Who is God exactly? How can we know him? Where does his revelation begin and end? Muslims have never agreed on how to answer those questions, and so each is forced to pitch his or her tent in a different epistemological camp – one with the Sufis, another with the clerics, still others with the artists, the poets, the philosophers, or most often with a chaotic combination of them all. Is our knowledge of God limited to what the Qur’an says about him? Literalists, legalists and most theologians have usually answered, yes. Or is the universe itself a revelation of God? Absolutely, say the artists, philosophers and Sufis. Or even more radically, in order to understand God and his ways, are scripture and sacred law entirely dispensable, at least to an elect few? That’s what Avicenna believed, that at its highest the human mind is naturally conformable to reason, a divine principle permeating everything and making the universe innately intelligible.
The sum of all these answers – and the practices, doctrines, and laws based on them – are taken up by each generation of Muslims, who meditate on them, add to them, and then pass them on to the next generation. For Ahmed, all this religious and cultural diversity is part of the general deposit of revelation; to delineate their faith, believers can draw from this diversity as freely as they draw from sacred scripture, law, and every other form of divine self-expression, from God’s unseen creative and sustaining activity, up to and including the divine being itself. These three dimensions of revelation – God and his unseen activity, his visible self-expression including but not limited to the Qur’an, and all the diversity arising from meditation on them – Ahmed respectively calls “the Pre-Text, Text, and Con-Text of Revelation”.
Οι πιο πάνω επισημάνσεις σωστές. Όμως γιατί κατ’ ανάγκη να οδηγούν σε μία ειρηνική και πλουραλιστική θεώρηση του Ισλάμ, και να μην εμπνέουν, ως τέτοιες, μεταμοντέρνες θελήσεις θανάτου και καταστροφής;;