La tradición reformista del Islam

El "choque de las civilizaciones" que supuestamente se está dando entre Occidente y el mundo musulmán, y cuyas manifestaciones muchos ven en Irak, así como en la creciente violencia en Arabia Saudita, de hecho oculta otros conflictos -disputas que probablemente resulten ser más trascendentales a largo plazo. Una de esas luchas se está dando entre los musulmanes mismos sobre las reformas al interior de sus propias sociedades.

La tradición reformista musulmana -la búsqueda de un camino auténtico que vincule las tradiciones islámicas con el mundo moderno -tiene raíces profundas que datan de la mitad del siglo XIX. En ese entonces, los pensadores musulmanes contrastaron el deterioro de sus sociedades con el dinamismo de Europa, comparación particularmente dolorosa dados los éxitos europeos en colonizar grandes porciones del mundo musulmán. Los intelectuales musulmanes se concentraron en la "decadencia" de las sociedades musulmanas y su debilitante corrupción política y social.

Muchos de los primeros reformistas musulmanes fueron clérigos o burócratas de alto rango que habían visto de primera mano cuánto se habían apagado sus sociedades. Aún más importante, eran miembros de una pequeña minoría que había sido educada según la herencia escrita del Islam. Mucho más allá de los rezos coránicos, estos hombres buscaban participar en las discusiones centenarias entre los eruditos sobre la organización adecuada de la vida musulmana. Esa educación les permitió comparar el degradado estado de las cosas de su época con las normas y aspiraciones de las generaciones de clérigos y pensadores que les habían precedido.

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