A human being needs an identity and we talk about it almost every day. Still, an identity is and always will be something abstract. Identities are either way built out of multiple layers and they are built disproportionately. For me personally, the Islamic layer for example outweighs my Moroccan and Belgian identity.
Still, there was a period in my live where I was really searching for that clear Islamic identity. What does it mean to be a Muslim? What purposes does God have for us? And how should you behave as a Muslim to live according to the norms and values of your religion? That, and so much more, were the questions that occupied me every day. As a human you want to have a clear view at the society of today and at the same time you want to understand your unique part of it.
I can’t say that this search is already rounded off for me. Therefore the tradition is just too elaborate and too defiant. I don’t really have a lot of company during this search, since apparently trying to get in touch with this inheritance isn’t part of the attainment targets of our education.
Even though the history books are full of it, we still, to this very day, talk about ‘The Dark Ages’. It could have been The Renaissance that got the West out of the deep dale of barbarism and that was the base of the Western identity.
While in the Arabic World, people talk about a golden age, where the Islamic society reached her height. Science was even performed in mosques and ethics were the norm above everything.
Nevertheless, this civilization ended because of an unfortunate combination of events. Many reform movements tried to turn this loss, but they didn’t succeed. Mainly because not one single movement could ever understand the goals on the basis of the changing reality. Furthermore, the focus was never on the overall picture, but instead, the Islamic identity was more and more defined in a fragmented way. For one person, Islam equalled the spread of the Godly Unity, but for the other, Islam was mainly based on the remembering of God and the focus was on the spiritual feeling.
The Islamic Question
Because of the fact that the Islamic inheritance is covered with dust, and because of the many excesses from Islamic midst, the Islamic Question lives as never before with the world population. Youngsters have to justify things that are a consequence of multiple human shortcomings in the search of that life goal. Islamic rituals are being questioned, even before Muslim communities realise properly in which way these rituals enrich them.
So it is indeed high time to book a journey to the period of the feast days of Islam. Who were those prominent pillars that could place the total picture of the Islamic identity? What did they leave for the postmodern society of today? But especially, how did they contribute to an inclusive concept and formation of an Islamic paradigm that doesn’t know her equal? This, and much more, will be featured in the History series.