↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Saturday, August 27, 2005

islamic terms

3290 The Bombing on March 10, 2000
sadaf #88:


You say, "The fundamentalists would've become even more paranoid that the entire world is trying to destroy Islam and more moderates would've converted to fundamentalists."

Your concerns re: fundamentalists:

This term 'fundamentalist' as applied to Muslims has become a distorted catch-all for those that do not subscribe, even remotely, with one's notion of what a Muslim should be.(And here, I'll blame myself as well). Let us see,

fun'da'men'tal'ism n.

1 a:Often Fundamentalism. An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in 1920 in opposition to Liberalism and secularism.
1 b:Adherence to the theology of this movement.

2: A movement or point of view characterized by rigid adherence to fundamental or basic principles.

If we could go back in time and study that Medinite date farmer who asked Prophet Muhammed for some advice that killed his crop the following year, I am sure we will find that he led a simple puritanical existence. Simple joys of life, simple demands, obligations. This was also the time when there were no schisms in Islam.

Was he a fundamentalist?

Transport him magically from there to the 1990s. Two possible sets of scenarios.

1: (a): A small time farmer in Phulwari Shareef. (b): A Malaysian peasant. (c): A Bangladeshi fisherman. (d): A sub Saharan nomad. (e): An Egyptian fellaheen. (f): An Afghan farmer (hopefully not cultivating export quality opium under Mullah Omar's nose.)

2: (a): A 'Mujahid' -- Afghan, Kashmiri, Moro, etc.(b): A blue/white collar immigrant in New York, Chicago, Montreal who insists on getting time off for Juma Prayers (c): An undergrad student belonging to Jamiat-e-Talaba, or MSA or ISNA. (d): Any Darul Uloom student from Karachi, Raiwind, Charsadda. (e) Any Akhwaan volunteer student.

It must be recognized that the geo-political and other demands and pressures on the date farmer and those in set 1 and 2 were different. However, the Islamic practices, conditions and religious orientations and inclinations remaining constant on set 1 and set 2, why is it so easy to brand set 2 fundamentalist?

I am sorry I do not have cut and dried answers.

But I do know we have to come up with proper descriptive word/s for simple or non-threatening 'fundamentalists' as opposed to those who resort to assault and violence, of thought or deed and are intolerant of another view point. And then we run into a catch 22 there as well ---- one's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.

Please allow me ....... another term that needs to be seriously revisited is Mullah and its various synonyms, Maulvi, Maulana, Aalim (pl. Ulemaa) or Allama, Mufti, Mujhtahid, etc.

Perhaps I am opening another can of worms: Does Islam sanctions Ulema? Who are they. What is their role in sustaining and preserving the role of religion in our present day lives. How have they succeeded or failed? What is their role in making a simple straightforward book so complicated?

Does Qur'an mention them? As a non-Arab I do need to consult them for interpretation. But only in the context I would consult a Ghalib expert who can open up textual and contextual meanings of some couplet.

But to place them between myself and Allah? If that was meant to be, there would be a sentence or two somewhere in those thirty chapters.

I apologise for raising more questions. but the answers would benefit us all.


Post a Comment

<< Home