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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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Chapter 1. Situating Islam among Modernisms



Situating Islam among Modernisms


The purpose of this chapter is to develop an analytical framework for the conceptualization of religion in relation to modernism. I shall seek, first, to delineate and differentiate the concepts of the Enlightenment, modernity and modernism, and then to study the position of religion in the modern world. I identify and characterize three main trends, namely, the radical, counter- and moderate trends of religion corresponding to modernism. The purpose of doing this is to justify a pluralistic view of religion as an analytical framework for examining the situation of Islam in the West and comparing the thinking of Nasr, Tibi and Ramadan studied in the following chapters.

Enlightenment, Modernity and Modernism

The terms ‘Enlightenment’, ‘modernity’ and ‘modernism’ are now often used quite interchangeably in many subject areas, but I want to define clearly how they are used in this book in order to compare and contrast them with the notions that Nasr, Tibi and Ramadan consider. The term ‘Enlightenment’ is defined by Immanuel Kant in his short essay An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?: ← 11 | 12 →

Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another. The motto of enlightenment is...

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