Islamic Reformism Research Proposal

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Islamic Reformism

Change is the only thing permanent in this world. Based on said premise, religions such as Islam have been redefining its doctrines and practices over the years. This redefinition is based on a myriad of factors that include the socio economic environment, political factors and the key personalities that continuously shape the religion's character and direction.

In the 18th and 19th century western theorists have been for the most part, been preoccupied with the concern of strengthening and improving their communities. Lee (1997) stated that Muslim thinkers have emphasized the concept of authenticity in the discourses of Islamic tradition and reform and this authenticity takes one of two forms. According to Lee, individual authenticity refers to the approach wherein individual Muslims should seek to perfect themselves while collective authenticity is an approach whereby Muslims must establish a community that lives up to the full potential ordained to it by God. Lee argued that the quest of for authenticity is based on a belief that there is an ideal form of Islam that is embedded either literally or metaphorically in the Qur'an and in the life of the Prophet. This authentic Islam can be realized and is seen as the sole means of revitalize Islam and individual Muslims.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Research Proposal on Islamic Reformism Assignment

Elias (1999) discusses the different categories and frameworks through which Islamic reform was manifested. These include the Traditionalists, Islamist and Modernist. Elias described traditionalists as Muslims who wanted to preserve the continuity in Islamic thought and welfare emanating from the past. They prefer to see a return to the pre-European colonial period where authentic Islamic society is said to have embodied traditional Islamic educational and social institutions, systems of government and religious hierarchies. They reject technological advances including electricity, modern medicine and railroads. Traditionalist is largely a defunct ideology and is normally associated with aging religious scholars who see the modern world as undermining the privileges enjoyed by their profession. (p.86) Elias on the other hand labeled Islamist as people who believe in the importance of instituting a society grounded on the principles of Islam and governed by their implicit understanding of Islamic laws and values. They adhere to the notion that by implementing Islamic law and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, Islamists contend that they can convince the citizens to adopt authentic Islamic vales and practices, thereby creating an authentic Islamic society. Elias viewed modernists as those who subscribe to a variety of ideologies, all of which are united in their acknowledgement of a new significance to the nature of human life, characterized by specific forms of rational thinking and by a belief that the processes leading up to the modern era involve a radical shift from traditional values, in which modern scientific and rational thinking replaces beliefs based on faith. Elias concludes that Islamist embrace technology; while modernist embrace the systems of values and thought that generate technology. (p.87).

Elias (1999) discussed in relation to Islamic reform as operationalized through the following key figures that include Afghani, Abduh, Raziq and Khomeini. Jamal Al-din Afghani rejected the European's innate superiority over the Muslims. Afghani accepted the validity of a scientific world view and stated that the Islamic religion is the closest of religions to science and knowledge and there is no incompatibility between the two. He added that Qur'an verses should be interpreted symbolically if they appeared obscure to modern eyes. Muhammad Abduh distinguished between the essential and immutable doctrines of Islam. He argued that Islam's social and moral teachings should change as a response to social circumstances. These changes should however be premised… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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