9.16.2010

Fareed Zakaria Slips a Gear, or, "Pure" Islam is Terrible

Listen to the first minute of this video, but pay really close attention to the language Zakaria lets slip around :58 seconds in:

Sufi poets routinely extol the virtues of wine and song, both forbidden in the purer versions of Islam.
This makes it sounds curiously-much like Islam is itself a problem. But maybe this was just a very poor choice of words, right?

2 comments:

pure_sophist_monster said...

I think Bakhtin would be helpful here: this seems to be a sideways glance at Al-Qaeda. That is, "pure" is not being said by the author but with those he is, in part, in dialogue with (i.e., Al-Qaeda).

Casey said...

Ah--just an unclear expression then? Okay. His headline seemed to suggest as much: "Al-Qaeda vs. Islam," which makes it sound like "real" Islam is Sufism. But then I wonder what the term "Sufism" is meant to denote?

But of course the fact is, we're not really looking at a world composed of mostly-Sufi-style Muslims. I'd be happy if it turns out that the Ground Zero Imam is genuinely of the Sufi variety, of course. I always favor the mystical, preferring Teresa of Avila and Meister Eckhart to your pedagogues like Thomas Aquinas. But mysticism has always been, and certainly is currently in the Muslim world, a 10%-or-less variety.

So just as we must admit that "mainsteam" Christianity in America, whether it's Catholic or Protestant, doesn't effectively emphasize (as Sufism does) union with the divine or destruction of the ego, we ought to be willing to look at mainstream Islam, as opposed to piling our hopes on the mystical variety.

Let me just speak as an initiate to another initiate: the people don't get it. They need rules. They need the Old Testament, or Sharia Law, or something. You and I know that ultimately morality is formed with and within the Self, and revelation is immediate and personal, etc.--look at this awesome image (Allah written on the heart):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Qalb_with_Ism_Allah.png

--but that isn't a democratic knowledge, and it's effectively incommunicable. That's real religion. What's left to the masses we call "religion," but it's really politics. And we initiates ought to speak to one another in explicit terms about what kind of a politics the various "religions" are making manifest.

But now I'm off on my hobby horse. Sorry. You're probably right about Zakaria.