I write much (too much) of Sayyid Qutb here, following his tortured and torturing readings, so perhaps as a change of pace, a quote from Tariq Ramadan I came across the other day. I don't know much about Ramadan; I didn't quite understand what Paul Berman had against him in Terror and Liberalism except that he wasn't as cool as Camus (something to which few scholars can aspire...)
(...actually, just looking at that photo makes me long for a gaulloise with black coffee on the side...)
... but back to Ramadan. I don't think the U.S. government ever offered much by of explanation as to why he wasn't allowed to accept an academic post at Notre Dame (I seem to recall), but I didn't get especially incensed about that one way or the other, although I seem to recall the Washington Post published, as is sometimes their habit, a hyperbole laden commentary calling Ramadan the Muslim Martin Luther.
In any case, as I mentioned somewhere below as well as above, I came across an interesting quote from Ramadan that seems worthy of typing in here:
So individuals, innocent and free, have to make their choices (either to accept or to reject the Revelation); there will necessarily be diversity among people, and so these three seemingly similar verses contain teachings that augment and complete each other: "Had God so willed, He would have united them [human beings] in guidance, so do not be among the ignorant"; "If your Lord had so willed, everyone on earth would have believed. Is if for you to compel people to be believers?"; "If God had willed, He would have made you one community but things are as they are to test you in what He has given you. So compete with each other in doing good." The first verse instructs us that diversity is willed by the Transcendant, the second makes clear that, in the name of that will, compulsion in matters of religion is forbidden, and the Revelation teaches that the purpose of these differences is to test us in order to discover what we are going to do with what has been revealed to us: the last commandment is to use these differences to "compete in doing good." Diversity of religions, nations and peoples is a test becasue it requires that we learn to manage difference, which is in itself essential: "If God did not enable some men to keep back others, the world would be corrupt. But God is the One who gives grace to the worlds"; "If God did not enable some men to keep back others, hermitages, synagogues, chapels and mosques where the name of God is often called upon, would have been demolished." These two verses give complementary information that is of prime importance: if there were no differences between people, if power were in the hands of one group alone (one nation, one race, or one religion), the earth would be corrupt because human beings need others to limit their impulsive desire for expansion and domination. The last verse is more precise with regard to our present discussion; it refers to places of worship to indicate that if there is to be diversity of religions, the purpose is to safeguard them all: the fact that the list of places begins with hermitages, synagogues and chapels before referring to mosques shows recognition of all these places of worship and their inviolability and, of course, respect for those who pray there. So, just as diversity is the source of our test, the balance of power is a requirement of our destiny.
It seems a bit more intellectually stimulating than a reading of the Qur'an as a rather complicated firearms permit, but perhaps I just don't understand these nuances at all...
Meanwhile, while the craving for cigarettes and coffee has passed, I can't help thinking how pleasurable it would be to read the The Stranger again...Regrettably, I don't have a copy in the house. Have to content myself with something else...Posted by Ideofact at February 16, 2005 11:22 PM