Source: Dawn.Com By Mohammad Ali
THE study of religion has been a phenomenon of interest. It is because of this curiosity that historically different perspectives have been developed to understand, interpret and extract meaning from religious concepts and practices.
Some of the dominant approaches have been theological, jurisprudential, spiritual etc.
However, with developments in human knowledge, particularly with the emergence of the disciplines of sociology and anthropology, the civilisational or cultural perspective has become a dominant feature in the study of religion.
Broadly speaking, the civilisational or cultural perspective attempts to understand religious concepts and practices through cultural viewpoints and expressions. According to this perspective, faith cannot be exercised in a cultural vacuum. Rather, it needs a context.
Therefore, faith and culture are integrated. Where religious concepts shape the culture of a society, religion gets influenced by culture. Hence to understand religion one needs to explore and reflect on the multidimensional expressions — such as literature, music, art, architecture, philosophy etc. — of a culture or society.