Differences between Muslim, Islamist, Islamic and Jihadist

The recent and terrible attacks in Barcelona on August 17 by a group of young people of Mohammedan religious beliefs (Islam) have shaken the old night of Islamophobia. This is seen, among other things, in the fact that although many people express strong opinions about how they are and how believers act in this religion, the confusion about it remains even more radical and widespread. what to call people willing to kill in the name of Islam.

Certain linguists, communication specialists and even sociologists, insist on the importance of knowing how to differentiate the terms used in this field, such as “jihadist”, “Muslim”, “Islamic or Islamist group”, sometimes used interchangeably. authors of the events. There is no unanimous agreement on how to refer to the group in question.

To clarify these doubts we will see below differences between muslim, jihadist, islamist and islamic.

    What is Islam?

    To briefly contextualize the subject that we will discuss in this article, it is necessary to make an introduction to what it is the religion of Islam, which has 1.6 billion followers worldwide, Especially in the Arabian Peninsula region (where it was founded), passing through the Middle East, North Africa and with increasing influence on the European continent.

    Islam is a monotheistic, Abrahamic, and Semitic religion that was founded in 622 AD on present-day Saudi Arabia. by Prophet Muhammad, who according to his sacred scriptures was chosen by God to expand and verbalize his message (since Muhammad was illiterate). These messages were sent by the Archangel Gabriel (Jibril in Arabic). The typical premise of Islam is that “There is no one but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet”.

    Quite the opposite of what is often said, Islam recognizes Christianity and Judaism as twin religions, As well as his prophets such as Moses, Jesus, Solomon, Abraham or Adam, among others. The only differences in terms of habits and customs correctly linked to religion lie in certain differentiating practices: Muslims pray 5 times a day, fast once a year for a month, do not eat pork and do not drink alcohol.

    After the Koran, Mohammedan teachings and actions are the mandatory follow-up writings (hadiths) for practitioners of Islam. They reflect the attitude of the Prophet Muhammad, Such as morality, ethics and behavior with other human beings.

      Islamist, Muslim, Islamic and Jihadist: their differences

      Let us now see how to discern among the controversial concepts that are still debated today. Below we will make a definition of each of them.


      Being a Muslim it basically responds to every individual who accepts and firmly believes in Islam as the ultimate religion, pronouncing the phrase “I testify that there is no god but God, and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God”. This recital is called “xahada” (profession of faith). Anyone who does not utter this sentence will not be considered a Muslim.


      Being Islamist or following Islamism, on the other hand, responds to purely political conditioning. Therefore, the whole society must be governed by the beliefs of “sharia”These are the commandments of God, and it must directly interfere with people’s lives, conditioning their habits, customs and ideas.

      In this sense, they reject any form of foreign or foreign influence on Islam, they do not accept any non-Muslim pretext. So there are Islamist political parties like Hamas or Hezbollah.


      The term Islamic responds to a complementary adjective. Which means it means anything, territory, art, state or a job closely related to the Muslim religion. Islamic states, for example, are those whose only official religion is Islam. Organizations, official and unofficial, are also Islamic in nature.


      This is the most controversial concept we have analyzed, and it often infuriates the world and Islamic scholars. It is said that the meaning of the word is “adulterated” because jihadism is currently associated with terrorism. This is however not true.

      The etymology of jihad is synonymous with effort, work, sacrifice in the name of God, But in no case is this related to violence. Islamic scholars recall that jihad corresponds to the performance of the 5 pillars of Islam and that over time it has taken on another character that leaves no one indifferent.

      The interpretation of the jihadist dates back to the time of the Crusades, Where one could deduce, without confirmation, that the Mohammedan fighters went to jihad to defeat the enemy. Some scholars and orientalists have determined 3 types of interpretation of jihad:

      • Personal jihad, like any Muslim who strives to maintain his faith throughout his life by overcoming times of difficulty.
      • Social jihad to achieve a just and moral society under the faith of Islam.
      • Military jihad or holy war, which involves the battle to defend Islam by force, whenever necessary.

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