Abstract

This chapter acknowledges the pioneering work of Reinhard Schulze in suggesting that the eighteenth century in the Islamic world may have witnessed significant-enough epistemological and social change to justify regarding it as a turning point. It argues that extant studies on Early Modernity in Islamdom should be supplemented by a broader look at dynamics on the ‘periphery’ of the established urban centres of Islamic learning and culture. In Sub-Saharan Africa, an unprecedented explosion of writing activity can be dated to the last quarter of the eighteenth century. It was largely due to the activities of movements of ‘inner mission’ that aimed at spreading Islamic knowledge and responsible Islamic practice beyond the traditional confines of the urban-based scholar-jurists. The carriers of these movements were to a large part standing in the tradition of the Sufi orders. Their audience was mainly people at the boundaries of the traditional urban sphere. Both pietist preaching and puritan politics helped to break the hegemony of scholastic scholars over defining “Islam” and dilute the concomitant divide between the elite (al-khāṣṣa) and the commoners (al-ʿāmma). This development may be seen as an important factor in the rise of the individual in the Islamic world.

Islam in der Moderne, Moderne im Islam

Eine Festschrift für Reinhard Schulze zum 65. Geburtstag

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