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 An Introduction to Islam: 7. Conclusion - Islam in the Modern World and Dialogue

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Back Introduction to Islam 6. Sufism

An Introduction to Islam: 7.Conclusion - Islam in the Modern World and Dialogue

Khaled Nusseibeh

In this lecture, I have rather selectively dealt with Islam’s doctrines and worldview in the hope that I may have said something useful. In the contemporary age of globalization which requires a global ethic and ethos, I believe Arab and Islamic culture has much to contribute, not only in spiritual terms, but also in terms of partaking in the values of democracy, freedom of speech and belief, respect for human rights, as well as in contributing to achieving higher thresholds of justice for human societies.

To the claims of Islamophobia that Islam fosters terrorism, dogmatism and authoritarianism it may be said that the true Islam represents tolerance, pluralism, humanism and is a message of goodwill to humanity including the American people, who have been exposed to extensive myths about Islam and Arab culture, and who must become aware that certain manifestations of hostility may be remedied by pursuing greater even-handedness vis a vis the Arab-Israeli conflict, by showing deeper commitment to Arab independence, by fostering more actively respect for human rights and the processes of democratization.

Introduction to Islam
Table of Contents

Introduction to Islam

Fundamentals of Islam

Sources of Doctrine in Islam

Doctrine in Islam

Islamic View of Man and the Universe

Suffis and Suffism

Islam in the Modern World - Interfaith Dialogue

I end my talk to you with a poem I authored describing what is perhaps the principal theme of Islamic civilization, indeed, in my view, of human history, that of tawhid or the One God worshipped by Gentile and Jew, Aryan and Semite, Easterner and Westerner, without compulsion, without a clash of civilizations, but through dialogue and purposeful interaction:

Stations of Galaxies

I do not swear by the stations of galaxies

For a question unveils the secret of oath

Does the moon in splendor forever glimmer?

And doesn’t it in complete form recoil to a crescent?

The sun at noon with brilliance shines

But sinks in reddish orange at a distant horizon

The stars illumine a darkness of intense depth

But fade from the view of earthly life

Pyramids stoutly stand with magnificent posture

But are immensely below the nearest cloud

Abraham exclaims revolt at vanishing splendor

Affirming that God is without twilight

I do not swear by the stations of galaxies

For being is conditional on Almighty God

The tallest wave on the shore’s sand breaks

Yielding to numbers of succeeding waves

Michelangelo’s David stuns the viewing eye

Exceeded by the creations of other men of art

The sea waves and earth bow to the Macedonian’s conquest

But death chooses to its side the finest general

Athena makes each citizen a member of the jury

But history’s indomitable verdict is that all have an end

I do not swear by the stations of galaxies

For finite life overwhelms all that lives.


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