Re: [evforum] Re: Islamic Definition of Materialism
- On this question I still am not satisfied. The word "materialism" does
not fit. Something like "immoral" might fit but how does this get
transliterated, as it were, into "materialism". Is there something
about Arabic, which I do not know, that makes them equivalent? I still
have a mental picture of the 9/11 conspirators partying in the most
"immoral" ways, using the sockhop standard, on the night before their
misadventure. Also, I get pictures of the goings-on in Arab tents, in
the casbahs, and in those new swank hotels with bedrooms with mirrored
ceilings in Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, etc. Hugh Hefner can only wish
that he were so blessed.And, why condemn your enemy for having the marks
of virtue, what you have been promised in heaven?
As for material wealth, it is throughout the Koran depicted as the mark
of the blessed man. The idea that God blesses the holy man with the good
life (wealth, many servants, many wives, etc.) seems to, on the one
hand, serve as evidence for rich Islamics of their favoured status, to
enjoy even what is immoral by Western standards, and as a justification
for putting down and keeping down the lowly in those countries. So, why
condemn the West for its materialism, if by materialism is meant wealth,
the mark of the blessed?
I am getting too many conflicting indicators of the meaning of
"materialism" in the context and it all seems to go back to Eygpt, in
the 20's, as you indicate. However, what was in the mind of the
originators of the use of the word? Of course, if they were
pneumopathological, then there may be no sense to their use of words,
other than their loose undefined emotional reactions to the world. Can
we do better?
> In email@example.com, Martin Pagnan <mpagnan@c...> wrote:
> "Would someone at evforum care to volunteer a definition of what
> Islamic groups mean by "materialism". "
> On one level, their definition resembles that of Western
> neo-puritans of both the Leftist and Right-wing persuasions. On a
> more specific, concrete level, "materialism" to Islamic extremists &
> fundamentalists is not so much a culture of Godlessness in the
> abstract sense we Westerners have come to enjoy, but rather a culture
> of Allah-lessness which scandalizes their sensibilities when it is
> enforced by infidels who not only have regional power, but virtual
> global hegemony that also impinges upon those parts of the world that
> once belonged to an Imperialistic superpower based on the Koran, more
> powerful than the West for several centuries.
> A good source for gaining some understanding of this is to read Paul
> Berman's book TERROR AND LIBERALISM, in which he discusses
> the "Godfather" of modern Islamic terrorism, Sayyid Qutb, who while
> in Nasser's prison wrote a pneumopathological 15-volume exegesis of
> the Koran and whose ideas have, directly or indirectly, influenced
> all the major Muslim terrorists including bin Laden.
> (A highly revealing anecdote about Qutb: in the 1940s, before he had
> fallen out of favor with the Egyptian government, Qutb visited the
> USA on some kind of diplomatic mission. He reported later that his
> visit to the USA became a kind of epiphany to him, manifesting how
> soulless, wicked and corrupt the West is; and the particular catalyst
> to this epiphany occurred during a "sockhop" (a kind of chaperoned
> student dance popular in the US in the 40s and 50s) held in a church
> basement in Arkansas. He was horrified and disgusted to see boys and
> girls dancing together at this sockhop. Now just think about this
> for a second: the most puritanically conservative social gathering
> imaginable to a reasonable person would be, precisely, a church
> social in Arkansas in the 1940s, for God's sakes! And yet, even this
> extremely staid and proper setting was sufficient to horrify a Sayyid
> Qutb -- that is how many light years away from our sensibilities and
> culture of reason these people are. And the pertinent point is that
> most of them still think according to this medieval moral measuring
> device; so imagine what African American hip-hop and Britney Spears,
> et al., must be doing to their raw nerves! )
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- Members looking for a brief online introduction to Sufi history might
look to this excerpt from _An Introduction To Islam_ by David Waines
(1995 Cambridge University Press).
Also of possible interest is a recent survey of historical work on the
origins of Islam at