Excerpt from Mustafa Akyol’s article The Vatican, Christianity and Islam in Hurriyet Daily News (14/9/2013)
In today’s super-dynamic and super-creative world, behind which we are already lagging, there is a risk for us, Muslims, if we go toward the other direction: The strict boundaries that supposedly protect our faith could turn into an obstacle to sharing it. If non-Muslims are unwelcome in the Islamic space, and if Muslims feel too alien outside of their boundaries, how can Islam (which, unlike Judaism, is a universalistic religion) reach out to world?
Perhaps there is a hint in our own history: It is not an accident that the most successful evangelists of Islam have been the Sufis – the mystics who cared less about the law and more about the heart. Since they did not obsess about the purity of practice, they allowed syncretic movements that appealed to diverse communities. Since they found God in every place, in other words, they did not keep Islam in a closed space. Like Rumi, they rather said, “come, come, come, whoever you are.”