Does “Western Islam” exist or could it exist in the future, insha’allah? I would certainly hope not! Islam doesn’t need any innovations of that sort, especially if it’s along the lines of the disaster that was “progressive Islam.” Islam, as it was created and continues to be practiced, serves the needs of Muslims worldwide best without any need for bida. I know that for some people, the temptation to meddle with Islam by attaching other man-made doctrines is strong, but a desire to create a westernized version of Islam is not only wrong, it’s irrelevant. One of the benefits from my travels is that I’ve had the chance to meet Muslims from all over the world (at least two dozen countries so far, and not just from Asia or the US, but a lot of African and European Muslims too). And the one thing that has impressed me the most is just how consistent their understanding of Islam is. Most of the differences I’ve come across in other Muslims is purely cosmetic: changes in dress, foods, and so on. But Islam as they practice it is almost universally the same, regardless of where they’re from. So I’ve no desire to see “Western Islam” (or any other modified form of Islam) created. Plain vanilla Islam, pure and simple, is the only Islam I’ll support.
February 26, 2009
Kay recently asked me at Jay Solomon's blog, The Zen of South Park what I thought of the label "Western Islam," and whether it exists or will exist. This is my reply to her: