RLG204H5 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Khalid Duran, Ipso Facto

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12 Mar 2018
Abdul Hadi Palazzi
The distinction between traditional Islam and Islamism (Fundamentalist or Radical Islam) can
be seen in many specifics. Tradition says that Islamic jurisprudence can today be practiced
according to four legal schools, all of which are legitimate and authoritative; Islamists, by contrast,
see the existence of these schools as an obstacle to their concept of Islamic unity. Tradition
attributes to the ruler the right to appoint competent scholars as authorized interpreters of the
Islamic law; Islamists do not recognize any authority apart from the leaders of their own groups.
Tradition makes the authority of a scholar dependent on the possession of written documents of
appointment (ijaza) signed by his predecessor; Islamists regularly install people bereft of any
theological or legal education into positions of Islamic authority. In most cases, then, Islamist
leaders are lay persons with little background in Islamic studies. Another point: Sunnis do not
conceive of Islam as an organization dependent on a centralized leadership, Islamists, on the
contrary, see their leading militants as the Islamic leadership; thereby cutting out the need to refer
to traditional scholars for guidance. Sunni schools arise spontaneously from voluntary
contributions and answer local needs; when organizations are created it happens only for practical
reasons, without any implication that the leaders of the organizations are ipso facto Islamic
authorities. In contrast, Islamist schools result from funding from a centralized administration that
pays activists in every part of the world.
Khalid Duran says - Whether Islamists like the term fundamentalist or not, their
understanding of religion resembles that of fundamentalists in other
religions. This is not to say that Islamists are more religious or more
genuinely Islamic than other Muslims ... Islamism is a late 20th
century totalitarianism. It follows in the wake of fascism and
communism, picking up from those and seeking to refine their methods of
domination ...
Theirs is, in fact, an extremist ideology in Islamist view; they consider their organizations and
militants as custodians of the projects for Islamizing the world, and whoever criticizes them (be
he a Muslim or a non-Muslim) is immediately accused of being anti-Islamic, "Islamophobic," and
so forth.
Islamists View - They claim to be vanguard Muslims, integrating faith and politics, but their
cardinal concern is holding power themselves and excluding others. Thus, the goal of these radicals
is not genuinely religious but political and even totalitarian. Like other totalitarian ideologies,
contemporary Islamism is blindly utopian. It implies a wholesale denial of history; the Islamists';
model of an ideal society is inspired by the idealized image of seventh-century Arabia and an
ahistorical view of religion and human development. It is based on anachronistic thinking that
rejects modern concepts of pluralism and tolerance. And it ignores a history of Islam that is rich
in models of heterogeneous social organization and adaptation to the times.
Traditional View - The traditional view understands the role of politics in terms of what the
Qur'an teaches. It indicates that prophets were sent to humans to teach them truths about God,
ethics, ways to achieve prosperity in this world, and beatitude in the hereafter, and to warn about
the consequences of injustice and sinfulness. A prophet who is called to preach in a stateless milieu
has to assume a role of political leadership; this mantle fell on Moses, as it did to Muhammad
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