The Muslim world is often summarily blamed for its weakness, defeat, failure, radical dictatorships, traditional autocracies, grave economic problems, undemocratic elections, and increasing fundamentalism (Lewis 2002), deep ambivalence (Patai 209), neofundamentalism and re-islamization (Roy 2005), Islamo-fascism (Fallaci 2005), fanaticism and extremism (Freedom House 2005), hatred of the West and hostility toward the United States (Buruma and Margalit 2004), knowledge deficit and low scientific and academic research and development (UNDP 2003). While these critiques emanate from scholars, Islamophobes, and the lay public who sometimes lump all Muslims in one monolithic block, the fact is that experts from both the East and the West are aware that diversity in the Muslim World is not only cultural, ethnic, geographic, spanning all continents, but concerns more than ever the spiritual dimension and mindset.
This study seeks to go beyond Orientalism, Occidentalism, Manichaeism, paradoxes, catch22ism, reductionism, exclusionism, blame games, navel gazing, finger pointing, hubris, condescension and basic aporia, where no one can establish the truth, in order to explore the spiritual dimension and the current Muslim condition, through three categories of Muslim thinkers, namely the religious scholars or the “sacred” Ulemas, the liberal intellectuals or the “secular” analysts, and what I call the “in-between” thinkers, to describe the current media savvy “intellectual entrepreneurs” who hold characteristics from both the sacred and the secular. This study also seeks to open up the likelihood of whether there can be an intercultural dialogue between civilizations and whether we can tap into Islam’s ecological dimension as an urgent common ground of entente for all.
|Keywords:||Al Mu’tazilah, Al Asha’ira, Ijtihad, Al Fitrah, Reason-based vs. Faith-based, Hermeneutics, Independent Thinking, Civic Literacy and Critical Thinking, ICT-empowered Muslims, Islamic Praxis, UN 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)|
Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Tunis Al Manar, Tunisia
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