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Thinking Between Islam and the West

The Thoughts of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Bassam Tibi and Tariq Ramadan


Chi-Chung (Andy) Yu

In this book, the author assesses the social vision of three western Muslim intellectuals, Seyyed H. Nasr, Bassam Tibi and Tariq Ramadan. He finds that the thoughts of Nasr and his students promote a kind of tradition-based society, which is in harmony with the Divine Law in Islam and a hierarchical structure of society. The thoughts of Tibi advocate the concept of Euro-Islam, which tries to rationalize Islam and renders it a personal religion in the private domain. Finally, the thoughts of Ramadan emphasize a communicative society, in which dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims on public affairs is crucial. The author tries to understand how these three social orders can complement each other. He compares and contrasts their ideas in order to show that modern Islamic thought is not monolithic but pluralistic, and that they present different social visions for Islam in the West. However, Muslims are often labelled as a minority group and so implicitly excluded from being part of the West: the thoughts of Muslim writers help reflect this problem. The author maintains that these Muslim intellectuals in the West should be fully recognized as western intellectuals.
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This book is a substantial revision of my doctorial thesis at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS), the University of Exeter. Thanks to Prof. Richard Bonney’s comments, suggestions and ultimate reception of my book as one of the volumes to this series. My pursuit of Masters and PhD studies and the writing of this book would not be possible if my parents, wife and friends in HK did not support me both emotionally and financially, and I owe them everything. Therefore, it is better for me to express my love and acknowledge their contributions in the language that they are familiar with, i.e. Chinese, below.

I want to first express my gratitude to Prof. James Morris (now Boston College) who was my second supervisor when I arrived at IAIS. Without his encouragement of my research topic, I do not think that I could have continued my studies immediately after I completed study at the University of Birmingham. He introduced me to Prof. Sajjad Rizvi as my first supervisor, who is erudite in both Islam and western philosophy. His comments or criticisms always lead me to a deeper level of thinking. I also want to give thanks to Prof. Robert Gleave, Dr Michael Axworthy, Dr Leonard Lewisohn and Dr James Onley, among many other teachers, since I have learned a lot from them. Apart from my teachers, I would like to thank my colleagues and friends in Exeter, including Yaqoob Alwaily, Mahmoud Baroud, Clement Chia,...

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