Sunday, July 09, 2006

Pluralism and Islamic Civilisation

Salaams. More on the controversial issue in Malaysia.  There's a fairly good article written by Chandra Muzaffar  in which he described "I was perplexed -- and perturbed -- by the remark attributed to the State Mufti of Perak (Malaysia), Dato Seri Harussani Zakaria, that pluralism was an attack upon the faith of the Muslims".

 Chandra went on to say that pluralism has been part and parcel of Islamic history and that "No civilization in history has demonstrated a more resolute commitment to pluralism than Islam. The principles of pluralism are anchored in the Noble Quran itself", and he quoted a number of verses of the Qur'an.

Chandra proved that Islam and pluralism was not a misnomer by saying that Abu Rahyan Al-Biruni (d.1051) developed the first comprehensive scientific analysis of another religion and community in his magnum opus, Kitab Al-Hind.  He also mentioned that Al-Shahristani (12th century) had authored the first encyclopedia of religions.  Such was the openness of Islam to other religions, as he aptly said "None of these illustrious scholars felt that their faith (aqidah) was threatened by their attempts to understand other religions".

Chandra gave his opinion that the clergy elite "sought to promote an exclusive worldview obsessed with a narrow notion of religious purity. If anything, the long centuries of Western colonial domination that followed from the 16th century onwards reinforced this mindset within the ulama and the ummah".

He labelled the clergy elite as the "narrow-minded defenders of a pure, exclusive religious identity" and described the identity as "a notion of identity which has been promoted aggressively for a few decades now at the doctrinal level by the bigoted, dogmatic Wahhabi-oriented interpretation of Islam."

Read the whole article (as long as it remains) [click here].

1 comment:

Irving karchmar said...

An excellent post and great article. Would that wisdom prevails, inshallah.

Ya Haqq!