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The Translation of Identity

New Approaches to European Thinking through Arabic

Abdassamad Clarke – Dean MFAS

The identity of the Muslim and of the Ummah could not be clearer. Indeed, the issue before us is in some sense behind us: the translation of that identity into a British, European and Western setting. The fact of our meeting and the fact that it is we who meet is proof that this matter is well advanced.

But let us not be triumphalist. As we work, others are working and often more eagerly and dedicatedly. Just as we strive to translate our deen into this historically new setting, others are far further advanced in translating the secular worldview into a Muslim setting. And others of our own community are working to translate an understanding of the din we can hardly recognise into a form that is even more aberrant in order to fit into this age. It is quite conceivable that lands such as Egypt will lose Islam entirely. But these are not separate issues: the spearheading of Islam here and the preservation there. The issue is not geographical but temporal: the translation of the deen into the new age we are in, and that is the timeless challenge the d?n has always faced, and thus gives the title for our symposium: Identity and Time. The issue is the same here as it is in Egypt.

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