Since the inception of Turkey as an independent state, the country has based itself on Western modes of governance, with secularism being a hallmark of the nation. In recent years, Islamic parties have made inroads in government, causing consternation among the old guard and allies in Europe. Much of the modern arguments against Turkey's inclusion in the EU rely on psuedo-Orientalist ideas; Turkey is somehow so different and alien from "European" culture that they simply do not belong in the EU. (...) Historical notions of Turkey and Islam as fundamentally different are then propagated to remove Turkey from contemporary Europe. Islamic politics in Turkey do not represent a shift to a more fundamentalist ideology; in actuality, Turkish Islamic parties are very modern movements based in progressive ideas. The rise of Islamic parties in Turkey signals a shift away from a dogmatic following of the strictly secular West into a more hybrid political identity, unshakably tied to the West but allowing for a greater expression of its Middle Eastern Muslim heritage. (shrink)
The politics of nativism directed at Catholic immigrants in 19th-century America offer a fruitful comparative perspective through which to analyze the discourse and the politics of Islam in contemporary Europe. Anti-Catholic nativism constituted a peculiar North American version of the larger and more generalized phenomenon of anti-immigrant populist xenophobic politics which one finds in many countries and in different historical contexts. What is usually designated as Islamo-phobia in contemporary Europe, however, manifests striking resemblances with the original (...) phenomenon of American nativism that emerged in the middle of the 19th century in the United States. In both cases one finds the fusion of anti-immigrant xenophobic attitudes, perennial inter-religious prejudices, and an ideological construct setting a particular religious-civilizational complex in essential opposition to Western modernity. Although an anti-Muslim discourse emerged also in the United States after 11 September, it had primarily a geo-political dimension connected with the ‘war on terror’ and with American global imperial policies. But it lacked the domestic anti-immigrant populist as well as the modern secularist anti-Muslim dimensions. This explains why xenophobic anti-Muslim nativism has been much weaker in the United States than in Europe. (shrink)
This book brings together the ideas of a number of contemporary modernist and liberal Muslim thinkers, exposing an important intellectual current in Islamic thought which will be new to many Western readers. Responding to the challenges brought by colonialism and modernization, the contributors propose new conceptions and interpretations of Islam consonant with the age. Although their specific concerns and emphases vary, they all reconsider the relation between religion and politics and the incorporation of modern Western ideas.
The question raised by the article is: can democracy be religious and, if so, how? Can religious faith be reconciled with modern democratic political institutions? The article takes its departure from the biblical admonition to believers to be ‘the salt of the earth’ — a phrase that militates against both world dominion and world denial. In its long history, Islam (like Christianity) has been sorely tempted by the lure of worldly power and domination. Nor is this temptation entirely a (...) matter of the past (witness the rise of the Christian right and of ‘political Islam’ in our time). Focusing on contemporary Iran, the article makes a constitutional proposal which would strengthen the democratic character of the Iranian Republic without canceling religious faith. If adopted, the proposal would reinvigorate the ‘salt’ of Muslim faith thus enabling believers to live up to the Qur‘anic summons for freedom, justice and service in the world. (shrink)
The public visibility of Islam reveals new political stakes in European democracies around issues of immigration and citizenship. By focusing on the societal debates and the controversies around the construction of mosques and minarets, this article explores the ways in which Islamic difference is manifested, perceived and framed in public life. The ‘visibility’ of Islam in public is conceptualized as a form of agency, a manifestation of religious difference that cannot be thought independent of the materiality of culture, (...) namely aesthetic forms, dress codes, or architectural genres. It is argued that the debates for or against the banning of the construction of mosques and/or minarets reveal the tumultuous transition of Muslims from the status of the invisible migrant-worker to that of visible Muslim citizenship. The public visibility is approached therefore as a radically disruptive, transgressive, provocative form of transformative agency that is intrinsically related to the political process of becoming citizens. (shrink)
Section 1. Introduction. The prophet of non-violence -- section 2. Women in Islam. Women in the light of hadith -- Violence against women and religion -- section 3. War and peace in Islam. Theory of war and peace in Islam -- Centrality of jihad in post Qurʼanic period -- Jihad? But what about other verses in the Qurʼan? -- Islam, democracy and violence -- A critical look at Qurʼanic verses on war and violence -- section 4. (...) Justice and compassion in Islam. Concept of justice in Islam -- Love in Sufi poetry: Maulana Rum, the poet of love -- Compassion in Islam: theology and history -- Islam and compassion: scriptural, historical and contemporary perspective -- section 5. Social issues. Science, West and Islamic origin of science -- Opening chapter of the Qurʼan and its ecological interpretation -- Islam and contemporary issues -- Religion or secularism? -- Modernity, discontent and religion -- Hindu-Muslim unity through religion? -- Religion and conflict. (shrink)
In this work, Muhsin Mahdi--widely regarded as the preeminent scholar of Islamic political thought--distills more than four decades of research to offer an authoritative analysis of the work of Alfarabi, the founder of Islamic political philosophy. Mahdi, who also brought to light writings of Alfarabi that had long been presumed lost or were not even known, presents this great thinker as his contemporaries would have seen him: as a philosopher who sought to lay the foundations for a new understanding of (...) revealed religion and its relation to the tradition of political philosophy. Beginning with a survey of Islamic philosophy and a discussion of its historical background, Mahdi considers the interrelated spheres of philosophy, political thought, theology, and jurisprudence of the time. He then turns to Alfarabi's concept of "the virtuous city," and concludes with an in-depth analysis of the trilogy, Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. This philosophical engagement with the writings of and about Alfarabi will be essential reading for anyone interested in medieval political philosophy. (shrink)
This comparative history of political thought examines what the Western and Islamic approaches to politics had in common and where they diverged. The book considers how various ancient and medieval thought-patterns did or did not lead to modern developments; and how sacred monarchy, the legitimacy of the state, and the role of the people were looked upon in each culture. The author focuses on the period from the rise of Islam to the European Reformation, but his analysis extends (...) to the main genres of political thought up to the present. He argues that until the mid-eleventh century, Europe, Islam, and the Byzantine world had more in common than is commonly thought. What made the West different was the papal revolution of the late eleventh century, Europe's twelfth-century 'renaissance', and the gradual secularization of political thought which followed. At the same time, Islam, after an early blossoming, interpreted its own revelation more and more narrowly. This volume throws light on why the West and Islam each developed their own particular kind of approach to government, politics and the state, and on why these are so different. (shrink)
The relation between religion and politics is a legal-philosophical theme that has once again come to the foreground, due primarily to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the ensuing international debate on the nature of Islam. Yet every discussion of Islam encounters the resistance of political correctness, which exercises an enormous pressure on academic freedom, often resulting in self-censorship. Philosophy does not have as its primary goal the establishment of world peace. Instead, it begins by asking questions (...) and by analyzing reality, even if those questions and analyses turn out to be very painful to religious or political powers. Nietzsche.. (shrink)
We seek to establish a dialogue between democratic and Islamic normative political theories. To that aim, we show that the conception of democracy underlying a prominent Islamic political model is procedural. We distinguish proceduralism from a liberal conception of democracy. Then, we explain how bringing together Islamic political theory and democracy alters the meaning of the latter. In other words, we show that democracy within Islam often means democracy within Islamic limits.
Abstract When speaking about Islam and contemporary issues in science, Guessoum's Islam's Quantum Question shares many characterizations with Barbourian science and religion discourse. The focus is on theological responses to particular scientific theories. In this article I suggest an expansion of the discourse by looking at how science meets religion (as well as other local system of knowledge) in practice, in particular events such as natural disaster, when they are called upon as sources of meaning making. The encounter (...) takes place not only at the cognitive level, but may take the form of competition, collaboration, or negotiation over the authority to provide explanation. In practice the authority is supported not only by objective knowledge but involves many other factors, including politics. Thus, part of my proposal for expansion suggests the broadening of how we understand science and religion to include how assertions of authority are made in practice. (shrink)
Several of the Middle East’s traditional economic institutions hampered its political development by limiting checks on executive power, preventing the formation of organized and durable opposition movements, and keeping civil society weak. They include Islam’s original tax system, which failed to protect property rights; the waqf, whose rigidity hampered the development of civil society; and private commercial enterprises, whose small scales and short lives blocked the development of private coalitions able to bargain with the state. These institutions contributed to (...) features that sustain autocracies and keep democracies unstable: high corruption, low trust, widespread nepotism and high tolerance for law-breaking. (shrink)
Despite its promises, the Islamic state of Iran has systematically prioritized political considerations over religious precepts, inadvertently generating a reformist religious discourse that challenges the very foundations of the Islamic state. This article conceptualizes the religious secularity discourse and the paradoxes ingrained in the Islamic state. The religious secularity discourse rejects the notion that Islamic holy texts offer a blueprint for governance and calls for the secular democratic state to realize the core principle of Islam: justice [Adl]. Towards this (...) end, inclusive secular democratic principles champion a socio-political polity conducive to the cultivation of genuine religiosity, whereby faith and religious practices are free of coercion by fellow citizens or state institutions. By blurring the boundary between the religious and the secular and challenging the religious secular dichotomy, religious secularity highlights the relevance and possibility of harmonizing Islamic and inclusive secular democratic principles. (shrink)
The fifth in the series of Ramin Jahanbegloo's interviews of prominent intellectuals who have influenced modern Indian thought, in Talking Politics Jahanbegloo converses with Bhikhu Parekh, one of the leading political philosophers of our time. The book addresses issues encompassing cultural diversity and global ethics to universal moral rights and duties, liberal democracy, and the importance of multiculturalism in the contemporary global scenario. The dialogue flows effortlessly from Parekh's descriptions of his early life in undivided India, his travels in (...) Europe, his experiences in Westminster to discussions on caste-system, untouchability, Islam and Europe, relevance of Gandhian philosophy in contemporary world, and finally his entry into the House of Lords. Engaging and thought-provoking, this book is journey into the life and work of one of the leading political thinkers of our time. (shrink)
What kind of duty do we have to try to stop other people doing wrong? The question is intelligible in just about any culture, but few of them seek to answer it in a rigorous fashion. The most striking exception is found in the Islamic tradition, where 'commanding right' and 'forbidding wrong' is a central moral tenet already mentioned in the Koran. As an historian of Islam whose research has ranged widely over space and time, Michael Cook is well (...) placed to interpret this complex subject. His book represents the first sustained attempt to map the history of Islamic reflection on this obligation. It covers the origins of Muslim thinking about 'forbidding wrong', the relevant doctrinal developments over the centuries, and its significance in Sunni and Shi'ite thought today. In this way the book contributes to the understanding of Islamic thought, its relevance to contemporary Islamic politics and ideology, and raises fundamental questions for the comparative study of ethics. (shrink)
To understand the politics of recognition, one must conceive of it as a politics of representation. Like representation, recognition proceeds at once in a constative and a performative mode, whereby they bring into being what is simultaneously represented or recognized. This structure has paradoxical implications. The politics of recognition is also a politics of representation in the sense that it always involves questions such as, Which representations are recognized? Whose representations are they? The reverse is also (...) true: the politics of representation involves recognition because representatives and representations must be recognized in order to gain authority. In short, we can examine recognition as representation, and there is no recognition without representation, and vice versa. This is demonstrated through a reading of a recent British legal case, Begum, where the issue at stake concerned which representation of Islam should form the basis for the recognition of Islam in the school uniform policy. (shrink)
This book is concerned with the rationality and plausibility of the Muslim faith and the Quran, and in particular how they can be interogated and understood through western analytical philosophy. It is also explores how Islam can successfully engage with the challenges posed by secular thinking. The Quran and the Secular Mind will be of interest to students and scholars of Islamic philosophy, philosophy of religion, Middle East studies, and political Islam.
Tracing the course of thought, action, and expression in the golden age of Islamic civilization, L. E. Goodman's Islamic Humanism paints a vivid panorama that departs strikingly from the all too familiar image of Islamic dogma, authoritarianism, and militancy. Among the poets and philosophers, scientists and historians, ethicists and mystics of Islam, Goodman finds a warm and vital humanism, committed to the pursuit of knowledge and to the cosmopolitan values of generosity, tolerance, and understanding. Drawing on a wide range (...) of writings, from love poetry to pietism, to satire, to history and metaphysics, and on to hunting, music and the dance, clothing, politics, and the marketplace, Goodman discloses the rich texture of classical Islamic civilization-its distinctive problematics and the space it left for the talents and creativity of the individual. His philosophic openness and easy familiarity place Islamic humanism securely in its larger context, revealing clearly what is of universa and abiding vitality and interest. In place of stereotypes, suspicions, and unease, Goodman sets out concrete and detailed expositions and explorations of Islamic thought and experience as seen through the eyes of the participants themselves. His engaged but sympathetic readings penetrate beneath the surface of the ancient texts to the humanistic values embraced by some of the greatest thinkers of Islam. As a result, Islamic Humanism does much more than remind us how much we owe to the intellectual achievements of Islamic civilization. The work is a significant contribution to Western understanding of Islam and to Islamic self-understanding of the profoundly humanistic dimensions of the Islamic tradition. (shrink)
Common experiences of mothering offer profound critiques of maternal ethical norms found in both Christianity and Islam. The familiar responsibilities of caring for children, assumed by the majority of Christian and Muslim women, provide the basis for reassessing sacrificial and selfless love, protesting unjust religious and political systems, and dismantling romanticized notions of childcare. As a distinctive category of women's experience, motherhood may offer valuable perspectives necessary for remedying injustices that afflict mothers and children in particular, as well as (...) for developing cross-cultural understandings of justice in general. (shrink)
The Islamist critique of the post-1923 regime in Turkey centres around the deconstruction of the Republic's civilizing mission. Here the modernization of the rump of the Ottoman Empire undertaken in the name of the universality of western civilization (with the consequent attributing of backwardness to Islam) is problematized: Islamist discourse converges with other postmodern critiques in proclaiming the exhaustion of modernity as a project of emancipation. Islamist politics celebrate the return of the Muslim actor and identity. And yet (...) the making of an Islamist movement is threatened by the mobilization of other political identities similarly suppressed by the Turkish state's modernizing project. This includes in particular Kurdish subjectivity, long a target of assimilation in the name of the universality of the greater Turkish nation. This paper examines the fragmenting of the Islamist movement in Turkey, as well as Islamist attempts to head off Kurdish nationalism. The Islamist suppression of difference within its own ranks in the name of an Islamic universalism betrays it too as a descendant of Enlightenment discourses and a modernizing movement in its own right. (shrink)
In the light of current events, particularly the ‘post September 11th’ debates with much focus on aspects of the ‘clash of civilisation’ thesis, the issue of Islamic identity is a crucial one. Whilst Friedrich Nietzsche was addressing an audience of a different culture and age, his own originality, creativity, psychological, philological and historical insights allows for a fresh and enlightening understanding of Islam within the context of our modern era. In this book, Roy Jackson sets out to determine: Why (...) did Nietzsche feel inclined to be so generous towards the Islamic tradition yet so critical of Western Christianity? How important was religion for Nietzsche’s views on such matters as moral and political philosophy and how does this help us to understand the Islamic response to modernity? How does Nietzsche’s distinctive outlook and methodology help us to understand such key Islamic paradigms as the Qur’an, the Prophet, and the ‘Rightly-Guided’ Caliphs? Nietzsche and Islam provides an original and fresh insight into Nietzsche’s views on religion and shows that his philosophy can make an important contribution to what is considered to be Islam’s key paradigms. As such it will be of interest to a diverse readership and will provide useful material for researchers when thinking about religion, Islam and the future. (shrink)
The article compares some wellknown features of Western humanism with those of the so-called Muslim humanism (X-XII centuries). The Muslim “golden age” in its various aspects (philosophy, science, literature, politics, etc.) is built on a consistent, though multifarious, religious basis. Even cultural and historical reasons demonstrate, then, that ethics is not sufficient for establishing a common ground for dialogue with Islam, and that Islam has to be approached mainly in its religious meaning. A re-thinking of the Sacred (...) Book on a new basis, proposed by many of contemporary Muslim intellighenzia, who also often emphasize the importance of ancient humanism, should be taken into account also by their Western counterpart. West should not, on the contrary, make the mistake of reading Islam according to its own historical and/or ideological attitudes. KEY WORDS – Muslim humanism. West humanism. Intercultural dialog. Religion. (shrink)
The paper advocates that a middle ground between the many theories attempting to explain Islam and its view on the relationship between politics and religion is provided by the textual and discursive approaches. Islamist and/or Islamic revivalist movements are essentially concerned with the relationship between religion and social reality in the context of ‘change’. Worldly politics and the hermeneutics of disagreement also essentially deal with ‘change’ and ‘public space’. What is ‘changeable’ and what is ‘unchangeable’ is a (...) question of hermeneutics. Understanding a text is a human enterprise, and as such it is likely to create ‘difference’ of opinion. But while disagreement triggers conflict, proper understanding and application of a systematic hermeneutics leads to an ethics of disagreement which eventually allows for a modus vivendi in the public space. It is thus important for any tradition to have a hermeneutical framework towards an ethics of disagreement. In the particular case of Islam it is not difficult to find such a hermeneutical methodology that allows for differences and otherness to live side by side, towards unity in diversity. It only needs to be reappraised. (shrink)
Now in a new edition, this exceptionally successful survey text introduces the faith, belief, and practice of Islam from its earliest origins up to its contemporary resurgence. John L. Esposito, an internationally renowned expert on Islam, traces the development of this dynamic faith and its impact on world history and politics. Lucidly written and expansive in scope, Islam: The Straight Path, Fourth Edition, provides keen insight into one of the world's least understood religions. It is ideally (...) suited for use in courses on Islam, comparative religions, and Middle Eastern history and culture. -/- NEW TO THE FOURTH EDITION: -/- * A revised Chapter 5, "Religion and Politics," provides more focused and up-to-date coverage of Osama bin Laden's influence and the continued growth of extremism; the relationship of Islam to violence; the meaning of jihad and the origins of a global jihad ideology; the role of suicide bombing; and the influence of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi Islam. -/- * An updated Chapter 6, "The Struggle for Islam in the 21st Century," covers Muslim responses to new social and political contexts and presents the diverse and competing positions--from traditionalist to modernist--of contemporary Muslim leaders on issues of religious authority, women's rights, Shariah, violence, and terrorism. -/- * More extensive treatment of early Islam in Chapters 1 and 2 -/- * An enhanced art program featuring twenty-one photos and three maps -/- * A new appendix that includes an extensive timeline of key events in the history of Islam -/- * A FREE 6-month subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies Online (www.oxfordislamicstudies.com), edited by John L. Esposito. Please look inside for details. (shrink)
The Power of Sovereignty attempts to understand the ideas and thoughts of Sayyid Qut whose corpus of work and, in particular, his theory of hakimiyyah (sovereignty) is viewed as a threat to nationalistic government and peace worldwide. This book provides a detailed perspective Sayyid Qutb's writings and examines: · The relation between the specifics of the concept of hakimiyyah and that of jahiliyyah · The force and intent of these two concepts · How Qutb employs their specifics to critically assess (...) the political establishments like nationalism and capitalism · The influence of the two concepts on Egypt's radical Islamic movements, where many of al'Qa'ida's lieutenants, officers, ideologues and conspirators were fomented This book provides timely and topical understanding of the intellectual origins and conceptual and methodological thinking of radical Islamist movement in the modern world. The Power of Sovereignty is essential reading for those with interests in political Islam and religious politics. (shrink)
This book uses the writings of Syed Alam Khundmiri to look at issues such as: Islamic traditionalism in the context of meodernization; Islamic theology and politics; and Western and Indian notions of secularism.
In response to critics’ claims that a discussion of sexuality and nationalism vis-à-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict bears no relation to the author’s previous work, or to such discussions within the US or European contexts, this paper details the complex interconnections between Israeli gay and lesbian rights and the continued oppression of Palestinians. The first section examines existing discourses of what the author has previously called “homonationalism,” or the process by which certain forms of gay and lesbian sexuality are folded into (...) the national body as the Muslim/Arab Other is cast as perversely queer, within Israel and the diasporas. The operations of homonationalism ensure that no discussion of gay and lesbian rights in Israel is independent from the state’s actions toward Palestine/Palestinians. The second section contains a critique of Israel’s practices of “pinkwashing” in the US and Europe. In order to redirect focus away from critiques of its repressive actions toward Palestine, Israel has attempted to utilize its relative “gay-friendliness” as an example of its commitment to Western “democratic” ideals. Massive public relations campaigns such as “Brand Israel” work to establish Israel’s reputation within the US and Europe as cosmopolitan, progressive, Westernized and democratic as compared with the backward, repressive, homophobic Islamic nations, which, in turn, serves to solidify Israel’s aggression as a position of the “defense” of democracy and freedom. The final section looks at the ways in which accusations of “anti-Semitism” function in academic and activist contexts to suppress critiques of the implicit nationalism within Israeli sexual politics. (shrink)