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Who is my Religious teacher?


Professor Tariq Ramadan highlighted a problem in his book “To be a European Muslim, pp. 117-8, which compelled me to search for my perfect religious teacher(s) :

We are witnessing among the young European (or Western*) Muslims, the unhealthy development of a complex whereby they discredit themselves and think the right responses should come from abroad, from great ‘ulema’ residing in islamic countries.
Some leaders of Muslim organisations form the FIRST generation of newly arrived as students or political refugees, reinforce the impression that they do not have the ability to formulate Islamic rulings and, consequently, to decide which methodology should be used within the European context.
This statement, explicitly or implicitly conveyed, brings about a double simplification and distortion: first, it makes the youth believe that Islamic identity is confined within cold Islamic rulings defining what is lawful and unlawful (halal and haram) and this is a misconception. Second, it leads to a childish and infantile process within which the young generations are imprisoned without being able to turn to good advantage what they have experienced by growing and living in a European (or Western*) society, and this is nothing less than a guilty negligence.
* Commented by me


With the advent of human intelligence based on improved knowledge in 21st Century, the notion of cross-disciplinary engagement is now very common. At the zenith of all-round philosophical compendiums, scientific achievements and psychological flourishment, socio-economic complexities in 21st century, the comprehensive explanation of “religion” needs to be complemented through the top skill sets of (i) Philosophy, (ii) Science, (iii) Psychology (iv) Jurisprudence and (v) Socio-economic studies.

[ps. A top skill sets of (i), (ii) and (iii) are essential to face the challenges from Atheism by the religious scholars.]


Competence level of a traditional Islamic Ulema:

A comprehensive knowledge of the above subjects within the Western framework are essential in order to explain the justifications of religion and the religious rulings properly.

Can a traditional Islamic ‘ulema’ from East can successfully perform this job (of teaching religion with a comprehensive assessment to face the Western framework) without being fully aware of the aforementioned five subjects?

A quotation from Professor Tariq Ramadan is contextual here:

Muhammad Abduh‘s main objective was to modify the religious studies curriculum at Al-Azhar University and, at the same time, to add new disciplines such as geography or history to the programme. He was against the way of teaching and learning within “a great institution” he still respected but which needed, according to him, profound reform: above all he was very critical about knowledge acquired “by heart” and assessed as such without any concern for real understanding. …

Many later ‘Ulema’ felt the same lacuna and called for similar reform: Rashid Rida, Muhammad Abu Zahra, Hassan Ahmad Khallaf, and more recently Muhammad al-Ghazali and Yusuf al-Qardawi. Throughout the world, this call was also echoed: a revival of the Islamic sciences and a reform of religious education was,  and still is, imperative in order that Muslims respect their sources, and at the same time, live up to their age.

[Source: To be a European Muslim, pp. 93-4]

So, My religious teacher(s):

A people or a group of people having a comprehensive knowledge of Islamic principles along with the above FIVE subjects can be fit for my religious teacher(s).

6 replies on “Who is my Religious teacher?”

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