Reform and modernity in Islam : the philosophical, cultural by Safdar Ahmed

By Safdar Ahmed

The debate over Islam and modernity has a tendency to be approached from a Eurocentric standpoint that provides Western norms as a template for growth - opposed to which Islamic societies should be measured. This misses the ancient improvement of Muslim reformist inspiration that actively engages with the realm round it and seeks to reconfigure Islam in the various stipulations of modernity. Safdar Ahmed paints a fancy and nuanced photograph that is going past the concept that Muslim reformers have both reproduced or reacted opposed to Western rules. relatively, Ahmed argues, they've got reconstructed and appropriated those principles, and so the thread of Western impression runs via smooth Islamic proposal on nationalism and sovereignty, femininity and gender. Ahmed uncovers new historiographical views by way of significantly studying the paintings of well-known intellectuals, akin to Muhammad Abduh, Qasim Amin and Abdul A'la Maududi.

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59 For Ajami, Arab Muslim politicking places romantic, utopian reveries and quick-fix, catch-all solutions ahead of the sobering and much harder tasks of rational self-criticism and analysis. Political Islam is instructive not on the terms which it sets for existing social and historical conditions, nor for what its adherents invest in it, but as a barometer of the Arabs’ inherent inability to rationally appraise unpleasant social, political and cultural realities. 60 According to Huntington, nation-states will no longer go to war in the service of historically ambitious political ideologies, as they did during the Cold War and the struggle against fascism.

Moreover, the belief that secular political institutions, ideas and regimes somehow constitute the best or only means for human development makes it possible to construct Islam as a force for all that is dangerous and irrational. As we shall see, this allows little if any ground for consensus between religious (Muslim) and secular (Western) actors by characterising political Islam as a totalising ideological system whose motives and goals are fundamentally incompatible with our own. I will begin with the theme of incommensurability.

93 The perceived threat of Islam cuts to the heart of the way secular democracies must define themselves and how they relate to the supposedly non-democratic other in their midst. 94 One need only look at the legislation in France targeting Muslim women who choose to cover their hair in public spaces, for instance, to realise that the French government’s claim to defend universal notions of citizenship connects with deeper, nationalist anxieties surrounding the ‘integration’ and loyalty of France’s Muslim minorities and former colonial subjects.

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