Sunday, 26 November 2017

The Middle East is not the place to learn about Islam today: Jasser Auda

The Canadian-Egyptian scholar Jasser Auda must have turned quite a few heads with his statement that Muslims from across the world should not look to the Middle East for knowledge about Islam and certainly not send students there for a religious education:

We need to stop the trend of sending people to the Arab world, which is at a really low historical point these days, to learn about Islam 
He made these remarks at a roundtable discussion entitled "Reclaiming the Centre: The Role of Religion in a Multi-Racial Society", organised by the Centre for Nation-Building Studies at Institut Darul  Ehsan in Malaysia.

Auda is one of the leading proponents of so-called "Maqasidi thinking", a strand of contemporary Muslim thought advocating a reinterpretation of Islamic law by returning to its most fundamental philosophical underpinnings encapsulated in a subfield of traditional Islamic legal learning known as the Maqasid al-Shari'a, generally translated as 'Higher Objectives of Islamic Law'.

With a dual academic background in computer sciences and religious studies, complemented with many years of participating in study circles dispensing traditional Islam learning at Al-Azhar in Cairo, Auda first made a name for himself with a book entitled Maqasid al-Shariah as Philosophy of Law: A Systems Approach. For a while he was associated with the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) in Doha, Qatar. He now heads the Maqasid Institute Global, a think tank registered in the UK, USA, Malaysia and Indonesia. 

While touring the world to give lectures and talks, or take part in panels, roundtable discussions and other forums, Auda's ideas find particularly receptive audiences in Southeast Asia: Aside from appearing in Arabic and English, his writings have also been translated in Malay and Bahasa Indonesia. It seems that it is because of his recognition of the importance of embedding Islamic doctrine in the respective cultural settings of different parts of the Muslim world that his thinking has traction in that particular region.

1 comment:

Mark Woods said...

Very valuable work