A Companion to Muslim Cultures by Amyn B. Sajoo

By Amyn B. Sajoo

Culture shapes each element of the connection among God and the believer in Islam — in addition to between believers, and with these past the fold. Fasting, prayers, and pilgrimages are attuned to social rhythms outdated and new, a minimum of the designs of mosques and public gardens, the making of "religious" track, and methods of puzzling over know-how and healthiness. historical deserts and smooth city landscapes may perhaps echo with a similar demand transcendence, yet in voices that emerge from very varied daily realities.
Scripture itself, because the Prophet Muhammad knew, is ever visible via a cultural lens; either its language and what it communicates are in detail tied to context. And the cosmopolitanism that runs via Muslim historical past from the outset recollects T.S. Eliot’s comment that tradition is "that which makes existence worthy living." It frames how the private spiritual values are understood and practiced, from modesty in adornment and cohesion with the underprivileged, to integrity and responsibility in political existence. Muslims have by no means been content material with a passive separation of religion from their day-by-day lives, no matter if public or private.
What are the consequences of this holistic view in a various international of Muslims and non-Muslims? How do middle moral values interface with the details of neighborhood cultures in all their complexity, specifically by way of issues just like the prestige of girls and the scope of person non secular freedom? The solutions — at a time whilst secular and Muslim identities seem to be locked in clash— are explored during this significant other by way of a few of today’s best scholars.

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Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life. London, 2007 Partridge, Christopher, ‘Religion and Popular Culture’, in Linda Woodhead, et al, ed. Religions in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformations, 2nd ed. New York, 2001, pp. 489–521. , ed. Muslim Modernities: Expressions of the Civil Imagination. London, 2008. Saliba, George. Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance. Cambridge, MA, 2007. Sen, Amartya. Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny. New York and London, 2006.

How does this square with the secular idea of the state, in which diverse identities and cultures co-exist? Is the presence of public religion a barrier to political modernity? This chapter will discuss the nature of the relationship among the sharia, the state and the individual Muslim today, mindful of what history tells us about the lived experience of Islamic societies. We will see how the interface of sacred and secular drives the quest for a civic pluralism that can accommodate the legitimate aspirations of all citizens.

In this pluralist environment, religious markers became a vital aspect of the way identity was formed. To designate a practice as ‘normative’ or proper was one way of marking religious identity in relation to other traditions. When Muslims were challenged in this regard, their practices were tested against principles drawn from the Quran or the Prophet’s practice (Sunna). If there was no authorised source to be found, then authorities deemed such practices non-Islamic. The upshot was that all practices within the Muslim religious environment had to be rooted either in the Quran or the Sunna.

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