Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements vii 1 PREPARATION FOR A THREEFOLD SIEVE 1 1.1 Whose Agenda for the Twenty-first Century 1 1.2 The Twentieth Century Revisited Surveys and Approaches 16 1.2.1 The Way of the Historian of Religion 17 1.2.2 The Way of the Anthropologist 20 1.2.3 The Way of the Traveller 25 1.3 Methodologies for a New Millennium 27 1.3.1 Phenomenology, Husserl and Heidegger Object 28 1.3.2 Semiotics and Eco Sign 30 1.3.3 Theology and Eliade The Sacred 32 1.3.3.1 The Sacred and the...

Conclusion

Even in the earliest days of Christianity and Islam, there was not a simple, single monolithic model of The Faith. Rather, there were different, and sometimes competing, nascent theological registers. The early Council of Jerusalem, on the one hand, and the Battle of Siffin (ad 657) on the other, provide excellent examples of incipient diversity. The Christian 'paradigm of early dispute and attempted resolution' is neatly viewed in chapter 15 of The Acts of the Apostles the debate was over the...

Abbreviations

ARCIC Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission CCA The Cambridge Companion to Augustine CCSL Corpus Christianorum Series Latina CIH Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum IV, Insciptiones Sabaeas et Himiariticas continens, vols I III, 1889-1927 EI2 Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edn EIS Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam ISIM The International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World, Leiden SOAS The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London To the Memory of my beloved...

Crisis Islam

Will the Islam of the future be a faith which is in perpetual crisis as it confronts, and perhaps attempts to absorb, varying modes and articulations of 'modernity' That term, of course, itself requires proper definition many have been offered.29 It is used loosely to provide a simple but striking rhetorical antithesis, as in Muqtedar Khan's statement that Muslim women are caught in the struggle between the imperialism of modernity and the intransigence of tradition. At times, they are victims...

Espositos Islamic Threat

In his seminal work, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel P. Huntington likened what he characterised as 'the Islamic Resurgence' both to Marxism and, more usefully in his view, to the Protestant Reformation.199 The former was textually based and looked forward to 'the perfect society' which would be achieved through a process of change and rejection of key elements of the status quo. The latter inveighed against corruption and stagnation, and espoused purification...

Geertzs Islam Observed

Geertz's book is subtitled Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia and thus focuses almost totally on those two countries. The four chapters which comprise Geertz's short book were initially a series of lectures, the Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion and Science which were given at Yale University in 1967.320 The author's intention was to provide a theoretical substratum which would allow a comparative examination of religion and an analysis of Islam in Morocco and Indo-nesia.321 In...

I43 Case Study Ground Zero The Sacred

Jansen reminds us, 'select a limited number of the precepts of their religion and make these absolute.'555 Not only do they make them absolute they anoint them as sacred. ' Abd al-Salam Faraj, one of those who assassinated President Anwar Sadat of Egypt (i9i - i), made the position extremely clear To carry out God's prescripts is an obligation for the Muslims. Hence, the establishment of an Islamic State is obligatory . If such a state cannot be established without...

Cantwell Smiths Islam in Modern History

Wilfred Cantwell Smith's volume is an altogether more old-fashioned, but nonetheless, readable account of Islam, produced in the middle years of the twentieth century. Unlike Esposito's book, it did not seek to respond to a contemporary pressing issue but intended, rather, to be a modern continuation of those histories of classical Islam which had preceded it. It was published in 1957 in an age when Islam could not have been perceived as a potential supplanter of communism as the arch-rival of...

Sunna Definitions and Distinctions

As a linguistic object and theological 'ground', the Arabic term sunna in Islam is both ancient and multivalent. Numerous definitions are available, both succinct and extended. A few will be offered and outlined here. For example, a modern glossary to a translation of Malik's al-Muwatta' defines sunna (pl. sunan) as 'lit. a form, the customary practice of a person or group of people'.210 The lexicographer Hans Wehr understands the term to mean 'habitual practice, customary procedure or action,...

Tradition Purification Kenosis and Return

Modernity, then, for the contemporary salafi embraces tradition and the past the truly modern salafi is one who is in love with the past. And, as we have stressed, the key leitmotiv which animates the spirit of the salafiyya is Return. In the light of this, it is useful to survey and analyse how the 'modernist' debate in Islam has run in general. It is a mixed and multi-faceted picture. The following paragraphs provide snapshots. Some harmonise neatly with the underlying positions of the...

Reading the Sacred in Islam

We saw earlier543 that Mircea Eliade defined the sacred as 'the opposite of the profane'. The sacred is subject to degradation, and there is perpetual war between the sacred and profane, the sacralised and the desacralised. And 'secular' can be an acceptable synonym for 'profane'.544 Drawing, then, on Eliade, we find three key motifs in any discussion of the sacred non-secular, degradation, conflict. A casual glance at a typical English-Arabic dictionary yields the following Arabic words for...

Preface and acknowledgements

This is not an Introduction to Islam, nor is it a textbook. There are many excellent introductions and textbooks in the marketplace already. One notes in particular David Waines, An Introduction to Islam (Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 1995), Gerhard Endress, An Introduction to Islam (Edinburgh Edinburgh University Press, 1988), Sachiko Murata and William C. Chittick, The Vision of Islam The Foundations of Muslim Faith and Practice (London and New York I. B. Tauris, 1996) and John L....

Political Islam

Will the Islam of our new age be a thoroughly political, or politicised, Islam, pursuing the classical but oft-abused theory that politics and religion are a seamless whole, and the ensuing, ineluctable stance that the only Islam worthy of the name is that which pursues an offensive, as opposed to a defensive, jihad 73 Would such an Islam, mirrored in the Afghani Taliban74 on the one hand, and the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini (1902-89)75 with his fatwa76-toting propensity, on the other,...

Case Study Ground Zero Object

If, in the months following the terrorist attacks on America on 11 September 2001, one had asked a very simple question, namely, 'what lies beyond Huntington's thesis ', the almost universal answer, from scholars and the ill-informed alike, might have been The Paradigm Spectre of Ground Zero. The following survey and analysis is based on contemporary media records. As we have already noted, on 11 September 2001 two suicide airliners smashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in...

Case Study Ground Zero Sign

Some cities give birth to a unique semiotics one thinks, for example, of Mecca and the hajj in which the semiotic focus is both travel to, and arrival at, the Ka'ba.542 Jerusalem, too, is another sign of religious desire and pilgrimage, tragically labelled 'Slaughterhouse of the Religions' in recent times.543 Now, like the city of Jerusalem, the fundamental semiotics of New York breathe a threnody of terrorism and death whose memory will linger for hundreds of generations. Of Jerusalem, that...

The Twentieth Century Revisited Surveys and Approaches

The twentieth century found scholars and interested observers alike deploying a multitude of approaches to the often intransigent narrative of the Middle East in general and the faith of Islam in particular. Three of these approaches will be surveyed briefly in the pages which follow. They are not intended to be exclusive or conclusive, or to indicate in any way that there were no other worthwhile approaches to our subject. They are merely intended to be illustrative of a diversity which...

Reading the Signs of Islam

Everything Signifies 481 Umberto Eco's dictum allows us to identify at least six important semiotic fields in any attempt at reading the signs of Islam. They may be successively termed (1) the Textual, (2) the Foundational, (3) the Terrestrial, (4) the Proclamative, (5) the Eschatological and (6) the Celestial. This listing, which is progressive, is by no means intended to be exclusive. Many other semiotic fields might have been cited, but we will restrict our attention to these six as a...

Rejecting the Terms Baldick contra Popovic and Veinstein

Earlier Western commentators on Islam have had few problems in deploying such terms as 'orthodoxy' and 'heterodoxy' with complete freedom, as if they were immediately self-explicable. Thus we find Professor Sir Hamilton Gibb, writing originally in 1949, stating in an initial chapter By this time the pressure of Muslim doctrine and practice had mastered most of the resistances that had, at an earlier time, sought an outlet in heterodox and subversive movements. But this did not lead to...

Dialogic Islam

Can the new century look forward to a dialogic Islam centred on a radical Christian-Islamic, or other, interfaith dialogue which goes below surface hospitality and encounter, exploring and comparing divergent theologies in an atmosphere of mutual trust and absence of recrimination over past wrongs and hostilities 146 The semiotics of such a putative scenario are often difficult to read.147 At the end of his book Muslims in Western Europe,148 J0rgen Nielsen wrote a final chapter entitled...

The Authority of the ekklesia 2 Augustine Manichaeism and the Flesh Rejected

A cursory review of the chronology of Augustine's life (ad 354-430) shows that it was spent mainly in North Africa (354-83, 388-430), with an important Italian sojourn (383-8)130 sandwiched between his two major African periods. Aurelius Augustinus was born on 13 November 354 in Thagaste (Numidia Proconsularis) in what is now eastern Algeria.131 Here he began his early education before passing to the nearby town of Madauros and thence to Carthage.132 He clearly disliked his schooldays, hating...

Reading the Phenomena of Islam

From the perspective of epoche, in which a deliberate attempt is made to abstain from pronouncing upon, and judging, the ontological aspect of what appears, a summary thumbnail sketch - which is also phenomenological - may be presented as follows there are two dimensions a historical and an intellectual. Historically, one perceives a pre-Islamic Arabian framework or milieu, - the Jahiliyya or Age of Ignorance, as it is known in Islam, comprising a mysterious, relatively unknown North Arabia...

Reading the Signs of Christianity

It is a truism that Christianity is a world of signs. In Roman Catholic Christianity, it is believed to be founded upon seven classical signs in its sacramental theology. The very definition of sacrament is semiotic in structure and orientation, as even the most elementary statement drawn from The Penny Catechism shows A. A Sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace, ordained by Jesus Christ, by which grace is given to our souls.230 Other, more sophisticated, statements of the same theme...

Christian Tradition Definitions and Distinctions

Lexically the word 'tradition' has several facets. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English provides four fundamental definitions 1. Opinion or belief or custom handed down handing down of these, from ancestors to posterity esp. orally or by practice. 2. (Theol.) Doctrine etc. supposed to have divine authority but not committed to writing, esp. (1) laws held by Pharisees to have been delivered by God to Moses, (2) oral teaching of Christ and Apostles not recorded in writing by immediate...

Christianity Sources of Authority and Right Doctrines

Both Christianity and Islam teach obedience to God's authority and man's properly constituted and delegated authority. From the former spring what the theologians will construe and articulate as right doctrines in all their glorious diversity from the latter spring what the statesmen and politicians will establish as right order. The fundamental paradigm in both Islam and Christianity is that man's authority should flow from God's authority.23 (Practice does not always follow theory ) In...

Phenomenology Husserl and Heidegger Object

Phenomenology is one of the slipperiest of philosophical methods. It can also be one of the most complex. Modern phenomenology is ineluctably bound up with the names of Edmund Husserl (i 59-i93 ) and his successor in his Professorship at the University of Freiburg, Martin Heidegger (i 9-i976).377 And, as Paul Ricoeur insists, while Husserl's thought does not constitute the sum total of phenomenology, it lies at the very heart of that philosophical method.37 Husserl's phenomenology has been...

The Authority of the Text 1 Ibn Hanbal and the Text Transcendent

When one considers the mediaeval group of theologians who sheltered under the umbrella term of Mu'tazila, the great SunnI theologian Ahmad b. Hanbal (ad 780855) and the ninth-century Mihna or Inquisition, one is reminded most vividly of two modern pugilists in a boxing ring. The perception of the nature of the Text - in this case the Holy Qur'an - together with the religious and secular authority derived from that perception was the coveted prize for Caliph and 'ulama' alike. The contest is of...

Reading the Sacred in Christianity

The word sacred is a commonplace in Christianity. It infuses both language and worship itself. In Catholic Christianity, a cult of worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus developed which had its origins in mediaeval German mysticism and which was fiercely attacked by the Jansenists.255 In words which, from the comparative perspective though not of course in terms of content, seem to echo the mediaeval Islamic debates about the nature and union of the attributes of God - were they an identical,...

Post Conciliar The Spirit and Practice of Marcel Lefebvre

The Second Vatican Council, the 21st Council of the Catholic Church, lasted from 1962 to 1965. It provoked an intellectual, theological and, perhaps above all, insofar as it affected tradition Tradition, liturgical convulsion. The very brief survey of Dei Verbum above is important on two counts firstly, it is an example of developing attitudes in traditional exegesis. Secondly, the gloss by Bishop Kallistos Ware which we have just cited indicates how the 'spirit' of Vatican II was to be invoked...

The Authority of the ekklesia I Arius and Arianism

The case of Arius and Arianism is profoundly instructive in any study of the exercise of early Church authority and the establishment in that age of what were perceived to be 'right doctrines'. The Arian heresy bestraddled and challenged such concepts with powerful force. Maurice Wiles has rightly drawn attention to the real difficulties inherent in any quest for the historical Arius 'It may be that, in view of the nature of the sources, the historical Arius will always remain as elusive a...

Theology and Eliade The Sacred

The great historian of religion, Professor Mircea Eliade (1907-86), is best known for editing a massive multi-volume Encyclopedia of Religion.455 However, his list of other publications is huge, and his influence has been correspondingly extensive.456 At the end of an extraordinarily varied career, Eliade rejoiced in the title of Sewell L. Avery Distinguished Service Professor (later Emeritus) in the Divinity School, and Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, of the University of...

Neo Ijtihad and Return to the Salaf

Our survey of sunna, with its various definitions, distinctions and connotations, is intended to demonstrate and underline the fact that sunna and hadlth have as central a role in Islam as oral and written tradition do in Christianity. Furthermore, they can create and mould a mindset which will automatically reject innovation (bid'a) and, indeed, any criticism of that which is invincibly held to be sacred. Within such a mindset, the historico-literary critical approach beloved of modern...

Intra Conciliar Dei Verbum and John XXIII

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (1881-1963) came to the papal throne in 1958 and assumed the name of John XXIII. He was born in Sotto il Monte near Bergamo, in Italy, on Friday 25 November 1881, at 10 15 am.136 His early life of poverty 137 gave no hint of that conclave seventy-seven years later when he would boldly assume and sacralise a name supposedly made unusable by Baldassare Cossa, 'John XXIII' (reg.1410-15), an anti-pope, condottiere 'ex-pirate who had massacred, cheated and perjured his way...

Pre Conciliar Pascendi and Divino Afflante Spiritu

Pope Pius X (reg. 1903-14) famously characterised 'Modernism' as cumulatio omnium haeresium (the synthesis of all heresies) 39 he went on to say Undoubtedly, were anyone to attempt the task of collecting together all the errors that have been broached against the faith and to concentrate into one the sap and substance of them all, he could not succeed in doing so better than the Modernists have done. Nay, they have gone further than this, for, as We have already intimated, their system means...

The Sacred and the Profane

Eliade's volume entitled The Sacred and the Profane had as its subtitle The Nature of Religion. In this important work, he examined the ways in which the sacred has manifested itself under the four headings of sacred space, sacred time, sacred nature and sacred cosmos.490 As a portmanteau word by which to embrace the concept of the 'act of manifestation of the sacred', Eliade proposes that we use the term hiero-phany. He likes the neatness of this neologism because it does not transcend its...

Naipauls Among the Believers and Beyond Belief

In October 2001, Sir Vidia Naipaul was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.339 Nalpaul speaks with a unique voice, whether it be in his fiction or his travelogues. He once observed that 'I am the kind of writer that people think other people are reading'.340 Jason Cowley assessed his work as follows His books are haunted by solitude and disciplined by a need to understand the anxieties of the decolonised world. Long ago, dissatisfied with the limitations of fiction, Naipaul liberated...

Semiotics and Eco Sign

Professor Umberto Eco born in 1932 , Professor of Semiotics at the University of Bologna, is the primary architect and high priest of semiotics in contemporary times.413 He has a huge intellectual range. His novels - The Name of the Rose,414 Foucault's Pendulum,415 The Island of the Day Before,416 Baudolino417 - have become as popular on airport bookstalls as his more serious philosophical works on semiotics have in the intellectual atmosphere of the academy. His essays and pieces of collected...

Reading the Phenomena of Christianity

Phenomenology may loosely, but lucidly, be described as the unadorned 'science of the Object'. We noted, earlier, useful definitions of the term as 'science of appearances or appearings', 'a theory of intentionality' and 'the study of phenomena in the sense of the ways in which things appear to us in different forms of conscious experience'.218 We noted Heidegger's view that phenomenology was the gateway to ontology, and that the latter was only possible because of the former.219 We surveyed,...

Islam Sources of Authority and Right Doctrines

We stressed earlier that obedience to God's authority and man's lawful, God-given authority are fundamental leitmotivs in both Islam and Christianity. For the Muslim, the text of the Qur'an is the divine fons et origo of doctrine suppemented by that part of the hadith literature which is deemed to be wholly reliable. The sacred text of the Qur'an is considered to be utterly incomparable and cannot be duplicated.281 The text, and the God from whom it emanates not in a Neoplatonic sense are...

Mircea Eliade the Sacred and Islam

Mircea Eliade was certainly aware of the religious and political significance of the founder-Prophet of Islam, Muhammad c. 570-632 . Indeed, the subtitle of the third volume of his A History of Religious Ideas is From Muhammad to the Age of Reforms. It is in this work that he provides one of the closest and most extensive insights into his thinking about Islam and the sacred.506 His sources are varied but, by the date of publication in i9 5, already somewhat dated. They range from A. J....

Gilsenans Recognizing Islam

Gilsenan's classic and immensely readable Recognizing Islam was the product of much 'material drawn from personal experience of Islam' and an attempt 'to recreate the surprise of the moment when my work really began, that moment when realization collided with illusion in South Arabia'.25 His themes range classically and widely from 'the formation and transformation of power and authority within Muslim societies' through an assessment of the 'ulama' to 'the sense of a world turned inside Many of...