ARVII MUSAAFIR
Flash Intro
Home
Anthropology
Sri Lanka
Arvii
Image Gallery
Blog
Higra
Islam
Human Rights
Sri Lanka Program
Human Rights
News of Islam:
Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights[1].

 
Manochehr Dorraj’s essay on Islam, of about 12, 000 words, is in a book about 15 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.[2] Most of the papers in the book are accounts of the recent, post Islamic Revolution (Iran, late ‘70s / circa Hijri 1400) history of the region: country histories read according to specializations which the authors represent, attempting to relate the histories of governments to themes in governance, democracy, and human rights. All the countries surveyed, except for Israel contain demographic Muslim majorities.
 
         The book is put together and introduced by an anthropologist, with a sub-specialization in Political and Legal Anthropology. The anthropologist-editor who has field-work experience in Turkey has also written the paper on Turkey. The authors of the other papers are historians and political scientists. Unlike the other papers in the book the one by Manochehr Dorraj, a political scientist, is not focused on a country. It is meant to be about Islam. That paper is the subject of the following remarks.
 
         In Manochehr Dorraj’s paper as well as elsewhere in the book the politics of the practice of Islam in the region shows itself to be a field of conflicts, controversies and debates. Some of the conflicts and debates about Islam, particularly about the resolution of political problems are as old as Islam itself among Muslims as well as between Muslims and their antagonists. It is available in many types of discourse ranging from the reportedly heavily biased journalism of the hourly newscasters to that of the more distanced social science writings. Some of the latter have attempted to look at Islam at the level of the complex inter-generational teaching and learning processes that anthropologists[3] call “culture”. The debates about the meanings of the conflicts as they concern democracy, governance, and human rights conflicts can be heard in the mosque as well as in the school, in the suq, in the courts of the powers that be, as well as, according to folklore and some journalistic sources, in other, secret, conspiratorial, and diabolic military and business planning rooms, in the region as well as elsewhere.
 
         Dorraj has chosen to handle an aspect of this conflict of global political and economic relevance in terms of “traditional” vs. “modernist” religious[4] opinions as he has found them in his analysis of elements in the “Islam and democracy” and “Islam and human rights” equations. For this analysis he relies on translations of writings attributed to at least 16 Islamic thought leaders[5] from the history of Islam of the years after 1838 (i.e. circa Hijri 1253), and on the opinions of 6 academic (i.e. higher education professional) writers, all based in the US, who have expressed opinions about the same or related opinions.
 
         Dorraj’s analysis begins with a set of questions (p.11): he is concerned with “nuances of Islamic percepts”; and with attempts to formulate “Islam and democracy” and “Islam and human rights” equations as they may be derived from the opinions of the authors he has consulted. He ends the survey of opinions on these issues with a summary of possible answers to his questions. The summary he has formulated (pp. 33-34) is capped off with a further question, from a work by Gudrun Kramer:
 
"Does political democracy presuppose not just economic, but also intellectual liberalism? Can Islam allow for liberal thought without losing its true essence?"
 
The questions that Dorraj begins his paper with have led him to more questions. Ali Mazrui’s opinion (1998) that the suppression of academic freedom and freedom of speech when it concerns Islam (and a few other topics) is as present in the US and UK as in Islamic countries should be further pursued if we are to get to answers to Kramer’s question as well as to the proper evaluation of the claims that apologists often make of the virtues of modern "Western democracy".
 
         In view of Ali Mazrui’s finding that there is a kind of suppression of Islamological knowledge and encouragement of a kind of anti-Islamic propaganda by Western publishers and in the light of the point of view that more is better, this book, and Dorraj’s essay on Islam in it are more than welcome to readers of Islamic books in English. The human rights focus gives Dorraj the opportunity to organize information and readings of certain Islamic texts in a new and different way. However some Islamic readers may be familiar with the information and texts, from other sources. The more information about Islam that becomes available to students and the general reading public the more likely that students and other people who are looking for the right information in a sea of false or faulty information, that we are surrounded by, might find what is good and true.
 
         Dorraj as well as the editor in his introduction to the book note rather optimistically that their survey reveals that Islam is not an obstacle to the democratization of the countries of the region or for the development of Western style human rights laws and practices. The favorable prognosis however leaves unanswered the question: why is it that most of the Middle East and North Africa present a “dismal” (p.10) scene to observers of “human rights”?
 
The human rights focus of the Magnarella book is dependent on the law like statements of the post World War II UNO declarations on it. The book is among the indications of the fact that democracy and human rights have rapidly emerged in the very recent politics of the world as matters of international law and as part of the “reasoning” employed in discussions about major military campaigns such as the recent NATO campaign in the Balkans. The teaching of such issues as part of an anthropology curriculum is a post 90s development in the US. Research into how human rights laws can also be derived from other legal systems including the Shari`ah of Islam is quite an unexplored field. To Dorraj “democracy is culture bound, human rights are universal” (p.34). However, he omits consideration of opinions regarding significant variations that Islamic and Western traditions seem to have generated on the issue. Thus Pickthall (1961) written before the onset of the conditions that generated the second world war, voices the opinion that “Western” human rights (as well as social sciences) are inappropriate for Islamic peoples and polities, because they are already available in another, prior, form in Islam. That kind of opinion is also to be found in Kevin Dwyer’s report (1991. See e.g. p. 31) of conversations engaged in with Arab intellectuals on the subject after 1985.
 
Critics of Western and Westernized exponents of human rights justice are justifiably unable to forget the historical facts which preceded the enjoyment of admirable human rights privileges by the peoples of the dominant Christian populations of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US, and Western Europe. The human rights privileges that the people of these countries enjoy nowadays is a byproduct of the history of colonialism and the development of capitalism within which their sense of personal security and freedom has grown. Among these freedoms are some that the political leadership of many 'third world' countries apparently believes to be harmful – certainly to them – dangerous, illusory, and unattainable. The history that has given birth to, and nurtured the human rights freedoms and justice of the 'first world' countries is also a history of the death, destruction, and sufferings of millions of other peoples including Islamic and other African, American indigenous, and Asian peoples. Such aggrieved peoples have become accustomed to be suspicious of, and question the claims to the better humanity and civilization of all pf the outcomes of that history.
 
It would, however, be unproductive to dwell too long and too much on the sad sides of that past. Historical awareness should not lead the critics to ignore and cover up the human rights injustices reported from the "Islamic" countries of the world. As Dorraj has reiterated in his conclusion, among such injustices that do not involve physical harm, but perhaps as or more injurious, is the way in which the leadership of those countries have continued to suppress freedom and security of expression, information, knowledge, and research. This has not always been so in the history of Islam. Is it so universally in all Islamic milieux of our times?
 
         Modern Islamic, social scientific, self-scrutiny of the philosophy and practice of Western culture, including modern Western human rights culture, in which many Muslims are actors can lead to new and different Islamic questions and answers about democracy and human rights (see e.g. Abul-Fadl ed. 1993). Islamic questions and answers about such issues are necessary, certainly for the Muslim students in the global campus of the school or university of Islam, as well as for the future evolution of less and less Europocentric ways of addressing the imperfections of human attempts to establish law and justice.
 
          Dorraj may be looking in the right direction in attempting to dichotomize Islamic views on politics and political institutions such as the khilafat, imamate, democracy, human rights, and so forth in terms of “traditionalist” and “modernist” schools of thought. It may also be an oversimplification. Questions have been raised in other studies about whether “tradition” and “modernity” are mutually exclusive categories in the organization of behavior. The political views of the various Islamic authors whom Dorraj has utilized are all modern in the sense that they have been expressed after the onset of the latter half of the 19th century CE. It is useful to keep in mind that in terms of chronology, the "traditionalists" and "modernists" in Dorraj’s essay are both modern personality types. However, they may represent divergent, perhaps even contradictory thought trends within Islamic modernity. Moreover, the form of Islamic discourse which some “traditionalists” (e.g. Maududi, one of Dorraj’s author-informants) represent – Islam as an "ideological" set composed of political, economic, ethical, and other “systems” - is genealogically a product of modern, post Marxist popularization of European social thought and philosophy, perhaps developed as a reaction to it.
 
         When employing the term “tradition” we cannot sidestep the broader questions about its meaning, even in Western English as it pertains to various issues in modern Western life and sociology. Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s Traditional Islam in the modern world (1994), written originally in English, is introduced by the publishers as “seeking to distinguish...between traditional Islam and both modernism and the ‘fundamentalist’ or resurgent forms of Islam which are often confused with traditional Islam.” To Nasr and others like him who are not represented in Dorraj’s survey, all of Islam presently practiced may be a kind of tradition and represents outcomes of various struggles with, and to maintain, that tradition. Further, as Asad (1986:16) has argued, in terms of anthropological methodology, Islamic “traditions should not be regarded as … homogenous” and “heterogeneity in traditional practices is not necessarily an indication of the absence of an Islamic tradition”. Post colonial Muslim intelligentsia phenomena such as the search for an Islamic political science, as part of the search for an Islamic political order, may be among the indications of the modern Islamic search for the meaning of, and ways of reformulating or “translating”, traditional forms and knowledge of politics. Isn't intra-Islamic variation in “political” thought, which Dorraj seems to be concerned with part of a pattern of overall human variability in political cultures? A simplified ‘traditional’/‘modernist’ dichotomy may conceal rather than reveal the intricacies of the behaviors we seek to understand.
 
         Perhaps there are some lessons to be learnt here from Louis Dumont’s analysis (1970) of the hierarchic multi-level model of the ancient Vedic wisdom of Indic cultures (see particularly chap. III, pp. 65-91). For example, as Dorraj (p.12) has noted, the imagination of “Muslim intellectuals and progressive theologians” has been captured in recent years by “the longing for social justice and opposition to autocratic rule”. The Islamic “traditionalists’” preoccupation with such issues and their activism for the establishment of a just society whether by democracy or other means has often included the “methodological” search for the derivation of “divine justice on earth” from the words of the Qur`an and related books. The inner, methodological struggle is sometimes only a theoretical quest. As a theoretical issue it can be entered into by traditionalists as well as by progressivists such as Muhammad Pickthall, whose views on democracy and human rights are made explicit in the framework of a “future” Islamic metropolis (1961:169-202).
 
         Briefly, according to Dumont (ibid.), in the ideal or imaginary world of the Indic model (which in its content is very different from the Islamic one) the king (or the ruler or the government official) appears “as a quasi-providential instrument” through whom “ the theoretical world of the dharma is linked with the real world below”(p.78). The old Sanskritic idea of Dharma can be taken to mean laws, as well as the Law that lies within the laws; of present day written and unwritten laws as the outcome of past laws, i.e tradition; of laws well as the outcomes of its practice, i.e. justice in its short and long-term manifestations. Understood in that way the idea has many parallels to the idea of law and justice in (the Shari`ah) in Islamic and other systems.[6] Dumont’s methodological tour de force in the decoding of the logic of the ancient Vedic idea can be taken to imply that justice in the world is something that has to remain true to a principle that is valid at local, national, as well as more broad, even cosmic, levels in the mind and thought of the ruler.
 
However, in most formulations, the Islamic theory of governance, unlike the Hindu, and other Hindu derived ones, celebrates the principle by which every man or woman has the right of governance of some sphere. This is symbolized in the symbolism of Man as Khalifa – an idea that Muhammad Pickthall (1961) has emphasized in plain and original English. The coherence of the rules of particular forms of such governance with rules prevalent in other spheres in which also the binding ideas of such governance are expected to prevail but don’t, is a matter of resolving the problem of distance or hierarchy - a hierarchy that may have a link to this world and politics, but is not restricted by it. “... the dharma rules” a mind “from on high, but does not have to govern, which” can “be fatal.” (Dumont, op.cit.p.78)
 
         The description and analysis of ideational structures, which have influenced Islam bound struggles in particular, modern, political situations (including those which have had outcomes such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Islamic revolution) may require a different research strategy than the ones used for the understanding of the histories of such struggles. Islamic ideational structures, including its methodological aspects, includes the notion of the possibility of a hierarchy of laws, courts, and justice, unconstrained by locality or nationality based, pragmatic controls. Almost universally "religious" beliefs rest on a foundational perception and conception of hierarchy. In its simplest forms it is to be found in the recognition of the laws and justice of a "higher"/"other world" and "lower"/"this world" in many societies. Dumont op.cit. is instructive in the understanding it reveals of a theory of the complicated workings of a particular instance of a highly developed form of such recognition and hierarchy. As such it is also instructive for students seeking knowledge of the implications of other "religious" beliefs for social systems.
 
The conclusions of the leaders of Islamic opinion that Dorraj has consulted cannot be taken to be permanent and fixed forever. They can be reinterpreted, improved upon, or even annulled and abolished by other opinion leaders and judges. However Dorraj has ignored that possibility by assuming that the “fateful” diversity, contradictions, and nuances in Islam, “cannot be answered philosophically, but only practically” (p.34). No. They have to be resolved philosophically and practically, i.e. legally, in written form, and politically.
 
It is also worth keeping in mind that where such laws, and other political means are not available, due to economic, military, technological or other reasons, Muslims have often found resolutions in mysticism, in silent devotion to work, or some other non-political diversion. We are indebted to the mystics who chose to take that turn into the path of the acceptance of a philosophy of the inherent evil of politics and laws, and of this world as a whole, and of the need to disengage oneself from it all, for the instructive masterpieces of architecture, calligraphy, fiction, poetry, and such inspirational, but non-didactive works on the Islamic meanings of the achievement of Islamic humanity. At least part of the answer to Gudrun Kramer's question may be found in such non-political, not always orthodox expressions of Islamic thought. The study of such expression can also be useful in the modern reconstruction of Islamic history based theories and language in the search for freedom, humanness and human rights. However, it should also be noted that sometimes these mystical resolutions have also led some into the dark and deep recesses of the human psyche resulting in behaviors sometimes just questionable, at others tending toward the pathological, selfish, and treacherous
 
         Such separation of types[7] and hierarchy in the organization of behavior – such as political, legal, mystical, and so on - are not always distinguishable in the texts of the pronouncements of “traditionalists” or “modernists” that Dorraj has limited himself to in this paper. Here he is more interested in the political – in the sense of ideological – thought of the 'traditionalist" and "modernist" authors whose books he has read. His approach to the "cultural" is closer to what some anthropologists may refer to as "ideological". He seeks to know whether their views suggest a pro or anti position within the ideological debating fields known as "democracy" and "human rights".
 
He has concluded, for instance (pp. 24-25), that the late Iranian leader, Imam Khomeini was in the anti camp in that debate. Others may, however, read the Imam's teachings and practice differently. The news of the course of the Islamic revolution in Iran in the post Khomeini years indicates that all followers of the late Imam do not interpret his teachings in the same way. Among the leadership of the Islamic Republic during Khomeini's regime and afterwards are many who have made decisions that appear to be emancipatory toward women and other previously oppressed groups, democratic, and just. Iranian communists and some elements in Western capitalist democracies continue to have criticisms. The Iranian leadership continues to be opposed to CIA sponsored allegations espousing a kind of “democracy”.
 
          Traditionalism as a method of resolving challenges that Muslims everywhere have to face, in politics as in other areas, can also be contrasted methodologically with historicism, as brilliantly demonstrated by Abdallah Laroui (op. cit.). In spite of all local variations that behaviorists seem to exult in emphasizing, it is necessary to look at Islam as one rather than many schools of thought about submission to and worship of the “Lord ... Most High” (Pickthall, n.d.: 437) which Muslims assert, for instance, in the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca. As a single global campus, so to speak, with a colorful diversity of students, teachers, and spectators - Muslim and non-Muslim. Islam also exists as inner worlds, some of the boundaries of which reach beyond the confines of the campus locality and its rules.
 
         The Western knowledge context, which generates the type of paper under review on “Islam” - encompassing a vast variety of human behaviors - thrives on the cultivation of other than Islamic knowledges which can be derived from the facts of the practice of Islam by Muslims. As such there are now a plethora of non-Muslim Islamic knowledges, perhaps even of “other Islam”s (Shari`ati, 1986:35) than the one that Muslims recognize as Islamic.These knowledges are very important for the political survival of Islam. However, they have nothing to say to those who are looking for books to find out how to practice Islam better.
 
         Dorraj’s beginning assertion is that “Islam is not a monolithic faith” (p. 11). He is not the only scholar who approaches Islam from such a viewpoint. Among anthropologists also there are those who look at ‘local’ I slams as distinct phenomenological objects, each with its own separate beginnings and endings. Such behaviorists, if I may refer to them as such, interpret variations of personal, local, and ethnic Islamic behavior as in fact constituting different “faiths”, as Dorraj also seems to assume. Such equations of overt behavior with all of, rather than a portion of what culture can be read to be, is a controversial issue in theories regarding the description and analysis of human behavior and culture.
 
         This issue of modern social science practice has a parallel in the history of Islamic pedagogic and theologic controversies and traditions. Hence it is not uncommon to find representatives of one school of Islamic thought attempting to convert other Muslims to their ways of behaving or practicing Islam, or even using resources available to them to outlaw details of Islamic practice that they disapprove of, are not accustomed to, or unaware of. Others, whom we may describe as Islamic mentalists, however, may ignore certain differences of local or personal practice for religious purposes by referring to the distinction that is made in Islamic teaching sources to the difference between “Iman” - roughly glossed as Islamic theological belief - and “Islam” taken to mean Islamic practice. It is an Arabic based Islamic word distinction also found in many other Islamic languages. If one is methodologically inclined to work with the universality of such a duality and separability of levels of human behavior, further questions arise regarding Dorraj's assertion of the non-monolithic nature of the Islamic "faith". Is the variation something that is significant at the level of geographically, historically, and linguistically variable Islamic practices only or also at the levels of beliefs, knowledge, and standards which inform and guide behavior? The former can be studied ethnographically and through other conventional social science techniques, but the latter may not be as evident to the outside researcher dependent on conventional tools of empirical research.
 
         Can one arrive at practice related conclusions regarding this issue without examining the methodological questions about the limitations of descriptions and typologies of behavior and culture that the social sciences are able to generate? Are the Islamic ideas that Dorraj has chosen to study anything more than opinions, i.e. 'Islamic' opinions, but opinions which can be questioned by others espousing an equally Islamic but different position? Historically Islamic theological beliefs have generated and upheld a variety of opinions, most of which are relative to the politics of the time during which they were formulated. They are all part of the history of Islamdom but may be distinguished from another more pervasive influence that may be distinguished from it as Islam.
 
         Laroui's op. cit. critique of "culturalist" approaches to the study of Islam[8] could be useful to those who would like to explore the prospects for the further development of cultural anthropological methodology. He tries to make a case (pp. 74-75) for a different type of method, which would lead us to the understanding of ideational structures. The goal would be to "search for a principle that reorganizes cultural manifestations" through a process of continual traditionalization" but without requiring that the principle is "identical with the traditionalists... Acceptance of the manifold wealth of concrete history frees the elaboration of Islam's cultural system for every possibility of development. Not to confuse history with the theory of history saves the one and liberates the other."
 
         The Paul Magnarella ed. book as a whole as well as Manochehr Dorraj’s essay on Islam in it may also be read from the point of view of the extent to which it addresses a pedagogic need formulated by those who seek new academic “disciplines” of Islamized social sciences. Some of them are among Dorraj's "modernist"[9] category. Their stated quest is to develop the teaching of Islam to include new Islamic knowledge and courses of study in which the courses of study traditionally taught in the curricula of Islamic education for hundreds of years would be "synthesized" with such modern disciplines as the study of democracy and human rights. Can the Islamic contribution to the global debates about the righteousness of such processes as democracy and human rights legalization and implementation change if there is no change in the content and direction of in the “curricula and debates of the madrasa” (Fischer, 1980:4)? The kind of survey that Dorraj has attempted to put together could be among the beginnings of such an integrated pedagogy in the areas of democracy and human rights education. Much more ground has to be covered, however, before it can be claimed that a coherence of the different systems can be said to have been achieved. These are new territories, perhaps requiring lots of interdisciplinary munazaras such as the one that Abdallah Laroui has engaged in (op.cit. 44-80).
 
References:
 
Paul Magnarella, ed. 1999. Middle East and North Africa: Governance, democratization, and human rights. London: Ashgate. Manochehr Dorraj, 1999. Manochehr Dorraj, “Islam, governance, and democracy”, in Paul J. Magnarella ed. Ibid.11-35.
Ward H. Goodenough, 1981. Culture, Language and Society.
Ali Mazrui, 1998(1997). Islamic and western values. In William Spencer ed. Global Studies: Middle East: 179-184.
Abul-Fadl, Mona M. 1992. Where East meets West. The West on the agenda of the Islamic revival
Kevin Dwyer, 1991. Arab voices. The human rights debate in the Middle East.
Hasan Kayali, 1997. Arabs and Young Turks. Ottomanism, Arabism, and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1918.
‘AbdulHamid A. AbuSulayman, 1993. Towards an Islamic theory of international relations: new directions for methodology and thought.
A. Muhammad Ma`ruf. n.d. The al Faruqi academic Islamization project. A bibliography.
Michael M. J. Fischer, 1980. Iran. From religious dispute to revolution.
Abul-Fadl, Mona M. ed. 1993. Proceedings of the Twenty -first annual Conference of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists.
Talal Asad, 1986. The idea of an anthropology of Islam.
Louis Dumont, 1970(1966). Homo hierarchicus. the caste system and its implications.
Muhammad M. Pickthall, 1961. The cultural side of Islam.
____________________n.d. The meaning of the Glorious Koran. Mentor edition.
Abdallah Laroui, 1976. The crisis of the Arab intellectual. traditionalism or historicism?
Ali Shari’ati, 1986. What is to be done: the enlightened thinkers and an Islamic renaissance.
 
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] An earlier version of this paper "Human rights in a future Islamic metropolis" was presented at the American Anthropological Association, Middle East Section Panel on Human Rights in the Middle East (1997).
 
[2]Manochehr Dorraj, “Islam, governance, and democracy”, in Paul J. Magnarella ed. Middle East and North Africa: Governance, democratization, and human rights. London: Ashgate, 1999:11-35. The countries covered are Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza), Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
[3]See for instance the formulation in Ward H Goodenough (1981). Dorraj is sensitive to the idea of culture, but not necessarily in the forms in which it has been bred in the, still ongoing, debates about it among anthropologists. Goodenough’s formulation, like most anthropological ones, is derived from consideration of culture theory as it applies to the scientific description of the ways of life of peoples without book-based traditions. That background presents certain difficulties to students of Islamic societies and cultures. However, such difficulties need not deter us from attempting to read the news of Islam within the framework of some amended form of Goodenough’s or other culturalist perspective in anthropology. See e.g. Abdallah Laroui's essay (1976: 44- 80) on the 'method' of Gustave von Grunebaum.   
[4] What is “religious” and not “religious”, particularly what is political, is as much a problem in this essay as it is in most anthropological and other writings about Islam. However, due to the heavy textual bias of Dorraj’s analysis, Talal Asad’s (1986:13) remarks regarding some other approaches to “scriptural Islam”, “.... that it is not the literal ... shari`ah which matters... but the degree to which it informs and regulates social practices” are worth noting. It is “clear” to Asad “... that there has never been any Muslim society in which the religious law of Islam has governed more than a fragment of social life.” Why then are the Islamic authors whom Dorraj represents so concerned with the comprehensive reach of the Shari`ah?
[5] Dorraj refers to them as “theologians” which most, if not all, of them are, I am sure. But it is not their theological opinions that are the subject of Dorraj’s essay, or of my remarks.
[6] Besides the well-known study by Dumont referred to here there are other studies of the idea of dharma that could be relevant to the idea of culture that anthropology students can usefully pursue. All of the meanings of the word and its opposite 'adharma' in Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Vol. I, (1966): 621, for instance, can be useful in understanding the ideational side of human behavior, within and outside the realms of Brahmanist casteism, elitism, "untouchability" and other forms of inequality and oppression. Prejudices resulting from such 'religious' beliefs contradict notions of human rights justice. Anthropologists associated with "South Asian Studies" at the University of Chicago have excelled in explaining, and justifying the elitist, Brahmanist way of thinking about inequality and oppression. That is not the position taken here.
[7]Laroui (op. cit.) has suggested that the action of Islam may be observed at 4 hierarchically organized "levels" of faith, culture, behavior, and history (p. 76). Michael Fischer (1980) who has looked at the “multifaceted” (P. 11) manifestations of Iranian Islam during the beginning years of the Islamic revolution there notes that its “cultural structures” are “both relatively changeable over time and extraordinarily tenacious”.
[8] Also useful in understanding some of the European roots of the "philosophy" of cultural anthropology.
[9]see e.g. Shari`ati, 1986:103-160. The Iranian leader-author is among those whose opinions are included in Dorraj’s survey. .A cognate point of view is also expressed in Sa`id Halim Pasha's Islamlashmaq thesis formulated originally in Turkish, formulated during the formative years of the modernist revolution of Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, i.e. during a significant and symbolic occurrence of the meeting of Islamic tradition and modernity. The ideas of Sa`id Halim, an Islamic modernist-essayist according to Hasan Kayali, 1997:139, have been made available to the English reading public in Pickthall, 1961, (originally published in what was then British India in the 1920s C.E.). These ideas have been given a new birth, as an organized effort, among immigrant Middle-Easterners and other Muslims in the US and UK during the 1980s CE, but without acknowledgement or critique of the earlier written works in Turkish, Arabic, and English. Political science versions of the new, US based formulations, are to be found in such publications as e.g. Abul-Fadl, op. cit. and AbuSulayman, op. cit. This new "Islamization" literature has also elicited some anthropological reviews and responses. Ma`ruf, n.d. surveys some of them.

Flash IntroHomeAnthropologySri LankaArviiImage GalleryBlog