Is our existence in the world a set of separate moving parts to which we must continuously adapt? Or is life a series of transitions as we evolve our understanding of what goes on around and within ourselves in order to realise an authentic self? Transitions can be sought or imposed, external and internal; deemed either a threat to social cohesion or a sign of progress. All around us is continual change—in the climate, the seasons, our bodies as we age, and from era to era since time began. Are transitional phases important moments in themselves, merely marking the end of one set of conditions as another takes over? Much has been made of Islam and Muslims being in a state of transition, whether assessing Islam’s compatibility with modernity or with modernisation. This issue examines what it means to transition, what we can expect when we are in transition, and whether transitions are inevitable, for better or worse.
Ziauddin Sardar is an award-winning, internationally renowned writer, futurist and cultural critic. A former New Statesman columnist and Equality and Human Rights Commissioner, he has authored many books, including Desperately Seeking Paradise: Journeys of a Sceptical Muslim; Reading the Qur'an; and Mecca: The Sacred City. He is editor of the influential quarterly Critical Muslim.