Genealogies of Pluralism in Islamic Thought

International seminars, research and publications

Islam is one of the major organized religions with a world-wide following and legal theories which have historically been broadly heterogeneous when providing answers to the multiple questions asked by its faithful. However, modernity has imposed new questions unto religious scholars, theologians, philosophers and scholars of Islamic studies.
Modern science, scientific theories (e.g. Darwinism) and model legal systems (e.g. equality of all before the law; equality of genders) have challenged all religious orthodoxies, including Islam. Thus, the variety of backgrounds and stories belonging to the individual believers, albeit under the same umbrella of a sole particular religion, are no longer sufficient for it to be considered pluralist. Or so some philosophers of religion would say.

Modernity, it seems, requires pluralism from religions and their faithful at a theological level as well as from a political one.

As an alternative to exclusivism, considered a bigotry and rejection of theoretical and practical alternatives, inclusivism is an accomodation of differences. Still, as some would argue, inclusivism is not enough to define an egalitarian society. Inclusivism is seen as an acceptance of the other but with an element of subtle superiority of the self or one’s own worldview. Having acknowledged this potentially condescending recognition of difference, pluralism is considered rather as one of many ways of perceiving human relations and the differing worldviews.

With these categorical premises in mind, this project aims at revisiting the Islamic history of ideas as well as Islamic socio-political realities to understand the different genealogies of pluralist thought in this tradition and, by implication, the genealogies of inclusive and exclusive thought as well.

A conference dedicated to the Genealogies of Pluralism in Islamic thought will be held at Granada Institute for Higher Education and Research by mid 2018. This event brings together international scholars and young researchers in debating the genealogies of pluralism in Islamic history of ideas, or in Islamic thought in short, with main reference to the Quran, Sunna, theology, usul al-fiqh and legal theories, philosophy, and sufism. Its aim is to revisit the historical sources of pluralist ideas in Islamic thought, with the intent of further investigating the theme’s current manifestations in Islamic political life and public sphere.
The project will be concluded with an edited volume, based on the reviewed papers of the contributing scholars.


Scientific coordinator
Mohammed Hashas, Researcher LUISS

Scholars to be involved
Asma Afsaruddin, Indiana University
Jonathan Brown, Georgetown University
Massimo Campanini, University of Trento
John Esposito, Georgetown University
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Washinghton University
Shireen Hunter, Georgetown University; Carool Kersten, King’s College London
Ebrahim Moosa, Notre Dame; Adam Peterson, King’s College London
Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Princeton University
Tariq Ramadan, St Anthony’s College Oxford-Doha; and many others.