This paper addresses the lecture on faith Vs tradition. It shows how many traditions are mistaken for faith and thus followed. It also sheds light on how these ideas have gone to twist the Muslim faith and look at Islam as an oppressor religion. The paper discuses the lecture and several other resources regarding the same topic.
The confusion between faith and tradition is common in many religions. Islam however is the one that has been recently targeted and discussed. This lecture brings out the distinctions and the discussion between what the holy Quran says and how Islam as a religion has come to be over the years. The lecturer who gave this lecture was Mustafa Akyol. He is Turkish political commentator and also an author belonging to Istanbul, Turkey. Akyol being a resident of Turkey gives credible comparisons and contrasts between the Islamic culture in Turkey and other Arab countries. He usually writes and thinks of issues relating to modernity and Islam. He dissects the politics going on Turkey for Turkish Daily News as well. In July, 2011 he wrote a book called Islam without Extremes. This book basically presents Islam in a way that takes out the extremist side from out. He puts forwards new and liberal ideas so that the people reading it don't look at Islam as a suffocating religion. The books works on putting Islam in a new light and promoting further respect for the tradition. The lecture "Faith vs. tradition in Islam" goes on to discuss the major differences in a tradition and faith. He majorly states that the deeply ingrained traditions of some Islamic regions have gone to affect the view of Islam over all. Many of the actions attributed to Islam are not really a part of the religion. These actions are merely misinterpretations and traditions of these regions. The traditions have been transformed to be part of the faith when they aren't even mentioned in the Quran.
A major thing that the lecturer discusses is how traditions have been mistaken into faith by a lot of people. He talked about most of the problems come out in the open later and not when the religion started. (Akyol) This is a major part in the lecture where he states that the issues or the problems that are now present were not issues before. The earliest form of the religion was rather pure instead of being extreme or suffocating. These problems therefore arose after the peoples misinterpreted the wrong things from it and made them into a tradition. Tradition become intermingled and seen as religion and thus got mixed up with religion. An example that he gave was of female circumcision in North Africa. There is no mentioned or talk about circumcising female in Islam. Due to many tribes in North Africa carrying out this practice, it was mistaken as being part of Islam. (Akyol)
Another major tradition mixed up with religion could be the segregation of sexes in Islam. According to Akyol, this action has been carried out very strictly in countries like Saudi Arabia. Countries like Saudi have segregation in shopping malls, eating place and even family functions as well. There is no segregation in the holy place in Mekkah. The Kaaba is the center for worship for all the Muslims and they all gather there in order to perform certain actions. Apart from praying areas, there is no segregation as such. Not only today, even when the holy place was made in the beginning, there was no segregation as such. This shows that segregation in turn could stem out from tradition rather than faith. (Akyol) This tradition or part of faith as some Muslims believe is carried out quite intensely in some Arab countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, countries like Egypt and Turkey don't show these barriers. Just because these countries don't show such actions doesn't mean that their faith is any less strong that those who reside in Saudi Arabia. Just like segregation, there is no clear cut mention of prohibition from drinking alcohol in Islam either. These were just one of the many things that show that certain traditions in regions have been turned into part of the Islamic faith when it isn't.
With all the talk about tradition and faith, there has been quite a division among the practices and beliefs of the Muslims. For instance, Turkey today is nothing like it was back in the 1970s. (Kalyoncu 90) There has been a division in the country due to the pro-Islamist and anti-Islamist views on the revival of the religion. Many in the country still believe that 'the traditional Islam ways' are best in the interest of the country. On the other hand, many believe that they are more confident and content with how Turkey is now. A fourth year medical student was banned from graduating due to her headscarf. She stated that her wish to cover her head was not because of her alliance to link to any political party rather it was something she wanted to do. The fact that many people thought she covered her head because of a political reason shows that tradition is being mixed with faith. Turkey is the only country in which secularism has taken a different turn. Where people can't be forced to follow religion, they shouldn't be punished for following it their way. Telling someone to uncover their head is just as horrible as telling them to cover it. (Akyol) This again shows that Turkey has also gone to the extreme in having things being not Islamic at all.
Islamic modernism was when the scholars looked into the western and the democratic society and saw that many good things were happening. The odd things here was that the Quran did not forbid what was happening. Thus, reforms were made however; many would wonder why did Islamism in the name of extremism come back in? The Middle East was colonized and that lead to anti-West or anti-Europe feelings for the Muslims then. So the reason that they become so rigid was only a defense mechanism. They felt threatened and over ruled and thus they began to hate the Europeans and any ideologies they brought in with them. If this issue is looked in closely, then it seen that out of the 46 Muslim majority countries, only nine of them are electoral democracies. (Kuru) According to some scholars, there is no clear cut separation of state and religion in Islam. In other words, Islam is not only a religion to follow but rather a set of rules to carry out life with. It tells men how to live, eat, and act in their everyday lives. (Kuru) Secularism is something that many countries follow and thus has managed to achieve a good balance between state and religion. In these, there is neither a form of government that is ruled with religion in consideration nor is there a complete democracy for a person to do anything they want.
The worsening conditions in the Muslim societies have often been studied and visited by scholars. A major area is to figure out and get an explanation of the current conceptions, interpretations attributed towards Islam. Even though many scholars have come to the decision that the 'bad' in the society isn't directly religion, it hasn't been shown and taught to the society as such. (Saeed 45) Saeed seems to think that many countries are due to the effect of the propagated religion. This propagated religion is therefore affecting the societies and not letting them progress. In the name of religion, these societies are being talked into being against the Western societies.
I personally find this topic quite interesting and I see it evident in many societies. It is true that…