Friday, March 11, 2005

My ideology

I have been on a course all week that is supposed to change the way I think forever. At least that is what the course instructor said. There are two days left, and i'm certain that it already has.

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.

Posted by BB @ 3/11/2005 06:27:00 PM

Read or Post a Comment

Just type up and save it as a draft. I do it all the time!

Posted by Blogger homer simpson @ 3/12/2005 10:01:00 AM #

INTRESTED!!!! I like the subject really interested...

Posted by Blogger Preternatural_aL @ 3/12/2005 10:30:00 AM #

Yes, do write on this - You know, a desktop diary, or even your word processor does wonders. You can always cut+paste later on when you've decided to make it public.

Posted by Blogger AA @ 3/12/2005 12:59:00 PM #

Bahrania, it would be great to read your thoughts on this... but if you really want to keep it private you can use or several other online journals out there. But it would probably just be easier to save it as a draft in Blogger,... or maybe you could just set up a blog under another Blogger account and not tell anyone what the address is!

Posted by Blogger Chanad @ 3/13/2005 12:14:00 AM #

MMM at Subzero uses PerfectJournal and I've tried looking into it. I haven't decided to try it out yet.

It's a 60-day free trtial. I don't want to develop a dependancy and then fork over $30. But I am watching it.

It sounds like something you might be interested in.

Posted by Blogger Desert Island Boy @ 3/13/2005 01:20:00 AM #

Don't get me wrong, i do intend to share my thoughts in one form or another about this topic in the future. But right now I have loads of material which needs to be organised and composed in long articles which doesn't quite fit in with this blog. You know what it's like, i'll need a first, second probably third draft and the instructor to edit it and stuff. I kinda volunteered to help him out as he is very old school- has loads of handwritten notes and photocopies of journals which make perfect sense to him but no one else. Yet the pattern he has drawn out of bits here and there underpins the kind of pragmatic attitude a muslim needs to adopt to face his reality.

Saving as Draft is a bit of hassle and not very different from using Word. looks like another blogging portal. seems to do exactly what it says on the tin. I'll try it out. You can even publish direct to blogger.

I was thinking of something like a password protected blog...

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 3/13/2005 01:56:00 AM #

I'm interested, too, if you'd like to share your thoughts. Exclusive yahoo group?

Posted by Blogger sume @ 3/13/2005 10:07:00 AM #

You know, you pose a very interesting question here. I've been thinking of solutions since you posted this article and I find myself drawn in two directions; me being technical would install a blogging tool with its database and webserver on my laptop and use it as a private blog, this will give me the opportunity to search, index and even comment on the articles I enter. This is easy enough to do, and the set up (if you know what you're doing) shouldn't take more than an hour or so.

The second is to enter everything in a word processor with the "changelog" enabled, so you can trace what and when you entered articles and when and how you changed them. This could be tedious.

The other way is to use a textual organiser tool, the best I found so far is KeyNote, you can download it for free from it is freeware and the latest version is solid. It is a very flexible tool that you can even use to write movie scripts! It has a tabbed interface and various plugins (like calendar which you will need for your project I think, at least to insert dates). The beauty of this product is that you can actually export your posts in HTML, Rich Text, and Plain Text.

What would be a great addition to all of these methods is the export in PDF format, I always do this "just in case" with my research and store the pdfs on a remote server. This also allows me to track changes with a versioning system I created.

I would love the ability of Xaraya being able to export all articles, duly formatted in .pdf, then webmasters can actually dump their whole sites and sell them as books from year to year! Instant publisher!

Another tool which you must consider using (it's not free, but it's not expensive either) especially as your instructor is not very organised is a mindmapping application. The best I found so far is MindManager from - This is a tool that helped me an awful lot in brainstorming sessions and categorisation of thought and articles. You can download an evaluation copy from the website to see how it works. I know quite a number of PhD students who swear by it and say that they wouldn't have finished their theses without it on time.

Good luck with your project, it sounds really interesting.

Posted by Anonymous Mahmood Al-Yousif @ 3/13/2005 11:04:00 AM #

Mahmood, I had to read you're comment like 10 times. One sec, let me read it again to make sure I didn't miss anything...

I'll look into the Mindmanager. I've used Endnote before.

thanks for the tip guys...did u actually think I would use them?

*Bahrania opens Word and tries to located file11/03/2005 and realises she's saved it on another computer*

just kidding...will try perfectjournal and mindmanager.

thanks y'all

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 3/14/2005 12:51:00 AM #
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