By Tugrul Keskin
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Additional info for The Sociology of Islam: Secularism, Economy and Politics
In order to take this analysis to a level of greater depth, two divergent conceptions of Islam must be explored. The first describes Muhammad as a ‘merchant’, represented within the Fethullah Gülen movement. From the beginning of neo-liberalism, the Gülen movement has been a beneficiary of this process through its ability to adapt to and find its place within changing economic conditions, and has therefore played the role of the pro-globalist movement. The ‘Merchant Muhammad’ concept is modern and market friendly, and has arisen in response to neo-liberalism.
According to Rodinson, Islam is inherently compatible with capitalism. David Harvey’s book A Brief History of Neo-liberalism (Harvey 2005) is also relevant to this research, regarding his ability to understand how Islamist movements have reacted to market conditions. Islam has been used as the sword of Allah, which means that Islam is understood to bring social justice for all to a society, whereas neo-liberalism or new market conditions should be viewed as a mechanism of the domestication of religion within the global age.
Moral values and culture play an important role in restraining selfishness and bringing order to society. Moral values are defined by many philosophers as codes of conduct put forward by a society and culture, and as informal aspects of institutions which constrain human behaviours. Deepak Lal makes the general but important point that in comparison to other animals, man is unique because of his intelligence and ability to change his circumstances through learning. He does not have to mutate into a new species to adapt to a changed environment.