"Are we perhaps condemned to remain prisoners of the logic of war that cannot perceive relations with others if not in terms that bring to mind hostility, such as peril, counter-position, conflict, threat etc.? In Western countries voices are raised almost everywhere against this way of seeing future relations between the West and other countries. People are starting to question the real meaning of this unfortunate dichotomy, as well as the reality it proposes to conceal. What does the East/West duality really mean through the history of European expansion, from Rome to the empires of modern colonialism? What does its current North/South replacement mean?" Part of this interview with Mohammed Abed Al Jabri was published in Fall 2006 by our Italian magazine Reset. On the occasion of the commemoration of the philosopher's fifth anniversary (d.2010), we are pleased to publish the full interview for the first time.
Philosophy and Religion
Written on the occasion of his birthday (b. 27 December, 1936, in Figuig, eastern Morocco, d. 3 May 2010), this piece is an homage to a towering figure in modern Arab-Islamic thought, a figure that any serious scholar in the field cannot do without: Mohammed Abed Al Jabri. One has either to build on the heritage he has left, or overcome it with a more challenging one. In both cases, one cannot escape reading him. In the age of Arab turmoils, al Jabri must be in the library of every Arab house for one simple reason: he genuinely managed to classify Arab-Islamic thought, a thing that is still missing from Arab socio-political life.
«Is it possible to grasp the ‘objective’ historical meaning of a text? Or is the process of textual understanding intrinsically connected with the role of the interpreter? This is the core question of hermeneutics. And it is precisely this question which – in different formulations – permeates the Arabic-Islamic tradition, ever since the beginning of Qur’anic interpretation and of ta’wil. Thus, the guiding question of the Mu’tazilites was: Is it possible to understand the divine meaning of the Qur’an without having a pre-understanding of justice or the unity of God? If we approach the Qur’anic text starting from the presumption of its divine nature but without having an intelligible pre-understanding of divine truth, how can we know that this text is not a lie or falsehood??»nasr Hamid Abu Zayd
Philosophical investigations in Delhi: about moral choices, intellectual honesty and political freedom
Delhi - In the weeks just before and after the new year, when the overall atmosphere of the capital was vitiated on account of the government’s attempts to override Christmas as a Christian observance and an official holiday, replacing it with a so-called “Good Governance Day” and the birth anniversaries of Madan Mohan Malaviya and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, brief visits by two eminent philosophers provided some relief. The visitors were the Bengali philosopher, Arindam Chakrabarti, who teaches at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, and the Iranian philosopher, Ramin Jahanbegloo, who teaches at York University in Canada. Both lectured at public fora, met with students and scholars, and brought to the denizens of beleaguered Delhi a much-needed reminder of the importance of philosophy as the core of humanistic intellectual inquiry and democratic dissent.
The crux of the relationship between Islam and its journey to modernity, between the orthopraxy of this religion, with its judicial rules (shari’a) and the creation of democratic and pluralist systems, will soon become apparent. Ranging from the Egyptian Constitution to civil law, much must be rewritten, from family law to the policies needed to protect the rights of women. All of these issues are already on the agenda. Work can but start again from here to address the controversial issues that have fueled the work of the authors ResetDoc discusses here.
Like other classical world traditions and civilizations that seek renewal for survival, continuity and contribution to world affairs, the Islamic one is convened and questioned, maybe more than others and more than ever before, seeing its geographical and intellectual positions between the so-called East and West, an archaic dichotomy that disrupts politics and stirs philosophy at the same time. The ongoing dire socio-political chaos in the Arab-Islamic world questions the intellectual tradition of this part of the world, to see where it stands, and what contributions it offers to overcome the turmoil. Reset-DoC is pleased to present three reflections on Islamic Philosophy by Mohammed Hashas (PhD), as part of an ongoing conversation with a civilization that was, and a worldview that is still vibrant and confident that it can still contribute to world intellect and local politics. Past and Present Conditions for Existence and DifferenceIslamic Philosophy IThe Moderns and Contemporaries in Search for a New ParadigmIslamic Philosophy IIThe Question of Ethics: Taha Abderrahmane’s Praxeology and Trusteeship ParadigmIslamic Philosophy III
By Giancarlo BosettiThe Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo has been known for years to Reset’s readers as the author of essays and analyses about the situation in Iran and also as the author of Reading Gandhi in Tehran, a book published in Italian by Reset in 2007.
By Giancarlo BosettiBorn in Sudan in 1909, Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, was sentenced to death having been charged with apostasy by the Nimeiri regime in 1985 because of his ideas.
I first met Nasr Abu Zayd at Reset Istanbul Seminars in 2009. His lifeline reads like one long relationship with truth. One might honestly characterize Nasr Abu Zayd as a truth seeker. He was a scholar who had risked everything to restore the tradition of truth seeking in Islam. His work is an indispensable tool for Muslims themselves so they can wage their struggle for enlightenment and reform of their faith tradition.
The last two centuries (since 1798) have witnessed a lively intellectual revival in Islamic thought, a fact that has impacted all sectors of life, without, at the same time, forming a clear line of thought or a “new paradigm” that overcomes the malaise of either/or, modernity or traditionalism, change or conservatism. Medieval Islam managed to construct a dominant and prosperous “sharia paradigm” for some centuries, a paradigm in which reason and revelation generally worked together. This paradigm was especially enforced politically, and that is how it rooted itself in Islamic history, and medieval history in general.
By Nina zu FürstenbergWith his critical thinking, this Arab intellectual has allowed us to understand that both the Muslim culture and the Koran are not remotely extraneous to concepts such as human rights, the rule of law, the separation of powers, pluralism and tolerance. Nasr has, on the contrary, shown how Islam’s Holy Book contains elements that encourage a secular idea of society.
By Giancarlo BosettiDue to the importance of his reformist religious perspective, many journalists have described him as “Islam’s Luther,” perhaps explained by the fact that in the Shiite tradition, unlike the Sunnis, there is the presence of the clergy and its earthly power. Soroush is a theoretician of freedom and individual rights, and he is a critic of the theological tradition that has justified power through transcendence, thereby sanctifying centuries of tyranny.