Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dr. Jackson on the Challenge for Blackamerican Sunni Islam

(and the challenge also for the young generation of Muslim Americans of different ethnic and racial backgrounds here who need/seek for their religion to be relevant to their concerns, needs, and realities)

The challenge, as such, for Blackamerican Christians has been to keep God at the center of religion without compromising the mission to expose and frustrate the manipulations of the fascinating trickster. It is the challenge of remaining focused on God not simply as the Great Intervener in the crucible of race relations but as the ultimate source of value and the true object and motivator of love, awe, obedience, religious contemplation and worship.

This has been and remains no less a challenge for Blackamerican Muslims. The habitual use of the term “kafir” (Unbeliever) as a cultural/racial delineator between black and white instead of being restricted to marking the boundary between those who accept and those who reject the religion of Muhammad is ample testimony to this effect. In fact, whereas Blackamerican Christianity has produced a towering edifice of Black Theology to obviate, or perhaps establish, the relationship between the worship of Jesus and the liberation of Blackamericans, Blackamerican Sunni Islam has witnessed no such effort to ensure that its consciousness remains religious and that the religion itself does not degenerate into a cultural performance. The Islamists of Modern Islam have contributed nothing in this regard. And the theological tradition of Modernized Islam, as well as that of the Neofundamentalists, consists, outside the basics, largely of abstractions grounded in the Aristotelian-Neoplatonic presuppositions of Late Antiquity or equally abstract reactions to these. These theologies emphasize such doctrines as the noncreatedness of the Qur’an, the beatific vision in the Hereafter, and the anthropomorphic versus the nonanthropomorphic interpretation of the divine attributes. Beyond the question of how readily the average Blackamerican Muslim can understand or identify with much of this tradition, in its present form it obviates little relevance as a source of liberation or a bridge to primordial meanings. Moreover, if this theology, as presently articulated, is to occupy the center of Muslim religious consciousness and serve as the criterion for determining who is and who is not Muslim, it may not be obvious how relevant Islam itself is to the present and future of Blackamericans.
pg. 174-175 of Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection

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