Irshad Ahmed Bhat and Zahid Sultan Magray, New Age Islam
28 May 2019
perhaps here on the internet that some of the most interesting things are happening.
It should be noted that global technology of western origin is turning into a
vital tool for the conduct and propagation of new hybridised practices. These
practices are formed by inserting the normative discourse of Islam into western
discourse of information technology and is a classic example of “Globalising
are the implications of the media revolution for those communities which
inhabit global space, then? While, as Anderson once argued to the pioneering
efforts of New World ' Creoles' in the formation of imagined communities, he
now talks of the new ' creoles' of the information superhighway. But we should
refrain from jumping to the conclusion that internet is suddenly going to transform
Muslim understanding of politics radically. Anderson further pointed out that
transnational theories, fixated on media and forms of alienated consciousness
distinctive of late modernity, tend to overlook the social organisation into
which new media are brought in a rush to the new in expression. Impressed by
what simmel much earlier called ' cosmopolitanism’, we overlook measures of
social organisation in pursuit of media effects.
comprehend the processes by which community is created, we need also to
understand the circumstances under which Muslimidentities become diasporic. How
other aspects of identity influence the terms of religious discourse on
internet? Such issues are often battled out on internet using methods of
reasoning and Debate then in the traditional idioms of religious discourse. Internet impacted the centre/ periphery
relations in the Muslim world; country such as Malaysia considered to be on
religious &geographical margins in terms of influence, has invested heavily
in information & network technologies than the venerable institutions of
Cairo, Medinaor Mashhad have.
the ayatollahs of Iran have jumped on to the information bandwagon. For the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the
West, internet is mainly a forum for the conduct of politics within Islam which
is gaining ground in non western Muslim societies too. In the absence of
sanctioned information from recognised institutions, Muslims are increasingly
taking religion into their own hands, and internet provides them useful medium
for getting information about Islam and about behaviour required of a good
has also served to reinforce and rectify the impact of print capitalism on
traditional structures and forms of authority. Instead of having to go down to
the mosque to elicit advice from local imam or mullah, Muslims can now receive
' authoritative ' religious pronouncements via the various email fatwa services.But
due to the largely anonymous nature of the internet, one can also never be sure
whether the authoritative advice received via these services is coming from a
classically trained religious scholar or hydraulic engineer moonlighting as an
new media has opened up new spaces for religious contestation where traditional
sources of authority could be challenged by a wider public. The fragmentation of
traditional sources of authority is a key theme with regard to the nexus of
Islam and Globalization.But on the other hand, internet created availability of
Qur’an, several collections of prophetical sayings, Tafsirs, and other
jurisprudential works, created a sort of new constituency for religious texts.
This sort of ijtihad toolkit in the words zaiuddin Sardar in his book, “Media,
culture and society” observed, would amount to a virtual Alim and would pose a
further challenge to traditional religious scholarship authority.
and communication networks have also improved the capabilities of Global terror
outfits like Al-Qaeda, ISIS and similar others to plan and conduct operations leading
to far more devastation. It particularly improved their capability in areas of proselyting,
coordination, security, mobility and lethality;propagate their version of theological arguments to legitimise Global
jihad Ideologies.In the Muslim world Internetis serving as a double aged sword.
However, as for internet in Gulf countries,
distinction has to be made between the availability of internet access and
their domain of usages. With strict censorship, ban in political activism,
unquestioning obedience to political and religiousauthorities, a medium which
by its very nature, is heavily resistant to any attempt to control , closed
society, censorship or regulation makes the issue a quandary . It must be noted
that access to information technology requires resources and permission to political
liberty to explore such networks.
become apparent that the encounter between Islam and the globalised
technologies of communication is as multifaceted as the religion itself. Globalization which is seen as a
source of homogeneity can also be understood as a culturally heterogeneous
force.What we need to understand is the extent to which the Globalization of
information and communication networks can provide a new framework within which
Muslims can re-imagine the Ummah.
it should be recognisedwe are dealing with a Virtual community in a context in
which indirect and distanciated relationships are sustained through computer–mediated
communication. To invoke Gibson’s metaphor, participants in this kind of
community are ' wrapped in media', such that one's corporeal existence becomes
insignificantly de- emphasized. Community here is a product of communication,
not the one in which one is born (ethnicity or nationality). It fosters social
networks through which distanciated Muslims can organise and communicate.
Communication networks provide spaces for critical dialogue. Debate about Islam
and encounters with the Muslim order,allowing Muslim movements to locate and
share resources and more particularly, opening forums in which Muslims can find
solidarity, and support to the cause of ummah.
the question is to what extent would original sense of ummah as a new social
paradigm be recreated; that is a form of community where factional identity barrier are subservient to a religious whole. What about politics within such medium? And
who can administerthis virtual ummah?
How will traditional centres reproduce themselves in cyberspace? These
are some key and paradoxical questions that lie at the heart of Globalization
and Islam paradigm.
Ahmed Bhat & Zahid Sultan Magray are Kashmir valley-based students of
Political science. They can be reached at:firstname.lastname@example.org