Monday, February 9, 2009

Why the Spirit of Muslim Culture

Here is another comment from a previous post "Matrix: the Mind of Europe":
...What I got from all this conversation is that we should divide literature into these two: Mind and Spirit. Every literature which talks rationally and for any worldly outcome should be placed under Mind. On other hand literature deals with emotions, faith and/or supernatural power should be kept under Spirit. As you have mentioned that Iqbal has put many western writers in Muslim culture and we have put many of our writers in Mind of Europe so here instead of dividing it eographically we should divide it as mentioned above.
I'm afraid it's not that simple. For instance, Iqbal might be seen as more rational than Eliot. Therefore we need references: the spirit of Muslim Culture, and the mind of Europe. These references provide us the historical context of past, present and future for analyzing and categorizing any work.

I think this is a simple issue but it becomes complex when you are reluctant to perceive Islam as something which could be relevant even to non-Muslims today, and a self-respecting cultural force which neither needs to be servile nore hostile to the trends of modern times. Once you accept this, you don't need to ask theoretical questions about mind, spirit, etc.

Otherwise the questions never end, and each answer increases the complexity, just as the Children of Israel made it difficult for themselves to slaughter a cow by asking questions instead of seeking warmth and light from their faith (reference to Chapter 2 of the Quran).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mind Versus Spirit

On a previous post, "Matrix: the Mind of Europe", I received the following very interesting comment:

As you said that these terms ["the spirit of Muslim culture" and "the mind of Europe"] were given by Eliot and Iqbal, did they give these terms for the sake of comparison between them, as we are doing...?

Secondly, ...what is your viewpoint on the mind of Muslim cultures? ...We did hear many times that the spirit of Europe has no conflict with the spirit of Muslim Culture, so logically speaking one question arises whether there is any conflict between the minds of both?

Eliot and Iqbal did not name each other for comparison but since their respective terms ("the mind of Europe" and "the Spirit of Muslim Culture") implied that each was globally applicable, the two giants must have anticipated comparisons at some point (with reference to Iqbal this issue can be explored further in another post).

Not only there cannot be any conflict between the Spirt of Muslim Culture and the Spirit of Europe, but I also suspect that the two are the same.

Minds, however, can be different or so it seems. Each society tends to develop a "collective consciousness" which consists of its tradition, literature, sciences, etc. The structure of Islam is such that in a Muslim society, the collective consciousness (i.e. "the mind") tends to retain a balance with the collective spirit rather than dominating it.

Therefore, I presume that the mind of Europe and the mind of most Muslim communities would be different. We can talk about two conflicts:
  1. Between the mind of Europe and it's own spirit (and that spirit is the Spirit of Muslim Culture, I suspect)
  2. Between the mind of Europe which has overthrown the spirit and insists on devouring it, and the minds of some other societies such as Pakistan which desire to retain a healthy balance with their spirit

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Germany's Tasleema Nasreen

Germany's has now got its own Tasleema Nasreen. It is the German-born Pope Benedict XVI. Not that he made blasphemous comments against the Bible (God forbid) but he has reinstated a British-born Richard Williamson who was previously excommunicated and who recently forgot that the freedom of speech in some European countries didn't extend to the domain of holocaust.

For that matter, Britain has got it's TN too. Of course, Williamson. Here is the charge against him:
in an interview broadcast last month on Swedish state TV, [he] said that historical evidence "is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler." He cited what he called the estimates of the "most serious" revisionists that "between 200,000 and 300,000 perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber." (Associated Press)
Now the German chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Pope Benedict XVI to make a "very clear" rejection of Holocaust denials, and the expression on her face in the picture which accompanies the item on Yahoo! News doesn't seem as if she's kidding ;).
Further information abuot Richard Williamson is available on Wikipedia