Abstract - First, I argue for historical contextualization of the Qur’an as a given historical collection of discourses propagated by Muhammad as divine inspiration. Secondly, I argue for a distinction between the Qur’an and Islam, since the latter is the outcome of human efforts to construct their lives in accordance with what they understood to be the teachings of the Qur’an. The last point is to show how the role of Muhammad in his interaction with the communities of his time in Hijaz shaped the Qur’an. So, the article is organized as (1) introduction; (2) the Qur’an and Islam; (3) the Qur’an and history: open hermeneutics; (4) Muhammad and the Qur’an; (5) the divine-human communication; (6) Muhammad: the first recipient; (7) Muhammad in the Qur’an; and (8) the community of believers and the need for legal regulations; followed by (9) conclusion.
Dialogue of Cultures
Globalization has consequences for the religious sphere, but it does not constitute a break with the previous situation. It constitutes rather an acceleration of a process begun with the birth of nation-states. The impact of the values of modernity in general, since even those in power, whatever their tendency, invoke values of democracy, progress, freedom and justice, whereas submission is what was required of subjects. Nevertheless, people today look to religion for fixed reference points, because of the brutal transition from the Middle Ages to the 20th and 21st centuries, and because modernity is not an endogenous phenomenon. Islam then is playing the role of bulwark against western hegemony. It is also instrumentalized both by the powers that be and by the oppositions, all of whom give themselves over to displays of one-upmanship over fidelity to Islam. Does Islam then maintain its relevance in the context of globalization? The fact is that the bases on which social relations are now founded no longer permit discrimination on the ground of sex or religion, and that there is a loosening of the grip of traditional ritualism and that more and more Muslims are looking for an understanding of the faith that is freed from old-fashioned dogmas. These new givens are being demonstrated particularly when it comes to the exercise of power and the condition of women. As a result, traditional conceptions are destined to evolve, particularly concerning the status of the Koran, the growing awareness of the historical process that made the Koran into a juridical code, the archetype that has been stuck to the person of the Prophet, and the alienation that consists in the sacralization of every human act.
Abstract - This article is intended to advance conceptual clarity on the topic of secularism in Muslim societies. It seeks to uncover unique historical developments that have influenced and shaped debate on this topic. In the first part, a distinction is made between the different social scientific categories of secularism, focusing on philosophical, sociological and political dimensions of secularism. The second section provides a broad overview of the different histories of political secularism, and focuses on the two dominant models that have been bequeathed to us from the Western tradition of political thought: Anglo American secularism and French secularism (laïcité). In the final section, the political history of Muslim societies is briefly explored with the goal of providing a tentative answer to the question: historically, why did political secularism not emerge in Muslim societies?
This summer a German court banned the circumcision of boys. Here, Dissent Magazine offers two takes on the controversial decision—the first on bioethics in postwar Germany, the second on the consequences of the backlash against multiculturalism.
Increasing extremism is bubbling to the surface in nationalist and anti-immigrant rhetoric. A Resetdoc roundtable in New York examines the cultural and political roots of these fanaticisms as they affect public life from Europe to the USA.Discovering the sources of a murdererGiancarlo Bosetti Liberal élites, multiculturalism and the language of resentmentIan Buruma Constructing the Self, constructing the OtherSeyla BenhabibCitizenship and civil religionBenjamin BarberIdentities, stereotypes and shifting areas of consensusJytte Klausen
Turkey’s influence in the Balkans can be measured also in terms of the success of soap operas. The various TV series made in studios on the Bosphorus are a runaway success throughout the former-Yugoslavia as well as in Bulgaria and Romania. There are many viewers even in Serbia and Croatia, countries with a less powerful legacy from the days of the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, local media reports indicate that more and more people, ecstatic about these soap operas, have planned holidays in Istanbul or have enrolled in Turkish language courses.
Some notes on the cultural background of xenophobia
With a rose, Shakespeare best surmised the inimitability of words and meaning for lovers. If only drafting a constitution were so easy and amorous. For Egyptian parliamentarians, the definition and interpretation of a single term – madaniyya – is at the heart of political discord that rivals the animosity of the Montegues and Capulets. Under the dome of Egypt’s parliamentary building, and during closed-door meetings between party committees, madaniyyaa has taken on all shades of meaning.
When did the Iranian nuclear issue become a taboo? And why? Since 2003 there has officially been talk of an Iranian nuclear threat, following two reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency published in June and September, both emphasizing that the Islamic Republic of Iran had not provided sufficient information concerning its nuclear programmes.
Turkey faces tough decisions at home and abroad, from how to handle heterogeneous identities as they become visible in the public sphere to the role it will play as a model for emerging Middle Eastern democracies. Prominent Turkish sociologist Nilüfer Göle points to three “concentric transformations” that have affected Turkey since the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP): the fusing of the AKP’s Islamic past with the Turkish conservative democratic tradition, the EU accession process, and the Arab Spring. These developments underlie such pivotal issues as the weakening of the Turkish military, the Islamist/secular debate and the Kurdish question. To heed Göle would be wise, as we attempt to unpack these subjects and understand a way forward for Turkish democracy.
The July clashes at the Serbian border have returned Kosovo to the spotlight after the media blackout that followed Kosovo’s independence on February 17th, 2008. The July incidents resulted in the death of an Albanian policeman, as well as injuries to many others, bearing witness to the fact that in the youngest state to have emerged from the ashes of Yugoslavia, the situation remains tense. The great issues raised before independence, such as the relationship between the Albanian majority and the Serb minority, between Pristina and Belgrade, and between Belgrade and the Serbs in Kosovo, Serbia’s ambitions to join the European Union remain firmly on the table.
In spite of its varied nature, there is one common characteristic shared by most Muslims in the Balkans. Nowadays, Islam is deeply entrenched in identity. In many cases there is a tangible link between adherence to Islam, belonging to an ethnic community and “faith” in a national cause. The explanation for this phenomenon lies in the conflicts of the nineties and, in a broader sense, in the process involving the disintegration of Yugoslavia.