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By Prof Dato Yusuf Morales
Understanding and research forms an essential part of knowledge building and knowledge generation in the human sciences. Human sciences such as sociology, antropology and education are sciences that focus on understanind of human dynamics and how humans interact with each other. Questions arise in the academe that tries to spring answers in todays modern world, trying to see if there exists a difference in spirituality and religiousity. Being Muslim intellectuals and researchers, the challenge lies is to seek answers to these questions. In the eyes of the Muslims this would not appear clearly since the dividing lines between religion and culture is not as defined as it is in a secular society. Because to a Muslim all aspects of life are part of Islam being defined as a way of life, and that every action is considered an act of worship. Secular definitions of the sacred and religiousity appear to have clear cut definitions that may appear not significant to Muslims unless the young Muslim has been brought up in either a purely secular environment or educated in a secular educational institution. But being exposed to a community that considers Urf (custom) and addat (traditions) to be integral of being a Muslim and ergo an extension of his religious persuasion. Before we go further in defining and delineating them, let us first contextualize the mindframe of how a Muslim views his worldview.
Spirituality and its discourses among the Muslim youth, looking from the lens of an insider and observer. By Prof Dato Yusuf Morales Primarilly, he views the world as part of his worldview, sees that there is no separation between the secular and the religious. Seeing Islam as a way of life, Islam pervades both the religious, spiritual, secular and material plane, this in varying degrees according to a Muslim's depth of understanding. Where does a Muslim take sources for his understanding of his worldview? A worldview is taken from ones understanding and processing of knowledge that is made available to him. And in General the sources for such knowledge that a Muslim generally obtains from are the following : (a) The Quran also known as Ummul Kitab (mother of all books) the Quran is the prime foundational document of all Muslims which is one of miracles of the Prophet Muhammad(saw). It is said to contain both gems of knowledge in fields of theology, science and other sciences. (b) The Oral traditions of the Prophet. also known as hadith , this corpus of narrations are the words actions and prescriptions of the prophet Muhammad in his lifetime to his companions. This huge corpus of personal dictums has been handed down from one generation to another, and whose authenticity is guaranteed by both narators and the Quran itself as any narration that runs contrary to the letter and spirit of the Quran is considered "inauthentic". (c) Ijma(concensus of the scholars/ learned) The Muslim scholars have what is commonly known as Intellectual concensus wherein when an issue is not found within the written texts (nusus) which is the Quran and the Hadith, in which they, individually by their
Spirituality and its discourses among the Muslim youth, looking from the lens of an insider and observer. By Prof Dato Yusuf Morales own analogy (Qiyas) have agreed along with other scholars to give out a verdict (fatwa) based on parallel sylogism and analogy (qiyas) which becomes legally binding on Muslims. (d) Qiyas (analogy) the Prophet (saw) reminds us that , "Al Islam aldeenil Aql" (Islam is a religion of analogy (e) Secondary texts of sciences transmitted through the scholars, all Scholars of islam as a general rule write profusely which as a result provide secondary sources of knowledge, examples are Ihya uloomuddin of Imam Ghazzali, Tibb AlQanun by Avicenna. (f) other sources of knowledge such as modern day references and secu;ar sources of knowledge To a Muslim there are two types of knowledge that primarilly shapes his understanding of life as he sees it : 1. Uloom Ilahiyah (divine or revealed sciences) these are the sciences that define spirituality and the theological worldview of Muslims, this defines three areas aqaed (beliefs/) ahkam (rullings) and akhlaq (ethics and gnosis) 2. Uloom Naqliyah (textual or intellectual sciences) provides more of the material aspect of the worldview of a Muslim. This involves mantiq (logic) , falsafah (philosophy), ilmul hisab (mathematics) as well as other physical sciences. Both of these fields of knowledge contributes to a total worldview and eschatology of man and shows that there is a vague line dividing secularism and spirituality in Islam. As a result, since all fields of knowledge and understanding are considered part of islam, cultural norms commonly known in Moro culture as "addat " (customary law) becomes informally become part of the Islamic corpus of beliefs.
Spirituality and its discourses among the Muslim youth, looking from the lens of an insider and observer. By Prof Dato Yusuf Morales One must understand that culture is an essential element in Muslim life, and that culture plays an essential role in implanting what elements are required to ensure that the child is a Muslim both in mindset and identity. Part of the Muslim mindset is the consciousness of the Khilafatul Ard (God's Trustee on Earth), Muslims are taught that part of their divine covenant with Allahu Ta'ala is to act as His regent on earth (Khalifa) as elucidated in the following Ayah : “We offered the trust (amanah) to the heavens, to the earth and to the mountains and to the rest of creation, and yet only Mankind took the trust, and man was prone to tyranny and foolishness”1 . This amanah that has been established in the words of the late Tuan Nassir Daham, a sufi scholar during the late 1980's to late 1990's , “ Magipat sin Dunya iban sin kauman tanda sin tiyabuk niya in amanat piyagkunsian niya iban sin Tuhan niya 2 ” (to take care of the earth and the community as a sign that he has accepted the trust that was a covenant between him and his Lord). Spirituality is manifested in different forms among young Muslims. Those who are influenced by the strongly literalist salafi movements would tend to be very zealot in approach and appears to be puritanical in an attempt in what they see as alien elements of their religion, considering that anything alien in their perception would appear to be unislamic. What they see as alien is what is “western” and what is culturally alien from the set of values they possesses. This is best manifestated by a fear of “gharbzadeghi” (westoxification), and dewestoxifying is their response by running towards a salafization of Islam.
1 Al-Quran 33:72 2 Selected discourses of al-Marhum Ustad Nassir Daham” unpublished manuscript.
Spirituality and its discourses among the Muslim youth, looking from the lens of an insider and observer. By Prof Dato Yusuf Morales There are others who find however like the followers of the Nurcu Movement, also known as Resale Noor movement and the Gulen Movement founded by the Turkish spiritual reformist Fethullah Gullen, both griups were influenced by the life and thought of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, one of the well known reformers of Islam in modernday Turkey. They view modernity as a social value that must not be confronted but dealt with, since the crisis of modernity is not the crisis of fear of the west, but the lack of morality and values as writes Nursi in his magnum opus, “Resale Noor”. The followers of modern day Shi'i movements particularly the shia youth in different countries find that the Hussaini tradition they are proud of allows them to integrate properly without losing their Islamic Identity. The manifestation of their spirituality will be elaborated further in the succeeding paragraphs as we try to look into how young Muslims find increasing dissonance between their new found beliefs and traditional beliefs, how is sacred conceptualized, interrogated or negotiated? Young Muslims find Modernity, secularism as the excuse for new beliefs they get from the environment, specifically things that may run counter to established mores and beliefs which are considered contrary to islamic teachings. This can be largely attributed to how western influence has made an impact on secular institutions. There is a sense of appreciation that this beliefs that may seemingly run counter to what they perceive as Islamic , as "calls of listless youthfullness" that would eventually be tempered with time. And that in their youth, they have a sense of "pause status" with things that they seem to find totally against tenets and eventually develop a sense of being on a "status quo" until they are ready to "let go" of these beliefs or practices.
Spirituality and its discourses among the Muslim youth, looking from the lens of an insider and observer. By Prof Dato Yusuf Morales One Must understand that in the context of Muslims, there is no dividing line between the sacred and the religious, the spiritual and the divine and vice versa. For in Islam, specifically in the Shari'ah, there are sacred immutables wherein Shariah seeks to defend and protect which also known as dharurat Islamiyah (Islamic essentials) are as follows : Religion, Life and honor,Intellect,lineage, and Property3 . As such, anything related to the the five immutable values in shariah, is both considered within the ambit of Islamic law.4 This may mean that all aspects of human life and endeavour in within the confines of Islamic law and as such are covered by Islamic rulings and teachings and are subsumed under every human aspect of behaviour. This means that there is nothing under the sun that is not covered by Islam. Does “new religious movements,” “newage movements,” “megachurch phenomenon,” and the like influence the understanding of sacred in young Muslims? Unlike in the west where new age or mega church phenomenon happens due to the monolithic nature of structured churches thus forcing people from the west to seek spiritual enlightenment in the "fashionable" or "vogue" cults/ religious groups. Islam on the other hand comes from a tradition of Islah (renovation/reform), wherein Islam comes as a reform movement to correct the errors of Christianity 5, and as such Islam has an internal mechanism in every hundred years brings forth a religious movement from within to revitalize and renovate Islam. The ones who push this forward are commonly known as
3 Maqasid al-shari'ah al-Islamiyah, by Mashad al-Allaf 4 Maqasid al-shari'ah al-Islamiyah, by Mashad al-Allaf 5 “Renovation in the Islamic Tradition”, a lecture by Sh. Hamza Yusuf at Oxford University
Spirituality and its discourses among the Muslim youth, looking from the lens of an insider and observer. By Prof Dato Yusuf Morales Mujadid's (reformers) who draws people to them in order to be reinspired and reinvigorated from the primary sources of Islamic law. Revivalist movements within the Islamic tradition does not separate of veer away from Islamic orthodoxy but in fact reinforce Islamic orthodox tenets, this can be seen in the movement initiated by Imam Muhammad Ghazzali as manifested in the assimilation of sufism within the classical Islamic orthodoxy , Imam Ahmad Rabbani alSirhindi through what is what is known as the naqshabandi Mujadidi revival, the Nurcu movement of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, the Gulen movement that is inspired by fethullah gulen, or the jomhuri Islami (islamic revolution) spearheaded by Imam Khomeini and inspired by Ai Shariati. These traditions empahsize that Islam only needs revivers (mujadid) who will call people again to Islam and revive its practices as if it was "new". As such, young Muslims would normally be drawn to these Anjumanetajdid Islami (Islamic movements) in order to regain a part of their identity as Muslims. What are the ways by which young people manifest their understanding of the sacred through community outreach programs? Islamic ethos possesses what is described as khidmat (service) better known in its turkish equivalent as Hizmet Islami (Service in the welfare of Islam), this is best reflected in service to both the community and humanity. Manifested in the Prophetic tradition as "40 houses in front, 40 houses on your right, 40 houses on your left and 40 houses on your rear" 6 and the hadith, "None can be called a Muslim if a neighbor remains hungry at night" 7, these are prophetic injunctions that best reflect the charachter that best illustrate the spirituality of a Muslim.
6 Sahih Bukhari 7 Sahih Muslim
Spirituality and its discourses among the Muslim youth, looking from the lens of an insider and observer. By Prof Dato Yusuf Morales Numerous citations in both primary texts (hadith) and secondary texts from Islamic sources remind the inseparable connection between mans actions in worship towards Allah, and mans transactions with fellow man, and ones relationship and dealings with society. The most extensive treatment among primary sources is the Risalatul Huqooq (treatise on rights) by Imam Ali Ibn alHussain, also known as Zainul Abideen 8 . The Risalatul Huqoq explains in details Mans duties towards the following : 1. Towards God 2. towards oneself 3. towards others (family, neighbors, associates and even strangers) 4. material possessions and the environment 5. society and the state 6. other aspects of human endeavour This definition has led later to other scholars elucidating specific aspects of these issues some focusing on the spiritual aspect like Ihya uloomuddin (revival of the spiritual sciences) by Imam Ghazzali, or on jurisprudential issues like Bidayatul Mujtahid by Ibn Rushd. One particularly simple example to show the inseparable connection of daily life and spiritual life is both prayer (salat) and the leader behind the prayer (imam). Prayer is both an individual and communal duty, and that this forms an integral part of the Muslim communal life, the masjid forms as the primary place where both issues of dunya and akhirah are discussed and that the Imam Jamaah (community leader), possesses both the spiritual and temporal authority in varying degrees in guiding and leading the community. Traditional Muslim scholarship shows that the terminologies of Imam, Ameer (commander) 8 Popularly known as the great grandson of the Prophet who witnessed the tragedy of karbala and one of the major narrators
of Hadith from both the shia and sunni traditions, he has been acknowledged as one of the major sources of powerful duas.
Spirituality and its discourses among the Muslim youth, looking from the lens of an insider and observer. By Prof Dato Yusuf Morales and Khalifa (caliph) has been interchanged in referrence to both spiritual and temporal leadership. One of the most significant manifestations of the Islamic consciousness in communities is community service. Since Khidmatun Insani (service to humanity) is part and parcel of Deen Islami (Islamic faith), it is inseparable and that one of the best translations of Islamic belief is serving mankind. Reflective examples can be seen in the Nurcu movement (Risale noor) which has shown its service to Community (cemaat islami) and to Humanity and the Khairul Barriyah Movement, which conducts community outreach programs as the servants of Imam Mahdi (atfs). Both organizations regularly serve the community believing that serving the community is an extension of their service to Islam. Yearly Muslim youth in the Philippines, particularly those belonging to the Resale Noor Institute and the Followers of the Ahlul Bayt (as) in the Philippines hold summer youth camps, whose focus in on spiritual enrichment and inculcation of the consciousness of serving the community. At the end of these youth camps, young Muslims are required to prepare projcts that are both within the ambit of their personal capacity and understanding. Among the projects some of the these youths proposed were seen as a manifestation of their community spirit such as “support your masjid programs”, “ Community Garage sale” , “donate your spare books and hijabs” among others. One must understand that spirituality of young Muslims although raised both in a secular environment with youths of other faith traditions, comes from a long lineage of what we call
Spirituality and its discourses among the Muslim youth, looking from the lens of an insider and observer. By Prof Dato Yusuf Morales integration of both materialist and spiritualist discourses and that this discourse has been proven time and time again to be the same paradigm in varying degrees depending on the depth and philosophical foundations of the Islamic group that supports the Muslim youth. To sum up, spirituality among Muslim youth nowadays can be charachterized by four things : 1. Strong community spirit which is reflective of the jamaat islami (Islamic community) charachter 2. Strong bonding with other members of their religious organization manifesting the ashabiyah (brotherhood) 3. Strong desire to have this spirituality shared with other members of the Muslim community 4. The perception that ibadi wa ammali (worship and human transactions) are part of ones divine duties towards God and as such all actions and transactions (in relation to God, man and society) . As such notions of the sacred, spirituality and religiousity show no clear dividing line for Muslims as each of these terms are strongly intertwined with each other and that daily life, spirituality and practice are but garments worn by a Muslim in varying degrees and that each for an integral and inseparable part of each other.
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