What is textual Islam? I had never heard the term until earlier today. Apparently it is when someone learns about their deen only from written sources, such as Quran, sunnah and books by scholars. Now to me this seems like the only way to go. Perhaps throw in a some lectures and classes and your set. Right? Wrong... well wrong according to some.
As a revert, I can't think of any other way to learn, but then I forget that if you are born into Islam you are more thank likely going to have had 'knowledge' given to you by other sources. You will learn from your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends teachers and so on. Now that doesn't sound too bad does it? In theory its great, but its sort of like the telephone game, as information is passed down through families and such, things can get distorted. Fiction can be passed off as fact and people start to learn things the wrong way. Culture gets thrown in there and boom, it starts to look less and less like Islam and more like.... well I don't know what it looks like, but not much like Islam.
I recently read a post on another blog where the poster (a revert) said that when she first accepted Islam she thought she was reverting to THE Islam, only to find out that there are many different sects, schools of thought and cultural divides. I was the same way. I thought that everyone that was Muslim did the same thing. Wow, was I wrong. Once I started to meet Muslims from other countries and sects I realized that it if I didn't 'stick to the books' I was going to get seriously confused. Not only did I have to stick to the books, but I had to be careful about which books. Alhamduliah I found a great community of sisters to help me and a wonderful teacher that guided us all through that maze. If I look back at my book collection from the beginning I wince sometimes thinking... 'did I actually read that?'. Now I am pretty careful about what I read, and when we started our bookstore hudastore.com, we sought advice on which types of books to stock and which to avoid.
So for now, I don't mind being someone that learned 'textually'.