Essay on Tension Between the West and Islam

Essay on Tension Between the West and Islam

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The tension between the West and Islam has become a hot topic lately but the conflict between the two has always been there, and is illustrate through the works of Al-Farabi, Nilufar Gole, and Sayyid Qutb. Each author has a different perspective on modernization and the west. The significance of these three authors, whose works span over a period of 1,000 years, is that their work reveals the enduringly complex relationship that Islam and the West have had.
Even though, Al-Farabi doesn’t specifically address the tension between Islam and the west his theories are compatible with several of their secular ideals; many of which coincide with the Greek philosopher, Plato. On the other hand, Qutb who the west and secularism as an enemy of Islam and is strongly opposed to with western values and ideals, which he characterizes as Jahiliyyah. Gole though is an intermediary between the two in the sense that she doesn’t take obvious sides in the “Forbidden Modern”. More than serving as an intermediary between the West and Islam she serves as an intermediary between the two author’s Qutb and Al-Farabi. She does so by approaching the issue of veiling through the lens of a secularist; by explaining through a world perspective veiling makes sense for the Muslim world.
The earliest piece of work is Al-Farabi’s “The Political Writings: Selected Aphorisms and Other Texts”. This text does an apt job of conveying the idea that so many of Al-Farabi’s beliefs resonate with western ideals. During the period, that Al-Farabi’s aphorisms were written it was a very cosmopolitan time, and religion was thought of as a subset of philosophy. Therefore, the extremism that comes through in Qutb’s work is a stark contrast to that of Al-Farabi, and Al-Farabi...

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...i are juxtaposed it is hard to believe that both believe in the same religion. Each author has his way of living as a Muslim in a world where beliefs are being challenged, whether it is by the western world or the Islamic world—there is always tension. This tension is only amplified when a controversial practice such as veiling comes into play. The practice of veiling is so different from what non-Muslim westerner’s know that it is understandable for them to mischaracterize. However, through the three authors’ it was easy to see that there are distinct perspectives on modernization and the west. Further, even if all three authors are Muslim each person’s perspective on their own religion varies a great deal which makes it no surprise why once you step out of the Islamic world (that has it’s own divisions) that the West too has a trying relationship with Islam.

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