By Noon Prayer: The Rhythm of Islam

By Noon Prayer: The Rhythm of Islam

By Noon Prayer: The Rhythm of Islam

By Noon Prayer: The Rhythm of Islam

Excerpt

This book promises a new understanding of the dynamics of Islam - its conceptual fundamentals, roots and origins, doctrine and regenerative revitalization. Restating the Five Pillars is a recurrent reminder of the cornerstones of Islam: shahada (declaration of faith), salat (prayer), sawm (fasting), zakat (almsgiving and charity), and hajj (pilgrimage), but stopping there reduces a rich, multilayered, and nuanced cultural system into clinical prescriptions and rites. A new analysis can reveal its richness and counter some falsehoods woven by propaganda machinery (now called public diplomacy).

Provocations against Muslims come from many directions. Recently, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a series of notorious cartoons defaming the Prophet of Islam; followed by the defamation of Islam itself in the Pope's remarks; and these events were preceded by state action banning headscarves in France (see discussion on this in Chapters 3 and 6) followed by other European nations - all defended in the name of freedom of expression, secularism, democracy, or intellectual and moral humanism. The irony of such argument is in the parallel Western promises of freedom and democracy while simultaneously engaging in immoral brutalities, exploitation of resources, and shameful torture dramas inflicted in public view on Arabs/Muslims. Massacres are sadistically committed against Palestinians. Such violence fuels stronger resistance to occupation in Palestine, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Iraq, and a more steadfast Islamic resistance gone global and diffuse. In that confrontational context, Islam is expediently broken into a good Islam “without fangs” and a bad Islam “with horns,” and a reification of division into Shi'a and Sunni.

Instead of atomizing, dichotomizing, or fragmenting Islam, this monograph looks analytically at “a one Islam,” an integrative whole and a unified and coherent phenomenon that is creative, generative, flexible, and dynamic. To explore this majestic phenomenon, a study cannot remain confined within the canons of one discipline. It has to draw upon multiple sources and cross-disciplinary bodies of knowledge. Building on insights deriving from the author's primary field research and original anthropological observations over decades, this analysis integrates many sources and methodologies: cross-cultural comparisons, ethnographic descriptions, fieldwork-derived data, and an analytic perspective that would be applied to historical information, visual materials, Arabic poetry, Islamic . . .

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