[P4950] Between Continuity & Change: Conceptualizing Slavery, Tyranny, Gender, and Tolerance in Islamic Thought & the Middle East

Created by Bader Mousa Al-Saif
Monday, 11/20/17 10:30am

SUMMARY:

Modern and contemporary Muslim thinkers have been long preoccupied with assessing the degree and impact of continuity and change in Islamic thought and praxis. Confronted with the opposing infiltration of outside influence and stern attachment to selective reading and application by some, thinkers have yielded numerous responses to the most befitting constituents and manifestations of Islam. This contestation over the character and direction of contemporary Islam has been best exemplified in religious reform discourse that problematizes and blurs the boundaries between change and continuity. Casting doubt on the veracity of continuity claims, many religious reformers rebrand their seemingly novel concepts as a return to, or even better, a truer embodiment of continuity in Islamic thought, thereby better representing continuity than its supposed proponents. The never-ending dialectic between continuity and change has resulted in various deliberations and positions, influencing conceptual reform in the process. This panel highlights some of these sites of contestation through evolving debates and the (re)production of meaning over slavery, tyranny, gender, and tolerance in Islamic thought and as practiced in the Middle East.

The first paper traces the transformation of legal discourse over slavery and concubinage in the writings of jurists from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. It argues that the views of the reformist camp have widely influenced the change in attitudes toward slave-concubinage in Islamic law and practice. The second paper traces another set of conceptual changes in Islamic thought over the notions of tyranny and despotism. It takes the Qur'an as its analytical point of departure before turning to the varied ways in which these concepts came to be defined, used, and framed by select Muslim thinkers and reformers from the late nineteenth century to the present day. The third paper discusses the compatibility of Islam and feminism by examining the contrasting reform discourse of two contemporary female Moroccan scholars. By showcasing the recourse to a secular frame versus that of Islamic liberation theology, the differences between a reconstructionist and revivalist reformism are highlighted. The fourth paper tackles the conceptual (re)production of diversity and tolerance in Islamic thought by examining the transnational standing and application of both ideas in contemporary Arabian Peninsula whether through lived practices or intellectual outputs. The paper argues for the existence of a silenced diversity and an alternative local rendition of tolerance yet questions whether such evolution embodies the full potential of religious reform.

DISCIPLINES:

Hist

ABSTRACTS:

MEMBERS:

John O. Voll

(Georgetown University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Discussant;

Bader Mousa Al-Saif

(Georgetown University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

M. Amine Tais

(Georgetown University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;
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Mohammed El-Sayed Bushra

(Georgetown University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;
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Omar Anchassi

(University of Exeter)
I am primarily interested in Islamic Law and Legal Theory and their intersections with Kal?m-theology in various periods. I also entertain interests in Qur’?nic hermeneutics (particularly feminist), the social history of science in the Muslim world...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;