Friday, May 21, 2010
Western Muslim Responses to Western Modernity: T. J. Winters (b.1960, U.K.)
His 8-tape lecture series called Understanding Islam received much acclamation from both Muslims and non-Muslims. The lectures were given to a primarily non-Muslims audience and is considered unparalleled for its objectivity and research. It covers the following topics: The Five Pillars of Islam; Sunnah, Shariah, Sectarianism and Ijtihad; Scriptural Links Between Judaism, Christianity and Islam; Muslim-Christian Views of One Another; Muslim Theology and Islamic Mysticism; and The Muslim Influence on Europe and the West.
Balancing the Zahir and the Batin
Islam is a balance between the zahir and the batin, i.e., the form and the spirit, the external and the internal, the expressed and the hidden, the husk and the kernel, the body and the soul. It is such a balance that are meant to be manifested in a believer. When that happens, he or she is a beauty.
This essential quality of a believer is excellently elaborated by Winter in two of his best articles: Seeing With Both Eyes and The Sunna As Primordiality. He concludes one of these articles with the following soothing words that give us hope and re-assurance in a world that is seemingly full of evil and oppression:
"Those of us who have lived far from nature, and far from beauty, and far from the saints, often have anger, and darkness, and confusion in our hearts. But this is not the Sunna [the examples of Prophet Muhammad]. The sunna is about detachment, about the confidence that however seemingly black the situation of the world, however great the oppression, no leaf falls without the will of Allah. Ultimately, all is well. The cosmos, and history, are in good hands.
"That was the confidence of Rasulullah (s.w.s.) [the Prophet]. It has to be our confidence as well. There is too much depression among us, which leads either to demoralisation and immorality, or to panic, and meaningless, ugly forms of extremism, which have nothing to do with the serenity and beauty to which the Ka'ba summons us. But Islam commands wisdom, and balance. It is the middle way. And for us, whatever our situation, it is always available, and can always be put into practice. We are the fortunate umma in today's world. Fortunate, because unlike Westerners, we are still centred on beauty. In other words, we still know what we are, and what we are called to be. " Dr. T. J. Winter
Read more: http://www.welcome-back.org/profile/winter.shtml
On Sufsim/Tasawwuf by T.J. Winters: http://baytunur.blogspot.com/2010/04/what-is-tasawwuf-or-sufism.html