Secular Muslims and the Tapestry of Islamicate Secularity: The Strands of a Contested Tradition 公开

Payne, James Isaac (2011)

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Secular Muslims and the Tapestry of Islamicate Secularity:
The Strands of a Contested Tradition
By Isaac Payne
This thesis inquires into Muslim perceptions and conceptions of political secularism in
both Western and non-European societies. This study begins with an investigation of secularity
in its Western context by writing about the philosophical, sociological, and political aspects of
secularism; second, it surveys the case study of Egypt and Egyptian Sunni Muslim formations of
political secularism in the 19th-21st centuries, highlighting the important themes of this debate
that occur beyond strictly European experiences; third, it examines the writings of Tariq
Ramadan and Yusuf al-Qaradawi and explains the most evident, though not the exclusive,
characteristics and typologies of secular Muslims and Muslim views of political secularism.
This research asks several distinct questions that I address throughout my thesis. First,
given the common references to "secular Islam" and "secular Muslims" in contemporary media
sources, I ask: what does it mean to be a secular Muslim? And, similarly, what does being
secular imply for how the individual and society define Islam and the role of Islam in that
My conclusions based on my research are that in examining the contested issues among
political secularists and Islam, one must account for a diverse spectrum of topics that differ from
Western discourses on secularism; namely, one must reflect on how these individuals view the
shari'a, the state, positive law, and the nexus among these in regards to both a "public vision" of
Islam and a secular Weltanschauung. I submit that Muslim conceptions of political secularism
include (not exhaustively): the, at least, partial separation of Islam from the functions of the
state and the larger political sphere, the marginalization, though not complete separation, of the
shari'a from the legal structure and legal culture of a secularizing society, the rejection of a
"hard" comprehensive Islam ( islam shamil) as formulated by some "Islamists," and the
association of secularism with a rational, autonomous, and universal mind-set.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Preface: Reflections on Islam in the Maghrib
Introduction: Secular Significance
Chapter One What is Secularism? The Secular? Secularization?
Chapter Two Introduction to Islam and Secularity
Chapter Three Political Secularism: Tariq Ramadan's Stance
Chapter Four Objections to Secularism and Secular Muslims: Yusuf al-Qaradawi
Chapter Five Towards the Post-Secular?

About this Honors Thesis

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