Islam's Predicament with Modernity : Religious Reform and Cultural Change book cover
1st Edition

Islam's Predicament with Modernity
Religious Reform and Cultural Change

ISBN 9780415484725
Published April 20, 2009 by Routledge
424 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

Islam's Predicament with Modernity presents an in-depth cultural and political analysis of the issue of political Islam as a potential source of tensions and conflict, and how this might be peacefully resolved.

Looking at the issue of modernity from an Islamic point of view, the author examines the role of culture and religion in Muslim society under conditions of globalisation, and analyses issues such as law, knowledge and human rights. He engages a number of significant studies on political Islam and draws on detailed case studies, rejecting the approaches of both Orientalists and apologists and calling instead for a genuine Islamic pluralism that accepts the equality of others. Situating modernity as a Western product at the crux of his argument, he argues that a separation of religion and politics is required, which presents a challenge to the Islamic worldview.

This critical analysis of value conflicts, tensions and change in the Islamic world will be of interest to scholars and advanced students of international relations, social theory, political science, religion, Islamic studies and Middle Eastern studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cultural Tensions, Modernity, Globalization, and Conflict  1. The Predicament: The Exposure to Cultural Modernity, and the Need for an Accommodation. Religious Reform and Cultural Change in Islamic Civilization  2. Issue Areas of the Predicament I: Modernity and Knowledge. Torn Between Reason and Islamization  3. Issue Areas of the Predicament II: Cultural Modernity and Law. The Contemporary Reinvention of Shari’a for the Shari’atization of Islam  4. Issue Areas of the Predicament III: Islam, the Principle of Subjectivity and Individual Human Rights  5. Islam’s Predicament as a Source of Conflict. Cultural-Religious Tensions and Identity Politics  6. Cultural Change and Religious Reform I: The Challenge of Secularization in the Shadow of De-Secularization  7. Cultural Change and Religious Reform II: Pluralism of Religions vs. Islamic Supremacism  8. Authenticity and Cultural Legacy. The Revival of the Heritage of Islamic Rationalism: Falsafa/Rational Philosophy vs. Fiqh-Orthodoxy  9. Case Studies I. The Failed Cultural Transformation in Egypt: A Model for the World of Islam?  10. Case Studies II. The Gulf Beyond the Age of Oil: The Envisioned Cultural Project for the Future  11. Conclusions and Future Prospects. Cultural Modernity and the Islamic Dream of Semi-Modernity.  Conclusions

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Bassam Tibi is Professor of International Relations at the University of Goettingen and A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University


'Bassam Tibi has written the rarest of books: a book of learning and a daring one as well. One of the most formidable books to appear on modern Islam in a very long time. Arguable the leading singular authority on European Islam, Professor Tibi has looked, unsentimentally, at the modern dilemma of Islam and come forth with a book of startling originality. This is scholarship of the highest level: Professor Tibi neither apologizes for Islam's troubles nor hacks away at the Islamist utopia. In this "cool" and authoritative book, we have an unflinching depiction of Islam's modern predicament. An exemplary work.' - Fouad Ajami, Director of Middle East Studies, the Johns Hopkins University

"[A] wide-ranging and thought-provoking book." - Richard Bonney, University of Leicester; The Muslim World Book Review, Volume 31, Number 1, 2010