systems, International Relations




Various Colours of Islam


Sunni Shiite

South, Central Imamiyah Iran/Iraq/

Asia, China Lebanon

Africa Maliki Zaydiyah Yemen

SEA Muslims/ Shafi’ii Ismailiyah Syria/Central

Yemen Asia

Saudi / Gulf Hanbali

School of theology

School of jurisprudence