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Research Article

EEO. 2021; 20(6): 804-810

Political Islamism: A Challenge to Muslim Political and Philosophical Thought

Dr Mohammed Shafiq, Amjad Hussain, Dr Naqeeb Hussain Shah, Dr Mohammad Ibrar, Dr Akhtar Munir, Dr Khadija Azizi.


The tensions encapsulated in the theme "borders and margins" have a very distinct dimension: Political Islamism. This is the dominant strain exerting pressure on the closed and enclosed "borders and margins" and challenges western political thought to respond to the myriad challenges posed by the existential problematic. That Political Islamism is directly available in the structure of "capitalist modernity", and is based on a number of fundamental mistakes that scholars of Islam make vis-á-vis postmodernism and Islam, is the main argument in this paper. For instance, Ziauddin Sardar (Middlesex University, London), Akbar S Ahmed (University of Washington) and Tariq Ramadan (Oxford University) are the go-to scholars on the subject of Islam and Postmodernism. They provide Muslim scholarship with wrong premises, premises based in Analytic philosophy which is, read via Critical Theory, the fountainhead of "capitalist modernity"; and maintain a clear line of distinction— the binary— between Islam and Postmodernism. Background research shows that this is not the case. Rather it builds barriers to the thought which can potentially release the pressures felt on "borders and margins". They deliberately, or unconsciously, fail to see any continuities in the two contemporary thought practices of Islam, mediated via Dr Muhammad Iqbal (Sardar's and Ahmed's social, cultural and religious context), and postmodernism. This oversight by Muslim "polymaths" and scholars gives room to Political Islamism, it is contended in this paper, to rear its ugly manifestations. If the concept of Political Islamism (Ayubi, 1993) is based in "capitalist modernity" (Aijaz Ahmed, 1987), an ideology which had been holding sway in the Muslim world since latter's first brush with Western thought, then would tackling this aspect of Muslim political thought adequately release the pressure on "borders and margins" the world over? How do you go about tackling it politically? Is here room for Muslim political thought drawing inspiration from Critical Theory (my metaphor for a vast scholarship in Continental philosophy under the sign of postmodernism) and Dr Muhammad Iqbal, the missing "praxial dimension" (Bernstein, 1995) of Critical Theory? Contemporary western political thought needs to open its intellectual borders before any substantive gains could be achieved on the ground. Mark Duffield's (2003, 2010) seminal insights, developed in the discipline of International Relations' conflict resolution contexts, combined with Critical Theory, can provide possibilities for developing a new paradigm in the future growth of this human organism called political philosophy? Duffield's image of the division of the world into "the insured life " and "the uninsured life" suggests an uncanny link with the metaphor of "borders and margins" as well; a jealously guarded and poorly understood political problematic coaxing political science to its political action.

Key words: Islam, Postmodernism, Critical Theory, Muhammad Iqbal, Muslim Political Philosophy

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