Special Issue "The Many Faces of Contemporary Post-Islamism"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 19 October 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Mojtaba Mahdavi
Website
Guest Editor
Professor and the ECMC Chair in Islamic Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2H4, Canada
Interests: intersection of critical middle east studies; political economy; contemporary Islamic studies and decolonial/postcolonial studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Religions critically examines the many faces and forces of contemporary post-Islamist discourses/movements in Muslim majority contexts. It challenges and problematizes conventional and ahistorical accounts of contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which offers an essentialist and static reading of Muslim scholars, Islamic activism, and Islamic socio-political thought. The goal of this issue is to contribute to the critical literature on Muslims/Islam and politics by conceptualizing, contextualizing, and historicizing different manifestations of post-Islamism in post-revolutionary Iran, Tunisia, Turkey, Lebanon, among others. The articles of this issue critically analyse the development, dynamism and socio-intellectual transformations of Muslim reformist scholars, as well as socio-political actors in Muslim majority public spheres. The topics include the evolution of contemporay Shi‘i legal theory, a post-Islamist and rational approach in contemporary reformist Islam in Iran, the development of contemporary Islamic thought, a critique of the Al-Nahda’s post-Islamist transformation in Tunisia, quietist salafism and post-Islamism, post-Islamist trends in the performing arts, and the anti-capitalist Muslims in Turkey. This Special Issue provides an interdisciplinary approach to the critical Islamic studies, Middle East studies, the MENA social movement studies, and the contemporary Islamic reform. It contributes to the growing literature on the intellectual and socio-political transformations of Muslims from Islamism towards post-Islamism.

Prof. Mojtaba Mahdavi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • post-Islamism
  • Islamic political thought
  • Post-Ijtihad
  • Al-Nahda Party
  • Shi‘i Legal Theory
  • Reformist Islam in Iran
  • Quietist Salafism
  • Anti-capitalist Muslims

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
From Victim to Hangman? Ennahda, Salafism and the Tunisian Transition
Religions 2021, 12(2), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020076 - 24 Jan 2021
Abstract
The article revisits the notion of post-Islamism that Roy and Bayat put forth to investigate its usefulness in analysing the Tunisian party Ennahda and its role in the Tunisian transition. The article argues that the notion of post-Islamism does not fully capture the [...] Read more.
The article revisits the notion of post-Islamism that Roy and Bayat put forth to investigate its usefulness in analysing the Tunisian party Ennahda and its role in the Tunisian transition. The article argues that the notion of post-Islamism does not fully capture the ideological and political evolution of Islamist parties, which, despite having abandoned their revolutionary ethos, still compete in the political arena through religious categories that subsume politics to Islam. It is only by taking seriously these religious categories that one can understand how Ennahda dealt with the challenge coming from Salafis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Many Faces of Contemporary Post-Islamism)
Open AccessArticle
Recognition to Come: Towards a Deconstructive Encounter with Iranian Identity in a Globalized World
Religions 2021, 12(1), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12010052 - 13 Jan 2021
Abstract
Considering the “relativization of identity”, “the positive recognition of the other”, “the mutual evaluation of cultures”, and the “creation of a normative world culture” as “four main kinds of cosmopolitan relationships” and, therefore, using the term cosmopolitanism in a “post-Western” register of meaning, [...] Read more.
Considering the “relativization of identity”, “the positive recognition of the other”, “the mutual evaluation of cultures”, and the “creation of a normative world culture” as “four main kinds of cosmopolitan relationships” and, therefore, using the term cosmopolitanism in a “post-Western” register of meaning, I will make a case that Iranian identity in a post-Islamist condition needs a kind of struggle for recognition if it wants to locate itself at the interface of the local and the global. Taking the correlation between the discourse of post-Islamism and a deconstructive theory of identity into consideration, this paper addresses a central question in identity studies: can a downgraded identity rooted in a decent civilization—one in which both “moral” and “material” values for the globalized word have demoted—be reinvented? I argue that being accorded recognition, however, is different from self-congratulation within the boundaries of a local identity. In the former case, a nation’s identity is recognized for something it offers to the multifacetedness and multidimensionality of the contemporary world. In the latter, that identity retreats to the civilizational memory of ancestors now no longer relevant to the world issues. For a nation to reinvent its cultural identity from a universal vantage point, it is necessary to articulate its experiences in particular cultural forms which can be understood by others. It is only then that one’s self becomes known to the other, as well as to oneself. This paper will deconstruct the concept of identity and then discuss the challenges and prospects of reinventing identity in the particular context of post-Islamist Iran. Challenges refer to the crises of an identity that could prevent its revitalization such as a persistent failure to acknowledge the historical crisis of an identity in terms of both “material” and “cultural” measures. Prospects refer to the availability of internal mechanisms that could enable reinvention of an identity, e.g., the availability of internal mechanisms that would allow the reinvention of cultural identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Many Faces of Contemporary Post-Islamism)
Open AccessArticle
Post-Islamism and Intellectual Production: A Bibliometric Analysis of the Evolution of Contemporary Islamic Thought
Religions 2021, 12(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12010049 - 11 Jan 2021
Abstract
The advent of the 1990s marked, among other things, the restructuring of the Muslim world in its relation to Islam. This new context has proved to be extremely favorable to the emergence of scholars who define themselves as reformists or modernists. They have [...] Read more.
The advent of the 1990s marked, among other things, the restructuring of the Muslim world in its relation to Islam. This new context has proved to be extremely favorable to the emergence of scholars who define themselves as reformists or modernists. They have dedicated themselves to reform in Islam based on the values of peace, human rights, and secular governance. One can find an example of this approach in the works of renowned intellectuals such as Farid Esack, Mohamed Talbi, or Mohamed Arkoun, to name a few. However, the question of Islamic reform has been debated during the 19th and 20th centuries. This article aims to comprehend the historical evolution of contemporary reformist thinkers in the scientific field. The literature surrounding these intellectuals is based primarily on content analysis. These approaches share a type of reading that focuses on the interaction and codetermination of religious interpretations rather than on the relationships and social dynamics that constitute them. Despite these contributions, it seems vital to question this contemporary thinking differently: what influence does the context of post-Islamism have on the emergence of this intellectual trend? What connections does it have with the social sciences and humanities? How did it evolve historically? In this context, the researchers will analyze co-citations in representative samples to illustrate the theoretical framework in which these intellectuals are located, and its evolution. Using selected cases, this process will help us to both underline the empowerment of contemporary Islamic thought and the formation of a real corpus of works seeking to reform Islam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Many Faces of Contemporary Post-Islamism)
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Open AccessArticle
Sayyid Jamāl ad-Dīn Asadābādī Revisited: Reinvigorating the Emancipatory Potential of Post-Islamism
Religions 2021, 12(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12010041 - 08 Jan 2021
Abstract
This article seeks to provide a framework for rereading the works of Sayyid Jamāl ad-Dīn Asadābādī/Afghani in accordance with the main characteristics of “post-Islamism”, which was coined and conceptualized by Asef Bayat. Although the term “post-Islamism” was not explicitly used by Asadābādī/Afghani himself, [...] Read more.
This article seeks to provide a framework for rereading the works of Sayyid Jamāl ad-Dīn Asadābādī/Afghani in accordance with the main characteristics of “post-Islamism”, which was coined and conceptualized by Asef Bayat. Although the term “post-Islamism” was not explicitly used by Asadābādī/Afghani himself, I argue that we may find some of the main features of a post-Islamist discourse in his works. Hence, in this article, post-Islamism does not refer to an era or a historical period, but to an intellectual discourse or project; it is understood conceptually rather than historically. I argue that, while Asadābādī/Afghani foresaw the need to acknowledge the legitimacy crisis of Islam, he nevertheless rejected the adoption of a purely secular perspective as a response. After identifying the fundamental pillars of Asadābādī/Afghani’s thought, I shall demonstrate how his approach corresponds to the reconciliatory position of post-Islamist thinking, which seeks to marry Islam with more modern values of individual choice and freedom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Many Faces of Contemporary Post-Islamism)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Islamic Law and the Neoijtihadist Phenomenon
Religions 2021, 12(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12010006 - 23 Dec 2020
Abstract
Many contemporary scholars claim that erstwhile juristic determinations were intertwined with the socio-political realities in the eighth and ninth centuries, the classical period of Islamic law. They also maintain that although the Qur’an is a divinely revealed and immutable text, the applicability of [...] Read more.
Many contemporary scholars claim that erstwhile juristic determinations were intertwined with the socio-political realities in the eighth and ninth centuries, the classical period of Islamic law. They also maintain that although the Qur’an is a divinely revealed and immutable text, the applicability of its verses is contingent on the needs and conditions of the times. This paper argues that there is a need to move beyond the current form of ijtihad to an era of neoijtihadism in Twelver Shi‘ism. The present ijtihad, which was developed in the medieval ages, has failed to produce a coherent legal system that can effectively respond to the needs of contemporary Muslims. The paper will focus on the neoijtihadist phenomenon and will argue that the traditional text-centered ijtihad has to be replaced with a new form of ijtihad which utilizes different forms of exegetical and epistemological principles to formulate rulings that will serve the Muslim community better. Neoijtihadism, as I call it, will entail a re-evaluation of classical juristic formulations and, based on the application of new exegetical and interpretive principles, can engender a divergent form of jurisprudence that is based on different epistemological parameters and universal moral values. Neoijtihadism will also entail revamping traditional Islamic legal theory (usul al-fiqh), which has hampered rather than enhanced the formulations of newer laws. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Many Faces of Contemporary Post-Islamism)
Open AccessArticle
Hizbullah’s Post-Islamist Trends in the Performing Arts
Religions 2020, 11(12), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11120645 - 02 Dec 2020
Abstract
This article outlines Hizbullah’s shift to post-Islamism and its various cultural activities in Lebanese society that underpin this shift. The Party’s involvement in these activities is integrated in current research on post-Islamism and its various social, political, and cultural manifestations. In its Islamist [...] Read more.
This article outlines Hizbullah’s shift to post-Islamism and its various cultural activities in Lebanese society that underpin this shift. The Party’s involvement in these activities is integrated in current research on post-Islamism and its various social, political, and cultural manifestations. In its Islamist stage, Hizbullah anathematized the Lebanese political system and state institutions. In its post-Islamist phase, Hizbullah became pragmatic by embarking on a policy of opening-up (infitah) in politics along with cultural and social practices. This article studies Hizbullah’s popular culture and lifestyles by focusing on its purposeful art or ‘resistance art’, which is a cultural resistance against oppression, domestic deprivation, disenfranchisement, and repression, as well as foreign aggression, invasion, occupation, and subjugation. Hizbullah exploits the concepts of cultural citizenship and cultural politics to encourage, in mixed gender spaces, purposeful performing arts: music, dancing, singing, revolutionary theater, and satire. Hizbullah appears to equate modernity with European art forms rather than indigenous forms. In its ideology and politics, Hizbullah fluctuated between Islamism and post-Islamism. While in its performing arts, Hizbullah conveyed a post-Islamist face legitimized by the principle of maslaha (public interest). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Many Faces of Contemporary Post-Islamism)
Open AccessArticle
‘Rejecting the Legacy, Restoring the Honor’: The Anti-Capitalist Muslims in Turkey
Religions 2020, 11(11), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11110621 - 20 Nov 2020
Abstract
Post-Islamism as coined by Asef Bayat in 1996 laid the framework to analyze rapid and fundamental changes in social and political life of the Muslim world. However, this paper argues that the scholarship around post-Islamism disregards neoliberal structuration introduced and expanded by post-Islamist [...] Read more.
Post-Islamism as coined by Asef Bayat in 1996 laid the framework to analyze rapid and fundamental changes in social and political life of the Muslim world. However, this paper argues that the scholarship around post-Islamism disregards neoliberal structuration introduced and expanded by post-Islamist parties and movements (such as the Justice and Development Party of Turkey). This structuration, coupled with the legacies of anti-left sentiments in preceding Islamist movements, stifles the Muslim youth in the region whose frustrations and aspirations are left silenced. Based on my ethnographic study between 2013 and 2017, the paper introduces the group of the Anti-Capitalist Muslims in Turkey as an internal challenge to the legacies of Islamist ideologies and the neoliberal politics of post-Islamism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Many Faces of Contemporary Post-Islamism)
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Open AccessEssay
Rational Shari’ah: Ahmad Qabel’s Reformist Approach
Religions 2020, 11(12), 665; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11120665 - 12 Dec 2020
Abstract
This article introduces the late Ahmad Qabel (1958–2012), a new figure among contemporary Iranian religious reformers. Qabel, a progressive mujtahid, proposed the creative theory of Shari’at-e ’Aqlani in order to reform stagnant Shari’ah rules and align the application of legal norms and [...] Read more.
This article introduces the late Ahmad Qabel (1958–2012), a new figure among contemporary Iranian religious reformers. Qabel, a progressive mujtahid, proposed the creative theory of Shari’at-e ’Aqlani in order to reform stagnant Shari’ah rules and align the application of legal norms and precepts with the space-time considerations of modern life. Critical of the superficiality of traditional jurists, who led into abeyance the progressive rational praxis within classical Shi’i theology and jurisprudence, Qabel revived and employed these rational principles in his novel method of ijtihad. This paper has four sections: first, there will be a short biographical sketch of Ahmad Qabel. The second section surveys the trajectory of the development of Shi’i fiqh in order to set the backdrop for Qabel’s arguments. Then, I will discuss some of the major rational principles which constitute the heart of Qabel’s methodology. In the last section, the practical results of Qabel’s Shari’at-e ’Aqlani are presented through some of his unconventional fatwas, which, though solidly based within the Shari’ah, took on controversial topics such as women’s rights, religious minorities, jihad, and Islamic government. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Many Faces of Contemporary Post-Islamism)
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