Revivalist Islam and Democracy Essay

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Islam possesses a strong tradition of revival and reform. The concepts of Tajdid (renewal) and islah (reform) are fundamental concepts within Islam, based on the Qur'an and sunna of the Prophet. The preaching of Islam itself is presented in the Qur'an as, first of all, the revival of the true religion of God and reform of corrupt practices that had crept into the practices of religion by earlier communities. As we've discussed before, Islam regards itself as both the corroboration and the purification of the original Abrahamic faith, not a new religion but a reaffirmation of the ancient Abrahamic tradition and its renewal. Islah (reform) itself is a Qur'anic term (occurring in chapters 7:170; 11:117, 28:19) and refers to the reformist activities of all the prophets throughout time, who were sent by God to warn their communities of their sinful ways, and calling on them to return to God's path. The notion of tajdid (renewal) is based on a prophetic hadith in which Muhammad states, “God will send to the umma [the Muslim community] at the beginning of each century those who will renew its faith for it.” We know, for example, ‘Umar the second and al-Ghazali was declared to be the renewer of Islam for the 12th century. The question remains, what are the main components of the term renewal or tajdid? The two major components or aspects of the process of renewal are the following: 1) the process of renewal advocates, calls for, a return to the basic moral and religious principles contained in the Qur'an and sunna and secondly, 2) the right to practice ijtihad; that is to use independent reasoning in interpreting and re-interpreting the sources of Islam. This two-pronged process of renewal therefore is based on the assumption firstly that the righteous community established and led by the Prophet Muhammad at Medina should be imitated by later Muslims, secondly, the

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