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Islamic awakening and its contemporary intellectual needs

Feb 5, 2010, 8:32 PM

After discussing the factors of Islamic awakening, it is important for efforts to be made towards maintaining it and helping it grow. This awakening should help in the spread of Islamic civilization in the remotest corner of the world away from terrorism, violence, and extremism. Through this way, Islam will have a bright future and good tidings for the oppressed nations that do not enjoy the latest human rights, freedom, and independence.

Therefore, we must correctly identify problems and obstacles that lie on the way of modern Islamic awakening so as to avoid them and completely eradicate those that can be eradicated. This should enable us clear the way of all barriers that hinder the effectiveness of the awakening and slow its growth and development.

In this case, we can divide the factors that hinder Islamic awakening in two groups of internal and external factors.

Internal intellectual obstacles could be summarized as follows:

1-Failure of precise, balanced, and accurate understanding and comprehension of Islamic thoughts.

2-Conditions that we mentioned earlier

3-Absence of pious leaders who should implement genuine Islam and grasp better conditions of contemporary world. Not being well versed with these conditions has forced many incompetent religious leaders to take embarrassing stands that have put Islam in a political, administrative, social and economic obscurity. This topic needs to be analyzed properly. The mess has brought about by the some religious leaders? decision to involve themselves with strictly acts of worship and individual matters and overlook important issues affecting the Muslim world. Apart from that, the plots of some ill-motivated people in trying to lure some unsuspecting Muslims as well as the shallow minded ones and encouraging them to carry out destructive acts have all contributed in extremist trends in Islam. This is why we find that some Muslims have resorted to terrorist acts and extremism in glorifying some religious leaders and isolating themselves from society in the name of defending their Islamic identity. The misconception which  some people have that all non Muslims should be considered infidels and therefore liable to be fought against by arms and violent means has actually taken away from us the historic record of attracting non-Muslims to Islam by way of leniency, humbleness and other good virtues. What happened to 'Islam is a religion of peace and love'

Therefore, in order to formulate a comprehensive program, we need to clearly and accurately study Islam and come up with a tolerant Islamic civilization that goes hand in hand with the needs of the contemporary world avoiding all shallow minded tendencies. This civilization should help us correctly implement our Islamic law defend our noble religion so that while carrying out the following steps we may succeed in carrying out our endeavors.

1-Using intellect in identifying the goals of the law. By using intellect and ijitihad thus, the exegesis of divine law on matters of theology and law, we can competently analze contemporary world developments, a step that will enable us live in tune with the realities of the world. The almighty say in the Holy Quran indeed Allah does not change a people's lot, unless they change what is in their souls. (13:11}

2-After identifying the correct and reliable texts, Muslim scholars should strive to find the truth in Islamic law.

3-Study and analyze different thoughts away from the antagonistic difference stored in the minds of our predecessors. We should look for ways and evidences to prove them without necessarily imitating the past jurisprudents. This kind of blind imitation closes the way of reaching genuine decisions and goals. This is like using weak proofs and baseless evidences for selfish interests and imposing one's views on Islam. We have plenty of these examples in Islamic jurisprudence. Therefore there should be people who are competently specialized in jurisprudence.

4-We should pass the stage of routine individual jurisprudence like acts of worship, which has actually been almost perfected. We should pass on to the next step, which is of social, political, economic cultural jurisprudence.

5-We should study ways of practically implementing jurisprudence away from fanaticism and blind imitation that sucks from us the power of innovation and invention. We should go for an all-out perspective because an Islamic research that is based on certain sectarian view and ignoring others is bound to fail us in our sublime goals.

6-Subjective study of contemporary situation and strive to split between scientific matters and methods that could be employed for the interest of Islam are some of the issues that have roots in anti-Islamic civilization.

7-Stressing the intellectual and experimental aspects of life and yield to criticism in our programs, policies and methods. We should avoid justifying unfounded claims concerning the invisible power and world. This is due to the fact that this kind of power has a special and divine place in people's minds and lives. The belief in divine and invisible power dose a lot of wonders in healing people's problem including psychological ones. What we intend to refute here in the tendency to move people away from the realities of social life which Allah has created for man. This reality empowers us to correctly understand God?s laws and avoid mistakes in life, which shortens the way to our noble goals.

8-Positive and vigilant evaluation of history to enable us identify positive points that may be used in future planning of Islamic programs and avoid weak point that could harm the future welfare of Islamic Ummah.

Calamities of Islamic awakening

The diseases and calamities that prevent the activeness of Islamic awakening and which Islamic leaders should strive to avoid their negative and poisonous effects are follows:

1-antagonism and Conflicts: This is a problem that has accompanied man since time immemorial. It originates from misunderstands, ego centrism, selfishness, sensual and desire worship, shallow mindedness, failure to differentiate between important and more important matters?etc. This antagonism has reached a boiling point whereby intellectual differences have been the source of bloody wars and clashed threatening the whole fraternity of the Muslim Ummah. This bitter reality has forced some Muslims to find ways of remedying it. Regrettably, trivial issues at the expense of crucial and pressing issues in the Muslim world have caused all these contentions and infightings. In other words, instead of the many Muslim institutions acting as convergent centers for uniting Muslims and promoting tolerance by bringing closer their views and opinions, they have, unfortunately, continued to act as centers of divergent views and perpetration of violence among Muslims. The Islamic schools of thought are intended to be the centers for human development, promotion of common view, tolerance, innovation, intellectual invention and reconciliation just as the Quran says: Say, O People of the Book! Come to a word common between us and you: that we will worship no one but Allah. {3:64} 

With all this, but as we have just said, Islamic schools of thought have continued to preach hatred and enmity among Muslims. With all the advices given by peacemaker?s centuries back concerning the importance of unity, but sadly these advices have fallen on deaf ears. All this mess stems from the ignorance of egocentric elements, absence of the culture of dealing with disputes and divisive policies of the enemies of Islam. We are not after the closing of the door of differences, because this is one of the basic natures of humankind. We only want to clarify how we should deal and harness these differences of opinion for the benefit of Islamic Ummah.
To Be Continued