The Round Table

The Provocatives for Muslim Mind

The spark has initiated this column to bring to debate, ideas, current affairs and questions related to Muslims’ attitudes, understandings, practice of their faith, and challenges posed by a changing world which is advancing on its natural evolutionary path. Hopefully the provocatives for the mind given below will stimulate discussions, critical analyses and in-depth understanding of issues and their nuances facing Muslims globally. 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 so as to comprehend it according to their own thorough research and interrogation, not outsource them to Mullahs and scholars and accept blindly whatever they conclude.

For this issue of Spark we have selected following provacatives. We urge you to bring them on the round table for a lively and dynamic discussion. We would like to impress upon you that ‘Ijtihad’, the finding of right solution to any problem in life without compromising the beliefs and the spirit of the message, is your individual right and responsibility, not a monopoly of the Mullah or the scholar as has been erroneously understood for centuries. Muslims need to understand that there are no pre-conditions of scholarship to qualify them for Ijtihad. This has been a nonsensical dogma that has been grilled into the very psych and intellect of Muslims by those who wanted to monopolize understanding of their faith. On the contrary every Muslim can acquire enough knowledge pertaining to any issue at hand so as to sincerely and honestly analyze it as it relates to his or her unique circumstances and make Ijtihad accordingly.

1. If your cultural expressions and practices do not conflict drastically with the basic belief structure of Islam, could they be followed, adopted and enjoyed without any hesitation or they should be discarded in order to promote a uniform Islamic identity as existed at the time of the Prophet and his companions

2. Muslims believe Mohammed peace be upon him was a messenger of God who brought the divine guidance for humanity and personified it in his life. Should Muslims follow his conduct or imitate his personality? Do Muslims understand the difference between these two concepts?

3. Are the expressions of arts, for example poetry, music, dance, paintings and sculpturing prohibited categorically in Islam or they require understanding of many grey areas and nuances that need to be properly understood before adopting or rejecting them.