Speaking About Islam Today
Case study: Fazlur Rahman
In every age, place, culture and philosophical system, the unchanging truths of Islam have to be communicated to people in concepts, languages and images that they can understand. The modern European world is very different from that of our grandparents. Our children are taught to examine, analyse and question throughout the educational process. How do we express Islam in a way that makes sense to them and to the wider communities in which we live?
One of the people who struggled with this problem was Professor Fazlur Rahman of Karachi and Chicago (d. 1988). He was trained in classical Islamic studies, steeped in Arabic philosophy and for six years at the heart of the question of the role of Islam in modern Pakistan. He also held an Oxford doctorate, commanded four modern and two ancient European languages and taught Muslim and non-Muslim students for the last twenty years of his life in Chicago. His life and work is an exemplification of one attempt to struggle to speak about Islam in the modern world in a way that was true to the teaching of the Qur’an and the Sunna of the Prophet and yet was intellectually satisfying to the modern ‘western-educated’ mind.
On Saturday 3rd March in the Andalus Centre in Glasgow, we will explore some elements of his life and thought with Dr Chris Hewer (www.chrishewer.org). The day will comprise of four sessions:
• Introduction to the life and times of Fazlur Rahman
• How does the Word of God become the words that flow from the lips of Prophet Muhammad?
• Exploring the period from the customary practice of Muhammad in his lifetime to the compilation of the great Hadith collections.
• A thematic methodology to understand the ‘golden message’ of the Qur’an and apply it in our days.