. : Duyurular :  Elif Şafak resmi web sitesi: http://www.elifsafak.com.tr / Elif Şafak’ın twitter adresi: http://twitter.com/Elif_Safak / Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Elif.Shafak
    Elif Şafak´la yeni kitabı ´Şemspare´yi konuştuk. Şafak, yeni bir romana başlamanın sancıları içinde sorularımızı yanıtladı. ´Bence bir Türk yazarın hiç ama hiç politikayla ilgilenmemek...Devamı >>

  Elif Şafak´ın mart başında çıkan yeni romanı "Aşk" kısa sürede en çok okunanlar arasındaki yerini aldı. Şafak önceki romanlarında olduğu gibi yine toplumsal kuralların, geleneklerin, gö...Devamı >>

The religion of love

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I follow the religion of love, wherever its camels might lead me… Ibn Arabi used to say. He was ready to follow that caravan through the lands of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. To him, the essence of all was one and the same.

Elif Şafak

  I follow the religion of love, wherever its camels might lead me… Ibn Arabi used to say. He was ready to follow that caravan through the lands of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. To him, the essence of all was one and the same.   We live in an increasingly polarized world in which the number of people who believe in a “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West is escalating by the day. Hard-liners in one country produce even more hard-liners elsewhere. Amid this troubled framework, one fact that is frequently ignored is how heterogeneous, vibrant and dynamic the Islamic world is. Put differently, there are different understandings and practices of Islam, depending on the country, the era, the society concerned. There is a noteworthy difference between exoteric, orthodox, mainstream Islam and esoteric, mystical and the heterodox versions of Islam. The second path has always been more flexible, more individualistic and more open to women. It is sad that in today s contemporary world of politics, all these subtleties are lost and Islam is thought to be one big monolithic bloc. Failing to see the nuances increases the sweeping generalizations about Islam. In addition, sweeping generalizations only serve to increase the distance between “us” and “them” and between “West” and “Islam.” The less we know about the “other,” the easier it becomes to make generalizations about them. The more we generalize and distance the other, the more we fear it. And today, there is a considerable degree of fear of Islam in the West and a considerable degree of fear of the West in the Muslim world. Biases are produced mutually, and they keep breeding off one another. Amidst this troublesome framework, the nuances in the terrain of Islam are lost on many people. However, whether we acknowledge it or not, Islam is not a static, monolithic bloc and has never been so.  So deep is the difference between the two paths of Islam that they might come up with utterly different interpretations on particular themes. Take the nowadays notorious notion of jihad, for instance. For the Sufi, jihad means only one thing: an inner journey for self-improvement and the battle against nefs that comes along. It has nothing to do with “collective war against infidels,” it is not outer-oriented. If anything, it is internal and therefore private and individual.   Take the example of Zulaikha, one of the most controversial female figures in the history of Islam. As wicked as Zulaikha might be in the eyes of conservative Muslims, she was considered in a completely different way by the Sufis. For the Sufi, Zulaikha simply represented someone purely and madly in love. Nothing more and nothing less. This ages-old discrepancy between the exoteric (zahiri) and esoteric (batini) interpretations of the Koran is little known in the Western world today. Likewise, this hermeneutical tradition is not well known by the contemporary reformist, modernist cultural elite of Muslim countries, either. With the novel as a genre being the vehicle of Westernization and mostly shaped by the privileged cultural elite, it is no coincidence that the esoteric shadow of Zulaikha has not been able to reflect in the “Middle Eastern novel,” much less in the Turkish novel -- a country where the process of Westernization and modernization has been carried out to the furthest extreme possible by detaching from the past as quickly as possible and erasing the Sufi legacy completely.

  “I follow the religion of love, wherever its caravan might take me,” Ibn Arabi used to say. The religion of love is opposed to the “religion of fear,” and the concomitant “politics of fear” that is being produced by hard-liners in the East and the West.


İzlenme : 4351
Geri Dönmek İçin Tıklayın
www.elifsafak.com.tr      :                                                         © 2006 - 2021 www.elifsafak.us