Friday, March 11, 2005
He started off with one question and a brainstorming session, "What is wrong with the Muslims, the Muslim community and the Muslim Ummah?". Questions that thinkers and scholars have themselves been debating over the last 100 years. Why are Muslims seemingly comfortable with the digressing state of affairs in the islamic world and the status quo?
Many predictable answers were given, mentality, attitude, identity crisis, colonialism, Western hegemony, political systems that repress free-thought, economic factors etc. My answer was, the lack of a cohesive ideology for the ummah in the face of a postmodern supremist threat. Immediately I noted the gentle nod and smile on his face as he said "this is the course for you". He pointed out that "ideology"-associated with dogma- may not be the most appropriate word, preferring to use the phrase "idea system".
After much philosophical and psychological debate discussing the "I", how our emotional setting, value system and instincts form a mindset that affects our awareness, Platonism, Empiricism and loads of other stuff I haven't had a chance to swallow yet I had an idea of the thought-structure he was aiming to build in us. Yesterday we reached the juicy part; developing an idea system that is anchored in the divine text we call the Quran. What makes this different from every thing else i've heard over the years is that it doesn't use theology. It is a way of looking at religion from a different perspective all together, a much broader perspective. Quite shockingly, he claims this hasn't ever been done before. Apparantly, i'm one of the guinea pigs. I told him to play around with my mind all he likes as it needs some fine-tuning in many places.
The course has been a real eye-opener for me and has launched me onto a discourse that I have been searching for over the past two years. Now I feel I have a blueprint on which to base my thoughts and my efforts. Call it indoctrination or call it what you may, but it has lighted the path for me and provided me with a framework that can consolidate the knowledge I have gained here and there since I started this journey two years ago. I'm also really interested in taking this project further and documenting it.
I was toying with the idea of starting a parallel blog in which I would write everything down. But to be honest I wanted to keep it private (I can't quite figure out how to have a private blog yet). For once I want to write for myself and not for an audience and actually make blogging useful in my self-development. I'm sure no one is interested anyway.