Two Opposing Sides – Both Wrong
Purity, Piety and Dedication without Talibanism, Education, Technology & Industry without Secularism.
There are broadly two kinds of people that will stand in the way of an Islamic state and in Islam as not merely a religion. There will be, what we can describe as Conservatives and Secularists/Progressives/Modernists. Conservatives are those that would want to pull Muslims back to the past while Secularists would want to move Muslims to a secularized future with Islam relegated to the mosque. They may consider each other as opponents, but they share an important idea - that Islam is a religion.
Islam is not merely a religion. It is a complete way of life, centered on the belief in One God. Islam is the only belief system that does not enjoin blind faith; it combines faith with knowledge. Truth and evidence go together, as they should. Islam melds the spiritual and the natural worlds, in harmony and balance.
The Conservative banner is held high by a class of people, that strange as it may sound, are not supposed to exist in Islam - the clergy. Mullahs, Muftis, Sheikhs, etc are not sanctioned by any verse of the Quran or by any authentic hadith. Yet, they exist today, and have convoluted Islam to define themselves as the middlemen between Muslims and the Quran. On any question of Islam, Muslims are now told to get the nod from the local Imam, Sheikh, Mullah, Mufti, etc. These career theologians make their living by these same means and yet stand by socially and politically silent to our disintegration. This class has shown itself to be completely incompetent at addressing any of the issues that the Muslim body-politic faces today, beyond slogans and sooth-sayings.
Islam is not a religion of theologians. Islam is universal, and reaches out to all, and is able to do so because its concepts are easy to understand for those who seek Allah. One does not need to read obtuse works of scholars; The Egyptian Ulema asked Marmaduke Pickthall to translate Tabari instead of the Quran, yet you do not need to read Tabari to know Islam.
The Progressive-Secularist approach, on the other hand, is an extreme reaction to the Conservative paradigm and to the dazzle of the Western civilization. Their approach is built on the ascendancy of the latter and in seeing all solutions to our problems in reflection to the West. Replication over reinvention is their sign qua non. They see before them, the greatness of the West and in America and see solutions in transplanting these values over a culture that to them is backward. A culture that they do not understand. They believe that the root cause of the backwardness is the Islamic heritage and the panacea in replacing this culture.
The aim of this book is to focus on innovative approaches to the emerging challenges of the Islamic world outside the paradigms of these two ideological groups. We seek to bring a third paradigm that broadly lies between these two positions, yet is not a compromise of the two, nor placed in a two dimensional plane between them, but rather a synthesis of thought and ideas built on an independent foundation.
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