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.
Philosophy and Religion
By Giancarlo BosettiThe Syrian philosopher Sadik Al-Azm, born in Damascus in 1934 where he now lives, has developed a severe critique of Arab societies, affecting an entire generation marked by Israel’s defeat of Syria, Jordan and Egypt in 1967.
The previous two pieces (Islamic Philosophy I and II) presented some reflections on the past and present conditions and themes of Islamic thought, philosophy in focus. The present piece, based on two forthcoming papers, introduces a voice that aims at regrounding (i.e. reconstructing) not only Islamic philosophy but philosophy in general, and the way philosophers pose philosophical questions. It sketches out some major aspects of the project of Taha Abderrahmane (b. 1944, Morocco), a leading logician and ethicist in the Arab-Islamic world.
By Giancarlo BosettiArkoun possessed a rhetorical passion capable of enchanting his listeners. He powerfully laid claim to the internal resources of a tradition he never ceased to belong to, such as the Muslim and Arab humanism of the golden age of Islam (12th century) that could have flourished and produces its own Enlightenment in the sciences, the arts and critical thought, if it had not been destroyed at birth by political circumstances.
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 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 Fürstenberg and Giancarlo BosettiBassam Tibi, born in Damascus in 1944, emigrated to Germany as a young man and spent most of his life there teaching at Göttingen University. He has also taught at Harvard, Cornell, Princeton and Berkeley, as well as in Asia, Africa, Indonesia, Sudan and Egypt. In his studies he has analysed Islamic extremism and Muslim culture, comparing them to the values of tolerance, democracy and human rights.
By Nicola MissagliaThe Egyptian philosopher insists that an intellectual “renaissance” in the contemporary Arab world, similar to the one that influenced the western world in the 15th and 16th centuries, would necessarily have to involve the Muslim’s re-appropriation of their own historicity, opposing the “hypostatization” of the past and the Islamic legacy.
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. 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.
By Nicola MissagliaFrom a scientific and philosophical perspective, Al-Jabri believes that the Arab-Islamic school of thought’s current problems in entertaining a harmonious and balanced relationship with the demands of the contemporary world depend on the progressive loss of a rational and scientific dimension that had instead inspired philosophers such as Averroes, Ibn Hazm and Avempace and with which the Islamic religion is, in his opinion, intimately permeated.
By Nicola MissagliaA strong advocate of ijtihad – the rational interpretative effort that Muslims make in relating to the religious, moral, and juridical principles of Islam – Talbi is one of the most authoritative voices in Islamic “modernism.”
The publication of a posthumous book has obliged us to once again address the case involving Jacques Dupuis, the Belgian Catholic theologian of religious pluralism, treated and “notified” as a heretic by the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger, all in 2000, the same year and days of the publication of the Declaration “Dominus Iesus”, the most criticised pontifical document of recent decades, acclaimed only by “devout atheists.”