The Myth of The Authenticity (A Study in Islamic Fundamentalism)

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About The Book The Myth of Authenticity: A study in Islamic Fundamentalism is an analytical and historical study of the crisis milleu the Muslim society is confronted with. As an ideology, fundamentalism strives to assert Islamic traditional values in radically changed socio-cultural and knowledgeable environment. But instead of forging and effective instrument of state craft, it seeks recourse in "authenticity" a myth which, can hardly meet the demands of the time. The fund...
About The Book

The Myth of Authenticity: A study in Islamic Fundamentalism is an analytical and historical study of the crisis milleu the Muslim society is confronted with. As an ideology, fundamentalism strives to assert Islamic traditional values in radically changed socio-cultural and knowledgeable environment. But instead of forging and effective instrument of state craft, it seeks recourse in "authenticity" a myth which, can hardly meet the demands of the time.

The fundamentalist view of the world looks more a search for a world that once was. It could inspire a few, but prudence demands that it should not be pushed too far.


About The Author

Recipient of 1992 Pakistan National Book Council Award for his: Islamic Modernism, Dr. S.M.A. Sayeed is Professor of Philosophy, in the University of Karachi. He has also taught in the University of Peshawar (1964-71). He is past President of Moral and Social Philosophy of Pakistan Philosophical Congress (1967) and Secretary of Social Science Section of Scientific Society, Pakistan Philosophical Congress (1995).



Islamic fundamentalism may be viewed as an ideology committed to the reaffirmation of the Islamic traditional values, modes of understanding and behavior out oftune with a radically changed socio-cultural milieu. Unlike the brute traditionalism, it does not deny the reality of change but desperately hopes to keep the past alive. On the contrary, it accepts social change but goes for a more arduous undertaking of governing it with traditional values and modes of understanding. It is an avowed affirmation of the strength of faith and potency of tradition in their remarkable relevance to suit the current needs. Since Islam is believed to be an all encompassing' life-view, the fundamentalists are at pains to cater to a conceptual framework of considerable magnitude. The socio-political issues are to be perceived and articulated with reference to it. Since it furnishes the very basis of solidarity and cohesion of the society, it implies a regulative instrumentality to ensure unity in the face of nascent pluralism. It thus necessitates the existence of an ideal polity. Religion and politics thus get fused with each other.

The present wave of Islamic resurgence in the Muslim World has been conforming to the cyclical recurrence of revivalist movements. The Islamic History presents a causal pattern of Islamic reassertion arising out of a preceding 'crisis milieu'. Whenever the Islamic society undergoes a major spiritual, socio-economic or political crisis, a painful soul searching takes place. The basic tenets, of Islam are put to re-examination and the society manages to forge a relatively indigenous response to meet the 'crisis milieu'. It is summoned to return to Islam in its authenticity.

The resurgence of Islamic ethos in the contemporary setting presents a much more complex phenomenon. The dialectic still holds and the Islamic reassertion in a relatively indigenous cultural fold appears as response to a multi-dimensional crisis environment. "For over two centuries the Islamic world has experienced a protracted crisis encompassing the socio-cultural, economic, political and most basically, the spiritual realms'.2 The Muslim countries have been undergoing successive experiences which include political disorientation under foreign ideologies, disastrous developmental strategies, economic depressions, cultural erosion and military defeats. The religious commitment has been on the increase due to appalling poverty, wealth-imbalance and the consequent issuing social miseries. The applicability of socio-economic causality is not contested but the ascendancy of the West. This is turn results in bemoaning erosion of indigenous culture. The loss of identity consequent upon the obliteration of traditional social cohesion and solidarity become factors to be reckoned with.

Historically, the roots of the present day Islamic fundamentalism in the Arab Muslim World could be traced back to the crisis milieu that emerged with the decline of the Ottoman power. The loss of political strength coupled with oppressive misrule led to 'a legitimacy crisis'. The Arab/Islamic world resented the Turkish dynastic rules, its imperial institution and political reforms repugnant to Islamic sensibility. It precipitated revivalist movements. Al- Wahhabia, al- Mahdiyyah and al-Sanusiyya emerged in the periphery of the empire. Thus a blend of puritanism, militancy and sufism formed nativist responses to religio-political crises of the limes. It no doubt proved instrumental in the rise of twentieth century fundamentalism, but its primitivism failed to present an adequate model for the modernist milieu of the period. The task was left to the Salafiyyah movement.

The demise of the Ottoman empire left a fragmented Arab World under British and French hegemony. The achievement of freedom from alien control and establishment of a legitimate government by forging a viable ideology have remained the twin objectives before the Arab Muslim World ever since, though those have been partially realized. Nationalism emerged as an autistic response with pronounced negative slant. The imperialist West was denounced. Its oppressive rule and infidel culture remained an object of contempt. But surprisingly enough, the norms and practices, policies and institutions opted for by the emerging regimes remained by and large alien in character. The intellectual elites in the Muslim World sought recourse in Islam to off set the painful experience of the loss of identity. But Islam assumed a radically altered connotation in the process of ideological re-adjustment. The early Islamic reformism on the Egyptian soil found al- Afghani and Abduh fighting imperialism with its own weapons. They diagnosed their decline and assessed the strength of the enemies and realized the relevance of rationalism for progress and development. Al-Afghani's Islam, the sole viable alternative to Western materialism remained entrenched in a scientifically modernized setting. Abduh found no difficulty in harmonizing Islam with Western-styled rationalism and harnessed it to manage the human sphere in the Islamic Egypt. Abduh's disciple. Rida, though remained busy in modernizing Islamic Law yet suspected inherent danger of unrestrained rationalism. The engulfing crisis of inter-war years turned Salafiyyah more conservative. In the mid 1930s Rida's relatively moderate conservatism gave way to the radicalism of the Brotherhood. 'In a period of acute crisis induced by political turmoil, ineffective leadership, socio-economic conflicts, and European imperialism, the quest for the militant Islamic alternative appeared inevitable'.




Revivalism: The Reformulation of Islamic  
Weltanschauung: The Hanbalite Model and  
Ibn Tamiya (1263-1328 A.D:) 3
The Premodernist Wahhabism 30
Wahhabism: The Ideology 32
Wahhabism: The Polity 40
Twentieth Century Wahhabism on the Arab Soil 50
Wahhabism: A catalyst for detribalization 55
The Birth of Polity 61
Ibn Saud and the Establishment of the regime 63
The Disruptive Modernizing Milieu 68
Radical Fundamentalism: The Emergence of Muslim Brotherhood 84
Social Change and its Discontent 86
The Muslim Brotherhood: A Political Phenomenon 95
Ideological Politics in Syria 110
Sudan: Quest for Islamic Identity 115
Politicised Islam 121
The Muslim Brotherhood: Mentality and Ideology 125
The Brotherhood and its Ideologues 144
Conservative Fundamentalism  
Mawdudi: The Ideology of Nee-orthodoxy 174
The Reformulation of Islamic Weltanschauung 180
The Characterization of Divinity 183
The Shaping of Religious Consciousness 188
The Nature of Prophecy 193
The Shaping up of the Moral Outlook 197
The Inseparability of Religion and Politics 200
The Institutional Structure of the Islamic State 209
The Myth of Ijtihad 212
The Raison detre of Islamic State 216
The Importance and Implications of Social Justice 218
The Sanctity of Private Property 219
The Search of Cultural Authenticity 229
Ideology and Sanctified Militancy 238
The Fate of Ideology in the Midst of Political Realities 241
The Myth of Authenticity  
The Arab Muslim World and Ideological Cross Currents 269
The Advent of Modernism 271
The Triumph of Nationalism 275
Radical Islamic Fundamentalism: The Sole Response to a Crisis Milieu 282
Conservative Fundamentalism:Tradition the Leitmotif for Power 291
The Quest for Islamic Identity or Territorial Independence: The Ideological Dilemma in Pakistani Political Cultural 295
Islamic Dilemma in the Wake of Authenticity Crisis 314
Work in English Language 342
Work in Oriental Language 359
Articles 270

Sample Pages

Item Code: NAJ711 Author: Dr. S. M. A. Sayeed Cover: Paperback Edition: 1999 Publisher: Kitab Bhavan ISBN: 8171512666 Language: English Size: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch Pages: 400 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 580 gms
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