The Use of “ISIS”!

By: Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Sun 24 July / Jul 2016. 09:01 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

Following a brainstorming session with good friend Dr Mohammad Masri, a lecturer at the University of Oklahoma, running a Arabic language programme non-native speakers there, and Dr Adnan Abu Tayeh, the latter arrived at an interesting result; that there is an important use of ISIS today, in the Arab World, despite the catastrophe entailed by the organisation’s practices!

This massive benefit lies in the scale of confusion and anxiety among Muslims today, in regards to the Organisation’s doctrine and behaviours, giving rise a bundle of important and vital questions, among a vast variety of people, on whether or not ISIS actually represents Islam? And were it not so; what is the “right” interpolation of the Islamic doctrine? How do we reconceptualise Islam and implementation? These questions, naturally, wake a deeper monologue among the min set, stirring a tonne of still waters, to resurface the question of religious reformation and renewal, and re-centre this question in the heart of the general scene, after a lengthy dismissal.

Typically, this result is not new. This question has been raised over a century ago in the Arab and Islamic world. But it has —for political, societal, and cultural reasons, been expunged from the historical discourse of our culture, and replaced by the question of the exclusive Islamic identity, in face of secularisation and alienation, which is the dominant question in Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi literatures, as well as other movements that broke loose after Mustafa Kamal Ataturk declared the end of the Caliphate; following Mohammad Abdo and his school’s propositions on the issues of backwardness, resurgence, religious asphyxiation, and education reformation, giving birth to the formation of Arab nation-statehood.

The disparity today shows clear, as we witness the deterioration, even disintegration, of many an Arab nation state, as it gives further primacy to the question of Identity in regards to Islam and secularism, on two ends of the square; and the issues resulting off sectarian conflict on the two other ends of the same square. These transformations seem to be leading a vaster social sum of Arabs through journeys of religious re-exploration, under a fresh and realistic lens, detached from traditional understandings predominant over previous decades, in search of anti ISIS-ilk discourses and understandings of Islam.

And the truth, that this benefit can only be understated; there is no way this use can exaggerated, as cross down a terribly difficult path of religious and political fanaticisation, leading to political collapses, as well as social and economic crises all around. In the end, the equation must be readdressed, from anxiety over the rise of ISIS to the question of real religious reformation and enlightenment, far from the misconceptions of authoritative discourses in the Arab World and its apparent manoeuvres.

Adnan Abu Odeh’s conclusions are pretexted by some of the literatures by former Muslim “scientists”, brought up by Mohammad Masri, on the topics of experimentalism, natural sciences, and the critical doctrine in social phenomena. This lead Abu Odeh to stress the importance of integrating disciplines on research methods among Muslim scientists in university curricula, which may help students build more critical and thorough views on our culture.

The other shocking disparity is in the fact that a particular discourse of the sort was indeed been integrate in the Aal el Bayt University curriculum, as a mandatory course for higher education students, envisioned by Jordanian historian Dr Mohammad Adnan Bakhit. The course teaches Ibn Khaldoun’s Prolegomena, and features guests from all over the Arab and Islamic world to go over the methods used by Muslim scientists in philosophy, logic and reasoning, as well as natural and social sciences. This class requires of students to hand in scientific papers on topics within context and serves the final examination in open questions.

Unfortunately, this breakthrough was later forfeited, after the University was verging on the setting of an example for institutions in the Arab World; teaching the doctrines of Sunni and Shiite sects, merging the schools of Sharia and Law, and developing the Islamic Heritage Studies programme, only to back down from the helms of all that, to being just another university in Jordan, in this particular regard!