Program 13: Whither Islam?     CD   MP3
The Future of the Islamic Resurgence

     There are two ways of looking at the current Islamic resurgence. Either it is a passing fad, blown out of all proportion by the media and tied to the rise and fall of the price of oil: or it represents something altogether deeper and more permanent, if less spectacular. There are few easy conclusions, but only half-answered questions: For instance, is the Islamic revival merely a subtle new form of nationalism in the Islamic world?

     Or is it part and parcel of a much broader attempt to find solutions to the problems modernization from within one's own traditions and culture?
And how are we supposed to measure the success or failure of this Islamic revival?

     In terms of institutional change and political rhetoric or by mosque attendance and religious dress?

Is this something that will come to fruition in a handful of years, or should we measuring it in terms of generations?

     Then again, are we too preoccupied with what is happening in the Arab and Iranian worlds to the exclusion of the experiments in, say, Malaysia or Pakistan? Thus far, it's probably fair to say that the record of achievement has been mixed at best: Nowhere, for example, is there a state that is generally recognized by Muslims as purely Islamic. And while the Shari'ah or divine law has been reintroduced in several countries, too often the emphasis appears to be placed on the Hudud or punishments - such as amputation for theft - rather than on the liberating or merciful nature of Islam. There appears to be an equally excessive preoccupation with prohibitions in social and sexual matters. In the economic field, the alms tax or Zakat has been largely taken over by the state. While interest-free banks are established in several countries, few Muslim economists even believe they alone can hold the key to economic growth. Most Muslim thinkers acknowledge they will probably have to be part of a broader Islamic economic model that looks to the present and future as much as to Islam's past. Is there in fact a danger that, in their impatience to Islamize their societies many Muslim countries may overemphasizing form at the expense of substance?
Another unresolved question is whether Islam contains within itself answers to the problems of the Twenty First century? Are its principles sufficiently flexible to permit the necessary adaptation?

     Is the current revival, as some insist, merely a final anguished cry of despair on the part of peoples who have tasted too often the bitterness of despotism, underdevelopment and failure? Or does it really signal the renaissance of beliefs and culture that gave the modern world much of its scientific and cultural glory? Finally, are we in the West perhaps guilty of seeking out the spectacular revolution of the street, when the full Islamic revival may be taking place in the quiet of the classroom and the home all over the Muslim world? This final program in our series is reported and narrated by Julian Crandall Hollick.

People interviewed in this program: Kemal Faruki, Mochtar Lubis, Akhbar ul-Alam, John Esposito, Fuad Zakaria, Anwar Ibrahim, Muhammad Saeed, Kemal al-Sharif, Anis Ahmad, Manzoor Ahmad, Agha Abdul Hamid, Khalijah Salleh, Harun Nasution, Dawan Rahardjo, Sadiq al-Mahdi, Khurshid Ahmad, Kamal Hassan, Hasan al-Turabi, Musa Keylan, Khalid Ishaq, Abubakr Bagader.

A Complete Way of Life

The Five Pillars of Islam

Muhammad and His Heirs

The Rise & Fall of the Caliphate

The Magnificent Heritage

Decay or Rebirth?

Ismail & Isaac

Resurgent Islam Today

Voices of the Resurgence

The Immigrant Experience

Black Muslims

The Other Face of Eve

Whither Islam?


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