The Many Ways of Being Muslim: The Practice of Immanent Critique in Mohja Kahf’s The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (Kepentingan Kritikan Dalaman dalam Pembentukan Identiti Islam di dalam novel The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf Karya Mohja Kahf)

Amrah Abdul Majid

Abstract


There is a stereotypical understanding of Islam as a religion that is inherently hostile to critique and changes, making it no longer relevant in modern age. To dispel this, Irfan Ahmad proposes the theory of immanent critique in the Islamic tradition where doctrines within the Islamic tradition itself are used to to develop different interpretations of religious understanding. This article discusses how this theory is applied in the novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf by Mohja Kahf (2006). It narrates the coming of age story of a young American Syrian Muslim woman, Khadra Shamy, who lives within a pious small Muslim community in Indiana, United States of America. As she lives under the watchful eyes of her parents and the community, she grapples with her understanding and acceptance of various Muslim communities around America who have different ways of practicing the religion. The article uses Ahmad’s theorization to discuss how the practice of critique allows the protagonist to free herself from being governed by specific individuals in her understanding of Islam. The concept allows the protagonist to actively engage with Islamic teachings in order to develop their personal position within the doctrines of the religion. Furthermore, the article also suggests that the practice of critique helps to develop an independent selfhood that is strongly committed to Islam while at the same time, tolerant of differences that may exist in the society that she is living in.

Keywords: Islam; immanent critique; novels; Muslim women; Mohja Kahf


ABSTRAK

Agama Islam sering diperkatakan sebagai agama yang tidak boleh menerima kritikan dan perubahan, menjadikannya agama yang lapuk dan tidak boleh dipraktis di zaman moden. Untuk menyangkal dakwaan ini, Irfan Ahmad telah memperkenalkan teori kritikan dalaman yang menggunakan tradisi dan doktrin dalam agama Islam itu sendiri untuk menggalakkan perbincangan ilmiah dan terbuka mengenai Islam. Beliau mengesyorkan bahawa praktis ini dapat membantu penganutnya membentuk pemahaman agama yang tersendiri untuk diamalkan dalam kehidupan harian, sekaligus membuktikan bahawa agama Islam adalah agama sepanjang zaman. Makalah ini membincangkan bagaimana teori ini telah digambarkan di dalam novel The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (2006), hasil karya Mohja Kahf. Novel ini menceritakan pengalaman Khadra Shamy, seorang wanita Islam berketurunan Syria yang tinggal dan membesar di dalam sebuah komuniti dakwah di Indiana, Amerika Syarikat. Teori kritikan dalaman ini digunakan dalam membincangkan bagaimana beliau menggunakan ilmu yang diperolehi dari pengajian dan pembacaan penulisan mengenai ajaran Islam oleh ulama’-ulama’ tersohor untuk membentuk kefahaman sendiri, yang  membantu beliau untuk membentuk identiti sebagai seorang Muslim yang komited terhadap pendirian agamanya. Ini membolehkan beliau melepaskan diri dari kongkongan ibubapa dan komunitinya yang terlalu tegar dengan identiti dakwah mereka sehingga sering kali tidak dapat menerima perbezaan pendapat di dalam ajaran Islam. Selain itu, konsep kritikan dalaman juga menggalakkan beliau untuk cuba memahami kepelbagaian dan perbezaan komuniti Muslim di Amerika Syarikat, menjadikan Khadra Shamy seorang yang lebih toleran dan berfikiran terbuka dan tidak cepat untuk menghakimi orang lain.  

Kata kunci: Islam; kritikan dalaman; novel; wanita Muslim; Mohja Kahf

 

 

 

 

 


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