Saturday, February 04, 2012

Saturday Video: Islam and Modernity

by Salman Hameed

This 10 minute video from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly is set in Egypt and is from August 2009 (before the recent Arab Spring). I found it interesting as it brings up trends and questions that are relevant for much of the Muslim world. For example, who has the authority to interpret matter related to religion? There are more and more online fatwas out there and they can range from being reasonable to completely ridiculous (one example of the latter is given in the video). At the same time, we are seeing a growing number of educated Muslims learning the Qur'an and interpreting Islam for themselves. Such views are also being impacted by the interaction with literature and other ideas from across the world via the internet and because of the ease of global travel. In addition, new technology is bringing up new kinds of questions (for example, marriage or divorce via text?).

Interestingly, the video also brings up the trend of increasing public piety in Egypt. This is actually true in much of the Muslim world, and this is getting increasingly intertwined with the notions of individual rights and personal religious beliefs.

Here is the video.

10 comments:

AnotherAnonymous said...

I agree with the Islamic reformist in the end of this video. I feel that Muslims should themselves interpret the Quran as they see fit rather than allow "scholars" to interpret it for them.

AnotherAnonymous said...

I've also noticed that Pakistanis in the American community are even more "religious" and "cultural" than the Pakistanis back in Pakistan. This is just from my limited experience.

Disclaimer: I'm a former Muslim.

Anonymous said...

@AnotherAnonymous:
I absolutely agree with you. And it is mentioned in Quran itself (54:17)
"And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember,..."
So off you go clerics.
On a lighter note dude, there is no such thing as a "former Muslim". Either you are one, or you never were. But I don't think there is any problem with that.

AnotherAnonymous said...

@Anonymous: "Former Muslim" means that I used to be a practicing Muslim who followed all pillars of Islam including praying 5 times a day, before I grew out of it and no longer believed in it.

Anonymous said...

@AnotherAnonymous:
And you thought praying half a dozen times a day made you a Muslim...LOL. (Do I sound like preaching? Oh forget it then...who cares? :-) )

AnotherAnonymous said...

Anonymous, that alone didn't make me Muslim. Do I need to remind you that simply just saying the Shahada makes one a Muslim?

I mentioned in my previous comment that I followed all 5 pillars of Islam, not just the praying part. So yes, whether you'd like to believe it or not, I was Muslim at one point in my life before I grew out of Islam.

Anonymous said...

@AnotherAnonymous:
Well thanks for correcting me then. I always thought it is the faith that made a Muslim. And I believed it is never faith in the first place if it is meant to be disposed off later. Bad on me.
To the best of my knowledge dude, you perhaps fitted in the definition of 'Munafiq' to begin with. Now you should not really find it derogatory or offensive term in a sense because you don't fancy being Muslim in the first place. But then in a sense, the very vast majority of all Muslims are in fact 'Munafiqs' because who really has true faith in God in the first place. Look at the way we (Muslims) descended into being the worst creatures on the planet. At least you are better than most to have the courage of not calling yourself a Muslim anymore, and I appreciate that. Perhaps you are a former 'Munafiq' which you are no more, and which is commendable.

AnotherAnonymous said...

@Anonymous: I had 100% faith, I didn't just decide to leave Islam, I gradually lost faith at a later point in life. While I was Muslim I was never a Munafiq, and I made sure of that. You never knew me as a Muslim, so for you to say that I was a Munafiq to begin with is very rude of you. I was a former Muslim.

Anonymous said...

@AnotherAnonymous:
I didn't mean to be rude but if you felt so, I apologize for that.
It seems you were a better practicing Muslim than the most I know. And you do sound like a good soul.

AnotherAnonymous said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for the apology and the compliment. My parents taught me a lot about Islam and I never did anything that would upset them. I always considered myself Muslim and while I was Muslim I was 100% into Islam and was very enthusiastic about it.