Islam and Modernity: Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition

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University of Chicago Press, May 15, 1984 - Religion - 172 pages
"As Professor Fazlur Rahman shows in the latest of a series of important contributions to Islamic intellectual history, the characteristic problems of the Muslim modernists—the adaptation to the needs of the contemporary situation of a holy book which draws its specific examples from the conditions of the seventh century and earlier—are by no means new. . . . In Professor Rahman's view the intellectual and therefore the social development of Islam has been impeded and distorted by two interrelated errors. The first was committed by those who, in reading the Koran, failed to recognize the differences between general principles and specific responses to 'concrete and particular historical situations.' . . . This very rigidity gave rise to the second major error, that of the secularists. By teaching and interpreting the Koran in such a way as to admit of no change or development, the dogmatists had created a situation in which Muslim societies, faced with the imperative need to educate their people for life in the modern world, were forced to make a painful and self-defeating choice—either to abandon Koranic Islam, or to turn their backs on the modern world."—Bernard Lewis, New York Review of Books

"In this work, Professor Fazlur Rahman presents a positively ambitious blueprint for the transformation of the intellectual tradition of Islam: theology, ethics, philosophy and jurisprudence. Over the voices advocating a return to Islam or the reestablishment of the Sharia, the guide for action, he astutely and soberly asks: What and which Islam? More importantly, how does one get to 'normative' Islam? The author counsels, and passionately demonstrates, that for Islam to be actually what Muslims claim it to be—comprehensive in scope and efficacious for every age and place—Muslim scholars and educationists must reevaluate their methodology and hermeneutics. In spelling out the necessary and sound methodology, he is at once courageous, serious and profound."—Wadi Z. Haddad, American-Arab Affairs

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Dr. Fazlur Rahman Malik , born on September 21, 1919 in Hazara District of Pakistan and died On July 26, 1988. His father namely Molana Shahabuddin was an Islamic Scholar of Deoband school of Hanfi path. The book , ISLAM AND MODERNITY transformation of an intellectual , is an abstract of a life widen thoughts of an scholar and result of an eagle view of centuries for practices and experiments in education under the real shadow of revelation , so for as the Author begins the book with a caption and title name THE HERITAGE and step by step, he explores his vision on CLASSICAL ISLAMIC MODERNISM AND EDUCATION and simultaneously converted his approach to expose CONTEMPORARY MODERNISM and in conclusion as the said Author suggested , with sincerity , PROSPECTS AND SOME SUGGESTIONS for a new era in Islamic system of education, based upon the unity of Quranic study and
unite the collective thoughts of centuries under the revealed way of real and
actual source of knowledge , mean the last book of Almighty Allah, the Holy QURAN.
Prof. Shafqat Hussain Khadim
Karachi, Pakistan.

Selected pages


The Heritage
Classical Islamic Modernism and Education
Contemporary Modernism
Prospects and Some Suggestions

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Page 9 - Long before we understand ourselves through the process of self-examination, we understand ourselves in a self-evident way in the family, society, and state in which we live. The focus of subjectivity is a distorting mirror. The self-awareness of the individual is only a flickering in the closed circuits of historical life. That is why the prejudices of the individual, far more than his judgments, constitute the historical reality of his being.
Page 5 - The Qur'an is the divine response, through the Prophet's mind, to the moral-social situation of the Prophet's Arabia, particularly to the problems of the commercial Meccan society of his day.
Page 8 - This, of course, admits of varying degrees, but certainly, in the case of the Qur'an, the objective situation is a sine qua non for understanding, particularly since, in view of its absolute normativity for Muslims, it is literally God's response through Muhammad's mind (this latter factor has been radically underplayed by the Islamic orthodoxy) to a historic situation (a factor likewise drastically restricted by the Islamic orthodoxy in a real understanding of the Qur'an).
Page 8 - ... the effort to understand the meaning of a relevant text or precedent in the past, containing a rule, and to alter that rule by extending or restricting or otherwise modifying it in such a manner that a new situation can be subsumed under it by a new solution.

About the author (1984)

Fazlur Rahman (1919-1988) was the Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Islamic Thought at the University of Chicago. He also taught at Durham University, McGill University, and UCLA. At Chicago he was instrumental in buildingnbsp;the Near Eastern Studies program.