The Identity Crisis of the Contemporary Muslim Ummah: The Loss of Tawhidic Epistomoly as its Root Cause
The author aims to show that the identity of the Muslim community (ummah) in the modern and contemporary period is in a state of crisis. The ummah is defined as a knowledge-community founded on, nourished and sustained by the quranic tawhidic epistemology. The article presents an established concept and theory of crisis for the purpose of arguing that the ummah is facing a knowledge- and identity-crisis. It traces the roots of this crisis to the substantial loss of the tawhidic epistemology that has helped sustain this identity for the greater part of Islamic history before the modern era. It argues further that Muslim modern education in the colonial era based on secular epistemologies quickened the decline of tawhidic epistemology to the point of making it helpless to respond effectively to the challenges posed by those modern epistemologies. The author argues that an unresolved intellectual conflict between the surviving elements of tawhidic epistemology and modern epistemologies has resulted in an epistemological crisis of great consequences to Muslim life and thought. To help overcome this epistemological crisis, he argues for the renewal (tajdid) of tawhidic epistemology in the light of contemporary human thought. Concrete measures are also suggested as to helping make this renewal a reality.