In his study Islam and the Secular State, Abdullahi An-Na’im argues that a secular
state is not only a necessary choice for Muslims in today’s world due to the lack of
an alternative, but also that such an entity is more consistent with Islamic history
than the idea of an “Islamic” state, which emerged during the 20th century as a
reaction to the impact of the European colonization. In this context, he uses the
term “secular state” for a state that is neutral toward any religious belief and enforces
no religious doctrine on its citizens, whereas the term “Islamic state” refers
to an Islamic political order based on enforcing the Shari’a upon its people.