La tradition réformatrice de l'islam

Le " choc des civilisations "à l'œuvre paraît-il entre le monde occidental et le monde musulman, et que beaucoup voient se manifester en Irak et dans l'aggravation de la violence en Arabie saoudite, cache en réalité d'autres conflits qui s'avèreront probablement beaucoup plus importants à long terme. L'un de ces conflits divise les musulmans et concerne la réforme de leurs propres sociétés.

Les origines de la tradition réformatrice de l'islam - la recherche d'un chemin véritable pour relier les traditions musulmanes et le monde moderne - remontent au milieu du XIXe siècle. Les penseurs musulmans contrastaient alors le déclin de leurs sociétés et le dynamisme européen, une démarche d'autant plus douloureuse alors que l'Europe colonisait avec succès de grandes parties du monde musulman. Déjà à cette époque, les intellectuels de l'islam mettaient l'accent sur la " décadence " de leurs sociétés, et une corruption politique et sociale débilitante.

Beaucoup de réformateurs de cette période étaient des clercs ou des hauts fonctionnaires, qui avaient assisté eux-mêmes à l'affaiblissement de leurs sociétés. Ils faisaient surtout partie d'une petite élite instruite dans la tradition écrite de leur religion. Bien au-delà de la récitation coranique, ces hommes désiraient prendre part aux débats séculaires des lettrés sur le bon ordre de la vie musulmane. Leur érudition leur permettait de comparer la dégradation de leur époque avec les normes et aspirations de générations précédentes.

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