zenpundit.com

Is Islam in need of a Reformation?

September 5th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — perhaps it’s not Wittenberg but Westphalia we should be praying for ]
.

Reformation Qn

**

Ayaan Hirsi Ali clearly believes we need an Islamic Reformation, and she’s not alone. That much Mehdi Hasan concedes in a Guardian piece titled Why Islam doesn’t need a reformation:

In recent months, cliched calls for reform of Islam, a 1,400-year-old faith, have intensified. “We need a Muslim reformation,” announced Newsweek. “Islam needs reformation from within,” said the Huffington Post. Following January’s massacre in Paris, the Financial Times nodded to those in the west who believe the secular Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, “could emerge as the Martin Luther of the Muslim world”.

Hasan’s piece was evidently written in answer to the Guardian’s take on Hirsi Ali’s latest book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now by Ayaan Hirsi Ali – review, and is subtitled, Those who are calling for a ‘Muslim Martin Luther’ should be careful what they wish for. His reason?

Martin Luther..

Luther did not merely nail 95 theses to the door of the Castle church in Wittenberg in 1517, denouncing clerical abuses within the Catholic church. He also demanded that German peasants revolting against their feudal overlords be “struck dead”, comparing them to “mad dogs”, and authored On the Jews and Their Lies in 1543, in which he referred to Jews as “the devil’s people” and called for the destruction of Jewish homes and synagogues.

**

On the other hand..

William Polk proposes what seems a powerful analogy in his December 2013 piece, Sayyid Qutub’s Fundamentalism and Abu Bakr Naji’s Jihadism:

I have described elsewhere the movements of “purification” inspired by such men as the Arabian Ahmad ibn Abdul Wahhab, the Algerian/Libyan Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi, the Sudanese Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi, the Iranian activist Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani and the Egyptian theologian Muhammad Abduh. In a fundamental aspect, their teachings and movements resembled those set off in northern Europe by Luther and Calvin. These Christians and Muslims shared a belief in the absolute authority of the unalterable word of God as set out in the original texts. Their task was to go back to discover the “pure” message and lead their followers to implement it. However much they differed, both the Muslims and the Protestants were in this sense salafis.

To my mind, that’s a far more persuasive analysis.

Perhaps what we’re seeing today is an Islamic version of the European Wars of Religion, following a Salafist “Reformation”?

In which case it might be time to work and pray for an Islamic Peace of Westphalia.

The rose is my qibla

September 3rd, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — some light refreshment after dark sides and devilish walks ]
.

SPEC WBE Sepehri

**

Sources:

  • Sohrab Sepehri, Poetic Voices of the Muslim World
  • Wallace Black Elk, The Greenfield Review, vol 9, double issue 3 & 4
  • with thanks to Joseph Bruchac & Rabia Chaudry

    Of dark sides and devilish walks

    September 3rd, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light? ]
    .

    SPEC FDR Cheney

    Questions:

  • does Cheney‘s “dark side” comment sound less obnoxious when following Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s “walk with the devil”?
  • alternatively, does Cheney’s remark make FDR’s look less appealing? Perhaps you’re in agreement with both sentiments?
  • if you agree with FDR but not with Cheney — when did we cross the Iraq bridge?
  • at what point should we “put on the armour of light”?
  • **

    FDR apparently claimed he was quoting an Orthodox / Bulgarian proverb — I doubt an Orthodox theologian would have gone on record with such a claim, and haven’t been able to confirm a source as yet — my thanks to John Schindler, Grurray and Velina Tchakarova for their help with the search.

    Two alchemical substance-scapes

    September 2nd, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — the material world meets the immaterial in our humanity — cognition & language ]
    .

    I came across two views of what you might call “alchemical substances” today — one mixed and one unmixed — and in each case the wording of the description fascinated me.

    SPEC scapes

    The upper panel is taken from the late Oliver Sacks‘ description of the elements as he found them in his childhood, displayed in London’s Science Museum. There’s alchemy in that description, in the fusion Sacks achieves between scientific observation and poetic insight.

    In the lower panel, we have an overtly alchemical fusion, this time achieved by the interweaving of words from the language of the material (tobacco, leather, oak) and the immaterial (mystery, wisdom, knowledge) — both under the rubric “materials” — the work of Marcus McCoy.

    **

    Sources:

  • Oliver Sacks, Mendeleev’s Garden
  • House of Orpheus, Cunning Man sample vial
  • **

    Any self-respecting legal desk will contain both pigeon-holes and loop-holes.

    Who, by some other name, might smell more sweet

    August 30th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — written while YouStink is, curiously yet coincidentally, the name of protests ongoing in Lebanon ]
    .

    Text therefrom:

    There is no “migrant” crisis in the Mediterranean. There is a very large number of refugees fleeing unimaginable misery and danger and a smaller number of people trying to escape the sort of poverty that drives some to desperation.

    **

    Text therefrom:

    Countries are free to deport migrants who arrive without legal papers, which they cannot do with refugees under the 1951 convention. So it is not surprising that many politicians in Europe prefer to refer to everyone fleeing to the continent as migrants.


    Switch to our mobile site