Mohamed Shukri’s Contribution to Islamic Thought in Sri Lanka
A Critical Study
Mohamed Shukri (1940-2020) left a permanent mark on the trajectory of Islamic thought in contemporary Sri Lanka. This paper explores his contribution to Islamic thought in the local context. Following the thematic analysis method, this paper finds that Shukri attempted to develop a comprehensive critique of the philosophical foundations of modern scientism and enlightenment rationalism. For that purpose, Shukri instrumentalized Islamic spiritual thought or Sufism, arguing that the modernist onto-epistemological and ethical concepts do not permit a human being to experience the unseen realities and the spiritual world. Shukri’s perception of the implications of this philosophical reductionism in the domain of contemporary social sciences, humanities, and ethics is also considered. In addition, the paper notes that Shukri supported projects that foster the harmonious relationship between religious traditions by deploying shared philosophical perspectives. However, he stressed that the differences between those traditions also must be respected. Finally, this paper emphasizes that these Shukri’s scholarly discourses predominantly manifest a critical re-emergence of revisionist Islamic spiritual thought in post-colonial Sri Lanka, which stood as a check on the smooth penetration of modernist ideas within the local Muslim community.
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