Islamic Awakening between Rejection and Extremism
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In Ramadan and Shawwal 1401 AH/1981 AC, al Ummah magazine published my two-part article on the awakening of Muslim youth. In this study I drew attention to the positive and negative aspects which concerned observers, duah and Muslim scholars attributed to the awakening. I also suggested that we should have a dialogue with and show paternal sympathy toward these young Muslims, and then channel their reawakening in order to strengthen rather than to impoverish Islam. The response to this study was so warm throughout the Muslim world that the study was translated into several languages. Furthermore, the youth in many Muslim universities tolerantly studied my views despite the fact that my views were critical of many of them.
I would like here to acknowledge with pleasure the attitude of the Islamic Group at the University of Cairo who adopted my study during their ninth camp in the summer of 1981 and printed and distributed it to all those interested. This indeed reflects a laudable awareness as well as a readiness to support moderation.
I shall not indulge here in discussing the recent events which occurred in some Muslim countries and which involved serious and bloody confrontation between the youth and the authorities, not only because I do not want to aggravate the matter further, but also because al Ummah magazine has always catered to the whole Muslim Ummah, not any particular group. What concerns us here is the prolonged and heated discussion aroused by these events on so-called "religious extremism, in which not only learned people participated but also those whose knowledge of Islam is characterized by ignorance and whose attitude is characterized by animosity, sarcasm, and cynicism.
I was also asked a few years ago by al Arabi magazine to write the subject of "religious extremism" with special emphasis on its nature and its characteristics. When the article appeared in the special edition of January 1982, some friends blamed me for contributing an issue where the truth, they believed, was being generally distorted in support of batil Although my friends did not question either contents or the essence of the article, they were nevertheless suspicious of the motives and aims behind the campaign which has lately been launched against "religious extremism" They were not convinced that the campaign genuinely sought to resist extremism or to guide the extremism to the path of moderation, but rather that is sought to crush the Islamic reawakening before it could become strong and popular enough ultimately assume a significant political role. My friends noted that the authorities did not begin to pay attention to the religious youth until latter began to oppose, on religious grounds, some of the government's policies. This is supported by the fact that the people in power act, patronized certain religious groups which had demonstrated extreme trends in order to use them against other Islamic movements, then crushed the former when their appointed role was over. As such, my friends insisted, the reasons behind the confrontation between the authorities the Islamic groups could not be the emergence of extremism. They further believed that the authorities in our Muslim countries considered the Islamic movement a most dangerous enemy. Such authorities could, and did make alliances with either the extreme right or left, but with the Islamic movement. Sometimes a temporary truce was declared with this movement; at other times the authorities tried to involve, confrontation with their own political and ideological opponents. Eventually the authorities and the opponents discovered that they had affinity of aims and means than they realized, and therefore united against the Islamic movement. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur'an: "Verily the wrongdoers are protectors to one another, but Allah is the protector the pious who fear Him and avoid evil" (45:19).. Recent events support this very strongly. The emergencies of Islamic gro
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