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.
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.
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.
The Pale God examines the relationship between secularism and religious tradition. It begins with a description of the secular options as expressed by Israeli intellectuals, and describes how these options have led to a dead end. A new option must be sought, and one of the key sources for this option is the works of Spinoza. The author explains that unlike Nietzsche, who discussed "the death of God," Spinoza tried to undermine the authority of religious virtuosos and establish the (...) image of a rational "Pale God." Such changes could channel religious tradition to the basic principles of secular political rule. The author demonstrates that the secular option is inherent in Israeli society, fits the type of secularism that Zionism instilled in the Jewish people, and complements the traditional trends deeply rooted in that society. (shrink)
This book investigates the central role of reason in Islamic intellectual life. Despite widespread characterization of Islam as a system of belief based only on revelation, John Walbridge argues that rational methods, not fundamentalism, have characterized Islamic law, philosophy and education since the medieval period. His research demonstrates that this medieval Islamic rational tradition was opposed by both modernists and fundamentalists, resulting in a general collapse of traditional Islamic intellectual life and its replacement by more modern but far shallower (...) forms of thought. However, the resources of this Islamic scholarly tradition remain an integral part of the Islamic intellectual tradition and will prove vital to its revival. The future of Islam, Walbridge argues, will be marked by a return to rationalism. (shrink)
Introduction -- Reconstructing Nisaburi's early education -- Nisaburi's early scientific thought -- Nisaburi's early religious thought -- Astrology motivating inductions about God's power -- Nisaburi's later scientific thought -- The impact of science on Nisaburi's religious thought -- The limits of science's influence on Nisaburi's religious thought -- Conclusion.
Introduction -- Reconstructing Nīsābūrī's early education -- Nīsābūrī's early scientific thought -- Nīsābūrī's early religious thought -- Astrology motivating inductions about God's power -- Nīsābūrī's later scientific thought -- The impact of science on Nīsābūrī's religious thought -- The limits of science's influence on Nīsābūrī's religious thought -- Conclusion.
This article deals with the impact of the free, democratic and peaceful accession to power of the Islamic Justice and Development Party (JDP) in Turkey on the Arab world in general and on the Islamic currents active in Arab societies in particular. A main point is looking into how Arab political formations and especially political Islam are trying to make sense out of such recent developments in Turkey as: (1) the fact that traditionally reviled Turkish secularism, Kemalism and (...) westernism could produce a democratic form of political Islam capable of winning free elections and ruling Turkey without a catastrophe befalling the whole polity; and (2) the fact that an Islamic JDP is the most eager proponent of Turkey’s membership in the secular EU, while the traditional staunch military guardian of Turkish secularism is now the main obstructor of the drive for EU membership. (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)
Biography of Ibn Rushd ... Averroes, old heathen, If only you had been right, if Intellect Itself were absolute law, sufficient grace. Our lives could be a myth of captivity. Which we might enter: an unpeopled region.
This book discloses a largely unnoticed dialogue between Muslim and Western social thought on the search for meaning and transcendence in the human sciences. The disclosure is accomplished by a comparative reading of contemporary Muslim debates on secular knowledge on the one hand, and of a foundational Western debate on the demise of metaphysics in the human sciences on the other hand. The comparative reading is grounded in a dialogical hermeneutic approach; that is, a hermeneutic approach to texts and cultural (...) traditions that draws upon the work of Hans Georg Gadamer and also upon the insights of inter-religious dialogue. (shrink)
This book introduces Islam as the religion of inclusive monotheism, supporting a holistic approach toward the entire creation, including man and humanity, and taking into consideration directly all his physical, rational, emotion, and spiritual needs.
This article aims to explain why the idea of the West is, for historical and philosophical reasons, an obstacle to dealing with the dangers posed by radical Islamists. Every proposed theory of the West has to account for the great internal cultural diversity both of European cultures and of those influenced by them around the world; and every serious historical account both of Europe and of Islam has to recognize the long-standing, substantial and ongoing interdependence of their intellectual and (...) religious traditions. As a result, what is needed to face extremists, whether inside or outside Europe (and whether Christian, Muslim or neither), is not an opposition between Islam and the West, but an alliance of those of all faiths and none who can live with and tolerate cultural difference against those, wherever they live and whatever their religion, who cannot. (shrink)
Inequities in health and health care are one of the greatest challenges facing the international community today. This problem raises serious questions for health care planners, politicians and ethicists alike. The major world religions can play an important role in this discussion. Therefore, interreligious dialogue on this topic between ethicists and health care professionals is of increasing relevance and urgency. This article gives an overview on the positions of Islam and Christianity on equity and the distribution of resources in (...) health care. It has been written in close collaboration and constant dialogue between the two authors coming from the two religions. Although there is no specific concept for the modern term equity in either of the two religions, several areas of agreement have been identified: All human beings share the same values and status, which constitutes the basis for an equitable distribution of rights and benefits. Special provisions need to be made for the most needy and disadvantaged. The obligation to provide equitable health services extends beyond national and religious boundaries. Several areas require intensified research and further dialogue: the relationship between the individual and the community interms of rights and responsibilities, how to operationalize the moral duty to decrease global inequalities in health, and the understanding and interpretation of human rights in regard to social services. (shrink)
This short essay analyzes the deception and self-deception in talk of ‘the clash of civilizations’ and proceeds to diagnose what is wrong in the standard understanding of Islam in the Western media today by looking to the abiding history of colonial relations with Islam down to this day and also looking to the relation between ideals of democracy and the formation of religious identities. The essay closes with some remarks about the nature of identity and the importance to (...) one's own agency of the distinction between the first and the third person point of view in Muslim self-understanding. (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)
This article analyses how recent critiques of secularism in political philosophy and cultural anthropology might productively be combined and contrasted with each other. I will show that Jürgen Habermas' postsecularism takes insufficient account of elementary criticisms of secularism on the part of anthropologists such as Talal Asad and Saba Mahmood. However, I shall also criticize Saba Mahmood’s reading of secularism by arguing that, in the end, she replaces the secular–religious divide with a secularity–piety divide; for example, in (...) her reading of Nasr Abu Zayd’s secular Islamic hermeneutics. This inhibits the use of her framework of analysis for a criticism of a problem central to Habermas' postsecularism, namely that it remains focused on specific intensities of belief. I shall then argue that, combined with the anthropological critiques of the secular, the political-historical nature of the fanaticism–piety–violence nexus should be integrated into political philosophical debates on secularism and postsecularism. (shrink)
Abstract The publication of Islam's Quantum Question coincided with a burst of interest in the subject of Islam and science. This article first places the book in context (academic and cultural); in particular, an update is given on the two strong current trends of I'jaz, the “miraculous scientific content in the Qur’an” and Muslim creationism, and a note is made of the “Arab Spring” and its potential effect on science in the Arab-Muslim world. The second part is devoted (...) to a discussion of the views presented by the four reviewers (Brooke, Hameed, Dajani, and Bagir): my “theistic science” approach, the similarities and contrasts between Christian and Islamic approaches to the scientific exploration of the world, the importance of relating religion and science in practice, not just in theory, the need for a theology of nature versus natural theology in Islam, and so on. The article concludes with an outlook on the issues that still need to be addressed in the field of Islam and Science. (shrink)
Islam and End-of-Life Practices in Organ Donation for Transplantation: New Questions and Serious Sociocultural Consequences Content Type Journal Article Pages 175-205 DOI 10.1007/s10730-009-9095-8 Authors Mohamed Y. Rady, Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix 5777 East Mayo Boulevard Phoenix Arizona USA 85054 Joseph L. Verheijde, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine 5777 East Mayo Boulevard Phoenix Arizona USA 85054 Muna S. Ali, Arizona State University Phoenix Arizona USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue (...) Volume 21, Number 2. (shrink)
Abstract Despite various criticisms, Ian Barbour's fourfold classification of the possible relationships between religion and science remains influential. I compare Barbour's taxonomy with the theories of four authors who, in the last four decades, have addressed the relationship between science and religion from a Muslim perspective. The aim of my analysis is twofold. First, I offer a comparative perspective to the debate on science and Islam. Second, following Barbour's suggestion, I test the general applicability of his categories by comparing (...) them with a discourse on science and religion that is not focused on Christianity. In the first section, I reconstruct Barbour's typologies, recalling some major objections to them, and arguing why despite the latter, Barbour's model is employed for the present analysis. I also reconstruct Barbour's parallel model for the relationships between different religions. In the second section, I reconstruct the discourse on science and religion developed by the Palestinian-American scholar Ismail Raji al-Faruqi. The third section is devoted to the ideas of the Persian-American scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr. In the fourth section, I examine the views of the Iranian author Mehdi Golshani. The fifth section reconstructs the theories of the Algerian author Nidhal Guessoum. In the final section, I argue that a generalized use of the “integration” concept to refer to the entire debate on Islam and science is unhelpful. While these positions do not appear to instantiate Barbourian integration of science and religion, they do move toward what Barbour (skeptically) describes as integration between religions. (shrink)
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)
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)
This paper looks at whether the tenets of Islam are consistent with the 'Ten Principles' of responsible business outlined in the UN Global Compact. The paper concludes that with the possible exception of Islam's focus on personal responsibility and the non-recognition of the corporation as a legal person, which could undermine the concept of corporate responsibility, there is no divergence between the tenets of the religion and the principles of the UN Global Compact. Indeed, Islam often goes (...) further and has the advantage of clearer codification of ethical standards as well as a set of explicit enforcement mechanisms. Focusing on this convergence of values could be useful in the development of a new understanding of CSR in a global context and help avert the threatened "clash of civilisations". (shrink)
Although the Islamic religion is well known, many people are less familiar with Sufism—the esoteric component of Islam. The Secret of Islam explores the mystical path of Sufism, which focuses on love and compassion. Sections proceed through the levels of Sufism: Journey of the Disciple, Actions, Spiritual Journey of the Seeker, and Flowering of the Perfect Human.
In all the current alienating discourse on Islam as a source of extremism and fanatic violence this new publication takes a timely and refreshing look at the traditions of Islamic mysticism, philosophy and intellectual debate in a series of diverse and stimulating approaches. It tackles the major figures of Islamic thought as well as shedding light on hitherto unconsidered aspects of Islam utilizing new source material. The contributors are impressive list of scholars and experts.
Dialogue with three major Muslim authors shows that Islam can take a positive stance toward human rights while also presenting differing interpretations of the meaning and scope of rights. Because of their subordination of norms reached through reason to those drawn from faith, as well as negative experiences of the impact of Western colonization of parts of the Muslim world, Abul A‘la Maududi and Sayyid Qutb place significant restrictions on rights of conscience. 'Abdolkarim Soroush's positive support for the role (...) of reason in Islamic faith and his less-negative assessment of the West lead him to more vigorous support for the human rights agenda. This study raises the question of whether the humility needed in comparative ethics and the respect for others at the root of human rights are necessarily linked. (shrink)
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical (...) philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (shrink)
Philip Kitcher has recently proposed a form of ‘cosmopolitan secularism’ which he suggests could enable the members of a future secular society to continue to access and benefit from the moral and existential resources of the world’s religions. I criticise this proposal by appeal to contemporary work on the role of emotion and practice in religious commitment. Using the work of John Cottingham and Mark Wynn, two objections are offered to the cosmopolitan secularists’ claim that the moral resources of (...) a religion could be both preserved by and employed within a secular society whose members lack emotional commitment to and practical engagement with the religions in question. I conclude that, pace Kitcher, cosmopolitan secularism cannot fulfil its promise to preserve the moral resources of religion in the absence of genuine religious traditions and communities. (shrink)
The dominant debate on Islam and democracy continues to operate in the realm of normativity. This article engages with key literature showing limits of such a line of inquiry. Through the case study of India’s Islamist organization, Jamaat-e-Islami, I aim at shifting the debate from textual normativity to demotic praxis. I demonstrate how Islam and democracy work in practice, and in so doing offer a fresh perspective to enhance our understandings of both Islam and democracy. A key (...) proposition of this article is that rather than discussing the cliché if Islam is compatible with democracy, or Islam should be democratized, we study the ‘hows’ of de-democratization in Muslim societies. (shrink)
Journeys of Ghazali and Averroes to their diverse conceptions of the role of reason -- From the chimera of philosophy to the evidence of "the just balance" -- The decisive criterion of the distinction between islam and hypocrisy (zandaqa) -- Averroes, philospher-reader of the precious book -- Reorganization of the world according to Aristotle in the light of Qurʼanic revelation by Averroes -- Ghazali and Averroes in Muslim society.
In this paper I discuss the controversy over the career and thought of Tariq Ramadan. I offer an account of what Western liberals ought to hope for from the thought of such a figure and then show, pace Ramadan's critiques, that his views on European citizenship and social cooperation are largely "reasonable" from the standpoint of political liberalism. I also situate Ramadan's views in the context of Islamic law and contemporary Islamist thought on life in the West.
Abstract The neo?Gramscian framework offers one of the more innovative contributions to a discipline long embedded in the self?same verities of behaviouralism, positivism and neo?Realism. As with conventional wisdom, however, neo?Gramscians reproduce either assumptions of liberal neutrality or cultural thickness in relation to the ?peripheral zones? of the global political economy. These tendencies produce a variant that can be likened to ?soft Orientalism?. In the first instance, cultural difference is not much of an impediment to the establishment of (West?centred) global (...) hegemony. In the second instance, otherness becomes the principal source of counter?hegemonic movements or resistance. This article provides a Gramscian rereading of these antinomies in relation to the apparent consolidation of a natural attitude towards Islam in the wake of recent dramatic events. (shrink)
Given its title, one might expect Roy Jackson's Nietzsche and Islam to offer an examination of Nietzsche's views on Islam. Such a volume would be welcome indeed, since with the exception of a short but excellent article by Ian Almond there is a striking lacuna in Nietzsche studies on this particular topic.1 However, while Jackson frequently notes Nietzsche's surprisingly positive assessment of Islam, his concerns here are not so much historical and philological as contemporary and political. The (...) stated aim of the book is twofold: first, to demonstrate (contrary to popular belief) that "Nietzsche is not the standard bearer for atheism" and second, to make the case that his philosophy "has particular relevance for .. (shrink)
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)
In this article I review two contrasting approaches to Muslim women’s rights: those that want Muslims to secularize the Qur’an as the precondition for getting rights and those that emphasize the importance of a liberatory Qur’anic hermeneutics to Muslim women’s struggles for rights and equality. As examples of the former, I take the works of Nasr Abu Zayd and Raja Rhouni and, of the latter, my own. In addition to joining the debates on Muslim women’s rights, this exercise is meant (...) to illustrate that secular attempts to undermine Islam also undermine the prospects for rights and democracy in Muslim societies. In fact, I see the secular project in Muslim societies as a form of self-harm. Lastly, I revisit Antonio Gramsci’s critique of democracy as a way to query the title of the İstanbul Seminars, ‘The Promises of Democracy’. (shrink)
It would be an anachronism to search for modern democracy in the Qur’an that is the first among the other sources of Islam, i.e. Sunnah, ijma and the qiyas. To deduce the definition of Islam merely on the basis of the primary and secondary textual sources rather than the application of them as Muslim praxis would be an incomplete hermeneutic process in understanding it. We can see that the state and the religious society, which was represented by ulama, (...) were separated from each other in an early stage of Islamic history. The members of ulama were in charge of the intellectual and social life, the law and its application. The values of the modern democracy such as law and order, separation of state authority from the public sphere, observing the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals such as women and religious minorities as the inseparables of democracy were upgraded in Muslim societies. This structure of Muslim society, however, was spoiled by colonialist interventions and the adoption of the modern nation-state concept. (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)
Al-Ghazali is arguably one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Islam, and his writings have received greater scholarly attention in the West than those of any other Muslim scholar. This study explores an important dimension of his thought that has not yet been fully examined, namely, his polemical engagement with the Ismailis of the Fatimid and early Alamut periods. Published in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies.
The complex relations between Islam and modern science have so far mostly been examined by thinkers at the conceptual level. The wider interaction of religious scholars and preachers with the general public on science issues is an unexplored area that is worthy of examination, for it often is characterized by a literalistic approach. I first briefly review literalism in its various forms. The classical Islamic jurisprudential school of Zahirism, widely regarded as bearing the flag of juristic literalism, is also (...) briefly presented. I then address specific science-related issues currently being discussed in literalistic ways by many religious scholars and preachers in their general-public discourse. I focus on the practical case of the determination of crescent-based Islamic months and holy occasions, the conceptual issue of evolution (biological and human), and the rule for the consumption of meat by slaughter of animals. In the last part of the essay I propose a constructive alternative to the literalistic mode: the Maqasidi (objectives-based) approach. This rather old method has seen some revival lately, mainly among Islamic jurists concerned with solving the new issues of modern times, especially for Muslims living in the West, but this approach has not yet been applied to science-related issues. I present the main ideas of this method and show their relevance and usefulness to science-related topics. (shrink)
Abstract The apparent contradictory relationship between Islam and evolution is important because it has been cited as an example of contradiction between religion and science by both thinkers in the West and Muslims. Muslim scholars and scientists mainly disagree with evolution's legitimacy. Islam's Quantum Question by Nidhal Guessoum is a unique narrative providing in one of its first chapters an overview of evolution from neo-Darwinists to creationists, including the views of scholars throughout Islamic history. Guessoum then proceeds to (...) advocate for evolution. Drawing from Nidhal Guessoum's work, I highlight the reasons why there is an apparent contradiction between Islam and science—and, in particular, Islam and evolution—which include lack of freedom of thought and misinterpretation of the Qur’an. In doing so, I suggest setting the stage for a new Einsteinian theory of evolution, which involves the dimension of time and human cognition. (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)
Averroës (Ibn Rushd, 1126-1198) emerged from an eminent family in Muslim Spain to become the first and last great Aristotelian of the classical Islamic world his meticulous commentaries influenced Christian thinkers and earned him favorable mention (and a relatively pleasant fate) in Dante's Divina Commedia . The Book of the Decisive Treatise was and remains one his most important works and one of history's best defenses of the legitimate role of reason in a community of faith. The text presents itself (...) as a plea before a tribunal in which the divinely revealed Law of Islam is the sole authority Averroës, critical of the anti-philosophical tone of the Islamic establishment, argues that the Law not only permits but also mandates the study of philosophy and syllogistic or logical reasoning, defending earlier Muslim philosophers and dismissing criticisms of them as more harmful to the Islamic community than the philosophers' own views had been. As he details the three fundamental methods the Law uses to aid people of varied capacities and temperaments, Averroës reveals a carefully formed and remarkably argued conception of the boundaries and uses of faith and reason. (shrink)
Students of Christian ethics have often noted the special relationship between Christianity and just war thinking in the West. For a variety of reasons, however, many of these have suggested that this "special" relation may not be unique. This essay begins to build on this suggestion by examining materials from the classical period of Islamic development. The conclusion of this examination is that a number of concerns identified with just war thinking are reflected in Islamic circles, as are (...) certain features of moral reasoning, e.g., the rule of double effect. Such similarities are, however, intimately connected with a worldview which is uniquely Islamic. And so the author closes with reflections and questions on the relationship between religion, morality, and war as illumined by the case of classical Islam. (shrink)
Is goodness without god good enough? A debate on faith, secularism, and ethics Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11153-010-9243-8 Authors Wes Morriston, University of Colorado, Boulder Department of Philosophy Boulder CO 80309-0232 USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
In this article, we discuss the current trend of authoritarianism in the Islamic world, especially as embodied in the institution of taqlid, whereby a lay person blindly follows a religious scholar. We will compare this to the mystical tradition of Ibn 'Arabî as well as the early esoteric Shî'ite tradition, where a much more "rebellious" type of Islam was offered and provided purviews of pluralism and universalism that challenge authoritarian closures of interpretation in relationship with God. By way of (...) further comparison, we will also attend to the writings of some liberal and pluralistic thinkers in the Muslim world. (shrink)
Review of Avital Wohlman, Al-Ghazali, Averroës and the Interpretation of the Qur'an: Common Sense and Philosophy in Islam, Translated by David Burrell Content Type Journal Article Pages 637-639 DOI 10.1007/s11841-010-0207-3 Authors Scott Girdner, Western Kentucky University, 1906 college Heights Blvd., Bowling Green, KY 42101, USA Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527 Journal Volume Volume 49 Journal Issue Volume 49, Number 4.
The role of reason, and its embodiment in philosophical-scientific theorizing, is always a troubling one for religious traditions. The deep emotional needs that religion strives to satisfy seem ever linked to an attitudes of acceptance, belief, or trust, yet, in its theoretical employment, reason functions as a critic as much as it does a creator, and in the special fields of metaphysics and epistemology its critical arrows are sometimes aimed at long-standing cherished beliefs. Understandably, the mere approach to these beliefs (...) through organized philosophical activity, however well-intended, is viewed with suspicion by ecclesiastical authorities and the devout. The attitude towards philosophical inquiry on the part of the Islamic religious community might be thought to typify this reaction. As one of the great prophetic religions, the self-avowed image of Islam is of a tradition which already possesses the truth as set forth in the divine revelation of the Qur'an. What need is there for philosophizing on fundamental matters, e.g., the ultimate nature of reality, the foundations of morality, the modes whereby the divine is connected with the temporal? The structure of creation is already made clear, the "straight path" for living already manifest. how can philosophical activity be anything but a source of divisive controversy, for as it turns its gaze to the foundations upon which the Shari`a' (Islamic Law) rests, or to the grounds for religious belief itself, it cannot avoid turning up alternative viewpoints, different perspectives on divine revelation, noting various weaknesses in received 1 interpretations? In short, isn't the practice of philosophy a threat to Islam's promise of providing a comprehensive way of living devoid of skepticism and uncertainty about the place of a human in God's creation and his or her role in the 'umma (Islamic community)? This problem is not unique to Islam, nor is it a new one within Islam. We know that it has been debated by Islamic thinkers since the translations of the Greek philosophers began to appear in an organized Islamic world during the 8th Century A.. (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)
Abstract. Our human condition is often defined in terms of human fallibility; we are human specifically because we fail to live up to our own expectations. This paper explores various conceptions of one form of human fallibility: self-control failure. Self-control failure is examined through two conceptualizations, with each conceptualization observed through a corresponding theological and psychological lens: first, as the result of a divided, conflicted humanity, as understood by the Catholic Doctrine of Original Sin and psychological Dual-Process Theories of Cognition; (...) and second, as the result of limited goal perception, as understood by Islamic conceptions of human memory and psychological Construal Level Theory. A concluding discussion considers two broader implications of the preceding analysis: first, that an appropriate understanding of human fallibility can help us to mitigate its effects, and second, that a conversation regarding overlapping concepts across academic disciplines and religious traditions can enrich understanding of said concepts. (shrink)
In the past decade, Islam has come to be associated more than ever with images of extremism and violence. Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are stock characters in this association, in the aftermath of 11 September and the ‘war on terror’. Lost in all this is a long record of Muslim experience of non-violent change and peace-making. Yet Islam hardly glorifies violence — and does quite explicitly glorify its opposite. History offers much evidence of Muslim tolerance and (...) civil engagement with other faith and cultural traditions. Non-violent Islam could give fresh life to secularism in Muslim societies. It may help steer public space away from state-dominated as well as other forms of political Islam, with their foolish utopias. Realizing the ideals of non-violence is a perennial struggle for Islamic communities around the world - and is part of the struggle for democratic life. (shrink)
This paper presents ethical dilemmas concerning the termination of pregnancy, the management of childbirth, and the withdrawal of life-support from infants in special care, for a small sample of British Pakistani Muslim parents of babies diagnosed with fatal abnormalities. Case studies illustrating these dilemmas are taken from a qualitative study of 66 families of Pakistani origin referred to a genetics clinic in Southern England. The paper shows how parents negotiated between the authoritative knowledge of their doctors, religious experts, and senior (...) family members in response to the ethical dilemmas they faced. There was little knowledge or open discussion of the view that Islam permits the termination of pregnancy for serious or fatal abnormality within 120 days and there was considerable disquiet over the idea of ending a pregnancy. For some parents, whether their newborn baby would draw breath was a main worry, with implications for the baby's Muslim identity and for the recognition of loss the parents would receive from family and community. This concern sometimes conflicted with doctors' concerns to minimize risk to future pregnancies by not performing a Caesarean delivery if a baby is sure to die. The paper also identifies parents' concerns and feelings of wrong-doing regarding the withdrawal of artificial life-support from infants with multiple abnormalities. The conclusion considers some of the implications of these observations for the counselling and support of Muslim parents following the pre- or neo-natal diagnosis of fatal abnormalities in their children. (shrink)
This essay illustrates the kind of moral analysis Jeffrey Stout advocates in "Democracy and Tradition" by way of examining a conversation among Muslims that took place between June and December 2002. Their debate centers on al-Qaìda's legitimacy as God's chosen defender of Islam, which is called into question due to the tension between al-Qaìda's military tactics and the concepts of honorable combat held within the Islamic tradition. This giving and taking of reasons in both defense and detraction of al-Qaìda's (...) tactics demonstrates the living reality of Islamic tradition--the ongoing process of striving to discern God's will in light of communal agreements about the authority of certain texts and the validity of established rules for interpreting them. (shrink)
Although Bernard Lewis is a deeper scholar of Islamic history, and the late Charles Issawi was a greater scholar of the economic history of Muslim societies, Timur Kuran has emerged in the last decade and a half as the leading scholar in the world of the rising field of Islamic economics. While most who study this field are advocates of Islamic economics as a superior system for Muslim societies, and possibly for all societies, Kuran has been a consistent critic. (...) This volume gathers six of his papers published on the subject between 1989 and 1997 together, along with an updating preface. Although they have been edited to some degree, Kuran himself argues in his preface (p. xvii) that, “Looking back at the essays grouped in this book, I am struck by how well they have stood the test of time.” By and large this is a correct assessment, and his critical stance now is heightened in the wake of the events of 9/11/01 and its aftermath. The clear theme unifying these essays is that Islamic economics as such is not a genuine answer to the world’s economic problems, but an “invented tradition” that serves as an adjunct to the broader, anti-Western, Islamist (or Islamic fundamentalist) political-religious movement. (shrink)
Wallace, Meg London's National Theatre recently hosted a debate about freedom of speech, multiculturalism and Islam called Can we talk about this? The opening line was a question to the audience, 'Are you morally superior to the Taliban?' Anne Marie Waters, who was present, wrote in her blog that 'very few people in the audience raised their hand to say they were.' This response demonstrates a misconceived attempt to be seen as tolerant and 'multiculturalist'. People could not bring themselves (...) to say their views are morally superior to a group that, Waters points out, 'denies women medical treatment, imprisons them in their homes, allows domestic violence, and executes people by stoning for having a private life or the audacity to not believe in God.' They fear being labelled, racist, 'Islamophobic', or discriminating against religion. Rather, they adopt a stance that treats all moral views generated by culture or religion as equally valid ('cultural relativism'). They confuse the distinction between the right to think as you want, and the right to act as you want. (shrink)
Iris Murdoch and moral philosophy -- Understanding the other: a Gadamerian view on conceptual schemes -- Language not mysterious? -- Celan and the recovery of language -- Nationalism and modernity -- Conditions of an unforced consensus on human rights -- Democratic exclusion (and its remedies?) -- Religious mobilizations -- Themes from a secular age -- The immanent counter-enlightenment -- Notes on the sources of violence: perennial and modern -- The future of the religious past -- Disenchantment-re-enchantment -- What does (...) class='Hi'>secularism mean? -- Die blosse Vernunft ("reason alone") -- Perils of moralism -- What was the Axial revolution? (shrink)
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)