On Sufism and Wahhabism
Islam, as a great world faith, has existed for over 1400 years. Its followers number over a billion today. They have been nurtured and inspired by its teachings. Islamic scholarship and learning guided many a great philosophers, thinkers, scientists, doctors, soldiers, statesmen and people of vision.
Among the many schools of thought within the Islamic framework two of them stand in contrast to each other. One is the stricter and more literal understanding of the faith, as propounded traditionally by the ulama or the members of the higher religious establishment of Islam. A more strident tendency of this school is to be seen in the Wahabi tradition that originally developed in Arabia but has left a great mark on the South Asian sub-continent. The other, more liberal and eclectic interpretation of the faith, is the tradition that developed more than a thousand years ago, under the guidance of the Sufis.
Two critical evening lectures on Interpreting Islam will be delivered this coming term by an internationally renowned historian and critic, Dr. Irfan Al-Alawi. He is the International Director of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism and Executive Director of Islamic Heritage Research Foundation.
Lecture 1: Wednesday, May 5, 2010: The Sufi Way of interpreting Islam
Lecture 2: Wednesday, May 12, 2010: The Wahabi Way of interpreting Islam.
Both the above lectures will take place in Room E 34, John Dalton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University , Oxford Road entrance (opposite the Kro Bar), Manchester M1 5GD.
Admission free of charge, but the University will appreciate a voluntary donation of £ 1 per lecture.