The theocentricity of Islam is distinguished from other faith traditions through the principle of tawḥīd (absolute monotheism). Faruqi argues that tawḥīd is not merely a tenet of creed, but also a philosophical foundation. All matters of a Muslim’s life, his belief, spiritual and social obligations, are all in service of tawḥīd. When taking Islam as an entire system of thought rather than a set of customs and superstitions, tawḥīd is the philosophical foundation upon which it stands. All endeavors, be they personal, social, political, intellectual, scientific or artistic, must be in service of this sublime divinity. Continue reading Towards An Islamic Theory of Culture Part III: It Starts and Ends With Tawḥīd
In history, Islam showed itself to be culturally friendly… In China, Islam looked Chinese; in Mali, it looked African. Sustained cultural relevance to distinct peoples, diverse places, and different times underlay Islam’s long success as a global civilization. Continue reading Is it Possible to Create a Japanese Islamicate Culture?
The modern history of the Balkans region presents a great analogy for the West’s anxieties towards the Islamic world, an uncanny image of an Islamic heritage which the heirs of Christendom wished to forget. From the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920s, through to the rise and fall of Yugoslavia such an image would remain. During the Bosnian civil war of the 1990s, Serbian nationalist propaganda would evoke this Islamic past in order to alienate the Bosnian Muslim population, pejoratively referred to as “Turks,” to illustrate their supposed foreignness and therefore lack of belonging to the region.  In this light, Bosnia finds itself in geographical and cultural limbo. Such was the world which Alija Izetbegovic (1925-2003) was born into, and such was the world molded him. Continue reading Towards An Islamic Theory of Culture Part II: On Islamicates and Third Ways
While the term “cultural studies” would not emerge as a distinguished academic discipline until the 1960s (with the establishment of the Centre for Cultural Studies in Birmingham), culture as an aspect of social life was first given serious consideration in the nineteenth century. During this period, many of the thinkers occupying the academic sphere of Europe — and by extension America — observed what they believed to be distinct and radical shifts in the social and intellectual currents of their respective societies. By the early twentieth century, these observations of “culture” were explained as symptoms of a new historical era. Continue reading Towards An Islamic Theory of Culture Part I: On Culture & The West