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ORIENTALISM

Dr. Sohirin Solihin


Orientalists are those Western
scholars who study about Islam as a
part of culture in which, they claim
that Islam is Eastern religion.
• The word orient gives the
meaning about the East. The
orientists are very concerned
that Islam is simply culture of
the Eastern people.
• The term is basically aimed at
studying about Eastern culture
which includes Islam and other
religion. In order to come into
the specific study about Muslim
culture they change the term
with the name of Islamists.
• Then, the word Islamists
include those who study about
Islam, not only from Muslims
but it also expands to the non-
Muslims. Their interest is to
ensure the public that Islam is
simply cultures which, could be
different from one place to
another.
• They try to ensure that the
teaching of Islam is closely
related with Arab culture.
• The dress code, legal aspect, in
the personal and public are not
necessarily to be referred to the
textual evident rather it can be
modified based on the needs.
• The prohibition of marriage with
non-Muslims and the system of
inheritance based on Islamic
norms are regarded as an
obsolete.
• Likewise, there should not be
any restriction in terms of
observing the religious rites.
• There are two kinds of
orientalists. The first is the one
who attached to the Western
governmental institution and
their role is to give the
necessary advice related with
their policies toward the Muslim
world.
• The second, are those who
study about Islam for the own
purposes to seek the
weaknesses aspects with the
use of rational or logical
approaches.
• They try to make contradiction
between different verses of the
Qur’an and hadith of the Prophet
(pbuh).
• This can be found in the concept of
religious freedom which, according
to them, there is hardly any
compatibility between the Qur’an
and Sunnah.
• The main tool used by orientalist in
studying about Islam is the use of
Arabic language.
• They do not want to be governed
with certain rules of learning about
the Qur’an as well general concept
of the Shar’ah from Islamic
perspective.
• Those who do not attach to any
Western governmental
institution there is possibility to
accept Islam after the long
process and objectivity in their
studies.
• The example can be referred to
the work of Muhammad Asad
(formerly he was Jew, and
Alfred Hofman, former
Ambassador of Germany to
United Arab Emirate.
Areas of Studies

• Sirah of the Prophet to see and


the relation of Islam with other
religion in Arabia.
• They rendered the efforts to
analysis about the concept of
illiteracy, Marriages, and the
link of teaching of the Prophet
with jahili practice.
• The examples can be referred
to the exclusion of the Prophet
in the cave of hira not for the
cause of seeking the power or
reflection rather to avoid from
the heat of the sun.
• The relation of the Prophet with the
King of Negus to ask his companions
to migrate to Abyssinia.
• According to them the Prophet red
the books of history and it
groundless that he was an illiterate
person.

• Making contradiction between
different verses of the Qur’an
which, at the end, they try to
convince people that the Qur’an
is not the revelation rather it
was the work of the Prophet
Muhammad.
• They study about hadith of the
Prophet to make contradiction
with the Qur’an.
• The codification of hadith,
according to them, contradict
the fact that people of Arabia
were at low status of education.