Cover image for Moderate and radical Islamic fundamentalism : the quest for modernity, legitimacy, and the Islamic state
Moderate and radical Islamic fundamentalism : the quest for modernity, legitimacy, and the Islamic state
Mawṣililī, Aḥmad.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, [1999]

Physical Description:
249 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1500 Lexile.
Electronic Access:
Table of Contents
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BP173.7 .M38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"Well-argued, highly original . . . [Moussalli] asks one basic question--does Islamic fundamentalism have a philosophical basis?--and then proceeds to demonstrate how particular Islamic fundamentalist theorists have addressed issues such as ideology and knowledge, society and politics."--Bruce B. Lawrence, Duke University

Ahmad Moussalli redefines the bases and scope of modern Islamic thought, suggesting that Islamic fundamentalism might prove to be a liberating theology for the modern Islamic world.
Basing his argument largely on Arabic documents, he analyzes the basic concerns of fundamentalism--epistemology, knowledge, philosophy, modernity, and science as well as politics, political philosophy, and political economy. He examines the ideas of major Muslim thinkers who have affected the contemporary Islamic revival--especially Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, and Hasan al-Turabi--showing the range of Islamic fundamentalist views from liberal democracy to authoritarianism. He then discusses how their thinking could affect an Islamic state, from political repression at one extreme to political representation at the other.
Going to the core of issues raised by fundamentalists, he maintains that Islamic fundamentalism is a modern development that will have a lasting impact on the history of Islam--one comparable to the impact of Protestantism on the history of Christianity.

Ahmad S. Moussalli is associate professor of political science at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He is the author or editor of many books, including Islamic Fundamentalism: Myths and Realities; Historical Dictionary of Islamic Movements in the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey; and Radical Islamic Fundamentalism: The Ideological and Political Discourse of Sayyid Qutb (a 1994 Choice Outstanding Academic Book).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In a readable and well-researched work, Moussalli (political science, American Univ. of Beirut) argues that the orientation the West calls simply "Muslim fundamentalism" contains substantial diversity, reflecting important differences in geography, culture, and ideologies. Moussalli insists that the majority of fundamentalists are concerned first with reform and revitalization of their own societies and ought not be viewed as inherently opposed to Western economies, political interests, or culture. This is primarily a work about Muslim intellectuals who have played a decisive role in shaping the ideological orientation of the principal fundamentalist movements, especially those active in the Arab world: Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid al-Qutb, and Hasan al-Turabi, with somewhat less attention to Rashid al-Ghannushi. In Moussalli's taxonomy, al-Banna and al-Turabi belong to the category of "moderate" thinkers, since their vision of the ideal society is relatively inclusive and pluralist, making a place for democratic ideas; in addition they are committed to peaceful modes of social and political change. Because he is exclusivist, hostile to democracy, and committed to revolutionary change, Sayyid al-Qutb clearly belongs in the "radical" camp. Extensive notes; substantial bibliography; very useful index. Highly recommended to academic and public libraries that aim to keep abreast of pressing foreign policy issues involving religion and culture. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. Swartz; Boston University

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1. Two Discourses on Modern Islamic Political Thought: Fundamentalism and Modernismp. 19
2. Fundamentalist Discourses on Epistemology and Political Philosophyp. 46
3. Fundamentalist Discourses on Politics: From Pluralistic Democracy to Majoritarian Tyrannyp. 67
4. The Discourse of Hasan al-Banna on Shura, Democracy, and the Islamic Statep. 107
5. The Discourse of Sayyid Qutb on Political Ideology and the Islamic Statep. 132
6. The Discourse of Hasan al-Turabi on the Islamic State and Democracyp. 155
Conclusionp. 181
Notesp. 197
Bibliographyp. 215
Indexp. 243