The idea of an Islamic Reformation is in the air, but the idea can be treacherous: there is no process called ‘a reformation’ waiting out there for Moslems to apply to transform their religion into some form compatible with modernity. There is a strong modern trend to religious/metaphysical critique, scientific exposure of outdated ideas, and much else. But these are all ad hoc now and will simply produce forms of chaotification, after no doubt doing some good. I could be wrong. But the reformation was a unique event of the early modern in Europe and was a response to papal theocracy and the ’empire’ of Catholicism.
Islam has no central hierarchy so the idea doesn’t apply.
It is important to press this warning/critique because the model for change is going to be hard to find. But many moslems have already found it, and the more so with many sufis, like those pointed to by Idries Shah. The idea, apparent from Xtian modernization is to reduce religion to a confused mush, compromise on all issues and bless the commercialization of Xmas: the Reformation itself produced a considerable amount of innovation in theology, but the course of xtianity was mostly downhill. The logic there is that the Reformation is a transition to a new era of religion, or postreligion, and is simply like a motor idling. To be fair: the core of xtianity emerging in the era of Constantine has remained intact, and has come to represent the whole religion, but that is at least in principle a dispensable formation.
There are many ways to innovate xtianity further: how about a Church of the Witnesses to Xtian History? Religionists here could look backward, to look into the future, to see the mystery of xtianity without having to endlessly carry the trappings of belief in the myths kicked up like dust. The ‘miracle’ of the Axial Age is enough, and xtians can study the ground of their emergence by seeing their parallel emergent brethren in buddhism, confucianism, taoism, and the Greek Enlightenment. We see that modernity is closely prefigured in the Greek Axial, but that does not mean the parallel potential is dispensable. The problem here is that multiple emergent parallels would have a common ‘source’ of some kind, voiding the obvious fictions of Yehovah. We see the problem….
The appearance of the Reformation is a hidden challenge to foundations: the problem recurs because the modern transition, if we accept the idea of its integrated character, produces more than a reformation: it produces science, modern politics, ideas of freedom and much much more. So the Reformation suddenly forces a question: what is its master dynamic? It can’t be ‘Jesus’ unless we assume that ‘Jesus’ also did all the other things of modernity. The point: in the Reformation xtianity begins to move into a new global future, in the context of a larger modernity. I think Jesus is long gone, and the Reformation shows the ‘macro’ process of the model in WHEE being applied to a cultural spectrum. That this is so can be seen from the way the Reformation suddenly went into mothballs all over again as it generated its own successions, not least the enlightenment philosophes, Kant, the abolitionists, etc…
Islamic scholars always point to many hidden treasures in Islam. Sufi psychology has long been pressed into the critiques of scientism and neuroscience. This is already nearly the ‘ancient modern’ and goes back to the early modern.
The moral here for Moslems is fairly simple. The problem is the hold of the past. The theme of capitalism/communism in the xtian early modern suggests an analysis of modern economy and its future beyond capitalism. The relation to science requires an embrace of science, of modern politics a study of the core ideas of freedom and revolution, etc…It does not mean that the Islamic world has to reject ‘god’ for atheism, for example. But a viable religious mode in the context of modern society is probably already the case in many of the Islamic congregations in, say, the US. So what are we talking about?
Much of the confusion arises from the artificially created war on terror, American economic imperialism and its ‘created’ wars for profit, etc… Moslem countries are being artificially retarded and their economies destroyed because of the question of oil.. Every time they get on their feet the baboons in the Pentagon plot a new war to destroy whatever is there.
Moslems have a lot of resources: it could create a new form of modernity to succeed the fragile versions now current. A bit task, a long shot, but the issue of the modern was bungled by the postmodern mood of rejection of the contemporary world. The core of sufism, wrested from the one-eyed beggars, conmen fakirs, has a core that could be as advanced as science, as intelligent as ‘moderns’ keep claiming to be, and give a new modern form of the fare of ‘consciousness’, the forte of sufis, shared, if not purloined from the yogis of india…etc…the potential of a future modernity could be remorphed from the dna of Islam, is it can discard the threat of being overtaken by idiocy now threatening the whole religion/culture…