RESPONSE TO EXTREMISM

“From an Islamic perspective, it could be said that ignorance is our only true foe and that knowledge is our only true need, for when applied and lived, knowledge provides all that is necessary to overcome our spiritual, moral, emotional, and even physical decrepitude.  Viewed in this light, the myriad social, economic, and political problems which have given rise to extremist reactions are in part the symptoms of an underlying intellectual crisis…But as these are relatively recent developments, which for the most part represent deviations from the traditional Islamic sciences, we must delve into Islamic intellectual history in order to fully address these issues.  Historical contextualization of movements in the Islamic world is important for non-Muslims because an inability to appreciate the subtleties and complexities of the Islamic intellectual tradition leads to egregious misunderstandings, which can in turn lead to devastating political miscalculations…It is also of central importance for Muslims because much of the thought now produced in the Islamic world is not in fact Islamic.  Western ideologies are presented by both dogmatic literalists and modern “liberal” secularists with a thin veneer of Islamic terms and sayings, while the voice of traditional Islamic thought is often muted and ignored…Recovering the Islamic intellectual tradition is thus an essential, if not the essential, step to ameliorating the malaise which Muslims and non-Muslims alike have long bemoaned and decried.”

~Joseph Lumbard~

Lectures

Books & Articles