Sunday, January 25, 2009

Islam Distorted: Distortion #4

Instead of recognizing people's intellectual contributions through Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize and Fields Medal, we have been handing out Takfir Medal (broadly speaking Takfir = heresy) for nearly 150 years. Our greatest minds are all distinguished by having received this: Muhammed Abduh, Rashid Rida, Syed Ahmed Khan, Muhammed Iqbal. First, very few among us are literate, and among those who can read, the culture of reading books and reflecting simply doesn't exist. Yet, we label as heretic anyone who comes up with an idea that doesn't fit our old, narrow, rigid mold.

Is that the reason contemporary Muslim scholars tend to restrict their sermons to entertaining Muslim masses instead of urging this intellectually ravaged nation to wake up and smell the coffee? Our culture does become the filter through which our future is shaped. We need someone who will give us the bitter pills that will heal us, but we threaten anyone who'd dare do that!

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