How Islamic is Islamic??
- By Parvez Ahmed
- Published 06/22/2011
Attaching Islam or Islamic to otherwise secular activities such as politics or art is a newer innovation whose proliferation is traceable to the identity movements that sprang up in the Muslim world in the 1960s and 70s. Even if one were to provide convincing raison d’être for the fields of Islamic Art or Finance, how does one explain Islamic Olympic Games, Islamic Music, Islamic Quizzes, etc.? In their quest to preserve identity, Muslims may have lost sight of the big picture.
The proponents of “Islamic-anything” perform a difficult juggling
act. In his book “Islamic Finance” Mahmoud El-Gamal outlines the dilemma
faced by the Islamic finance industry, for example. On one hand the
Islamic finance industry tries to be similar to conventional finance so
as not to be in any jeopardy of national or international laws. On the
other hand, the industry portrays itself to be different by using Arabic
words to describe mundane secular contracts and attempting to conform
to the sacred texts of Islam, even when such conformity is no more than
form over function. This dilemma of being same and yet different is also
faced by other Islamized disciplines.