Original Research

The relation between religion and state in Islam and Christianity in the rise of ISIS

Timothy A. van Aarde
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 52, No 1 | a2244 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i1.2244 | © 2018 Timothy A. van Aarde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 February 2017 | Published: 05 April 2018

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Timothy A. van Aarde, Unit for Reformed Theology, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa

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The recent development of the Islamic State (ISIS 2010–2014 and IS 2014) is a radicalisation of the relation between religion and state in Islam. The relation of religion and state to Christianity has been shaped by the philosophy of dualism and Greek thought in the West. The relation of religion and state in Islam, however, has been shaped by a completely different tradition and conflicting view than Western thought and is based on the codified system of Shari’a law in Arabic thought. One of the most debated topics in Islamic studies is the inseparable nature of religion and state in Islam and the role of Shari’a law to the state. In the West the historical debate concerns the indiscriminate blending of church and state and the separation of church and state as indispensable to democracy and the modern question of the relation of Christian morality and public law. Islamic fundamentalism is a political and religious reform movement that indiscriminately blends the political and religious.


ISIS; IS; Shari'a law; Islamic fundamentalism; religion and state; church and state; public and private spheres; sacred and secular; individualism and collectivism; structural pluralism; confessional pluralism; indiscriminate blending


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