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Florian Zemmin

Zusammenfassung

The opening up of Islamic Studies for the humanities and social sciences, a process in which Reinhard Schulze played a leading role, is by now acknowledged as inevitable. The question, however, as to what constitutes Islamic Studies as a disipline remains on the table. Since a substantial conception of interdisciplinarity requires the previous constitution of disciplinary boundaries, this article suggests to define the Islamic discursive tradition as constitutive of Islamic Studies. Other disciplines are consulted to the extent that their theories, approaches or findings contribute to the understanding of a concrete articulation of Islam. In turn, Islamic Studies provides its knowledge of the Islamic discursive tradition whenever this helps to understand certain social, political, economic or other facts, and also to critique, modify, and enhance existing theories. I use the different manifestations of Salafism to exemplify this basic proposition. Salafism serves well as a case in point since its different proponents all claim their understanding of Islam to be the authentic one, even though in all the cases this understanding is a markedly modern construction. For their respective construction of Islam, salafis appropriate and construct elements of Islamic tradition to different extents; hence, the differing extent to which Islamic Studies and other disciplines can contribute to understanding the different salafi articulations of Islam.

Integrating Islamic Positions into European Public Discourse

The Paradigmatic Example of Tariq Ramadan

Florian Zemmin

As the continuing relevance of religion to secular European societies garners increasing recognition, the question remains of which religious positions may assume a public role, with Islam at the center of many debates. This article complements the ongoing theoretical debate with a detailed case study analyzing the major works of Islamic scholar and public intellectual Tariq Ramadan. I show that in the last two decades Ramadan significantly modified his views on Islam and European societies. I argue that these adjustments were interdependent, and as such paradigmatically illustrate that the integration of Islamic positions into public discourse depends on shifts in the understanding of both concepts.

Florian Zemmin

It is characteristic of modernity that people conceive of their social affairs as ordered in and by society. While the evolution of the idea of society is well-researched in Europe, it remains an open question how this idea evolved within the Islamic context. This article analyzes the contemporary Arabic term for society, mujtamaʿ, as it was used in the mouthpiece of Islamic modernism, the journal al-Manār (Cairo, 1898–1940). I show that “society” was already the dominant meaning of mujtamaʿ in the first issue of al-Manār. However, few of the authors tackle mujtamaʿ as a central concept of their texts; and the journal’s editor, Muḥammad Rashīd Riḍā, predominantly used mujtamaʿ to mean something other than society. These findings, combined with Riḍā’s interest in social questions, suggest that the idea of society was expressed from within the Islamic tradition in terms other than mujtamaʿ, most conspicuously umma.


Series:

Florian Zemmin, Johannes Stephan and Monica Corrado