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Nither radicalism nor westernization the answer for Muslims: Iranian scholar Dr Mousavi

Visiting Iranian scholar Dr Syed Mahdi Mousavi has said pursuing a ‘middle path’ rejecting both radicalism and westernization can provide a perfect solution to the current ‘crisis’ that the Muslim world is passing through.

He observed that some of the islamic clerics don’t want to understand the situation of the modern time.

“Rather, they see a paradox between the Sunnah tradition and modernization and that is the root cause of all problems,” he observed in an exclusive interview with UNB.

Professor Mousavi is the faculty member at the University of Religions and Denominations, Qom in Iran. He is a specialist in divine and non-divine religion. As a scholar of religion he wrote many articles on Islamic unity, Sufism, Religions and sects.

He said some Islamic clerics cannot maintain tolerance in the modern situation. “We cannot maneuver a conflict between Islam and modernization. But step by step that grows inside Islam like a cancer”, he said adding, it first grows in a cell and then spread all over the body.

According to Dr Mousavi, Muslims have forgotten their inherent mental power, power of science, rationalism and knowledge.

“We try to expand Islam on the surface, but didn’t make any progress in the deep understanding of Islam”.

He also observed that from the outside, the enemies of Islam understand that Islam has the capacity to conquer and cover all around the world. “Islam has the ability to defeat all of the civilizations. So, they try to restrict Islam and make it it very limited”.

From a cultural perspective, the Iranian scholar has a different view. He believes Muslims are in a very big trouble with cultural aspects, especially in a fight against Western culture.

“We didn’t find any solution to this as the Western culture attacks us with a very modern network—they have modern films, clips, and art. But unfortunately we’re talking on the issue through a very traditional way”, he said.

Dr Mousavi said all these perspectives cause that Muslims feel that they should depend on others and they are losing their inherent strength.

But the Muslims, he said, have to fight against the cultural influence in the equal way. They have to produce films, clips, and establish cultural networks.

“We should explain to all scholars that Islam does not refuse the existence of women. That means we can have actors and actresses for films. We can introduce very good actresses with normal covering like that is now in Iran, not with the Western values where women are presented as products”, he said.

“The Muslim women and men should be allowed to participate in films, in movies, but in very suitable and simple situation, not in a very decorated way”.

Responding to a question on the issue that Sunni scholars don’t allow any mixing of men and women for films or movies, he said all the Sunni scholars are not of that view.

“Some scholars and intellectuals at al-Azhar University in Egypt like Ahmed Tayeb are giving very good verdict on the issue,” he said, adding women in Al-Azhar University are participating in the classes, giving lectures and engaged in other social works.

Referring to quotes from the Holy Quran, he said Muslims must follow a middle path, neither a radical way, nor a Western way.

He noted that some radical groups Ike ISIS or Boko Haram are unfortunately giving new narration of Islam which creates big problems. “But none of the Muslim scholars agree with such narration”.

Responding to a question on the Shi’a and Sunni conflicts, the moderate cleric of Islam said there are many sects in Islam like Hanafi, Safeyi, Maleki, Hamboli, and Shi’a. They have differences of opinions. But all of the scholars agreed that once a Muslim believes in Allah, in Prophet, in Ka’ba, his blood should be safe and secured.

Unfortunately, there are radical groups in Islamic worlds, who are imposed from outsides. They create problems. But Muslim Ulemah and scholars should introduce moderate Islam to Muslims, Dr Mousavi said.

He said top Islamic scholars had given a fatwa that assaulting any key person of Islam is forbidden or Haram. Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic has said that those who make the dispute between Shia and Sunni are neither Shia or Sunni, they are not actually Muslims.

On the issue of women empowerment, the Iranian scholar said: ”Unfortunately we introduce it in the Western narration. Women in Western countries are a product and an instrument for provocation.”

He believes there should be two parts of human—one civic identity and another personal identity. Both women and men have two areas of life. A wife is for husband and a husband is for wife. But in terms of civic identity, they are equal and there is no difference between men and women. So, women should be allowed to play a role in civil society side by side with men.

On the issue of Bangladesh and Iran cultural relation, Mousavi said there has been a strong cultural relation between the two nations for over 700 years.

“More than 8000 Persian words exist in Bangla language. This indicates the cultural relation is very close to each other. We should revive the situation,” he said, adding that there is huge scope for improving trade and business relation between the two nations.

Bangladesh has many areas where it has good potential to do business with Iran like labour manpower, clothing, and agriculture. Iran has great needs in these areas while there are some areas where Iran can play a good role in Bangladesh in regard to trade and business.

Responding to a question on the Rohingya issue, he thanked Bangladesh for playing a very vital role in sheltering them. He observed that this is not a issue for Bangladesh to deal with Myanmar, but an issue of Muslim world.

Source: United News of Bangladesh