br-Progressive Muslims

br-Progressive Muslims - Progressive Muslims A Critique Yue...

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Progressive Muslims : A Critique
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Yue Ke Section 603 5/12/2009 Progressive Muslims is a collection of essays edited by Omid Safi. Within the fourteen authors include six women, which provide welcome additional perspectives on their respective topics. In the introduction, Safi defines the progressive Muslim to be one who “concerned with the ramifications of the premise that all members of humanity have this same intrinsic worth because, as the Qur’an reminds us, each of us has the breath of God breathed into our being.” 1 Many of the essays take on a post-modernist tone, in that the authors believe that Western modernity is no longer something to be imitated. Safi further notes that unlike other Muslim discourses, progressives avoid apologetic presentations of Islam. Instead of “Islam states…,” they declare that there is 1 Safi, Omid. Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism . Oxford: Oneworld Publications 2003. p3
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not a single, pure, true form of Islam; rather, Islam has many interpretations of the Qur’an and the hadith. The identified major themes associated with progressive Muslims are social justice, gender justice, and pluralism; as such, the book is arranged by those three sections. The social justice section includes El Fadl’s essay “The Ugly Modern and the Modern Ugly” deals with the vulgarisation of contemporary Islam, such that Islam has been associated with “violence, harshness, and cruelty,” which El Fadl blames on the “arid intellectual climate.” 2 Esack writes about the meaning of being a progressive Muslim in the post September 11 world. Karamustafa explores the issue of defining Islam in her essay. She comes to the conclusion that Islam is a “civilisational tradition, as opposed to…it as a religion or a culture.” 3 Moosa examines the difficulties in relation to the many Islamic traditions and their relevance that progressive Muslims face. In “The Debts and Burdens of Critical Islam” he also takes note that the very semantics of modernity has changed in that at one point it was seen as the culmination of rational thinking, very different from the critiques now being levelled at the early Muslim modernists. The first part of the book is rounded out by Kassam, who looks at the social
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br-Progressive Muslims - Progressive Muslims A Critique Yue...

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