Misperceptions About Islam/An Interview with Reza Aslan

These guys were discussing something quite passionately, so it wasnt quite difficult to figure out what they were talking about. This was an interview with Reza Aslan where he talks about misperceptions about Islam. I asked them for the link, and here is the interview.

Quite a discussion they were having, going at it with whatever they had.

I quite agree with them that the interview itself is quite fascinating, and some interesting, and logical facts come out of the interview. But the question which Hardy was asking was about something specific. In the interview, Mr. Aslan says that the Muslim community in the world, a community of more than a billion people, cannot be homegenous, and assuming such homogeneity is a mistake. While he says that, when talking about Muslims in America, he talks about the Muslim community in America as though it were a single community. Hardy thought that this gives the idea that somewhere deep down he himself believes that, otherwise he would have said that there is no such thing as a homegenous Muslim community, and there is vast diversity within the community. Laurel says that he did say that, but then, his allusion to the community gave a different impression. Fact is, the Muslims of Indonesia have very less in common with folks from Afghanistan. Or, the Muslims from South India, who have much more common culturally with the Hindus and Christians in South India, than with Muslims in Pakistan.

Another important question they were discussing was about what is a Muslim state. Is a country with a large Muslim population one which should be associated with Islam? If so, then Mr. Aslan conspicuously missed out India, which is home to the 2nd largest population of Muslims in the world after Indonesia. Laurel on the other hand believes that a Muslim state isnt one thats necessarily governed by Sharia, because Sharia interpretations the way they are done today, are a relatively new phenomenon in Islamic history, which brought Hardy to the idea that maybe a country where the majority of the population is Muslim is a Muslim state, even though it may profess to secularism. But then, by this logic, India would become a Hindu state, which we all know to be not true, and India is a firmly secular state. Or, how does one describe the difference between Nepal when it was a Hindu state, and when it is a secular state as it is now? Is there an appreciable difference in the nature of the country with this change? This let them to conclude that they really cannot say what makes a country a Muslim state. And in this, they seemed to be agreeing with Mr. Aslan.

On the whole, they seemed to agree upon large parts of what Mr. Aslan says, they finally summed it up saying that religion by itself is pure, the followers tend to distort its essence or ethos which take religion away from its true, inner meaning.

And then, going to what Dr. Iqbal said:

Mazhab nahin sikhaataa aapas mein baer rakhna

Religion does not teach us to fight with each other.

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2 Responses to Misperceptions About Islam/An Interview with Reza Aslan

  1. Atul says:

    While i largely agree with what he is saying, there are a few things which stand out. Firstly, Pakistan is, at best a transitional democracy, and more than half of the country’s independent existence has been under dictatorial rule. Another country he mentions is Egypt … was Egypt really democratic? Turkey is democratic, but then they profess to being a secular country. Which is another important question you have raised … of what makes a nation a Muslim state.

    On a slightly different note, i am not sure how one could describe the OIC if Muslims worldwide are such a diverse people. Now, i agree that this is more a political thing than a religious one, but it is based on a religious identity, an identity which can be assumed to be common.


  2. Pingback: Serangan Host Fox News terhadap Reza Aslan yang Menulis tentang Yesus | de Banera

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