Social Science; Why is Religion Important for Social Scientists

Topics: Islam, Sharia, Muhammad Pages: 10 (1485 words) Published: December 3, 2014


Module code and title- FC005 Introduction to Social Science
Type of assignment- Essay
Assignment question- ‘Why is religion important for social scientists? Explain and refer to theories and cases from different countries.’

Word Count- 1074
Tutor’s name- Ernesto Gallo
City University student number- none
Submission date- 19th November 2014

In a world where political unrest has been witnessed since 2925 B.C (Dijournal, 2012), war and aggression have been proven to be prominent. People become more religious as religion in general is believed to guide a human being through moral means, political and legal laws. Despite religion’s function of assisting humanity in seeking inner and social peace (Herbert, 2011), corruption and misguidance are present on a large scale. This paradoxical relation will be examined.

Islam is the second largest religion with more than 1.6 billion followers and it is believed to be the fastest growing religion in the world (Pewresearch, 2013). Despite Islam being the religion that preaches love, peace, mercy and forgiveness (Islamcity, 2014), Islam has a terroristic image in the western world (Nate Jensen, 2010). This essay will explore the relationship between Islam and society, how Islam affects society and vice versa.

Considering the idea that Islam aims to promote humanitarian peace, gender equality, equality in living standards and love, it implicitly affects society. Islam advocates life principles such as forgiveness and mercy amongst individuals and urges Muslim followers to learn. This should ultimately lead to higher HDI values as a result of higher rates of student enrolment, higher and an increase in gender equality and lower rates of unemployment. The contrasting reality in Islamic states could be as a result of insufficient access to education and incompetence to develop. Yet between the 8th and the 13th century Islam experienced its golden age, where the Muslim world excelled in various aspects such as science, medicine, architecture and physics (Falagas, Samonis GS, Zarkadoulia, 2006). This has been justified by social scientists such as Samuel Huntington who states that: “The Islamic world from the eighth to the twelfth centuries, and Byzantium from the eighth to the eleventh centuries far surpassed Europe in wealth” (Huntington, 1996).

In modern days, predominantly post September 11, Islam seems to have taken a step back and the opposite has happened. Since then Islam has been portrayed as being “the religion of terrorism” by the western media (Nate Jensen, 2010), which has further distributed this image to the West. According to some social scientist, such as Samuel Huntington, Islam is a religion that promotes terrorism: “Islam's borders are bloody and so are its innards” (Huntington, 1996). Yet, this could be deduced by political events initiated by extremists or misconceptions of Quranic passages, which have resulted from extractions out of context. Extremists may carry out catastrophic and devastating acts, which are then distributed by the western media constructing the misconception that Islamic extremists are the majority while they in fact are only a minority. The fallacy of ISIS representing Islam could be used to illustrate this idea. According to the CIA, the organisation has a total of 31,500 fighters (CIA 2014). Statistically this means that it compromises 0.002% of the world’s Muslim population and so it is not feasible to generalize this minority.

Muslim immigrants, predominantly in the U.S and in Europe have had a significant influence on the contemporary world. Firstly, there has been a change in perception about Islam and Muslims. The alteration of this could be due to the disappearing of critical concepts and terms such as Jihad and desert tent culture. The misconception of Arab and Muslim being synonyms has also been raised. However, the involvement of Muslims in society has introduced new vocabulary...

Bibliography: 3. Arabsterotypes (2011), What is orientalism? [online], Available at , [Accessed on 18th November 2014]
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5. Dijournal (2012), 5 Interesting Facts You Never Knew About War During The Last 100 Years (online), Avialable at , [Accessed on 18th November 2014]
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8. Huntington, SH. (1996), The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, s.I: Simon & Schuster
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10. Manji, IJ. (2005). The Trouble with Islam Today: A Wake-Up Call for Honesty and Change, s.I: Vintage Canada
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12. Patheos (2014), Religion Library: Islam [online], Available at , [Accessed 18th November 2014]
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18. The Chomsky Videos (2013), Edward Said (1986) "Orientalism: Full Documentary" (RARE) [video online], Available at , [Accessed 18th November 2014]
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