Friday, September 08, 2006

the radical middle way

I recently found an interesting British Muslim website called the radical middle way. The name may seem like an oxymoron at first glance but I think it fits in rather well with some points which I've tried to make here on Planet Grenada. "Radical" means taking things to the root. And at its root, Islam is opposed to extremism. The violent extremists are the superficial ones. The "deep" radical Muslims are trying to make positive contributions to society.

Perhaps I'll go into more detail in a later post, but at times I'm struck by the similarities in tone between orthodox Islam and Orthodox/Catholic Christianity (as opposed to Protestantism and other minority Christian movements). I have a theory. Suppose we view religions as things which may have a divine origin, but are still shaped by historical situations and also contain bits of human wisdom. Then it makes sense that those faiths which have been the "official" religion of entire civilizations and empires for a very long time will have acquired a certain sober maturity. Such faiths will have produced hundreds of great mystics, poets, philosophers, legal scholars and artists; great tyrants and great rebels. They will have spanned across various nationalities and cultures. They will have experienced periods of great prosperity and wealth and also periods of war and disorder. They will have had to find ways to inspire the greatest of saints but still speak to the greatest of sinners.

I mention all of this in this particular context because it helps make a point about the "deep" Muslim attitude towards terrorism. Orthodox traditional Islam, the Islam followed by most Muslims for most of Islamic history has been the dominant religion of an entire civilization. It has been a religion which has built into it, a certain amount of respect for authority and stability. And so its nature is to build up social institutions rather than tear them down. More later.

4 comments:

Dynamite Soul said...

As salaamu alaikum,

Masha Allah,Good points and thanks for the link!

dezhen said...

Salams! Check out an excellent speech by Imam Zaid all about this idea here on the Zaytuna site. Especially the last paragraph you mentioned. It is called "Does Islam Present a Program for World Domination?"

I found it very enlightening and a great help to understand why Sunnism is the way it is in regards to "political" quietism and such.

M. Shahin said...

"Radical" means taking things to the root. And at its root, Islam is opposed to extremism. The violent extremists are the superficial ones. The "deep" radical Muslims are trying to make positive contributions to society."

I like this site also. I link to it on my blog. I like the way you describe the above.

You write another interesting post with some good points.

Julaybib said...

The radical middle way is supported by Q-News in the UK.

Wasalaam

TMA