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Reformation of Islamic Thought

Reformation of Islamic Thought: A Critical Historical Analysis

Nasr Abu Zayd
Katajun Amirpur
Mohamad Nur Kholis Setiawan
Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid
SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL FOR GOVERNMENT POLICY
Series: WRR Rapporten
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 112
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46mt56
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  • Book Info
    Reformation of Islamic Thought
    Book Description:

    Ever since the dramatic events of September 11, 2001 the fundamentalist and exclusivist trend prevails in most presentations of Islamic thinking. Indeed, these events have given extremists and fundamentalists a much more prominent position than they might ever have dreamt of. In Reformation of Islamic Thought, the prominent Egyptian scholar Nasr Abû Zayd examines the positive, liberal, and inclusive reaction embedded in the writings of Muslim thinkers. He takes the reader on a critical journey across the Muslim World, where Muslim thinkers from Egypt and Iran to Indonesia seek to divest Islam of traditionalistic and legalistic interpretation. Instead, these thinkers stress the value of a cultural, enlightened Islam, and an individualistic faith. For many, the dogmatic Islam established by the conservatives and supported by totalitarian political regimes is outdated; they want it replaced by a spiritual and ethical Islam. To what extent are these reformist thinkers engaged in a genuine renewal of Islamic thought? Do they succeed in escaping the traditionalist trap of presenting a purely negative image of the West? This title is available in the OAPEN Library - http://www.oapen.org.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0397-1
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. 7-8)
    W.B.H.J. van de Donk
  4. PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR
    (pp. 9-10)
    Nasr Abu Zayd
  5. 1 INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 11-12)

    Although it has been vociferously and energetically promoted in the Western media in the wake of 11 September 2001, the issue of reforming Islamic thought is hardly new. One of the United States (us) administration’s justifications for extending its war on terrorism by invading Iraq, has been the urgent need to bring political and economic – not to mention cultural – reformation to the entire Arab world by force. This us project of reformation includes religious education, whereby school curricula would be sanitized of religious elements that reflected any type of discrimination whether it be religious, ethical, or gender-based. Instead,...

  6. 2 THE PRE-COLONIAL PERIOD
    (pp. 13-20)

    This section will deal with the pre-colonial period, particularly the 18th century, when the importance of tradition was emphasized by re-invoking its authority and values in order to retain the social strength, solidarity and stability of Muslims. The basic ideas of thinkers such as Shah Wali Allah (1702-1762) of India and theWahhabimovement in Najd will be outlined. This limited selection is aimed at a comparison of two cultural backgrounds, which produced two separate versions of Islamic revivalism.

    It would seem imperative to start by showing the cultural diversity of the so-called ‘Muslim World’ prior to the process of...

  7. 3 THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
    (pp. 21-36)

    This section will be devoted to the reformation of Islamic thought in the 19th century, when the political and cultural interaction between the Western and the Islamic Worlds raised many basic issues. The first was that of reformation (islah). The crucial question was: Why was it thattheywere able to make progress while we became so backward? Why is it thatwe, who were the masters of the world for centuries, became so weak and vulnerable as to fall under the rule and control of Western power? Basically, the usual answer to these questions was that the necessary reformation...

  8. 4 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
    (pp. 37-82)

    This chapter deals with the reformation of Islamic thought during the 20th century and the introduction of the concept of a modern national state, particularly in Egypt and Turkey. The issue of reformation needed redefinition to create room for the adoption and integration of modern Western concepts and institutions such as ’freedom’, ‘reason’ and ‘democracy’. The issue of politics emerged after the dramatic collapse of the Ottoman Empire following the end of the First World War and the decision in 1924 by the new national Turkish movement to abolish the Caliphate. These events raised the question of whether the Caliphate...

  9. 5 SELECTED THINKERS ON ISLAM, SHARIA, DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
    (pp. 83-100)

    As noted in chapter 4, the second half of the 20th century brought wide-ranging discussions on the issues of sharia, democracy and human rights throughout the Muslim World, but particularly in Egypt, Indonesia and Iran. We have encountered many thinkers who seek to divest Islam of traditionalistic and legalistic interpretation by stressing their own versions of ‘cultural Islam’, ‘enlightened Islam’, and ‘individualistic faith’. For these thinkers the dogmatic Islam established by the conservatives and supported by traditionalists and totalitarian political regimes is outdated; it should be removed and replaced by the ‘real’ spiritual and ethical Islam. In their view, political...

  10. EPILOGUE
    (pp. 101-102)

    Is there a genuine possibility of achieving real reformation without constantly clinging to tradition, especially religious tradition, to justify and appropriate the acceptance of reformation? It seems that the paradigm of ambiguity towards modernity, the paradoxical image of modernity as a Western product and the equation of modernization with Westernization still prevails. It has become a more dominant concern since the events of 11 September 2001, after which it was propagated incessantly in the global media. Without a shift away from the paradigm of two independent worldviews, one Western, the other Islamic, the logjam will remain in place. As I...

  11. LITERATURE
    (pp. 103-109)
  12. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 110-112)