Islam, sipirtuality and civilisation
I am usually critical of religious sentiments. This, however, is not because of my hatred for religions. It is because the majority of religious views being expressed emphasise an exclusionary nature of religions that creates two groups: us and the rest. Religions, however, are not only that. They are comprised of sipirtual aspects, codes of conduct, rituals and many other components, which largely go unnoticed in mainstream religious rhetoric as it centres on the differences between believers and infidels.
This is true of all religious rhetoric. However, in an era of 'Western dominance', the exclusionary nature of religions is only seen when it contradicts with the West, i.e. when the West is on "the other side". Hence, Islam is viewed as an extremist religion while it is composed of the same set of positive, negative and neutral components of every religion.
In Ramadan, I got exposed to someone who, I believe, is doing a great job in presenting a different aspect of Islam. His name is Sami Yousef. He is a British Muslim singer who sings religious songs. My fascination with his works comes from the fact that, while his songs are full of religious symbols, he emphasises the spiritual nature of Islam, putting aside the differences between people and focusing on the relationship between the Muslim and the elements of the religion (God, Prophet and Quran). One of his songs is in English, Arabic, Turkish and Urdu which presents a unifying theme of religion.
The song I am including here is about Mohammed, the teacher of teachers (as he says). He presents spiritual themes while focusing that these can go hand in hand with modern life.
I think we need more people to revolutionise Islam. We need more people to encourage Islamic communities around the world to stop emphasising the difference between them and "the others". This is not intended to mean that other communities have stopped this differentiation, as this is something needed in all religions. To truly reach a stage where religions only controls the relationship between individuals and their Gods and does not infringe on the freedoms of others. Then, maybe, religions can gain back their self-proclaimed status as belief systems that seek to create a better life for humankind.