Doctrinal Categorization is the one of the most important pillars for individual and collective self-definition. The Islamic doctrinal Categorization of Muslims for themselves and others depends on the Qur’an and Sunnah, in addition, on the divisions approved in various heritage books and references. The most prominent ideological categories in the reality of Muslim immigrants in Germany are:
Muslims and Believers:
Islam is believing in the religion that was sent through Muhammad the prophet, in its principles and its message. Officially, a person is said to be a Muslim in Germany if they clearly identify themselves as a Muslim regardless of their ethnic origin and doctrines within Islamic sects.
Faith means belief in the heart. The inner and outer appearance of true believers are matched with no manipulation, puns and hypocrisy and, thus, compulsion does not prove faith nor negate it.
For Muslims, the descriptions of Islam and faith overlap, so they refer them to the very group that follows Islam, believes in its Prophet and its book, and follows its doctrine.
Infidels and non-Muslims:
The infidels are the plural of infidel, and it means those who do not believe in Islam as a religion and do not recognize Muhammad as a prophet. The term “non-Muslims” is common among German Muslims instead of “infidels,” because they feel that the term “infidel” is an infringement of decency in society. Furthermore, the word infidel has negative meanings in the European society, and using it evokes the bitter past of philosophers and thinkers’ struggle against the Church. Germany prohibits offending a person by using descriptions and titles that have offensive meanings.
People of the Book or Christians and Jews:
Some jurists believe that the term “People of the Book” includes all believers in a heavenly Book including Jews, Christians, and the believers in David’s Zabur and Abraham’s Scrolls. While others believe that, it is limited to Jews and Christians. Muslims in Germany use this term to refer to Jews and Nazarenes, and the term “Nazarenes” is replaced by the term “Christians” for affinity because the Christians do not use the term “Nazarenes’’, and they may think that it bears disparagement or abuse.
Atheists, Irreligious People and Agnostics:
The meaning of (Atheism) in Arabic is departing from the intent and turning away from something. In Arabic, to be atheist is to deviate from religion and to defy it. Atheism means to disbelieve in God and doubt Him, or to deviate from religion and challenge it while denying the existence of God.
Historically, atheism has had kinds: a denial of the existence of the Creator or a denial of God’s knowledge, care, ability, or will while still believing in God’s existence. Many believers have been described as atheists belonging to the second type, such as Plato, Aristotle, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, Al Razi, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant and others. Whereas Atheism in modern literature is a philosophical trend centered around the idea of denying the creator’s existence. There is still confusion between atheism, irreligion and agnosticism due to the overlap of these currents and the lack of clear boundaries that distinguish each other.
Agnosticism is a philosophy whose followers believe that it is impossible to prove the existence of God or the unseen matters outside the scope of empirical science, as well as the impossibility of firmly denying the existence of God or the unseen matters. As for irreligion, it means the denial of religions and the refusal to make religion axis on which human life is organized. The non-religious does not necessarily deny the existence of God or the Creator as there are non-religious people who acknowledge his existence and, however, others are atheists. Accordingly, every atheist is, therefore, irreligious, but not every irreligious person is an atheist.
Atheists of all kinds are considered infidels by all Muslims, and they are classified in the category of the most infidels. The entry of a person into the group of atheists would make them face a completely different situation if they were living in an Islamic state. This situation would be in terms of marriage, inheritance, lineage, legal rights of citizen, their eligibility to assume jobs and positions, and maintaining their Dhimma contract or not, especially if it was originally written or Magian…etc. Although it is difficult to know the religion of others in Germany, the Muslim immigrant needs to be known as this entails many things related to eating Muslim’s food, the ability to marry from them, eating their sacrifices, inheritance, expenses and others.
Religion and State in Europe and Germany:
European countries generally adopt secularism, but some of them consider Christianity the state religion, such as Armenia, Greece, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, the Vatican and Scotland. Other European countries do not have an official church but grant recognition to certain Christian denominations only, such as Finland, Georgia, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Poland. There are countries that adopt purely secularism constitutionally, such as France, Ireland, Romania and Russia.
The German constitution states that “the state has no official ecclesiastical doctrine.” Germany adopts the separation of religion from the state and is considered as an example of moderation regarding the relationship between religion and the state. The German constitution guarantees freedom and democracy and deals positively with Christianity role as a valuable and moral reference. Anyway, the German constitution rejects direct intervention by the church into the political process, but still, churches supervise directly some vital sectors such as hospitals, homes for the elderly and kindergartens. For that, the German state deducts an optional tax from Christians in favor of the church.
List of Religious Populations in Germany… Facts and Numbers
Christians in the 28 EU countries are about 66.1% of the population, while non-religious are 28.9%. Muslims have reached 3%. In Germany, the proportion of Christians as well as the non-religious is estimated at 94.5% of the population. Following is a detailed distribution of religions and beliefs in Germany is:
- Non-religious 33.1%.
- Catholics 30.2%.
- Protestants 29.2%.
- Islam 4.9%.
- Orthodoxy 1.6%.
- Judaism 0.2%.
- Other Christians 0.4%.
The Impact of Islamic Doctrinal Categorization on the Integration of Muslim Immigrants in Germany:
It is possible to summarize the issues of doctrinal dimension affecting the lives of Muslims and their integration into German society in the following questions:
- Are the People of the Book believers, polytheists, infidels, or something else?
- Is it permissible to marry the People of the Book?
- Is it permissible to love, compliment and congratulate the People of the Book on holidays and special occasions?
- Atheists with Christian or Jewish origins, can a Muslim eat their sacrifices and marry from their women as well?
- What is the ruling on working with Christians?
- Will the infidels whose morals and deeds have been improved enter Heaven?
- Is it permissible to respect the infidel?
- What is the ruling on shaking hands with an atheist and smiling at them?
- Is it permissible to live with Christians?
- What is the ruling on Muslim friendship with a Christian?
- Is it permissible to have mercy on an infidel?
- Is it permissible to congratulate non-Muslims on their holidays? …etc
- Are Muslims and non-Muslims equal in respect, value and blood?
- Does belief in falseness, delusion and the bad fate of non-Muslims affect Muslims’ dealings with them?
Most Muslims share these issues that have greater impact on the lives of immigrants than others. For these reasons, it is necessary to liberate religious rulings and principles from sediments, extensions and misunderstandings that have been stuck to them over long time. These misconceptions are not even based on the overall concept of the Qur’an and Sunnah and are not supported by the purposes of Sharia.
One the one hand, Muslims believe that Islam is the only true religion and following other religions is a definite mistake. Muslims are not an exception to this, rather, they are like other believers in other religions. Muslims rely on the texts of the Qur’an to support their belief: “the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam” [Al Imran :19], “And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers” [Al-Imran: 85]. On the other hand, the jurists have confirmed Islam’s recognition of others in general and their right and freedom to believe, worship and hold religious rituals. There are books In the Islamic heritage extensively explain the civil and doctrinal rights of the People of the Book in Islamic society and the necessity of leaving them free in their own beliefs, rituals and worship. These books discuss even protecting them from the injustice that may fall upon them.