Is Islam a Single Universal Tradition

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In this article, the historian Francis Robinson argues that Islam is a single universal tradition based on the fact that borrowed practice elements from Hinduism are needed to be considered fallacies in the religion. Those syncretic elements were combined from Hinduism by various Indian communities. The argument is if Islam is a one unified religion or rather is it a religion that embraced other religion practices from different communities. Islam is practiced differently around the world, and it is merged with local practices and other religions. And like Christianity it appears in many forms around the world. The matter is to look how they are different from one another. Anthropologists argue that the distinctive practices and beliefs should not be considered an inferior form of Islam, but they should count them as equal. Robinson argues that Indian Islam might contain Hindu elements, but they will disappear when those who practice them will gain knowledge on the actual basic practices of Islam. He argues that it happened before when Islam spread to new areas, but it is still one religion with small variations. In contrast, sociologist Veena Das argues that Robinson learns only from the historical context he read rather than learning it from people’s behavior and beliefs. Such Islamic texts give the wrong impression on how the religion is practiced by common people. She argues that religious texts are not leading to a single tradition. The different texts give dissimilar interpretations, and practices that are not practiced in reality for like in Arab countries.

Anthropologists see Islam in South Asia as more Indian in its belief. Robinson contrasts this theory with the support of the sociologist Imtiaz Ahmad. Ahmad argues th...

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...ther source of Islamic spread. They help Islam to diffuse to other parts in the world, and to acknowledge the religion. Hence, there is a relationship between the Muslim societies, and the Islam tradition which transmitted by holy men. Muslim societies are moving towards the ideal Islam. There have been always interruptions that skewed them away from the religion, making the difference between the principles and how they actually practice them. Indian Islam has weakened where knowledge of the faith was suppressed. They aggressively try to spread the Islamic knowledge by movements and teaching in schools, and by translating it to other languages such as happened in India. Many Muslims came to realize that Islam changed, and perfection cannot be achieved. Moreover, there is a separation between how Muslim lives and what others believe.
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