Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Islam: Where Are We and Where to Go?

Islam: Where Are We and Where to Go?
A Lecture "The Twilight of 'Islamosaurs'"

By Shaikh Abdal-Hakim Murad*
 February, 17, 2005
 Shaikh Abdal-Hakim Murad

This lecture was delivered at Oxford University for the Oxford
University Islamic Society on November 6, 2004, as part of the Ramadan
Conference. Reproduced with kind permission. Click here to listen.

As part of our self-reflection on the Muslim condition, we first need
to know where we stand and, above all, how we got here.

The mere piety, reactionism, and victimization that are practiced
extensively by Muslim voices, side by side with the anti-Muslim
apologetic polemics, only contribute to the further deterioration of
the Muslim condition everywhere. Nothing is needed more than ever than
a true practice of criticism-based self-consciousness.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told us, "The
sharp-witted person is one who criticizes himself." `Umar ibn
Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said,
"Criticize and appraise yourselves before you are criticized and
appraised on the Day of Judgment."

The beauty of such a practice is eloquently described in the words of
Fethullah Gulen:

Self-criticism may also be described as seeking and discovering one's
inwardness and spiritual depth and exerting the necessary spiritual
and intellectual efforts to acquire true human values and develop the
sentiments that encourage them. It is by means of such efforts that a
man distinguishes between what is good and bad and what is beneficial
or harmful to him throughout his life and maintains the uprightness of
his heart.

Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad, in a genuine exercise of self-refection,
reads the history of Islam in a sober spirit. He analyzes the current
situation of the Ummah, examines how we got here, and offers a
solution. By this, we as authentic believers can respond to the divine

[O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah, and let every
soul consider what it has sent on for the morrow, and be careful of
(your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is Aware of what you do.] (Al-Hashr

* Shaikh Abdal-Hakim Murad Murad is a celebrated Muslim scholar and a
translator of traditional Islamic texts. He is currently secretary of
the Muslim Academic Trust (London) and director of the Sunna Project
at the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University.

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