Here’s a fairly recent (not fairly new…however you’d like to word it) comment the good Archbishop made on Islam. Though I sometimes think that the Anglican Communion in general has lost its way at times, I have tremendous respect for those clerics such as Dr. Williams and the jointly intellectual and spiritual worldview that he has.
Though he ends with the comment that we, as Muslims, are probably more like Christians than many Christians might acknowledge or consider (to paraphrase), I think that the communal values that we have, especially in regard to marriage, equal rights, recognition of a sort of transcendental ‘dignity’ we share with our fellow creatures makes us far more like Christians than we, as Muslims, would often like to acknowledge. I’d venture so far as to say that we have a lot more in common with Christians than we do with those aggressive secularists – Dr Williams is a testament to what a clergyman should look like – erudite, sophisticated, firm in belief, and grounded spiritually. Whatever you think of him, and his attempts to reconcile religious belief in the modern world, I sometimes wish that we had more clerics like him living in the West, who had such a public platform. I’d even settle for more clerics like him in the Christian world.
Though we as Muslims find ourselves increasingly alienated in this ‘Christian’ country/world, I think that efforts on the part of people like Dr Williams as well as systematic work done by more Muslims, is the only way that we will survive spiritually in the torment of ‘modernity’, and be able to work toward the Divine human ‘project’.
Here’s the latter part of one of my favourite verses from the Qur’an, which is quite pertinent here (the whole verse is of course beautiful in its own right, too, but would need the sort of elaboration that I’m to unable to give. Nonetheless…):
“To each of you God has prescribed a Law and a Way. If God would have willed, He would have made you a single people. But God’s purpose is to test you in what he has given each of you, so strive in the pursuit of virtue, and know that you will all return to God [in the Hereafter], and He will resolve all the matters in which you disagree.” (Ma’ida:58)