Comments: 2 Qutb 8 note

At the risk of being off-subject...

This description of the interaction between perceived revelation (Muhammed's remembered words) and active cultural development (the historical body of jurisprudence that developed after his death) is well worth studying and thinking about, especially as it relates to the interaction between religious fundamentalism and the modern world.

Suppose a religious trend has been described as "fundamentalist" in origin.

Are the people involved trying to rebuild an envisioned past by reproducing every detail by force of their will?
Or are they deeply concerned about bringing the fundamental principles of their religious beliefs to bear on modern life?

Both will voice similar complaints about the modern world, but the second kind will have a different plan of action for dealing with those problems.

It does appear that the neo-fundamentalists (or proponents of political Islam) appear to be almost entirely of the first type.

How many fundamentalists of the second type can be found in Islam?

Posted by steve h at June 10, 2004 11:46 AM

Steve H,

This is an important and interesting issue.

I am not sure if we have a terminology issue here (focused on what you mean by 'fundamental principles') but actually I think almost all academic observers of political islam would put the political islam adherents mostly into the second category.

That is, they are clearly not trying to re-create the details of 7th century desert life. Many of them have advanced degreees in the sciences, they are very much involved with technology, they are almost all urban dwellers, etc. Beyond that, their fundamental project of trying to harness the power of the modern nation state to advance Islaam has little to do with any re-creation of 7th century Arabia either.

Almost all the ideas that advocates of political Islam have come up with, from the unified Khilafah of Hizb ut Tahrir with a draft 'constitution' already written to Maududi's idea of Shuracracy with an elected parliament and a supreme Shariah court to strike down Islamic laws, to Iran's vilayat al faqih, all are exactly attempts to take the principles of the political and legal and social systems of the first Muslim community and apply them to our modern situation.

Of course because for some people 'applying principles' is a very vague enterprise while for others it is more concrete, the same statement could surely be made about people like "Ali Izza" (Alija Izetbegovic -- May God have Mercy on him) as well.

Posted by Abu Noor al-Irlandee at June 10, 2004 05:21 PM

It's so exciting to find your blog---this is what I'm studying.

Posted by Athena at June 13, 2004 10:38 PM

Thanks Athena -- and the feeling is mutual. I've added you to the blogroll.

Posted by Bill at June 14, 2004 11:45 PM