Editorial 37 1-2

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Ovamir Anjum

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Abstract

The four research articles in this issue address various traditions in Islamic inquiry. Andrew F. March’s “Islamic Constitutionalism Before Sovereignty” explores an important moment in Islamic modernity for the purposes of drawing a contrast with twentieth-century, post-caliphal Islamist thought. He argues that although the debates of the 1860s and Ottoman constitutionalism do not lead directly to a non-sovereigntist political vision, they are representative of a pre-colonial (and thus, to a certain extent, pre-apologetic) Islamic thought that centralizes the public interest, the varieties of political judgment, and the compatibility of distinct kinds of expertise with a desacralized centralized authority. Atif Suhail Siddiqui’s “Theological and Intellectual Roots in Deobandi Thought” focuses on Muḥammad Qāsim Nānawtawī and his Ḥujjat al-Islām. This text’s polemical methodology (critiquing and refuting Christian theological anthropology and Hindu mythology) presents a unique approach to philosophical dialectics, as based on propositional logic and pragmatic philosophy. Emad Hamdeh’s “Shaykh Google as Ḥāfiẓ al-ʿAṣr” argues that autodidactism in the traditional domains of hadith and fiqh, enabled by print media, is perceived by the ʿulamāʾ to be a threat to what they consider to be the “proper” understanding of religion, in that it constitutes a threat to traditional scholarly authority. He concludes: “This technological transformation creates competition over religious authority between ʿulamāʾ, who are trained in Islamic sciences, and religious activists, whose authority is based upon persuasion and the interpretation of texts they primarily access through print and the internet.” Finally, Akhmad Akbar Susamto’s “Toward a New Framework of Islamic Economic Analysis” proposes new conditions under which an economics can be considered “Islamic”, and then defines the scope of Islamic economics and its methods. He seeks to reinvigorate the field of Islamic economics and to build its body of knowledge.


 

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