Keywords: Modernity, Islam, Historicity, Fundamentalism, Tradition, Identity, History, Religion, the Abrahamic Faiths, the universal and the particular
In this essay, the author reviews the question of Islam's destiny today by linking it to essential questions and doubts about the destiny of the western world as well. Against the background, he re-visits the history of Islam to enlarge on an essential distinction between history as a story of fixed, stable entities or systems and historicity as the index of fluid and open-ended development in time. The modern situation makes it imperative, he believes, to re-visit the facts of Islam from the second rather than the first point of view. Refusing to "identify the ideology of Islamic revival with the revival of Islam", he makes the case for an approach different from those of traditionalism, modernism as well as fundamentalism. He emphasises that this need is not particularly Islamic; rather, it is one of equal concern to all the Abrahamic faiths and cultures. Such universalism, however, does not negate the integrity of particular communities or ways of life. It calls, in his concluding words, "for an opening of windows, not a demolition of homes".