Monday, April 16, 2007

Symposium: One Islam?

This is a great interview with many knowledgeable experts. I think all who are interested in the stuff I write about should read this.

FrontPage :: Symposium: One Islam? by Jamie Glazov: "Is there just one Islam?

Haidon: Thank you Jamie.

The simple answer is no. There is no one singular, universal vision of Islam. There are divisions (sometimes radical) amongst groups who call themselves Muslims on a range of historical, ritualistic and hermeneutical issues. On the whole however, while there are a number of important differences among the predominant Muslim sects, there are also a great deal of consistency in approaches and beliefs. The predominant sects of Islam, obviously, share the common bond of holding the Qur'an as the core central text which guides worship. They also share, to varying degrees, adherence to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and common approaches to Islamic jurisprudence. I would argue that these similarities and common approaches are more significant, and hold greater implications, then do dissimilarities.

I believe that external factors, such as culture can have a positive (and of course negative) impact on how Islam is practiced in a particular country or region. Currently I am residing in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Islam that I have viewed thus far, while sharing many characteristics of Islam that is practiced in the Arab world, appears to be far more pluralistic and tolerant. There are Muslim liberal/reform movements here which have widespread support and there are a number of progressive fuqaha among the ulaema. That said there are strong radical elements which exist and thrive; however they do not appear to hold a stronghold in the main centres of Indonesia. Whether this "success" is a reflection of Islam itself or the culture of the Indonesian people is a separate question, which we may explore here. "

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