Thursday, September 21, 2006

Psychological Invincibility

I know that others have cited this before, but I think it’s worth repeating. In his book Islam, the late Fazlur Rahman makes an observation for the ages, especially this one, a time besotted by such notions that the ultimate solution for the Muslim world is in regime-change or any other political engineering or surface-dwelling concoction. The issue is where it has always been since the beginning of civilization. Rahman says:
To many observers, the history of Islam in modern times is essentially the history of Western impact on Muslim societies, especially since the 13th/19th century. They conceive Islam to be a semi-inert mass receiving the destructive blows or the formative influences from the West. There is a genuine reason why things should appear in this light. Islam, ever since its inception, has faced and met spiritual and intellectual challenges…. From the 2nd/8th to the 4th/10th centuries, a series of intellectual and cultural crises arose in Islam, the most serious and significant of which was that produced by Hellenist intellectualism, but Islam met all those successfully – assimilating, rejecting and adjusting itself to the new currents. But the Muslims were, at that time, psychologically invincible, politically masters of the situation and, at the level of content of religion, not encumbered by the dead weight of tradition – for it was largely the new elements and currents of thought that supplied and built up the content of the Muslim tradition itself.
The phrase to carve into the tablets of our minds is “psychologically invincible,” the most dangerous weapon the Muslim today can try to mine and produce. No centrifuges needed nor the most noxious and immoral weaponry unleashed on mankind, invented and promulgated in the Judeo-Christian secular West.


Blogger thabet said...

assalamu `alaykum

Do you have a blog feed? If so, please consider submitting it to the the Islam and the West RSS, set up by Abu Sahajj.


9/21/2006 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the dead weight of tradition"? Wussup with that?

9/21/2006 6:05 PM  
Blogger fromclay said...

Thabet, I'm not sure what a "blog feed" is, to be honest. Any help would be appreciated.

Anon, "dead weight" is part of the quote, and it can be read differently, either way not subtracting from the larger meaning of the post. Tradition is unquestionably vital, but not without critical thought, which is part of our "tradition" itself. Dead weight is an unexamined sense of our past.

9/21/2006 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose I should actually read Fazlur Rahman's work before 'reading into it'... Aside from that book, is there any other writing by him that stands out from his work? I've been meaning to read a work of his for some time.

9/21/2006 8:50 PM  
Blogger fromclay said...

Besides, "Islam" I also recommend "Themes of the Quran." His works on modernity and the like I haven't a real interest in taking up. I knew him personally and listened to many of his khutbahs which I thought were very thoughtful.

9/21/2006 9:45 PM  
Anonymous irving said...

An excellent point. Yet in the modern world, Islam does not exist in the semi-vacuum of past ages caused by difficult travel and communications. God, I can see a world of beauty where all religions exist happily side by side, but then politics rears its ugly hear.

Ramadan Mubarak to you and your family :)

Ya Haqq!

9/23/2006 10:38 AM  
Blogger Abu Muhammad said...

Thabet, I'm not sure what a "blog feed" is, to be honest. Any help would be appreciated.

assalamu alay'kum Br Ibrahim,
A website's feed is used to serve users with a notice when the content on your site is updated. Its pretty much useful for users who want to keep visitng a lot of sites regularly, say 100 blogs. It saves them with the hassle of visiting your site each day to check manually if there is any new article. There are programs called feed munchers (aka feed aggregators) to which a user can give lot of feeds and remain updated.

As default feeds on Blogger accounts are always enabled. When I added you a few months back, your feed was available and I can still access your updates. However I have checked on another account (after Br Thabet's comment) and it is not available anymore. Please go to your Blogger account -> Settings -> Site Feed -> Full (or Short) to enable full feed. By default it can be accessed here:

I hope this helps and please contact in case you need any help in this regard. Jazak Allah for this wonderful blog.


9/23/2006 11:00 AM  
Blogger fromclay said...

Abu Muhammad, I went to the settings you suggested and it was already available, so I saved the settings again, just to be sure. But when Thabet said "consider submitting it to the the Islam and the West RSS, set up by Abu Sahajj," what does this entail? Man, am I all thumbs or what? Thank you very much, Abu Muhammad. Please read the following PS.

To Irving, Thabet, Abu Muhammad, and everyone else, I wish a blessed, accepted, and formative Ramadan. May we benefit from its secrets.

9/23/2006 11:33 AM  
Blogger fromclay said...

Nevermind, Abu Muhammad, I did it. I actually had to read something. Thanks again. JZK

9/23/2006 11:58 AM  

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