Hey everyone! So sorry that I haven’t been posting, I’ve been busy with my new Masters, which has so far been amazing! (M’A)
Ironically, now that I am no longer studying Islam, I’ve become even more convinced and sure about God and the Qur’an and Islam in general. The institute I’m studying at now is very critical of all things that we often take for granted: globalization, capitalism, and most importantly rationalism. Most of my classes so far focus on the fact that the way we think today is primarily because of the Enlightenment – where ideas of rationality, positivism, science, and empirical research became popular. That’s all fine, but the Enlightenment was a purely European experience. Yet if we think about it, the whole world is pressured (and was forced through colonialism) to think in the exact same way. If you don’t argue rationally then you are IRRATIONAL. But is that really the case? Is there only ONE way of understanding the world?
Applying all of this to Islam, I see where I have often gone wrong and why I was having such a hard time. Instead of seeing the Qur’an as something outside of euro-centric rationalism and modernity, I kept trying to test it using the tools that the Enlightenment invented. Why does gender equality mean what the West says it means? More importantly:
Why is something that can’t be seen or proved or understood rationally simply not there?
What about the fact that for thousands of years people have understood the world in diverse ways, whereas today we are supposed to think in “modern” ways, which basically means Western ways, which basically means following the legacy of the Enlightenment.
Islam is a different type of knowledge, a different way of thinking, a different way of understanding the world. If we constantly uphold it to the “ideals” of rationalism then yes, it will always fail. But why do we do that in the first place? It is a euro-centric model that we are all being forced to adhere to, even if it has nothing to do with our own lives and contexts. Moreover, when we find that the euro-centric ideals don’t match our lives, we are told that it is because we are not “modern” enough, we are “backwards”, we are “brainwashed by religion” and that we don’t respect human rights.
My question is: why is there only one way of understanding the world that is valued today?