Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Comparative Study of Two Progressive Contemporary Muslims Scholars: Abdessalam Yassine and Parvez

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Comparative Study of Two Progressive Contemporary Muslims Scholars: Abdessalam Yassine and Parvez

Article excerpt


Abdessalam Yassine (1928-2012), a world-renowned writer, philosopher and reformer from Morocco, influenced the modern Muslim world with his writings, speeches and actions. His lifelong mission was to eradicate socio-political and economic inequalities in the country which provided incentive for extremism in the society. Defending his religion, by using epistemology of religion from an Islamic perspective, he proposed going back to the basics of Islam, to deal with the challenges facing human beings in general and Muslims in particular. He challenged the Western/modern philosophy which has blurred the place of religion in the society and countered their arguments. He lays out the case of Islam to make it relevant to modern times. Similarly, Ghulam Ahmad Perwez of Pakistan1 proposed almost identical ideas to challenge the common sense of the word 'religion' to demonstrate how Islam can be a panacea for all social evils. A comparative study of these two thinkers and reformers will demonstrate that despite the geographical distances, their understanding of Islam is nearly identical and both intellectuals responded to the global challenges faced by the Muslim states and society.

There has been a massive literature on various topics related to challenges facing the Muslims in modern times and response of the Muslim intelligentsia to cope with them. The intellectuals of the Muslim world including Abdessalam Yassine and Ghulam Ahmad Parvezhave produced enormous writings and through their writings have pinpointed the causes of downfall of the Muslim political power, growing anxiety in the world and also prescribed solutions to address them. Above all, they have preached the lessons of mutual love, peace and fraternity not only among the Muslims but also between Muslims and non-Muslims to create a peaceful world. Abdessalam Yassine (Morocco) and Ghulam Ahmad Parvez (Pakistan) played remarkable roles in educating the Muslims in modern times in their respective regions. The impact of their writing in the contemporary world is immense and they have been successful in creating their respective schools of thought. As a result, rejecting the violent course of action as a tool to solve their socio-economic and political problems, the Muslims have been following the teaching of Quran, Sunnah and the Sufis. While making a comprehensive study of the phenomenon of extremism, therefore, it is important to understand the significance of the writings on the overall religious psyche of the Muslim world. As the paper unfolds, it will show that the Muslim intellectuals, particularly of Morocco and Pakistan, have shown a great sense of responsibility while engaging in the dialogue which has emerged in contemporary times.

Once the Islam remained the most dominant force in the history of the world but the Muslim world is divided into 57 Muslim countries. They are facing are number of problems faced by all societies in decline or a status quo such as economic, social and political. Though there is a long history of the downward graph of Muslim civilization because of internal disturbances and external aggression but the genesis of the contemporary challenges in the Muslim world can be trace against the Muslim world beginning from eighteenth century onwards which reached its zenith with the colonial occupation of nearly all the Muslim lands over the next 150 years. The present clash is between the North and South and between the West and the Muslim world. The North wants to maintain its control and domination of Muslim lands through various devices, both traditional and new, while the Muslims have been fighting them through various ways of their own with limited resources to regain control of their lands and to exercise real freedom in their respective countries. The North perceives it from the 'clash of civilizations' narrative, responding to which the Muslims label them as a violent, world-dominating group.

The Response of the Muslim Intellectuals to Contemporary Challenges

It is of great importance to explore and analyze the response of the Muslims towards these challenges. …

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