Modernity believed that processes of secularization and rationalization are universally applicable. What is taking place in the 21st century, however, suggests that the reverse, a process of de-secularization, is becoming the hallmark of the present age. In the case of Islamiccivilization, in which law is shari'a, the challenge to secularization takes the form of a process of shari'atization. This is not the traditional or inherited shari'a, restricted to civil matters and to a penal code, but an invented (...) shari'a, one which also claims to be a constitutional law. Moreover, the constructed shari'atized constitutional law, in conflict with secular constitutionalism and appearing to offer no middle way, has been universalized to engender an international conflict between secularization and de-secularization. Since, for most Muslims, Islam without shari'a is unthinkable, this article examines the potential for religious reform of the shari'a in the direction of cultural change, freedom and democratic constitutionalism. (shrink)
In the Greek/Indian period, it is noticeable that different radii were used in connection with the chord. This manner continued in the Indian period with the sine, i.e. different sine tables existed. But throughout the Arabic-Islamic period, there was stability in the radius (for the sine). At the time of al-Batt new terms were introduced, not as functions of angles but as lengths, and again different tables for the same term. Here these terms were not bounded to the circle, (...) and the term miqythe radiusfunctions al-Waf’s time, there was an advancement by introducing the new terms as functions of angles, and they were immediately bounded to the circle, and instead of having two circles in the same figure, a kind of unity appeared, and again there was stability in the value of r, and therefore only one table for each function, and thus the new functions started to appear more abstract than practical as the sine did before, and this unity remained fixed in the modern times. (shrink)
This is the first investigation of timekeeping by the sun and stars and the regulation of the astronomically-defined times of Muslim prayer. The study is based on over 500 medieval astronomical manuscripts first identified by the author. A second volume and third volume, also published by Brill, deals with astronomical instruments for timekeeping and other computing devices.
Ibn KhaldØun’s theory of history has been extensively discussed and interpreted in widely divergent ways by Western scholars. In the context of present debates, it seems most appropriate to read his work as an original and comprehensive version of civilizational analysis (the key concept of ‘umran is crucial to this line of interpretation), and to reconstruct his model in terms of relations between religious, political and economic dimensions of the human condition. A specific relationship between state formation and the broader (...) context of civilizational processes appears as the most central theme. This civilizational approach is then contrasted with the most influential recent Western interpretation, put forward by Ernest Gellner. Gellner translates Ibn KhaldØun’s analysis into functionalist terms and thus tones down its historical and civilizational specificity. The consequences are most obvious when it comes to discussing the unity and diversity of the Islamic world, especially with regard to the Ottoman Empire. (shrink)
This collection of essays covers the classical heritage and Islamic culture, classical Arabic science and philosophy, and Muslim religious sciences, showing continuation of Greek and Persian thought as well as original Muslim contributions to the sciences, philosophy, religion, and culture of Islam.
The articles in this volume dedicated to Hans Daiber, one of the pioneering scholars in the history of Islamic thought in the Middle Ages, offer new insights into this field from a variety of perspectives: philological, philosophical, and historical.
Tracing the course of thought, action, and expression in the golden age of Islamiccivilization, 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 Islamiccivilization-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 Islamiccivilization. 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)
Is it possible to compare civilizations one with another? Is it possible, in other words, to construct some neutral and objective framework in terms of which we could establish in what respects one civilization might deserve to be ranked more highly than its competitors? Morality will surely provide one axis of such a framework (and we note in passing that believers in Islam might quite reasonably claim that their fellow-believers are characteristically more moral than are many in the West). (...) Criteria such as material well-being will need to play a role, too, as also will happiness or pleasure (and again we note that it is not clear a priori that there is more happiness in the West than there is in other civilizations). But even happiness (pace some proponents of the utilitarian philosophy) comes in different types, and to count in the civilization stakes the happiness involved would presumably need to be of the right kind. We explore what this might mean in terms of the idea of a self-chosen life plan. (shrink)
John Stuart Mill's best-known work is On Liberty. In it he declared that Western society was in danger of coming to a standstill. This was an extraordinarily pessimistic claim in view of Britain's global dominance at the time and one that has been insufficiently investigated in the secondary literature. The wanting model was that of China, a once advanced civilization that had apparently ossified. To understand how Mill came to this conclusion requires one to investigate his notion of the (...) stages from barbarism to civilization, and also his belief in imperialism as part of the civilizing process. Here India plays a central role, as both Mill and his father worked for the East India Company. This study, then, investigates the relationship between Mill's liberalism and his justification of imperialism. It takes us into the Utilitarianism of his family background, and such other influences as Romanticism, Scottish political economy and such key French thinkers as Saint- Simon, Guizot, Comte and Tocqueville. Mill, then, provides the focus of a debate on the origins, meaning, and consequences of Western civilization. It encompasses discourses on colonialism and orientalism, on Enlightenment optimism and conservative despair, on the need for leadership and the advance of democracy; in short, on the blessings, curses and dangers of modernization from approximately the time of the American and French revolutions to that of the so-called mid-Victorian calm in which On Liberty was written. Furthermore, current political issues concerning the West and Islamic countries have heightened interest in just the kind of question that this book discusses: that of how the West relates to, and assesses, the rest of the world. (shrink)
To say ‘mysticism versus philosophy’ in the context of Islamiccivilization means something far different from what it has come to signify in the West, where many philosophers have looked upon mysticism as the abandonment of any attempt to reconcile religious data with intelligent thought. Certainly the Muslim mystics and philosophers sometimes display a certain mutual opposition and antagonism, but never does their relationship even approach incompatibility.
This essay provides an interpretation of Sayyid Jamāl ad-Dīn al-Afghānī, a controversial figure in nineteenth-century Islamic political thought. One aspect of this controversy is the tension between "Refutation of the Materialists," Afghānī's well-known defense of religious orthodoxy, and a short newspaper article entitled "Reply to Renan" that dismisses prophetic religion as dogmatic and intellectually stifling. In this essay I argue that close attention to Afghānī's theory of civilization helps resolve this apparent contradiction. Afghānī's interest in Ibn Khaldūn and (...) the French historian Guizot is well known, but has not been fully explored in the literature. I suggest that understanding Guizot's distinctive approach to the concept of civilization illuminates Afghānī's writings on the political utility of religion. Afghānī was an ardent anti-imperialist and his goal was to encourage reform in Islamic countries while resisting Western hegemony. He concluded that the tension between prophetic religion and critical thought could help Islamiccivilization to flourish. (shrink)
This volume collects the published essays of the late Professor Hourani on Islamic ethics in the earlier classical and formative periods of Islamiccivilization. Ethics was from the start at the core of Islam, and the construction of philosophical theories to support normative ethics made those centuries among the most profound and intensely active in the history of ethical thought. The book opens with two general and contextual pieces and thereafter it is organized by schools of thought (...) in a broadly chronological order. The essays centre around two related debates in Islamic philosophy: over the ontological status of value, and over the sources of our knowledge of value. The answers developed follow similar lines to the rational theology and philosophy of the West, and Professor Hourani brings out the frequent parallels. As a whole, the volume will introduce and establish the importance of the Islamic tradition of thought about ethics. (shrink)