Muslims as Actors: Islamic Meanings and Muslim Interpretations in the Perspective of the Study of Religions

Muslims as Actors: Islamic Meanings and Muslim Interpretations in the Perspective of the Study of Religions

by Jacques Waardenburg

ISBN-10: 3110191423

ISBN-13: 9783110191424

Pub. Date: 11/15/2007

Publisher: De Gruyter

This book challenges the view of Islamic Studies as a branch of “Orientalism”. The West now sees Islam largely as a political problem, and research on its religious aspects is urgently needed. The book traces the relevance of the academic study of religion

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This book challenges the view of Islamic Studies as a branch of “Orientalism”. The West now sees Islam largely as a political problem, and research on its religious aspects is urgently needed. The book traces the relevance of the academic study of religion for Islamic Studies, contributions of prominent scholars, and studies on issues of contemporary Islam. The author advocates focusing research on Muslim interpretations of Islam which redefine Islamic values and meanings in present-day contexts, and argues for Muslims being recognized as actors in the articulation of their Islam.

Product Details

De Gruyter
Publication date:
Religion and Reason Series, #46
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.06(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Preface     V
Introduction     1
Some Biographical Notes     1
The Present Book     17
Some Perspectives     20
Selected Literature     21
Two Questions
Can the Science of Religion Render Service to the Study of Islam?     25
Islamic Studies in Context     25
Studying Islam as a Religion     27
The Science of Religion Contributing to the Study of Islam     29
The Term "Islam"     29
Objective and Subjective Meanings     30
Statements on Islam Studied as Interpretations of Islam     31
Ways of Interpreting and Constructing Islam     32
Islam Viewed as the Order of Creation     33
Islam Studied as an Interpretative System that is itself Continuously Interpreted     34
Studying Constructions of Islam     34
Variety of Constructions     35
Claims of Universality     35
Cultural Heyday of Islam     36
Islam under Construction     36
Selected Literature: The Study of Religions     37
Can We Study Islam as a Signification System?     40
Introduction     40
The Concept of a Signification System     41
Subjective Meanings     42
Interest in Meanings     45
Islam Studied as a Signification System     46
The Proposed Approach Summarized     48
Selected Literature: Islamic Studies     50
Issues in Islamic Studies
Islamic Studies and the Study of Religions and Cultures     55
Introduction     55
Islamic Studies and the Historical Study of Religions     58
Islamic Studies and the Comparative Study of Religious Data     62
Islamic Studies and Discussions on Method and Theory in the Study of Religions     66
Studying Religious Aspects of Islam     70
Some Basic Distinctions     72
The Study of "Religion" in Islamic Studies     74
The Role of Religion in Muslim Societies     79
The Role of Religion in Inspiring Muslim Spirituality     80
Conclusion     81
Selected Literature     82
Some Social Scientific Orientations in Islamic Studies     86
Introduction     86
The Humanities     88
The Social Sciences     90
Social Scientific Research on Muslim Societies since World War II     92
Anthropology     93
Sociology     95
Political Science     97
A Plea for Impartial Research on Religion and Politics     97
Contributions of the Social Sciences to Islamic Studies     99
Theoretical Contributions     99
Empirical Contributions     101
Representing Islam as a Religion     103
Conclusion     104
Selected Literature     106
Islamic Studies and Intercultural Relations     108
Introduction     108
Some Contexts of Islamic Studies Before 1950     109
Rapid Survey of Historical Contexts     110
Politics     112
Religion     113
Education     115
Islamic Studies in Context     116
Islamic Studies     116
Modern Trends in Islam     117
Muslim Apologetics and Criticism of Islamic Studies     119
Muslims in the West     122
Islam in the West     122
Muslims in Colonial Societies     123
Muslims in Western Societies     124
Differentiation in Islamic Studies     125
Academic Islamic Studies     125
Muslim "Study of Islam"     128
Conclusion     131
Personal Reflections on an Anti-Cultural World     134
Selected Literature     136
Intercultural Relations and Islam     136
Muslim Discovery of Europe     137
Muslims in Europe and North America     137
The Muslim World and the Western World     139
Presuppositions and Assumptions in Islamic Studies     141
Introduction     141
Presuppositions and Assumptions     141
Presuppositions     143
Assumptions     145
Islamic Studies     147
Presuppositions and Assumptions in Islamic Studies     148
Selected Literature     151
General Approaches and Methods     151
Interpretative Approaches     153
The Practice of Islamic Studies in History
Massignon as a Student of Islam (1883-1962)     157
Louis Massignon. Life and Work     158
Spirituality     159
Research     159
Politics     161
Legacy     163
Research on Islam as a Religion     163
Al-Hallaj     164
Islam     165
Dedication     166
Impact on Islamic Studies     168
Immediate Influences     168
Impact on Islamic Studies     171
Three Groups of Followers     171
Catholic Orientalists     171
Muslim Intellectuals     174
Arab Christians     175
A Scholar's Mind     176
Conclusion     179
Selected Literature     182
Bio-bibliography     182
Scholarly Publications     183
More Personal Writings     185
Main Publications about Louis Massignon     185
Some Developments and Trends in Islamic Studies Since 1950     189
Looking Back on Islamic Studies     189
The Study of Early Islamic History     193
Studying Muhammad in his Society     193
The Qur'an Studied as Text     194
Hadith Studies     197
The Medinan Period     198
Islamic Thought and Spirituality     198
Historical Encounters between Islam and Other Civilizations and Religions     200
Observing Islamic Studies     202
Studying Muslim Societies     202
Scholarly Procedures     204
Islamic Studies: Changes     206
Changes in Perspective and New Orientations of Study     206
Looking Forward in Islamic Studies      208
Scholars of Islamic Studies     210
Contexts of Islamic Studies     211
Selected Literature: Some Subjects of Research Since 1950     213
History of Islamic Studies as a Field     213
Early Islamic History     214
The Rise of Islam     214
Muhammad     215
Qur'anic Studies     215
Hadith Studies     216
Early History and Historiography     216
Islamic Thought and Spirituality     217
Medieval and Later     217
Contemporary     218
Encounters with Other Civilizations     218
Encounters with the West and Christianity     218
Encounters with Other Cultures and Religions than the Western Ones     219
Recent Scholarly Presentations of Islam     221
Introduction     221
Wilfred Cantwell Smith: Conceptualization in Islam and in Islamic Studies     223
Gustave E. von Grunebaum: Islam as Medieval Culture     229
Annemarie Schimmel: Islam as Deciphering the Signs     231
Seyyed Hossein Nasr: Islam as "Traditional" Islam     235
Mohammed Arkoun: Rethinking Islam     243
Conclusion     249
Selected Literature: Bibliography, Books on Islam, Articles, Discussion and Research     251
Arkoun, Mohammed     251
Grunebaum, Gustave E. von     253
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein     256
Schimmel, Annemarie     257
Smith, Wilfred Cantwell     259
Islamic and Religious Studies under the Conditions of the Cold War     262
Conflicts and Ideological Distortions     262
Two Opposing Views of Islam     263
The USSR     264
The West     266
Islamic Studies     267
Some Corrections Imposed on Distorted Views of Islam     268
A Visit to the USSR     271
The Study of Religions in East and West     275
Conclusion     279
Selected Literature     280
Studying Religions
Religions as a Subject of Empirical Research     285
Issues of Research at the Beginning     285
The Attraction of a Science of Religion     287
Some Western Views and Constructs of the Study of Religion     288
Empirical Research into Religion     289
Schemes of Interpretation of Religion     290
Religion as an (Un)known Subject of Study     291
Development of Theoretical Thinking     292
Explanatory Theory      293
Hermeneutic Orientations     294
Conclusion     295
Selected Literature     297
History of the Field     297
Some Questions of Method and Theory     300
Classical Phenomenology of Religion in the Netherlands 1920-1950     302
The Problem     303
Image Formation of Religions Before the Phenomenological Movement     305
Image Formation in Classical Phenomenology of Religion     307
Image Formation of Particular Religions Among Dutch Phenomenologists     309
The Presentation of Religion in Dutch Classical Phenomenology of Religion     312
Classical Phenomenology of Religion and the Emancipation of 'Religionswissenschaft'     314
Classical Phenomenology of Religion: Aims and Results     316
The Context of the Phenomenology of Religion in the Netherlands 1918-1939     321
G. van der Leeuw's Conceptualization of Religion     323
Conclusion     324
Selected Literature     325
Eliade as a Student of Religion (1907-1986)     331
Mircea Eliade. Life and Work     331
Biographical data     331
Eliade Studying Religion     335
The Study of Religions. Construct and Reality      338
The Study of Religions up to Eliade     339
Some Critical Remarks on Eliade's Approach     341
Conceptualizing Religion after Eliade     342
Eliade's Time and Ours     345
Selected Literature     349
Bio-bibliography     349
Main Publications in English, with Years of their First Appearance     350
Some Monographs about Eliade     352
Some Collective Works about Eliade     353
Some Articles about Eliade     354
Some Contexts of Eliade's Work     355
Muslims and Their Islam
Believers in Focus. Exploring Muslim Life     359
Believers as Potential Actors     359
A Philosophical Intermezzo. Meaning and Significance     362
Significance and Subjective Meanings     365
Research on Subjective Meanings     368
Toward Understanding Subjective Meanings. Intentions     370
Conclusion     372
Selected Literature     373
Muslim Life     373
Islam in Literature     374
Ethics, Justice, and Human Rights in Islam     374
Encounters Between Believers     375
Believers' Identities     376
Religion in the World      376
Islamic Reform and Renewal. Recourse to Scripture     377
Introduction     377
Kinds of Reform and Forces Opposing It     378
The Term "Reform": Three Meanings     378
Three Kinds of Movements of Reform     379
Religions Developed from Reform Movements     381
Social Reforms and Religion     383
Forces Opposing Reform     384
Islamic Reform and the Shari`a     386
Studying Reformers and Reform     388
Reflecting on the Notion of Reform     390
A Note on Reading Scriptures     392
Religious Readings     392
Literary and Historical Interpretations     393
Common Structures of the Scriptural Religions     395
Common Structures Around the Scriptures     396
Reform Movements and their Reading of Scripture     397
Selected Literature     398
Initiatives to Reform and Renewal in Islam Before 1970     398
Present-Day Thinking on Renewal of Islam     399
Reinterpretations of Islam in Terms of Reform     401
Islamic Resurgence and Politics     402
Islam in/and the West     403
Worldwide Islam     404
Ideas and Developments in Contemporary Islam     405
Situation and Future of Women     406
Situation and Role of Religious Authorities     407
Some Subjects of Current debate     407
A Note on Reading Scriptures     408
Scripture in general     408
Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity and Islam     408
Scripture in Islam     409
New Kinds of Muslim Qur'an Exegesis, Reading, and Interpretation     409
Some Studies about New Kinds of Muslim Qur'an Interpretation     410
Further Reading (Bibliography)
Middle Eastern Responses to Islamic Studies. The Orientalism Debate     413
Religion(s) and the Study of Religion(s)     421
The Concept of Religion     421
Discussions around a Science of Religion. Method and Explanatory Theory     422
Anthropology of Religion     431
Comparative-Historical Research     433
Sociology and Psychology of Religion     436
Interpretative Studies of Religion     436
The Phenomenology Debate     436
Scholarly Hermeneutic Orientations     441
Some Comprehensive Reflections     446
Gender and the Study of Religion     447
Gender and Religion in General     447
Gender and Islam      449
The Study of Religion(s) in Various Countries     451
Islamic Studies in Various Countries     456
Index of Persons     460
Index of Subjects     463
Index of Concepts (Problem-Oriented)     468

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