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Chapter

Summary fo reading


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG355H1
Professor
Edith Szanto

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Islam observed
Our problem, and it grows worse by the day, is not to define religion but to find it.
The aim of the systematic religious studies is not just to describe ideas but to determine just how and
in what way particular ideas, acts, and institution sustain, fail to sustain or inhibit religious faith
The faith of man or groups of men may to may not be, it is indisputable that it is sustained in this
world by symbolic forms and social arrangements
The intriguing question for anthropologist is how do men of religious sensibility react when the
machinery of faith begins to wear out? What do they do when tradition falter?
Each major phase of civilization began with a breaching of the gates by some ambitious local
chieftain whose religious zeal was the source of both his ambition and his chieftainship
Morocco ( was a civilization built on nerves, Islam has been a force for cultural homogenization and
moral consensus for the social standardization of fundamental beliefs and values
Indonesia (built on diligence/ build on productive peasant economy/ was not an Islamic state but an
Indic one/ Islam did not construct a civilization, it appropriated one/ Islam has been for Indonesia
power ful for cultural diversification, for crystallization of sharply variant even incompatible notions of
what the world is really like and how one ought therefore so set about living in it/ it has not brought
uniformit y/
Religious faith, even when it is fed from a common source, is a much a particularizing force as a
generalizing one. The central paradox of religious development is that because of the progressive
wider range of spiritual experience with which it is forced to deal, the further is proceeds, the more
precarious it gets. Its successes generate its fr ustration
Islamization has been a two-sided process (consisted of an effort to adapt a universal and unusually
well-integrated system of ritual and belief to the realities of local even individual, moral and
metaphysical perception) (the struggle to maintain in the face of this adaptive flexibility, the identity
of Islam not just as religion in general but as the particular directive articulated y God to mankind
through pre-emptory prophecies of Muhammad
The collision between what the Koran reveals and what the Sunni regard it are revealing vs. what the
men who call themselves Muslims actually believe is becoming more and more inescapable
What is believe has not changed much, but the way in which it is believed has changed (before is was
faith and now there are reasons
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