Sunday, February 21, 2010

"In the United States, and among the Muslim community,

I suffer confusion, and fear becoming an intellectual refugee. Here, there is a wealth of words because everyone speaks, but between the thought and speech there is an appalling lack of proportionality. Muslims in the United States reject words like fireworks - they dissipate the minute they explode. Knowledge is considered unnecessary for words, and thought is an optional superfluity. In fact, in our Muslim community, the preachers are considered the teachers, and Shar'ia is their monopoly. The qualifications of a jurist is not the knowledge of jurisprudence, for the pursuit of evidence and proof is an unnecessary luxury. In the world of preachers, books, study, and methodology are entirely unnecessary, and analytical and critical insight, and the use of reason have all been declared a heresy. In our Muslim community, the experts are dietitians, nurses, medical doctors, herbalists, computer scientists, and countless engineers and sociologists who mutate the Shar'ia into a faddish curiosity. The anthropologists and sociologists will say this is just a synthesis and a synchronistic tradition, but when does synchronism become an outright deformity?
-Khaled M. Abou El Fadl, "The Intellectual Refugee," Conference of the Books: The Search for Beauty in Islam, p. 280

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