Abdulhakim Murad (T. J. Winter) on the future of Muslims, Islam in art and cinema

As a Muslim British ,how do you the future of British Muslims?Where do they stand?To which direction do they evolve?what do you think they can contribute to Britain?.We have seen the video  you are included as well,HAPPY MUSLİM,for which you were severely criticized by a group of people.It been said that you are tryin to endear yourself  to non-Muslim community.What do you think about these?

As for the future of the british muslim community nobody has an idea because the state of the world is so unprecedented that noone has a clear sense as to what the world will be like even in 5 years time.  Every comunity is changing very fast.  The world, the environmental crisis, the instability of the financial system, the breakdown reconfiguration of fundemental units of society, all of these are such elementary and fundamental changes in human social patterns that nobody has a clear sense as to  what  or how it will be. So the future of the british muslim community is going to depend on large meausure on the shape of the wider ambiance of society and issues such as inculturation, adaptation, opposition, radicalization, conversion will all be determined by the specific dynamic which exists between the different segments that have already divided society. The social reality of a very rapidly changing western matrix. So the prophising would be unwise in this situation I think. If there’s one thing we can say about the current realization is that it would  have been completely unimaginable  10-20 years ago so to assume the future is something which we cant begin to guess and so social scientists are aware of this in terms of the video , the video is something which flagged up the internal arguments which exists in the community. No sharia boundaries were transgressed . The intention of it was simply to reflect the reality of a certain  section of british muslim youth in a state of exuberance and it didn’t have any particular, wider agenda but in any case the question should be appropriately asked to the people who made the video rather than to those who in a very brief a five second clip happen to appear in it. 

We have seen you were executive producer in documantery film  about İman Gazali.According to İslam what is meaning cinema in postmodern era we are living  for İslam?What are its opportunities for İslam?Please could give some advices  about which  movies we should watch? What is your suggestion about movie?

 If we just look at the last ones i suppose the question of the role  of religion in cinema is a complex one. Cinema by definition is a modern Art has no classical   And are also developed as part of the humanistic turn within the early 20th century Western sensibilities that focused very much on human interiority intentionality but within dramatic framework. There have been some such as Kieslowski  And tarkovsky  that have attempted to explore ways in which the inherent twi dimensional screen can be incorporated to use The religious dimension  that to the extent of which and the mediated by type of art is something that’s still seems to be controversial  particularly in the context of islamic civilisation which is a non representational civilisation anyway. Our expressions of the sacred have taken place through  geometry, through abstraction,  through architecture, through sound but not primarily through the representation of human form. So the way in which this particular art form might be mobilised through the service of religion is a question that continues to elude any of us even though of course majid majidi and some iranian producers have attempted to sketch a certain way of evoking conceptions of holiness on the screen. But how that fits in the larger context of the norms And practices of our civilisation is still an open question. 

There are recently studies of interfaith dialogue?What is the red line of interfaith dialogue?Where does it  start and also finish?What should we understand as ehli sunnet vel cemaat?

Well to take the first of those questions, religious dialogue is not problematic for Muslims because it is scriptural lye mandated وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ(Ankebut/46) and other Koranic instructions to the holy prophet and implicitly to his community to engage in discussions with the ehli kitab and we know that he engaged in discussions with the Ahbar , the rabbaz and Jews in Medina.We know that he engaged in discussions with the Waft of Nejran and other Christian representatives so from a Sharia perspective this is not problematic.The intentions can be multiple.One intention can simply be to explore issues of common concern whether they be questions of social development, marginalisation, the environment, the crisis in the financial system and business ethics.It may well be that religions can find their agendas strengthened if they collaborate with like minded agendas which exist across the border in other religions.Part of the intention can also be in a more classical mode to share in the quest for the truth that, unless we engage respectfully and integrally with individuals that do not subscribe to our point of view we an never hope fully to construct an adequate account of our point of view and this applies not just to our engagement with Jews and Christians but other non Muslims but also to other people within our religious tradition. The brilliance of ilmi kelam , for instance,is the Sunni world is a consequence of generations of debate with the Mutezile  and other groups so the intellectual systems are improved and made strong through dialogue with people with whom one can profoundly disagree and this has also been part of the discursive  life of Islamic civilisation. As for the second question , which is the identification of the ethos ( unable to recognise this part) This is something that is classically defined as allegiance to one of the four metheps and an acceptance of the simultaneous validity of the Ashuri Mahturidi and other moderate Hanbeli schools of Theology that constitutes what it is to be a mainline traditional Sunni.

 If I would like to describe you,I think you are British Gazali.And you  are always travelling around the world muslim and non-muslim countries.You  have a big  chance to observe lots of different societies.Also you know both medrese education and modern education.What do you think about education system in Muslim world.What do our alims do this system?Now,how should islamic cemaats and tarikats convert structural?

Well, there’s a number of responses that religious believers can adopt towards a manner of higher education whose roots are in the enlightenment, a reaction against religion.Modern university goes back to the Humboldt University in Berlin, at the time of the Napoleonic wars  which was a deliberate attempt to get away from church and religious teaching and to teach only subjects which could be imperically and scientifically validated . Even in the area of the geisteswissenschaften the Humanities was thought that a discourse could be contentiously reached which would be essentially humanistic rather than religious inspiration . So the challenge which faces the religious thinker in today’s world is the extent to which religion can comfortably inhabit the discursive world of a modern scholasticism whose roots are explicitly exclusionary towards religion and even can be contemptuous of it.Ofcourse matters are not so polarised because particularly at the Anglo Saxon university tradition we do have a space for theology, unlike , for instance, the United States universities or the situation in France, we have Theology faculties within the context of major universities . I teach in one such institution. So over the years, particularly in the Anglo Saxon tradition, there has been a .modest developed between an inside religious discourse and the outside discourse of religious studies and the phenomenology of religion, anthropoly of religion,psychology of religion and other secular phenomelogical approaches which the academy rooted in a Humboltic revolution  in the organisation of knowledge, which the humanistic post religious west has been able to accommodate.

What  do yo think about Middle East especially ummet?In the middle east there are on war each others.After Arab Uprising sitiation Egypt,Syrian,Iraq…

Well, the tragedy of the so called Arab Spring is that it has been subverted by certain , particularly intransigent expressions of a post Sunni religiosity that could be generally described as Salaphist or Wahhabist , that the Syrian revolution , for instance, probably would have succeeded but for the fact that the regime was able to present itself as the saviour from Al Queda and then from Isis and the same can be said in Libya and other situations. So it’s unfortunate that this particular sectarian possibility should have sidetracked revolutions that could possibly, although not for certain,have delivered better government than those countries had hitherto known.
However, it has to be added that the tradition of the ehli Sunna ulema has historically not to participate in insurrections and in revolutions.Early Islam divided into three, the Harijis, the Shia and the early Sunna . The Harijis and the Shias validated in different ways rising up against a corrupt ruler but the Sunnis were defined as those who tried to find a compromise and tried to work with the situation as it was, even so embody like Yazid. So it is constitute of Sunni normalcy not to engage in armed revolution against existing political structures but to try to mitigate them and to work with them so , in a sense,those societies are victims of their defiance and rejection of their own scholarly and sectarian heritage.

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