It is realized that the title of this column may be a little intimidating at the outset. But the intention is indeed contrary. Provocation has two shades of meaning. It could mean to emotionally upset somebody enough to generate a reaction, as what happened in France recently that the editors of the paper Charlie Hebdo provoked a violent reaction from a few Muslims by printing highly derogatory cartoons of their Prophet who, they knew, Muslims love and hold in great esteem. On the positive side, provocation may also mean to stimulate the mind to new ideas and deeper analyses of issues that do require to be explored this way. It is in this sense that we have titled this column.
The Spark has initiated this column to bring to debate, in the drawing rooms and at dining tables of Muslims, ideas, statements, current affairs and questions related to their attitudes, understanding and practice of their faith, and challenges posed by a changing world advancing on its natural evolutionary path. Hopefully, the provocatives for the mind given below will stimulate discussions, critical analyses and help understand nuances pertaining to questions which by habit, either are understood by rigid explanations of antiquity or pushed under the rug with a sense of escapism. We believe Muslims need to do their own homework in matters relating to their faith so as to be able to dynamically update their faith-related conclusions in life.
The purpose is to develop among Muslims a clear sense that it is primarily their responsibility to take the divine guidance in their lives seriously enough to comprehend it according to their own sincere research, interrogation and understanding and not outsource them to Mullahs and so called scholars. Here we have shared with you the following: