Tuesday, October 04, 2005

So Many Labels....

Being a Muslim is so complicated apparently that people don't find the word descriptive enough & feel they have to add additional labels to it. Some of the labels I keep coming across:

1) Secular Muslim.
2) Liberal Muslim.
3) Moderate Muslim.
4) Salafi Muslim.
5) Sufi Muslim.
6) Islamist.
7) Mainstream Muslim.
3) Observant/Practicing Muslim(Can you be a non-practicing Muslim?)

Interesting the way Islam keeps giving birth to all these divisions & under each one of them you find numerous sub-divisions. Historically when Muslims differed in opinion they split into religious sects. Is it that in modern times we split into socio-political directions of thought that merge with the religious & span across traditional sects?Is this the beginning of the end for traditional Islamic Sectarianism?Instead of Sunnis(Malikis, Shafi'is etc...) & Shia & Ahmadis & Abazis & Alawis are we now going to be hearing about secular Muslims & Liberal Muslims & practicing Muslims?

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5 Comments:

Blogger Mustapha said...

I can't see why the first three are a problem. Let's replace the word "Muslim" with the word "person".

you can find a secular person, liberal person, moderate person, conservative...etc, the same way you can find a generous person, a hard-working person or a kind person... these are just character traits.

I answered you in my blog what secular moslem would be. as for the rest of the divisions. It's not Islam, it's just human nature.

We like to categorize, sort and classify our immense richness as humans. and people will never have homogeneous thoughts.

10/04/2005 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Lazarus said...

In a way you're right loulou, but mustapha does have a point. Muslim can be seen as too wide a term.

10/04/2005 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Mustapha & Lazarus,

I wasn't suggesting there's a problem. I just think it's an interesting trend worth noting & questioning.

A friend of mine addressed this labelling issue here and here a while back. Ever since then I've started paying more attention to the way people identify themselves, the new clusters & groupings within our culture.

I know people will never have homogenous thoughts Mustapha. Furthermore Islam in particular has never been a monolithic religion because of the lack of a formal clergy structure. So we've always had differences - pretty deep differences if you ask me. But now we seem to have found new ways of expressing & defining those differences.

10/04/2005 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger aroundtheclock24_7 said...

A friend of mine is a non-praticing Muslim. He is muslim at birth but an atheist in real life. He does beleive that there is a great force but cannot understand the fact that it is one one God (person or character etc.. ) I went into billions of endless conversations with him but we always stopped before it started to ruin our really close friendship. Anyway all i can say is Allah Yihdeeh ;)

By the way you forgot to mention the Druze Muslims ;)

10/05/2005 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Hi Around,

Your friend is not a non-practicing Muslim then. You said it yourself. He's an athiest.

The term non-practicing Muslim is meaningless in my opinion. If you don't believe in organized religion you're either an agnostic(you believe in God but not in organized ritualistic religion) or you're an athiest(you don't believe in God at all).

Islam, Christianity, Judaism etc...all these are organized religions. You follow them if you believe in practice. This is why I don't understand the term practicing Muslim. It seems redundant. Being Muslim means you practice some form of Islam. Or at least you believe you should even if you're too lazy or careless etc...

As for Druze, it would be impossible to list all Islamic sects. There must be hundreds of them. Just mentioned a few as an example.

10/05/2005 02:07:00 PM  

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