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Modern Islamic Thinking and Activism

Modern Islamic Thinking and Activism: Dynamics in the West and in the Middle East

Erkan Toğuşlu
Johan Leman
Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 214
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  • Book Info
    Modern Islamic Thinking and Activism
    Book Description:

    Innovative research of ‘Islam at work’ in geographical and social contexts. Modern Islamic Thinking and Activism presents a series of scholarly papers in relation to Islamic thinking, activism, and politics in both the West and the Middle East. The reader will apprehend that Islam is not the monolithic religion so often depicted in the media or (earlier) in the academic world. The Islamic world is more than a uniform civilization with a set of petrified religious prescriptions and an outdated view on political and social organization. The contributions show the dynamics of ‘Islam at work’ in different geographical and social contexts. By treating the working of Islamic thinking and of Islamic activism on a practical level, Modern Islamic Thinking and Activism includes innovative research and fills a significant gap in existing work.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-152-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Introduction

    • CHAPTER 1 Contemporary Islamic Activism and Muslims
      (pp. 9-30)
      Erkan Toğuşlu and Johan Leman

      In this book we invited some authors to look at the basic issues that Islam faces today, touching political, cultural, spiritual and economic dimensions in which Muslims are involved to develop their understanding and strategies in different geographical and national contexts. We asked them to do that by focusing on some very precise situations. Such an approach cannot be a complete one. We are very conscious that such analysis has its weaknesses. But it surely also has some very strong points. It avoids analyses that are so general that they become quite abstract and can never be found in the...

  4. Part I: Modern Islamic Thinking

    • CHAPTER 2 Fethullah Gülen, Tariq Ramadan and Yusuf al-Qaradawi: The Pluralisation of Islamic Knowledge
      (pp. 33-50)
      Erkan Toğuşlu

      It is difficult to attribute to Islamic public intellectuals and actors the classical Islamic vocabulary ofmuftis,alims,cheikhs(van Bruinessen and Allievi 2011). They exist in theory, but in reality different types of Islamic actors have legitimacy and a specific social-religious authority in Islamic settings such as educational institutions, mosques and associations has emerged (Bowen 2011: 24). Bowen notes that the roles of teachers,imamsand leaders of local associations are equally important in discussing the traditional (dis)continuity of Islamic scholars in France. One may simplify this list into Islamic public intellectuals and actors who speak for Islam and...

    • CHAPTER 3 Tariq Ramadan and Abdullahi An-Na’im’s Islamic Gender Reform in the Brussels Moroccan Community
      (pp. 51-76)
      Thierry Limpens

      Over the past decades, grassroots emancipatory groups in Belgium have succeeded in setting the promotion of gender equality as an express state agenda. Liberal laws protecting women’s rights were the first in the country to be voted (Ouali 2012: 101 ff .), and in 2003 same-sex marriage became legal.¹ This change confronts state recognized religions, resulting in Muslim scholars calling for reflection on the position of the Islamic community in the more and more secularized, non-religious Belgian society. The answers given by these scholars echo among both Muslims and non-Muslims. To the latter group Muslims’ position is not clear, as...

    • CHAPTER 4 The Contribution of Sufism to the Construction of Contemporary Europe’s Islam
      (pp. 77-88)
      Eric Geoffroy

      If we want to define correctly the current role of Sufism in Europe, we have to go back to the Middle Ages, as we have known for the last few decades that Islamic spirituality had something of an influence on medieval Christendom. For instance the legend of the female saint Râbia al-‘Adawiyya (d.801), who lived in Iraq, reached the court of Saint Louis, in France, and the Divine Comedy by the Italian author Dante Alighieri (d. 1321) bears the mark of the story of the heavenly Ascension of the prophet Muhammad (Mi‘râj) (Chodkiewicz 1995: 99-100). Furthermore, the mystical doctrine of...

  5. Part II: Secularism, Islam and Public Sphere:: Turkey and Egypt

    • CHAPTER 5 Post-Secularism, Post-Islamism and Islam in the Public Sphere
      (pp. 91-100)
      Ihsan Yilmaz

      The social-scientific debate on state-religion relations has been unresolved. Some of the former proponents of the secularization theory have declared it passé. Religion has increasingly become part (and at certain times a crucial aspect) of domestic politics in many countries and also in international relations (Fox 2001, Hurd 2007, Haynes 2007). It is doubtful whether complete secularization has ever taken place. Religions have not gone anywhere (Casanova 1994 and 2010) but have been socio-politically and also academically (Fox 2001) marginalized, vilified and suppressed. It seems that discussions and debates on state-religion relations and secularism will continue to be part of...

    • CHAPTER 6 The Arab Revolutions and Islamic Civil Society
      (pp. 101-126)
      Emilio Giuseppe Platti

      From February 2011 on, until Friday, August 9, 2013, when the Muslim Brothers were attacked and declared “a terrorist organization”, I attended Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo and the huge demonstrations, sometimes calledmilyûniyya, a protest of one million people. I was not actually participating in the demonstrations, just observing, trying to understand and analyse the slogans, the speeches and discussions on different platforms, the Friday sermon, on most occasions given by the now famous “Tahrir-Khatîb”, the “Tahrir-preacher” Mazhar Shaheen, imam of the nearby Omar Makram Mosque, expressing the weekly changing themes of the demonstrations.

      It is obvious that the...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Muslim Brotherhood and the Democratic Experience in Egypt
      (pp. 127-140)
      Roel Meijer

      The Egyptian Spring seems to be in limbo. It has taken a zigzag course over the past two years. The Muslim Brotherhood has played a special role; joining belatedly on 28 January, but saving the revolution from defeat, but then working mostly alone. Having won the general elections in January 2011 it believe to have the first step to gaining power, but then on 14 June the Supreme Constitutional Court declared that the earlier parliamentary elections were illegal and that parliament should be dissolved. Three days later the Egyptians chose the leader of the party of the Muslim Brotherhood Muhammad...

  6. Part III: Contemporary Islamic Social Activism

    • CHAPTER 8 Social Work, Poverty, Inequality and Social Safety Nets: Voluntary Welfare Organizations
      (pp. 143-160)
      Jonathan Benthall

      Voluntary welfare provision by Muslims has much in common with other charitable traditions, though with some differences relating especially to Qur’anic doctrine. All Islamic authorities agree on the vital importance of charity.¹Zakat, the Islamic tithe, is a major support in the standard Islamic case against the evils of both capitalism and communism. It draws the sting of Marxism, depriving it of a legitimate argument against private property, and property of any objectionable features; it turns the main contradiction in capitalism into a virtuous spiral of redistribution, and it lucidly answers the communist refusal of the right to possess. It...

    • CHAPTER 9 Tradition and Modernity in Social Islam: The Case of Muslim NGOs in Jordan
      (pp. 161-182)
      Egbert Harmsen

      This chapter deals with a particular form of Muslim social activism, namely the activity of Muslim voluntary welfare organizations delivering services of a varied nature (financial and in kind support, advice, employment, education etcetera) to socially vulnerable target groups such as the poor, orphans, single parent families, children at risk and the disabled. It analyses this activity from the perspective of the respective roles of tradition and modernity, especially in relation to civil society theory.

      In the first section, the issue of defining tradition and modernity is dealt with, especially in relation to the concept of civil society and the...

    • CHAPTER 10 Fighting Poverty with Kimse Yok Mu
      (pp. 183-194)
      Thomas Michel

      Almost a hundred years ago, the prominent Turkish thinker Said Nursi analysed the situation of Muslims in the modern world and came to the conclusion that, at the deepest level, the real enemies of Muslims were not one or another group of Christians, nor even one or another civilization of non-believers. In fact, the true enemies of humankind were not human at all. Rather, Nursi personified humankind’s enemies asLord Ignorance, Sir Poverty, and Mister Disunity.¹ These three destructive forces in human society – ignorance, poverty, and disunity – threaten not only Muslims but the followers of all religions; they are thus...

  7. Conclusion

    • CHAPTER 11 Translocality and Hybridization in Current Modern Islamic Activism
      (pp. 197-210)
      Erkan Toğuşlu and Johan Leman

      In this book, Muslim activism is examined along three dimensions and relations: intellectual thought, political activism and social work. Contemporary Muslim activism offers some elements and fault lines for the development of civil society, new political thought, liberalization and human rights. Each of these areas and dimensions appears among Muslim activists and presents a variety and multiplicity of engagements with traditional and modern types of Islamic notions. This dynamism provides a general acceptance of civil initiatives, a kind of pluralism in politics and Islamic thought, a shift to humanitarian discourse. However, these are some impetus to see the changes and...

  8. About the Authors
    (pp. 211-214)