Debates on Islam and Knowledge in Malaysia and Egypt: Shifting Worlds 0700715053

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Debates on Islam and Knowledge in Malaysia and Egypt: Shifting Worlds

Table of contents :
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
Abbreviations/ Acronyms
A note on transliteration
Some facts and figures about Malaysia
1 Science Islamized: localities and fields of knowledge
2 The issues at stake
3 Landscapes, variations and perceptions: contrasts between Egypt and Malaysia
4 Images of intellectuals in two distinct cultures
5 Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi: populism, or the guerrilla scholar?
6 S.N. al-Attas: the beacon on the crest of a hill or the fusion of a military ethos with science?
7 Henry Corbin, the absent centre
8 Syed Hussein Alatas and sociological investigation in southeast Asia
9 The Islamization of knowledge debate in Egypt: the Cairo office
10 Cultural invasion
11 Faith and science
12 Counter images; secular responses
13 Women's reactions towards Islamization in Malaysia
14 Concluding remarks

Citation preview



Mona Abaza

~ ~~~~~;n~~~up LONDON AND NEW YORK

First published2002 by Routledge 2 ParkSquare,Milton Park,Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN Simultaneouslypublishedin the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 MadisonAve, New York NY 10016 Routledgeis an imprint ofthe Taylor & Francis Group

Transferredto Digital Printing 2006 © 2002 Mona Abaza

Typesetin Times by Mews Photosetting,Beckenham,Kent All rights reserved.No part of this book may be reprintedor reproducedor utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical,or other means,now known or hereafter invented,including photocopyingand recording,or in any information storageor retrieval system,without permissionin writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguingin Publication Data A catalogue recordfor this book is availablefrom the British Library Library of CongressCataloguingin Publication Data A catalogue recordfor this book has beenrequested

ISBN 0-7007-1505-3

Publisher's Note The publisherhasgoneto greatlengthsto ensurethe quality of this reprint but points out that someimperfectionsin the original may be apparent

To Laila


Abbreviations!Acronyms A note on transliteration Somefacts andfigures about Malaysia Glossary Acknowledgements

ix X Xl Xlll


PART I INTRODUCTORY REFLECTIONS 1 ScienceIslamized:localities and fields of knowledge 2 The issuesat stake 3 Landscapes,variationsand perceptions: contrastsbetweenEgypt and Malaysia 4 Imagesof intellectualsin two distinct cultures

41 55



5 Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi: populism,or the guerrilla scholar? 6 S.N. al-Attas: the beaconon the crestof a hill or the fusion of a military ethoswith science? 7 Henry Corbin, the absentcentre 8 SyedHusseinAlatas and sociologicalinvestigation in southeastAsia

3 21

77 88 106 121



9 The Islamizationof knowledgedebatein Egypt: the Cairo office 10 Cultural invasion II Faith and science

143 174 182



12 Counterimages;secularresponses 13 Women'sreactionstowardsIslamizationin Malaysia 14 Concludingremarks

201 215

Notes Bibliography Index

226 275 298





AngkatanRelia Islam Malaysia (Muslim Youth Movementof Malaysia;createdin 1969; officially approved1971) AmericanJournalof Islamic Social Sciences AJISS Associationof Muslim Scientists AMS EI Encyclopaediaof Islam (New Edition, Leiden, 1960) lilT The InternationalInstitute of Islamic Thought IIU InternationalIslamic University(Kuala Lumpur) IKIM Institut KefahamanIslam Malaysia (Institute of Islamic UnderstandingMalaysia) ISTAC InternationalInstitute of Islamic Thoughtand Civilization JMBRAS Journalof the MalayanBranchof the Royal Asiatic Society Muslim Brothers(Egypt) MB MIDEO MelangesInstitut Dominicain d'EtudesOrientales (Cairo) NEP New EconomicPolicy NST New Straits Times(Malaysia) Parti Islam SeMalaysia PAS ST Straits Times(Singapore) UM University of Malaya (Kuala Lumpur) UKM Universiti KebangsaanMalaysia, (National University of Malaysia) UMNO United Malays National Organisation



The titles of Arabic articles and books have beentranslatedin the footnotesinto English. The Arabic transliterationof books is provided in the bibliography. I havemaintainedtwo systemsof transliteration.I havetransliterated the names of authors who write in Arabic. In the case of authorswho write in languagesusing the Roman alphabet,I have followed their own transliterationsof their names.Thus, Anouar Abdel Malek and not Anwar ~bd aI-Malik. In the caseof authors writing in both the Arabic andRomanalphabet,I havetransliterated the namewhenciting an Arabic work, but followed the author'sown Romanspellingwhenciting a non-Arabicwork. ThusAziz el-Azmeh writes in English, but ~iz al-'Azmahwrites in Arabic. I have kept the Romanized transliteration in BahasaMalaysia, for example Syed,Hussin,HusseinandAlatas, sincethe authorssign so. ~bd al(for Arabic titles) and Abdul (Romanfor Malay) are both utilised. Mohammad is used for Malay names, Muhammad for Arabic names;but MuhamedArkoun (since he signs so). Abdel Wahhab Elmissiri signslikewise his nameas Abdel WahabAl Messiri and the Arabic transliterationis ~bd al-WahhabAI-Misiri. I quotehis name in the two different ways. To remind the Middle Easternreader, Anwar and Mahathir are accordingto the Asian inclination meninfushais spelt tioned by their first names.Muhammad(~mmara) in colloquial Arabic as 'Immara.I adhereto 'Immaraconsideringit is so pronouncedin Egypt.



Population: 20,932,901(July 1998). Populationgrowth rate: 2.11%(1998).

According to the 1980censustherewere 6.9 million Muslims, out of a populationof 13.07million. The remainingpopulationconsistsof Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and followers of Confucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinesereligions, followers of various folk religions and others. In the mid-nineties, it was estimated that the total population of Malaysia was 17,755,900.The Muslims accountfor 58% of the population,the Chinese31% and the Indians 10%.2 Ethnic groups: Malay and other indigenous 58%, Chinese 26%,

Indian 7%, others9%.

Religions: Peninsular Malaysia: Muslim (Malays) Buddhist (Chinese) Hindu (Indians); Sabah: Muslim 38%, Christian 17%, other45%; Sarawak:tribal religion 35%, Buddhistand Confucianist 24%, Muslim 20%, Christian 16%, other 5%. Languages:PeninsularMalaysia: Malay (official), English, Chinese

dialects, Tamil; Sabah: English, Malay, numeroustribal dialects, Chinese (Mandarin and Hakka dialects predominate);Sarawak: English, Malay, Mandarin,numeroustribal languages. Government type: constitutional monarchy; Independence:31 August 1957 (from UK) the Federationof Malaysia formed 9 July 1963; nominally headedby the paramountruler (king); Head of government:Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad(since 16 July 1981);Cabinetappointedby the prime ministerfrom amongthe members of Parliament with consent of the paramount ruler; Elections: paramountruler and deputy paramountruler electedby Xl


and from the hereditary rulers of nine of the statesfor five-year terms; electionlast held 4 February1994. Economy:Malaysiahasbeenstrongly affectedby the regionalfinancial crisis in 1997/98.It is expectedto havea low growth rate of only 4%-5% in 1998; privateforecastsproject the growth ratecould be as low as 2%. It faced a sharpdeclinein local currencyand stock markets. The currentaccountdeficit was reducedto 3% of GDP in 1998 from 5.5% in 1997. Governmentspendingwas cut by 20%. Slower growth is expectedto be coupledwith increasedunemploymentand higher interest rates. Inflation rate--consumerprice index: 36% (1996). Anwar Ibrahim: Former important leaderof the studentmovement anddetainedfor demonstrationsagainstpovertyin the seventies.He joined the government of the Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in 1982 and built his career through UMNO. Anwar Ibrahim was the former Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy of UMNO, and Deputy FinanceMinister. He publishedin 1996 The Asian Renaissancewherehe thankedMahathir for his tolerance.He was in 1998 sacked from the government at the beginning of September.He hasbeenimprisonedon chargesof sedition.



ABIM Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) , Muslim Youth Movementof Malaysia. It was createdin 1969 but only officially approvedin 1971. ABIM's messagewas to propagatethe message of Islam. It understoodIslamic faith as universalandhumanistic. adat custom,customarylaw. 'aliml pl. 'ulama particularterm usedfor scholarswho havereceived a traditional education in an Islamic institution and who are learnedin the Islamic religious sciences.They are recognisedas authoritiesin mattersof religion. 'alamiyya highestdegreeawardedby al-Azhar university before its reconstitutionby the governmentin 1963. It is the equivalentof a doctorate. al-jawa, jawi, jawa, jawi (djawah) Arabic term used before the creation of the nation-statesto include all SoutheastAsian students without differentiation. The term applied also for studentsfrom Burma. Djawah in Arabic also meansthe island of Java. Bumiputra (Malay; literary) son of the soil; usedin Malay discourse to refer to the ethnic Malay and Muslim population as being indigenous.The Bumiputraswere awardedprivileges under the NEP policies. dakwahlArabicda'wah Muslim missionaryactivity. Darul Arqam House of Arqam; a religious associationthat was created in Malaysia in 1969 in Kampong Datuk Keramat, in Kuala Lumpur. Its leader,ShaykhMohammadAsha'ari,after he left PAS createdhis own organization.He becameknown for his oratorial skills and for practisingpolygamy.In recentyearsDarul Arqam has grown extensivelyand becomeinvolved in numerous economic activities. The group was recently banned by the government,which fearedtheir growing economicpower. Xlll


fatwa legal ruling by an Islamicjurisconsult. faqih/pl. fuqaha scholarof Islamicjurisprudence. jiqh Islamic law. hadith textual corpusof normativeacts and sayingsof the Prophet


Habitus sociological concept developedby the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. Habitus is a key word to be associatedwith the

multiple possibilitiesof the 'socialfields'. Bourdieuarguesthat he borrowed the concept of habitus from Aristotle, Blaise Pascal, Max Weber, Marcel Mauss, Emile Durkheim and Edmund Hussed.Habitus is related to habits, attitudes,appearanceand style. Bourdieu combinesall these dimensionsto highlight the habitusasa basis generativedimensionof habitus.He understands for innovativeand creativesolutionsto practicalproblems. halal religiously permissible. halqa studycircle; the traditionalway of teachingin Islam wherethe studentssat at the stepsaroundthe shaykhand took notes.It also meansa meetingof studentsaroundthe professoraswell as a hall wheresomeoneheld meetingsand gavelectures. hajj pilgrimage. haram forbidden in Islamic Law. lAIN Institute Agama Islam Negeri, the StateInstitute of Islamic Religion in Indonesia. '1m the word 'ilm seemsto be relatedto a numberof terms suchas ma'rifa (knowledge),jikh(law), hikmah(wisdom),shu'ur (instinct, feeling). However the nearestterm is ma'rifa which meansin the broadersenseknowledge. ijtihad individual judgement. khalwat closeproximity. kiai, kiyayi seepesantren minbar pulpit. majallah journal, magazine. mufti Islamic jurisconsult. PAS, Parti Islam SeMalaysia Islamic oppositional party in

Malaysiawhich, it is argued,is influencedby the EgyptianMuslim Brothersideology.The PAS-ledKelantangovernmentmanagedto passthe Hudud Bill through the Statelegislaturein 1993. PAS's programmeis the creationof an Islamic statefor Kelantan. pesantren traditional religious boardingschool in Indonesia;a kiai or kiyayi is a religiousteacher,anda santri is the religious student. umma the Islamic community,embracingall Muslims. santri seepesantren. XIV


shari'a Islamic law. tafsir commentaryon the Qur'an. talib al- 'Urn searcherafter knowledge;student. wali saint. waqf/pl. awqaf endowmentscontrolledby the religious body.



There are in Egypt thosecontentedmortals who have earned the blessingof becomingwalis through having been seenin two placesat the sametime. A blessing, that, evenif it were only in dreams, would have solvedmany of the riddles I had encounteredin my constant migrations, imaginary and perhapsreal.

The idea of working on this book maturedwhen I was given the chance to be in Singapore at the Institute of SoutheastAsian Studies,(ISEAS) as a researchfellow from 1990-1992.The peaceful and extremelypleasantlibrary of ISEAS, with its view on the captivating port of Singaporeand the traffic of the ships, was a great inspiration for my work. In Singapore,I discoveredthe writings of the PalestinianAmerican Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi and the Malaysian SyedNaguib (Naquib)al-Attas.The instrumentalsignificanceof the 'Islamization of Knowledge' debate on the general politics of Islamizationin Malaysia becameclear to me when I visited Kuala Lumpur briefly in 1991 and 1992. I would like to confessthat before my sojourn in Singaporeand Malaysia, my knowledgeand awareness of the writings of al-Faruqi were very limited. In fact, his reputationin Malaysiawas basedon his highly placedpolitical connections,more so perhapsthan on his writings. Had I not had the chanceto visit Malaysiaand work in the ISEAS library, the idea of following up the networkswould haveneveroccurredto me. On my way back from Malaysia to Cairo, I found about the IIIT (The InternationalInstitute of Islamic Thought) in Cairo, which in the early ninetieswas an active and coordinatingoffice which had links to the International Islamic University of Kuala Lumpur (more precisely located in the region of Petaling Jaya). It sent Egyptian academicsfor short stays.Moreover, well known public figures and advocatesof the Islamic path were to participate in seminars xvi


organizedby the lilT in Cairo. Nameslike the judge and historian, turned into Islam, Tariq al-Bishri, the al-Ahram journalist, Fahmi Huwaydi, the retired professorof literarature, Abdel Wahhab alMessiri, and many others were listed in the publications. It was, therefore,in Kuala Lumpur that I becameawareof the lIlT office in Cairo. I went back to Malaysia twice for periodsof four monthsduring 1995 and 1996. The MalaysiansociologistSyedHusseinAlatas and his wife PuanZaharabecamemy secondfamily. ProfessorS. Naquib al-Attas, the younger brother of S. Hussein Alatas was extremely generousto me with his time. The atmosphereand the treasuresof the library of ISTAC (The International Institute of Islamic ThoughtandCivilization in Kuala Lumpur) werean ideal settingfor the completion of this work. Sharifa Sheafa al-Attas, Noraini Othmanand Clive Kesslerintroducedme to Kuala Lumpur. In Cairo, Professoral-Messiri welcomedme. Mona Abul Fadl and the lIlT office in Cairo wereindeedvery cooperative.I would like to thank from the (lIlT) office in Cairo Mohga Mashurfor the efforts she made to go out of her way for me, Saifuddin 'Abd al-Fattah Isma'il and Nasr 'Arif from Cairo UniversitylIIlT, Cairo. I was then given the chance to spend the year of 1997 at the Wissenschaftskollegin Berlin 1997, where I completedthe larger part of the manuscript.The library of the Kolleg providedme with everythingI wishedfor. I wish to thank Wolf Lepeniesand Joachim Nettelbeck.Many colleaguesand friends readdrafts of the work. To owe thanks to Aziz al-Azmeh, the late Ulrich Haarmann(Wissenschaftskolleg), Claudine Salmon (EHESS, Paris), Mordedechai Feingold (Wissenschaftskolleg,Virginia), Martin van Bruinessen (Utrecht), Jennifer Robertson (Michigan). Killy Buchholdt (Bielefeld), Peter Heine (Humboldt, Berlin) and ShahabAhmad (AUC), took the greatpain of readingthe entiremanuscript,I thank themfor their patience.ProfessorWolf-Dieter Narr'sbrilliant expert opinion of my Habilitationschrift highlightedthe stronganddelicate aspectsof my work and helpedme to reshapemy main argument. WernerKraus (Passau),enrichedme with creativediscussionsabout MalaysianIslam. The year 1998 turnedout to be an inviting seasonfor my remigration to the South. My return to Egypt was essentialsinceit allowed me to gain essentialinformation about Egypt and pondermy long, rich and yet ambiguousexperiencewith Germany,whereI had lived for nearly fifteen years. Could I identify myself with many biographiesdepictedin this book? Many of us in the academicworld xvii


end up with what the French would call jongler to survive in the fluctuatingjob market. For thoselike us, originatingfrom the postcolonial world andwho happenedto belongto multifariouscultures and traditions without necessarilyconstantlyneeding to state an identity crisis syndrome,aren't they under the permanentstruggle of justifying boundary-crossing?I have considered myself, I believed,beforemy migration to the North, to havethe privilege of being exposedto a 'certain' many Egyptianintellectuals,I happenedto discoverGerman,Frenchand Italian cinemain Cairo long beforesojourningfor studiesoverseas, and had read Frenchliteratureand philosophyin original language alongsidethe river banks of the Nile. This is certainly not a very uniquestatementand I do hopenot to be mistakenfor being either a naive admirer of Westernliberalism or for adoptinga simplistic scientiststand.But the fact remainsthat modernEgyptianintellectualism and artistic creativity have been closely linked to Europe. JacquesBerque'sEgypt Imperialism and Revolution! brilliantly portrays the streamsand counter-streamsamong Egyptian intellectuals, artists and writers and their affinities and struggleswith the Occident.Do we have to beg for forgivenessbecauseof that sentiment today? The circle was closed upon my return to Cairo in 1998, as the Frenchwould say la boucle est bouclee.I am pleasedthat the completion of the book took place in Cairo as a focal point. Shahnaz Rouse stood near me as a dear friend and lively discussant.Her modernity and maturity openedmy eyestowards the paradoxesof being a constanttraveller, imaginaryand real. Finally, I would like to thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaftfor a two year grant for a scholarship,'Habilitation Stipendium'from 1995 to 1997. The Institute of Modern Orient at the Free University of Berlin, The Department of Sociology Anthropology, Psychology (AUC). The Maison des Sciencesde l'Homme and the DAAD in Germanyfor a scholarshipto Paris in 1995. I am indebtedto FriedemannButtner for having supervised my work. ElisabethTombs, Keren Margolis, Mary Kenney, Mitch Cohen,PatriciaSkorje editedseveralchaptersat variousphases. Chaptersof this book were presentedat variousconferences:the Arbeitstelle Politik Wissenschaft,Free University of Berlin in 1993 and 1997, DAVO in Hamburg,1997,the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin, 1997, the German Orientalistentag,Bonn, 1998, The International Associationof Middle EasternStudiesSixth Congress,'The Middle East on the Thresholdof the 21st Century: Issuesand Prospects', xviii


April 10-14, AI-Bayt University, Jordan 1996, the National Univerity of Singapore,June1998,ColumbiaUniversity, New York, 7 December1998, The Brown Bag Lectures. Sectionsof this work have beenpublishedas articles in the journals: 'SomeReflectionson the Questionof Islam andSocialSciences in the ContemporaryMuslim World', in: Social Compass,Vol. 40, no. 2, 1993,June,pp. 301-21.'Die IslamisierungdesWissensund der Wissenschaftin Malaysia', Asien, 1996, April, 59, pp. 51-70, 'A Preliminary Note on the Impact of External Islamic Trends in Malaysia', Internationales Asien Forum, Vol. 25, 1994, No. 1-2, pp. 149--65. Chaptereight appearedin Das SoziologischeJahrbuch, Germanyin 1998. The chapteron Henry Corbin appearedin the Muslim World (Vol. 90, 2000pp. 91-104),and Chapter6 appearedin Archipel (HommageaDenysLombard), Paris, 1999. Chapter13 was publishedin Orient, Hamburg, 1998, and in Germanin Der Neue Islam der Frauen, ed. Ruth Klein, Sigrid N6kel, Karin Werner, Transcript, Bielefeld, 1999. Finally, I would like to thank RoutledgeCurzonfor the great effort and commitmentto edit this book.





I mistrustall systematizers and I avoid them. The will to a systemis a lack of integrity. Friedrich Nietzsche

Can one Islamizeknowledge?Can one Islamize(or, for that matter, Hinduize or Christianize) sociological methods, mathematics, physicsor psychology?This is the rudimentaryquestionwhich constantlyconfrontedme wheneverI had to publicly verbalisethe state of the art of my research.This is what occursas an initial idea to the mind of anyonewho is confrontedwith the quantitativelyabundant literature on the 'Islamization of knowledge' debate. The secularists'reaction often stated: 'We have had enough of the Islamization knowledge and scienceverbiage ... Is it practically feasible? So much has been written quantitatively but very little, nothing saw the light in concreteprojectsin sociology,anthropology or hard sciences'.I heardso often such statementsfrom the opponentsto the project. Probably,after readingthis work the readerwill realise that I have not answeredthe question of how to Islamize mathematicsand will not attemptto answerit. The direct response of many Egyptian secularintellectuals(consideringthe ferocious power strugglethey are undergoingwith the Islamizersover intellectual and political credibility), has often been quite violent in expressingscepticismaboutme wastingmy time in researchingsuch a topic. How many times have I heard sarcasticcommentsfrom sociologists,not to mentionorientalists,who looked at me with disdain and amusement.PervezHoodbhoy'sl criticism which denied the validity of thoseclaiming to proposeIslamic sciences,is pertinent. One can only consentwith his concernsabout the wretched managementof sciencein the entire Muslim World and agreewith his political correctnessand trenchant reproach of some of the 3


protagonistsof the Islamizationproject. Yet his view of Islam and scienceand his attack against Maurice Bucaille, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and Ziauddin Sardar,the three major exponentsof Islamic sciences,although legitimate is too simplistic. Hoodbhoy remains still a positivist in praising scientism throughout his vision of modernWesternsciences. I could not help contrasting himwith Ashis Nandy'sAlternative 2 a work that stimulatedimagination in delineatingwith Sciences, great subtlety and refinementthe cultural milieus of two famous Indian scientists;JagadisChandraBose (1858-1937)and Srivivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920). Nandy's work is wealthy and multifaceted;combininga biting criticism of modernsciencethroughits relatednessto power. The personalcontexts, lifestyles and belief systems of these two scientists, which differed from a purely European setting are so exquisitely depicted from a fascinating psychological perspective. These scientists had religious world views, they proposed'an integratedview of organic and inorganic worlds than the West would offer'3 (for Bose) and they madeassociations with magical ritualist-concepts in mathematics (for Ramanujan).They becamefigures of Indianized modern science. Nandy provided lively descriptions about the religiosity and psychologicalambivalencebetweenthe scientific culture and the 'extra-logical,culturally bound,inner sciencein India'.4 His analysis is truly engagingin decipheringwhat producedthe 'creativetension' in Ramanujan.Still, as Nandy himself says, his work is far from supportingan alternativeIndian model of science.He is much too consciousof the drawbacksof those promoting such an idea than 'to be the exact reverseof what a hypotheticalmodel of western analysis is. In such cases,even in dissent, the referent is the Occident'.5The relationshipthat Nandy identifies betweenmodern science,statebuilding andviolence;andhis criticism of modernscienceas being in itself violent, appealedto me.6 Readinghim made me feel that the topic I chose was problematic. Our present is defined by the contoursof globalization;it bearslittle resemblance to the movement of Indianization of modern science which occurredtowardsthe beginningof this century and was relatedto colonial transformations.Even so, I was confrontedwith the poor quality of the production of the Islamizers in social and hard sciences. Their contribution left a lot to be desired. I recall wandering betweenthe passagewaysof the International Islamic University of Kuala Lumpur having the sentiment that this institution was a nest breeding a tense social domination. Body 4


language,dress,religious gesturesand inflated ceremonialperformanceswere enhancedon the front stageat the expenseof genuine intellectualism. In my encountersand meetingswith officials and academicsin Kuala Lumpur I was struck more by the concernfor habitusand ceremonythan by the substanceof what was said. But what triggeredmy interestin the debateof Islamizationwas ratherwhat stoodbehinddiscourses.Job markets,the ascendingand descendingstatusof the intellectuals,networks, variations in local cultural and political constellationsseemedto be clues that rescued me from the trap of unconditionallybelieving in the written word. This said, the choiceof such a topic was itself not without negative consequencesfor me; sceptical colleaguesrepeatedly called into questionmy scientific credibility. It is true that as social scientists, the involvementwith our researchinfusesour world view and quite often blinds us with the result that we do not havethe necessarydistance from the subject of research.My critics neverthelesswere wrong. The topic is worth researchon its own for various reasons that will unfold themselvesduring the courseof this book. In spite of the abundantliterature on Islamization,no comprehensivework aboutthe genealogyof suchan ideology, the networksand countersecularresponses,hasbeenundertaken. This studyattemptsto searchin the labyrinth of the processof the 'productionof knowledge'of the Islamizationof knowledgeand the networkswhich I have followed from Malaysia to Egypt. It focuses on the competingintellectualagentsand their field in two different Muslim societiesexperiencingmodernity,eachin its own distinctive way. The discourseof the searchfor authenticitythrough'Islamizing various fields of knowledge'becomeshere one and the samething that resulted from the interactive encounterwith the West and in particular Westernacademia.The majority of the protagonistsof the Islamizationdebatewere trainedand haveworkedin the Western world. They are the incorporatedproductof hybridisation.As nonMarxist Third World intellectuals7 they haveto dichotomisecultures into the repertoireof the we/themlanguage,demonizethe West and purify local andnationaltraditionsand religious habits,andcreatea cultural split in the West/Eastdebate,insteadof tracing continuities betweencultures and regions.8 In the West, thesescholarslearned essentialisttactics of argumentation.Now, they are constantlytold in the West to reversetheseargumentsas a fight for representation; if they really want to have a 'voice' and be invited to international conferences,they haveto verbalisedifferences.It seemsthat the West listensto them only when they maintainsucha stance.In fact, it is a 5


discoursethat evolvesfrom a cross-culturalinteractionwith the West and Westernacademicinstitutions. The presentstudy attemptsto follow the path of Aijaz Ahmad who analysed'the location of nonWestern intelligentsia in structures of metropolitan hegemony'.9 However,- and this is a crucial variance- this study will attemptto locate intellectuals in relation to the contradictory roles of postcolonial institutions. The question of either 'the return home' or being reducedto 'migrant academics'in Malaysia or elsewhereis more than ever poignantin the discourse. The seniorprotagonistof the Islamizationdebate,the late Isma'il Raji al-Faruqiwas a Palestinian-American who residedin the States and married an American musicologist who converted to Islam. Certainly his notion of Islamizationowesa lot to missionaryideology. It is no coincidencethat al-Faruqiwas specializedin comparative religions. I beganthis study in 1990 by looking into how a new discourseclaiming to Islamize knowledge and scienceshas been prosperingin Malaysia. The avenuespaved by my field work then droveme backto Cairo, to comparethe practicalimplicationsof one and the same debate in an entirely different context. The Islamization of knowledge debate among Egyptian intellectuals seemsto be strongly shapedby the contoursof the secular-Islamist confrontation.This confrontationwhich takesthe appearanceof a simplistic black and white rupture by those who overlook the authoritariandiscourseof the state which is wavering betweenan Islamizationfrom the top to confront undergroundIslamists. This goesparallel with a harshsuppressionof the activist Islamists.This is also connectedwith the tactical adoption of a caricatureof a lO secular discourse as a defensive measure.The secular-Islamist confrontationis itself neithera new argumentnor a phenomenon;it may be observedall over the Muslim world. The presentstudy, however,will focus on the activities of the protagonistsof the debatewho are alreadyin Egypt part andparcelof the establishedIslamic trend in Egypt. When I startedmy researchI was quite antagonistictowardsthe protagonistsof such a discourse. By the end of my study and through experiencingin the West the ascendanceof right wing ideologies, the recession,the increasing power fights which are 'third worldizing'll and 'provincializing'Westernacademiclife and parallel to the last blow that was directedtowardsAsian currency,I becamemore indulgent towards the protagonists(althoughhardly sharingtheir political agenda).I askedmyself the questionif one could becomemore sympathetictowardsthe policies of Malaysia's 6


Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad,as a Third Worldist, even though I am aware of the traps of his populism and social Darwinist ideology. Such questionswere raised during my stay in Kuala Lumpur. I was attractedby the Mahathirist senseof 'order' and 'control' which I could not resistto comparewith the apparent chaosof the Egyptian ruling class.Order in Malaysia, one had the impression,was equally accompaniedby an extremeesprit of boredom and monotony.With the exceptionof the narrativeS. Hussin Ali's detention and experiencein jail,12 one could hardly trace voices of opposition or any lively intellectual atmosphere,which was in harmonywith economicsuccess.I am very much awarethat my statementis only valid if one discardsthe fact that the Islamic oriented party is ruling in the state of Kelantan in northern Malaysia and that opposition parties have 20% of seats in parliament. Unquestionably,my sympathiestowardsMahathirdecreasedafter Anwar's detention,mistreatmentin confinementand the debasing sexualallegationshe was confrontedwith, to realiseagainthat mere Third Worldist rhetoricis no saviourof the apocalypticfuture which globalisationis headingtowards and which is drastically affecting the South. Mahathir'sconstantsimplistic bashingof the West and attacks against foreigners would not rescue him from internal contradictionsof his ruling. The ill-favoured face of Mahathir's authoritarianism came to light to remind us that one cannot circumventthe violation of the basicprinciplesof humanrights. Ironically, Anwar is the natural outcomeof Mahathir'spatronage. Anwar was promoted and encouragedin UMNO and appointedas FinanceMinister by Mahathir.Obviously,antagonism 13 The was instigated by the question of power and succession. recent events proved that Malay political culture disregardedthe basic principles of humanrights. The larger part of this study was completed before the last Asian crisis resulting in the AnwarMahathir conflict. Analysts have argued that the middle classes, which paradoxically profited most during Mahathir's economic boom (with a growth rate reaching 8%), becamethe ones most affected recently. In this book, I describean affiuent situation of Malaysianintellectualswho belong to the often mentionedmiddle class that producedthe 'New Malay' culture and ideology with a close alliance to power. The imagesconveyedof 'think tanks' and corporateclasses,the rising consumeristattitudes,the Asian malls culture as a new form of spendingleisure time have certainly been entirely shakenby the crisis. While accuratefor the period of my 7


field work, they warrant revisiting today. Anwar's Islamic outlook in championinga futuristic Islamization surely witnesseda turn that was alreadyproblematicfor Mahathir'smore secularlyinclined vision. Nevertheless,my previousfield observationsdo not contradict currentevents.They might providesomeexplanationsandclues about the crisis betweenMahathir and Anwar and their differing visionsin administeringIslam. Likewise, it is crucial to statethat the two trajectories and intellectual careers of the Alatas/Attas brothers, describedin chapters6 and 8 are closely linked with Anwar'spolitical rise. Thanksto Anwar'sinfluence,we are told that Syed Hussein Alatas was appointed as Vice Chancellor of the university of Malaya. But also ironically, Alatas was forced to resign from that position after a concealedconfrontation with Anwar. Syed Naquib AI-Attas's institution, ISTAC, owes much to Anwar's funding thanksto the closelong-standingteacher-student relationshipbetweenthe two. Parallelto my Malaysianexperienceandnot by coincidence,while writing down my draft in Berlin, sevenyearsafter the fall of the wall, a frightening triumph of individualism was to be witnessed.The retreat of the state increasedthe Angst of growing jobless masses which becamea national haunting.It surely confirmedmy perspective on the North. Many becameincreasinglyconcernedwith the fact that intellectual life in the Westernworld is facing a deadlock and cannot offer much to the Third World, especially after the decline of Marxism that pairedwith the withdrawal of the requirementsrelatedto the socialquestion.It wasoften pointedout that the historical specificity of Germanuniversitiesseemsto havesufferedmore so perhapsthan other Europeanuniversities- from a provincialism accomplishedout of a long tradition of academicfeudal bondage.What comes to the forefront are analogiesbetweenthe Germancaseand the ideologicalstanceof the Islamizers.14 I confess that I could not dissociatemy personalMalaysianobservationsfrom my Germanexperience.Similarly, none of my academicinformants could forget herlhis experienceof overseassojourns in shaping herlhis discourseabout Islam and the West. Today, globalization, and the clash of civilisations ideology, seems to be forcing the spokesmenof the Third World to expresstheir views in a parochial manner.While agreeingwith Samir Amin's thesison contemporary Eurocentrism15 as a global political project, one could read the discourseof the Islamizersas the other side of the invertedculturalist and provincialisttrap. SamirAmin arguesthat the centreaswell as the periphery seem today to reproduce similar nationalist 8


arguments,which he definesas the 'culturalistevasion'.This studyis to be contextualizedwithin the field of political sociology.It aims at analysing the sociological local implications of the discourse of Islamization of knowledge. A commonjargon is utilised globally, but it entailsa variety of local, political andsociologicalmeaningsin two societies. The term 'Islamizationof knowledge'was first devisedin Mecca in 1977, which was followed up by other conferencesin various Muslim countries.To my knowledge,the term only saw the light in this conference,which revealsthe novel and modern aspectof the discourse.The most significant outcomeof theseconferenceshas been the work of Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi's The Islamization of Knowledge.16 This work, effectively a political Islamic manifesto, becamethe major ideologicalsourceandinspirationfor the followers all over the Muslim world. Thus, the discourseof 'Islamizationof knowledge'is indeed a fresh debatein contrastto the theories of Islamization in the Malay Archipelago, which I refer to in this chapter.After this conference,variousuniversitiesand Islamic institutions in the Muslim world, America and Europe were created. There is not one unified project of Islamization.In fact, eachprotagonistclaims an exclusivity and monopoly over the discourse.At the expenseof creating strong antipathiesand dislikes among the Islamizersas is the casebetweenS. HosseinNasr and the Pakistani intellectual Ziauddin Sardar,17or betweenal-Attas and the late alFaruqi, or al-Attas and Nasr. Over time, I developedan interestin the Zeitgeistthat produces such a debatein two different countries and two entirely diverse landscapes.Personalbiographies,trajectoriesof intellectualsmoving betweenthe Easternand Westernworld and the institutional connections becamethe focus of my research.This book is mainly attemptingto decipheran ideology that argueswith Islamic jargon but with an American (or Western)frame of reference.In fact, the protagonistsof the debatehad to interact with American cultural values. However, the local variations tell us that there are totally independentprotagonists,entirely different political scenes,and entirely incongruousshadesand shapesthat adoptoneandthe same languageto mean different things. Malaysia is unequivocally not Egypt. This study is thereforeinquiring in the contextand the field of sociologicalproductionratherthan in the authenticityof the discourse,or eventhe possibility of Islamizing mathematics.My main thesisis, that by comparingonediscoursein two societieswe arewitnessing two different types of modern Islam. In Malaysia, the 9


discourseof Islamizationbecomesthe ticket to a novel form of the internationalizationof Islam. The rhetoric of 'Islamic values'in the SoutheastAsian contextcould beara similarity to 'Asian values'and coincidewith the logic of a 'futuristic' vision of developinga 'postmodern',massculture orientedsociety-a 'new' societythat might not have the sameburden and heritageof history as in Egypt. In other words, Islam in the Malaysiancontextcompetesideologically as a counter-imageto the promotion of Confucian values by Singapore'sgovernmentin taking into considerationof the significanceof the Chinesemajority. Meanwhilein Egypt, the discourseis taking a rather involuted, inward-looking direction. The Egyptian protagonistsof the 'Islamizationof knowledge'debateare inclined to havedialogueand interactwith the millennium-old institution of al-Azhar and its class of 'ulama. It is no coincidencethat the Egyptian intellectual Muhammad 'Immara constantly brings 'Ali 'Abd al-Raziq's writings to the forefront of the debate on Islamization. Taqlid (imitation), the eternalproblemof the Orient's imitation of the West and how to searchfor alternativeauthentic, cultural and institutional solutions in the heritage becomesa key conceptin the discourseof the Islamizers.The notionsof secularism and secularizationled to many heateddebatesin the Middle East. Many see that secularizationin Muslim societies has concretely taken place even if it was imposed by alien and Western forces. Abdou Filali-Ansari arguesthat an inner secularizingprocesshappenedmuch earlier. This was due to the demandsfor reform as a reaction to Europeanprogressand domination. He seesthat the effects of secularizationbecameirreversible.IS The deep irreversibility of the processof modernity; in other words, the impossibility of returning backwardsexcept in the form of an inventedpast, is preciselythe fight which divides the two camps(Islamist and secular). More precisely,it is a bargainingover what is real and invented and the interpretationof religious texts whichis at stake.This leads us to the next question,namely,the specificlocation of intellectuals in their own societiesfrom a comparativeperspective.The Arab intellectualhas beenclosely associatedwith the discourseof 'crisis'; one could proposethat in contrastto Egypt, the discourseof crisis seems to be suppressedin the Malaysian context. Malaysian intellectuals seem to have been integratedwithin the government machineryas 'think tanks', who are willingly co-optedand participating in the ideology of the 'New Malay'. This might also explain why opposition after Anwar Ibrahim's detention is so powerless. This is not to arguethat crisis beforethe New EconomicPoliciesin 10


Malaysiadid not exist, it is ratherthat the discourseof crisis took a different shapewhich wastamperedwith the Malaysianethnicspecificty. Egyptianintellectualshavebeenfacing a marginalizedposition oscillating betweenbeing either co-optedor used as scapegoatsby the governmentin the secular-Islamistpolarisation.Paradoxically, although Egypt might appearas more 'chaotic' in managingand containingofficial as well as oppositionalIslam and Islamic undergroundgroups,and Malaysiamore orderedand having much larger financial possibilities for the constructionof 'new' Islamic institutions, the intellectual discourseon Islamization as a result of the dialectical encounterbetween the secularsand Islamists takes a much more interestingturn, albeit a more violent one in Egypt. One could read the secular-Islamistconfrontationin Egypt as a power fight for inclusion and recognition from the Islamic side. The inclusion-exclusionfight, the interaction betweenthesetwo camps becomefascinating if read as mirror texts. The Islamic camp has recentlystartedto use an identical languageto meandifferent aims. This point is discussedin associationwith the notion of enlightenment, tanwir, which has become a topical catchword among Arab intellectuals. The inherent logic of globalization implies the 'promotion or invention of differenceand variety',19this appliesso well to the case of the protagonistsof Islamization.The interpretationof sameness and difference under the condition of globalization as Roland Robertson argues, is analysed here through the language of Islamizationand the practicalimplicationsin two different societies. Whetherit is 'indigenizing' sociology as a post-colonialdemandor Islamizing social sciencesas a derivation of indigenization, both trendsbelongto the agendaof the politics of difference.

South-southconnections:contrasting worlds of Islam When we speakof comparingMuslim societies,it is not possibleto overlook the classic work of Clifford Geertz, Islam Observed.2o It was consideredas a pioneeringcomparativeanthropologicalstudy of two Muslim societies.Written in a captivatingmetaphoricalstyle, in spiteof the reproachesGeertzfacedin 'constructing'categoriesin his earlier work which might not have been appropriateto indigenous Indonesiansociety, Islam Observedhad the merit of being unprecedentedin comparingthe divergenceof lived Islam in two different Muslim societies,namely Indonesiaand Morocco. It is an 11


important contributionin terms of comparativestudiesof religion in Third World countries.Geertz'swork could be criticized in that his comparisonoften mixed the 'high' with the 'popular' Islam in thesetwo cultures.He madea generaldistinction betweendifferent pathsof developmentof Islam in various regions,i.e. dogmatic/rigorous versussyncretic/reflective.This is sometimesexplainedwithout giving referenceto the interplay betweenclassand religious lifestyles.21 Nevertheless,by referring to mythical figures, men as metaphors,SunanKalidjaga of Indonesiaand Sidi LahsenLyusi of Morocco and in modern times the figures of Sukarno and MuhammadV, Geertzdevelopeda comparativecultural system.The networksof orthodoxy and high culture all over the Muslim world made communicationbetweenan Indonesianand Egyptian 'alim perfectly facile. They sharecommon referencesand the language. Nevertheless,this is not in contradictionwith the fact that regional, generationaland ideological differences within the cosmopolitan classof religious scholarsalways existed.Also, the local contextual application of traditions and habits defined as Islamic differed extensivelyfrom one region to another. Since then, only a few comparativeand interactive studieshave been published. One could mention Ozay Mehmet's comparison betweenTurkey and Malaysia,22Fredvon der Mehden'swork on the contemporary economic, political and intellectual interactions between the Middle East and SoutheastAsia23 and Anne Sofie Roald's comparativestudy of the Islamic movementsand institutions in Jordan and Malaysia.24 The Ottoman connectionto the Archipelagowas highlightedearlier by Anthony Reid.25 Earlier famous Indonesianistslike G.W J. Drewes, Anthony H. Johns,M.e. Ricklefs,26 and S.Q. Fatimi27 variously contributedto the debateon the Theoriesof the Islamization of the Archipelago. Differing argumentswereput forward as to the periodof the arrival of Islam, ranging betweenthe seventhto the thirteenth century, althoughthe majority of the scholarsseemto agreeon a datearound the thirteenthcentury. An important point of discussionhas been that of the effects of the various and often controversial Arab, Iranian and Indian influencesin Islamizing the region. Most of the authorsmentionedabovediscussedthe significanceof the role of the coastalcities like Pasaiand Malaccain the Islamizationprocess.28 Centralto thesedebatesis the indirect perceptionand recurrentreferenceto the Middle Eastaseithera sourceof 'high culture',of pure and orthodox Islam versus a 'deviating', lax and syncretic local Islam in SoutheastAsia, or as rejectingsuchan argumentas consti12


tuting an orientalistbias.29 WhetherMalay Islam and Malay Sufism developeda 'high culture', equivalentto the Middle EasternIslam was a point raised by both A.H. Johns, the orientalist, and the Malaysian philologist Syed Naquib al-Attas, whose works are discussedin detail later. Anthony Johnsalso relatedthe Islamization of the Archipelago to the activities of Sufi preachers,trade guilds andtradersfrom the Middle East.Johnsarguesthat the Islamization of the coastal states dates back to the 13th/16th century. Nevertheless,his hypothesishas beencriticised for being too speculative.3o It is interestingto note that JohnsquotesAlbert Hourani's model of the 'urban'Islamic city in the Middle Eastand questioned its applicability in SoutheastAsia.31 There is today a renewedinterestin studying the links and networks betweenthe Middle East and SoutheastAsia. C. Snouck Hurgronje's crucial work Mekka in the Latter Part of the NineteenthCentury,32which describedin the secondpart the Jawah community (the people from the East Indian Archipelago and Malaya) in Mecca,the social and economicactivities of the Jawah, the networksand chain of transmissionof knowledgebetweenthe shaykhsof Meccaand the world of the archipelago,is most crucial for opening the scopes of research.33 The concern about the theoriesof Islamizationof the Archipelagorevived the interestin the interconnectionsbetween the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the IndonesianArchipelago. Travel accountslike those of the fourteenth century Arab Ibn Battuta and the great Venetian traveller Marco Polo who visited Perlak in Sumatrain 1292 AD, the significance of trade routes, and the Arabic and Indian influenceson languagewere takeninto considerationby the SoutheastAsian specialists mentioned above in analysing the networksand influences. The twentieth century educationalconnectionsof the MalayoMuslim world with Cairo werefirst analysedin William Roff's article on the Indonesianand Malaysianstudentsin Cairo during the twenties.34 I haveattemptedto follow up Roff's idea in a previouswork35 whereI lookedat the life world of the Indonesianstudentswho came to study at al-Azhar university in the eighties and nineties. On the the connectionbetween otherhand,works on Sufi ordersemphasised thecentresof learning,notablyMeccaandcentralAsia andthe world of SoutheastAsia. C. SnouckHurgronje'swork on Meccatracedthe various orders like the Qadirite tariqah. When Snouck Hurgronje sojournedin Mecca,the leaderof the orderwasshaykhAbdel Karim Banten.3 6 Snouck Hurgronje remarked the influence of the 13


Naqshbandiyyaorder on the jawah communityin Meccaand on the Sumatra's in particular. Martin Van Bruinessen pointed to the Arabian roots of the IndonesianNaqshbandiyyaorder and how the resurgenceof the order was linked with the improvement of shipping facilities and the increaseof pilgrimage to Mecca.37 On a different level JamesPiscatori, and later Reinhard Schulze, highlighted the vitality and significanceof Islamic internationalismin the twentiethcenturyand the institutional networksthat expandedwith the growth of the Islamic World League.38 A special attention should be given to the fascinating threevolume work of Denys Lombard Le Carrefour Javanais,39a work which providesan expansivehistory of mentalities.Lombard more preciselyusedthe term les differentesnebuleusesmentalesto analyse historical changesin Javanesehybrid society. He attemptedto draw a global history of networksandconnectionsto correlatethemwith the evolution of material culture in Muslim, Hindu-Buddhist, Javaneseand Chinesecultureswith the adventof Occidentalization in the SoutheastAsian world. Lombard'smerit was to follow up the work of the famoushistorianMauriceLombardin particularl'Islam dans sa grandeur, and to link the Mediterraneanworld to the South China sea.40 Lombard was clearly inspired by the Frenchhistorian FernandBraude1.41 Braudel also becamea notablesourceof inspiration for various SoutheastAsian historians like o.W Walters42 and Anthony Reid.43 Braudel's notions of slow and fast moving levels, motion and stillness, structureand conjuncturewere splendidly applied by Lombard to the specific setting of the Southeast Asian histoire des mentalites.Likewise, Lombardcontrastedthe differencesfor examplebetweenFrenchpeasantstudiesand Javanese village studiesto remindus that cultural specificity doesnot preclude the needfor universalquestions. Lombard'suniversalperspectiveprovidesan extremelyrich landscapeabout changingpatternsof spaceand time in various fields suchas the changefrom the mandalaconcentricvision of the empire to the compositenetwork of cities and trade routes.Thesechanges in worldviews led to shift the focus upon new poles like Mecca for the Muslim world. Changingnotions of time and spacein Malay literature, the mapping the religious Sufi networks and religious schools, changesin housing styles, in dress with Westernization, changesin the notions of sacredand profane, the introduction of new plants and crops, coins and electricity, the creationof Islamic agrarian networks, their links to the centresof the Middle East, ChinaandEurope,becameall issueswhich arehistorically brilliantly 14


documented.Lombardpurportsthe idea of fusion of variousgrand civilizations suchas Islam, Chineseand Europeancivilization, without forgetting the Iberian interventionand the effectsof British and Dutch colonialism. His work reads like a voluminous historical novel, rich in biographies and narratives of experiencesin the SoutheastAsian world. Having sketchedthe stateof the art of comparativestudiesof the two regions,the next questionis: How would this work contributein the South-Southcross-culturaldomain?The propositionis to follow the line of shifting landscapes,comparisons,networks,biographies and Islamic institutional build-ups in connectionwith the question of modernity, globalizationand socio-political changein two societies. The networks proposedto follow in this study are indeed untested and divergent from the traditional Sufi and religious educationalnetworks that evolved around the centresof learning like al-Azhar University in Cairo or Mecca. My focus is to compare a common modern discoursereproducedin two different fields. Egypt and Malaysiaarecomparedby following up the debateon the 'Islamizationof knowledge'and the generalfield of social sciences, where various protagonists compete over political credibility, legitimacy over the interpretation of religious texts and a harsh competitionoverjob marketsin their societies. The post-Orientalismdebate raised the issue of the effects of 'Orientalismin reverse'in Muslim countries,as the Syrian secular put it.44 This correlatedwith disphilosopherSadiq Jalal al-~zm cussionsabout the unevennessand variability of the experienceof modernity,as well as the idea of 'many Islams'.45The Algerian professorof philosophyat the Sorbonne,MohamedArkoun previously arguedthat in Islam, as in any religious reasoning,thereexisteddifferent spheresof knowledgeand practice.On the one hand there is the sphereof high culture,which Arkoun relatesto the state,to scripture, to what he calls the culture savanteand orthodoxy.This setting entailedwhat he labels as solidaritefonctionellewhich held all these elementstogether. On the other hand, there existed the sphereof popularIslam, of oral cultureand what would be seenby the bearer of the culture savanteas the ignorant and uncivilized population. Arkoun has argued that since the Umayyadscame to power, the Muslim world hasfaceda split into two within the population.46 His work is basicallyconcernedwith the dialecticsof inclusion/exclusion of intellectualsand power, the interplay betweenofficial Islam and the tensionsbetweensecularand Muslim intellectualsand the state and the oppositionalIslamic discourse. 15


I think it has become impossible to look at the exchangeof knowledgeand scholarshipbetweenthe Middle Eastand Southeast Asia and at the Asian migration to the Gulf countries, without tackling the issueof the ambivalentperceptionof the Middle East in the SoutheastAsian world. Ambivalent, becauseit entails a love-haterelationshipof appreciatingthe Middle East as the birth placeof religions and of Islamic high culture and yet as one of the most politically troubled areas. The Middle East has been seen perceivedby the SoutheastAsians as a violent region of wars, of feudal politics and racist treatmentof the large numbersof Asian labourers in the Gulf countries. There are for instance, around 250,000 Indonesianwomen currently working as householdservantsin SaudiArabia. They are frequentlymistreatedby their Arab employers.47 The impact of American and Japanesepenetrationin Southeast Asia, the effect of massculture andAsian shoppingmalls on middle class behaviour,is yet anotherimportant dimensionaffecting religious lifestyles and consumerism.Also, Asian studentswho are sent to Europeand America end up by coming into close contactwith Islamic internationalism,in the form of internationalIslamic federations and students' associations.They are exposed to various intellectualinfluences,they haveaccessto both Westernand Arabic literature.I seeall thesefactorsas beingintertwinedwhenwe look at Islam, modernityand Islamic institutional networks.The impact of massculture and the massivechangedue to the introduction of a world of modem commoditiesin SoutheastAsia is fascinatingto observe.Fascinatingbecauseit is taking place at such a fast pace. Yet, the fact that Islam is equally massmediatizedand undergoing effects of mass culture is a point which is often suppressedby the Islamizers.In recentyears,Arab intellectualshavewarnedof the effects of 'cultural invasion' which is seen as the outcome of the Americanizationof Middle Easternsocieties.Othersseethat one of the results of Islamization has been the 'Saudi Arabization' of Muslim societies.It seemsthat Americanizationand Islamization are being paired.They function very well together. Chapter2 attemptsto contextualizethe debateof 'Islamizationof knowledge'andlocatesit within the generaldebateon globalization, particularismand universalismas a way of enhancingof 'the right of difference'. Following this will be a theoretical discussionof sociological theories,dealing with issuesof 'local knowledge'and theoriesof knowledgein different the appropriationof Feyerabend's contexts. 16


Chapter3 providesa glimpseof shifting landscapesbetweenEgypt andMalaysia.I shall refer to the morphological,historicalandurban differences between the two cities of Cairo and Kuala Lumpur. I compare old, historical urban Cairo to the new multiethnic, post modern tropical Kuala Lumpur. In contrastto Cairo. I discussthe themeof massculture, (Islamic) telepreachingand how inventedIslamic architectureand institutions are commodifiedand marketed.Chapter4 focuseson the varying imagesof the intellectual in thesetwo cultures.I comparethe contemporarypolitical situation of both governmentsin dealing with oppositionalIslam. The Arab intellectualhasbeencloselyassociatedwith the discourseof 'crisis'; I proposethat in contrastto Egypt, the discourseof crisis seemsto take a different contourin the Malaysiancontext. One cannotwrite aboutthe discourseof Islamizationwithout havinga closelook at its chief ideologue,Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi.I think his personalbiography teachesus a great deal about Islam and Muslim communitiesin America. His trajectory and ideas are discussedin Chapter 5. As arguedearlier, the attemptis to reveal the homogeneityof one languagethat operatedin different contexts.I understandSyedNaquib al-Attas, the Malaysianphilologist andspecialiston Malay Sufismas a counterfigure to al-Faruqi.I draw his portrait anddescribeISTAC and contextualizeal-Attas's works within the Malaysian political culture and the major structuralchangesin Chapter6. Chapter 7 looks at the close affinity between the French Orientalist Henry Corbin and the Iranian-American scholar S. HosseinNasr,who is yet anotherimportantfigure in the writings on scienceand Islam. An emphasiswill be made on the notions of 'spirituality' andactiveimaginationin Corbin'sthought.My purpose in this chapteris to tracethe influenceof Corbin on Nasr'sthinking. They both researchedsimilar topicsandareconsideredas prominent philosophers,however,my concernis to tracethe divergencein their interpretationof the notion of spirituality. Chapter 8 attempts to analyse the writings of Syed Hussein Alatas, the brother of al-Attas, who is the founder of sociological investigationin SoutheastAsia, andironically, one of the mostvehement critics of the 'Islamization of knowledge'in Malaysia. This chapterdiscussesthe early articles of Syed HusseinAlatas which appearedin 'ProgressiveIslam', the journal he issued during his student years in Holland. I draw certain similarities in the 'third worldist' discourseof Alatas and of the Egyptian Marxist turned into an apologeticof political Islam, Anouar Abdel Malek. It is no coincidencethat, in the SoutheastAsian world, the Kulturtriiger of 17


sucha modemIslamic discourseaswell as its critique emanatefrom Hadrami,Arab origin intellectuals. Chapters9 and 10 focus on the concreteimpact on the debateof Islamizationin the Egyptianscene.I relatethe debateto the differing competingtrendswithin the generalfield of Egyptiansocialsciences. In Chapter9, I documentthe activities of the lIlT (The International Institute of Islamic Thought) Cairo office and discussin detail the writings of the EgyptiansociologistHasanel-Sa'ati,the retired professorof EnglishliteratureAbdel Wahhabal-Messiri andthe Islamic thinker Muhammad 'Immara. 'Immara and al-Messiri are public figures who expressedsympathiestowards the Islamist trend. The reasonwhy I chose them is becausethey have been collaborating closely with the Cairo office. The issueof 'culturalinvasion'hasbeenwidely discussedin recent yearsamongArab intellectualsandit is certainlya catchword in the argumentationof the Islamists,the Islamizers,and also amongthe Nasseritesand leftists. It is a unifying catch-wordamong various conflicting ideologicalpositionsand as suchis worth our attention. Chapter 10 will be dedicated to the negative effects of such a languageon the intellectual atmosphereand again relate it to the issueof 'orientalismin reverse'.Chapter11 attemptsto look at the influenceof the questionof faith and sciencewith specialattention to the dangersof charlatanry that might accompanythe Islamization of hard sciences.Chapter12 gives a summaryof the Arab intellectuals'mounting criticism of the project of 'Islamization'as an American,petro-Islamconjunctionandimport. Many Arab intellectuals wrote extensively against the Islamization project. This chaptersummarizesthe various examinations.I will also highlight the writings of the Egyptian mathematicianRushdi Rashedwho argues that the late Egyptian philosopherZaki Nagib Mahmud, while maintaininga secularposition is effectively falling into a line of argumentsimilar to that of contemporaryIslamists. Chapter13 brings to light women's reactions towards the general policies of Islamizationin Malaysia, by focusing on the Kuala Lumpur group, the Sistersin Islam. This group was createdin the early ninetiesas a reactionto the growing Islamizationof the society. The sheerenterpriseof contrastingMalaysiawith Egypt led me to write the chaptersas self-containedentitieswith the exceptionof the chapteron landscapesand the imagesof intellectualsin two distinct cultures.I beg the readerto ponderuponthe dialecticsof this work. What constitutesits strengthis likewise its weaknesswhich remains in providing suchincisions.I wrote this text, beingpermeatedwith a 18


hidden envy for having missedmy opportunity as a film director. I imaginedthe text as a reel with abrupt cut sequences,as a mosaic, begging for a wholistic visionary perspective,possibleonly after a certaintime to elapsefor the reader. Finally, it should be mentioned that further researchon the Islamizationof knowledgedebateis still needed.The most detailed study undertaken so far is Leif Stenberg'sexcellent work The Islamizationof Science.Four Muslim PositionsDevelopingan Islamic Modernity.48 His work complementsmany points I have raised,but

from a different perspective.Stenbergundertooka thoroughreading of texts of four scholars,Maurice Bucaille, SeyyedHosseinNasr, Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi and Ziauddin Sardar.My work on the other hand, attempts to look at the practical implications of the Islamizationdiscoursefor the local context. It is about a single discourseand language,with varying consequences in two societies.I contrastal-Faruqito al-Attas and arguethat their projectsare differing. The chapteron Nasr is about his relationshipto Henry Corbin rather than his writings on Islamization. I have not dealt with the ijmali position in particular with Ziauddin Sardar,which is already carefully analysedby Stenberg.My main concernwas to read the Islamization of knowledge debatefrom an interactive perspective with the secularistsin Egypt and readboth positionsas mirror texts. I published49 an article in 1993 where I discussedMalaysia'sspecific aspectsof the Islamization of knowledge. Syed Farid Alatas published in 1995 an article whereby he associatedthe discoursewith Islamic economics.50 The journal Social Epistemologydedicateda whole issue on Islamic social epistemology.51 Christopher A. Furlow's article52 in that issue classified the protagonistsof the discourseinto three main categories:the modernistswho hold that scienceis value free; the indigenistswho maintain the specificity of knowledgeproduction and thus reject the Westernmodel, and the nativists who hold that the modernistmodel of scienceis a product of Westerncivilization andthusan invalid meansof solving the problems of the Muslim world. The article is well argued.Personally,I have problemssorting out who is who in this classification.I seeno major oppositionbetweenthe indigenistsand the nativists. Furlow mentionsthe physicistAbdus Salamas a modernistMuslim scientist becausehe promotesthe idea of a value-freescience.Nevertheless Salamhasbeenknown for taking antogonisticpositionstowardsthe protagonistsof the Islamizationandcould hardly be associatedwith the Islamizers.Toby Huff's article53 in the sameissuedrawscriticism againstthe constructivistschoolin social sciences(seenext chapter), 19


a similar position to the stand of this work. He contextualizesthe debatein the frame of the sociologyof knowledge. I should also make it clear that this manuscriptwas ready well beforethe Asian crisis andthe last powerstrugglebetweenMahathir and Anwar Ibrahim. With the new economicrecessiona different constellation concerning intellectuals and power to the one describedin this book might still be in the making.




In one word, it is the war of heritage(turath) againstheritageand the 'degradation of the heritagewith heritage'.

GeorgesTarabish* National societiesare increasinglyexposedinternally to problemsof heterogeneityanddiversityandat the sametime, are experiencingboth externaland internal pressuresto reconstruct their collective identity along pluralistic lines, individuals are increasinglysubject to compelling ethnic, cultural and religious referencepoints.


Globalizationseemsto be pairing with increasingcommunalsentiments, tribalism and new formulations of identity construction linked with separatistmovementsthat are basically essentialistin outlook, The struggle for acknowledgementimpels the fight for differenceand fragmentation.Why shouldacademiccircles, institutions of learning and networks supposing Islamic, Hindu or Buddhist- in the metropolitancentresor in the Third World - which are experiencingtoday similar global conditions be sparedfrom fragmentedacademicdiscourses? Thus, beforeI proceedto explore the debateon the 'Islamization of Knowledge', I would like to point to the inherentambiguity of the topic. The Islamizersof knowledge,like other contestingThird World intellectuals,might appearto raise important issues,such as decolonizinganthropologyand proposingalternativeparadigmsof

*Madhbahat al-turath fi al-thaqafa al-'arabiyya al-mu'asira, (The Massacreof the Heritagein ContemporaryArabic Culture), London, Dar al-Saqi, 1993, p. 15 **'Nostalgia?wilful Nostalgiaandthe phasesof Globalization'in Theories of Modernity and Post Modernity, ed. by Bryan S. Turner, London, Sage Publications,1990, p. 57. 21


knowledge.Nevertheless,the empiricalcontributionof their writings leavesmuch to be desired.! For Egypt one could mention 'Adil Husayn, a former Marxist economistwho shifted into advocatingthe Islamic path in social sciencesand centred all sociological knowledge upon faith. 2 The biographyanditinerary of 'Adil Husaynbecamea focus of attention in recentyearsdueto the fact that he wasan old Marxist andnationalist who experiencedprisonduring Nasser'stime.3 'Adil Husaynhas become in recent years an influential member of the Labour Socialist Party (hizb al-'amal al-ishtiraqi) and he is also the Editorin-Chief of the party's weekly paperAl-Sha'abjournal.4 For many he attemptsto mergethe Third Worldist dependencydiscoursewith the ideology of Islamismof the eighties.In 1998 he was detainedfor having verbally abused the Minister of Internal Affairs. Hasan Hanafi, a Sorbonne-trainedEgyptian philosopherwho translated the writings of Khomeini into Arabic, is the promoterof the idea of 'left' and progressiveIslam. Hanafi acquaintedthe Egyptian reader with Khomeini's Islamic Republic which he published in 1979.5 Hanafi provided a progressiverole to the faqih as replacing the organic intellectual. Although Hasan Hanafi never claimed any 'Islamization'project, he has nonethelesscontributedto rationalizing and intellectualisingoppositionalIslam. Thesetwo intellectuals acquaintedthe Islamic movement with 'leftist' ideology. As disappointedMarxists-nationalists,they soughtin particular after the triumph of the Iranian revolution, to revolutionize Islam as a prolongationof a nationalistproject. Certainly, their discoursehas been appropriatedby the Islamizers of knowledge. Also Hasan Hanafi's major contribution has been a work on 'Turath and Renewa1'.He is to be recognizedto be amongthe first to discussthe notion of turath, or heritage.By turath it was often meantIslamic heritagewhich could include religious as well as philosopicaltexts. The word turath hascertainlyfiltered throughand spread.6 The Islamizationof knowledgedebateaddressesthe problematic of the indigenizationof social sciences,'authenticity'and so-called authentic Islamic institutions that are to replace the 'imposed' Western ones, presentin the debate. The debate on authenticity stirred vigorous reactionswhich cannotbe discussedin detail here. Suffice to point to the stand of secularArab intellectualslike the Egyptian philosopherFu'ad Zakariyyah,the Syrian historian Aziz al-Azmeh, the former Egyptian AmbassadorHusayn Ahmad Amin,7 the LebaneseGeorgesTarabishi, Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd,8 the late Mahdi 'Amil (Hasan Himdan), Mohamed Arkoun, the



EgyptianjudgeMuhammadSa'idal-'Ashmawi,the Moroccanhistorian Abdallah Laroui and the Syrian Sadiq Jalal al-'Azm. They, all from very different perspectives,dismantled and questionedthe binary opposition of the authentic9 versusthe imported, the spiritual East versusmaterialistWest and the invoking of a much disputed Islamic heritagefor ideologicaland political purposes.It was also observedthat the classanalysis,Marxist discourseandconcerns about poverty and development- that were so much presentin the discoursesof the sixties - were intentionally blurred to be replaced by the 'authenticity'discourse.All theseintellectualspointedto the major changes that caused the intellectual field to shift from Arabism and socialismto Islam. SadiqJalal al-'Azm was the first to producea critique of the religiousideology, which resultedin a trial. According to him the authenticity discoursewas born out of the 1967 defeat and becamethe official ideology of many regimesnot only in the Middle East but also Indonesiaand Pakistan.For Al'Azm, religious revival went handin handwith Americanhegemony in the region.10 In this context MohamedArkoun's critique of the authenticitytrend is worth noting. He pointedto the fact that those who advocateauthenticityclaim to possessthe truth without having a distance from the problem of truth. Arkoun understandsthe authenticitymovementas: 'the sentimentof being', as a way of 'being in the world' in a truthful manner, as the capacity to work, think, and feel from 'inner necessity'from 'deep personalchoice'andwith 'joy', as the oppositeof externallydefinedvirtue, as creativity and willfulness as opposed to rottenness, everydayness,and repetition.11

Let us contextualizethe term of Islamization of knowledgewhich saw the light first at the Meccaconference.

The Mecca conference It was Fu'ad Zakariyya, the Egyptian philosopher,who developed

the notion of the 'Petro-Islam'phaseto designatethe SaudiArabian conservativeversionof Islam, quite often confusedby analystswith the revolutionary Islam which aimed at social change. (Islam altharwa [wealth] versus Islam al-thawra [revolutionD.12 The term 'Islamizationof knowledge'was first devisedin SaudiArabia, where the First World Conferenceon Muslim Educationwasheld at Mecca from March 31 to April 8 in 1977. Thereare threeimportantfigures who are relatedto this conference,the PalestinianAmericanIsma'il 23


Raji al-Faruqi, S. N. al-Attas, and S. H. Nasr.13Eachof them later developeda different understandingof what the Islamization of knowledgeis about. S.N. al-Attas presenteda paperwith the title 'Preliminary Thoughts on the Nature of Knowledge and the Definition and Aims of Education'.14 Thereare neverthelessfundamental differencesin orientation betweenal-Attas and al-Faruqi's views of Islamization of knowledge. AI-Attas stressesstrong Sufi inclinations with intuition as a form of knowledge,while al-Faruqi expressedstrongsympathytowardsfiqh. What interestsus, however, is the impact of such international Islamic organizations,and the successiveconferencesin spreading the networksandvisions of 'Islamizationof knowledge'all over the Muslim world. He stressedthe teaching of Islamic philosophy, which was to be given primacy over and rejectedthe characterization of philosophy as kufr. 15 Western philosophy. He later wrote elsewhere: What mustbe done, therefore, is to defmephilosophyitselffrom the Islamic point of view and then to re-appraisethe current meaningsof philosophyin the light of the Islamic perspective.16

On the concretelevel, the Meccaconferencestimulatedthe creation of the two International Islamic universities of Islamabad17 and Kuala Lumpur, and the separatelIlT, in Cairo and Kuala Lumpur (attachedto the International Islamic University). In the United States,it led to the creationof the InternationalInstitute of Islamic Thought in Washington,the lIlT. There are also various offices all over the Muslim world. Also interestingto noteis the Associationof Muslim Social Scientiststhat was createdin Cologne and which spreadsnews and information about the IIIT.18 Furthermore,The American Journal of Islamic Social Scienceswhich is published jointly by The Association of Muslim Social Scientists and the InternationalInstitute of Islamic Thoughtis anotherimportantchannel for distributing the ideology of Islamization. Earlier, al-Faruqi was involved in the creationof the Muslim StudentAssociation.19 Associatedwith the generaltrend of Islamizationthat occurredin manyMuslim countriesin the early seventieswasthe rising powerof OPEC and Saudi influence in the Muslim world and Zia ul Haq imposedmartial law in Pakistanand Islamizedthe country.20 AI-Faruqi proposesa holistic project to Islamize knowledge, which was then taken by his followers and extended to the Islamization of education and science. AI-Faruqi's programme 24


advocatesthat all knowledgemust reorderitself underthe principle of tawhid (unity of God).21 AI-Faruqi's proposal is discussedin detail elsewhere.The idea that Westernsocial sciencesare biased and not objective is an often repeatedslogan amongmany of the IslamizersI mentionin this work. They neverthelessseldom,if ever, refer to the already-existingWesterncritiquesof claims to objectivity in science,22or of the notion that scienceis valuefree. AI-Faruqi, like the Islamizerswho follow him, seemsto be quite vague;and he becamesubjectto harshcriticism. His project was interpretedas a manifesto fo'r applying the Islamic shari'a. If tawhid in science encompasses the existing scientific view it doesnot say much about how tawhid would operatepractically without the obvious political repressionthat may result from letting the men of religion decide upon the laboratory.In this debate,the clear divide betweenIslam and the West seemsto be centred around the question of faith, which stressesthat objective knowledgeis the knowledgeof God. For the Muslim social scientist, it would seem that knowledge should be interlinked with worship. '11m (which is science and knowledgein its broad sense)becomes,accordingto this modern interpretation,a form of 'ibadah (worship), when it is pursuedin obedienceto God.23 Tawhid, meaningliterally 'makingone',unifying (divine oneness), was an importantcomponentof Sufis. However,Sufis seethat unity with God is somethingratheresotericwhich cannotto be graspedby reason.It is an act of losing oneselfin the love and the knowledge of God. Accordingto Sufis the muwahhidor unifier sublimateswhen losing himself. Tawhid is thus defined as 'the absolutenessof the Divine naturerealisedin the passing-awayof the humannature'24so that 'the man'slast staterevertsto his first stateandhe becomeseven as he was beforehe existed'.25 It hasbeenarguedthat Muhammad'Abduh was the first 'alim to modernizethe notion of tawhid. 'Abduh interpretedtawhid as arguing that 'there is no conflict betweenreasonand revelation, otherwise God would have createdrationality in people in vain'.26 This could be a clue that explainsthe typesof scientific interpretationsof the Qur'an that followed 'Abduh's enterprise.One could trace the genealogy of translating tawhid into political activism back to Sayyid Qutb, the ideologueof the Muslim Brothers,and after him Ali Shari'ati(1933-1977). AI-Faruqi seemsto ignore the Sufi inclinationsand ratherfollows the line of Qutb in amalgamatingtawhid with shari'a. He attempts to make it operativefor social sciences;for a 'sociology of faith.' 25


SeyyedHosseinNasrand his followers on the otherhandusetawhid as the core for re-ordering the history of Islamic sciences.Thus, faith, 'religiosity' and spirituality are not to be dissociatedfrom objectivity in the scientific endeavour. AI-Faruqi's propositionsbearstrongsimilarities to thoseof some Islamists, like the Egyptian ideologueAnouar al-Jundi. Mohamed Arkoun criticizes al-Jundi'sideology and arguesthat it exemplifiesa 'representative'Islamist position. Arkoun analysesal-Jundi'stotalitarian and aggressivediscoursewhich contradictsany elementary level of scientific investigation.According to Arkoun, the similarity of representations,the same convictions and articulations of thought, are reproducedfrom Morocco to Indonesia.The text is constantlyaboutone 'Islam' which Arkoun spellswith a capital I in order to distinguish it from islam (notice the difference in French betweencapital and small /lislam),27 Arkoun exposesthe limits and staticvision of Islam of al-Jundi'sthought.Arkoun summarisedthis thought in twenty one points, amongthe most significant of which are the following: Islam believesin the submissionof natureand not its challenge. Islam doesnot approveof theoriesof changeof customsaccording to time and space.Islam doesnot approveof the indefinite theories 28 In Islam thereis no sepaof evolution that circulatein emptiness. ration betweenreligion and life, betweenthis life and the afterlife. Thereis a unity of the humansoul. Islam doesnot acceptthe isolation of religion from social life. Thus, it settles for a complete method that comprisesthe generallines human behaviourshould follow vis-a.-vis the self and collectivity.29 Science is helpless in providing a definite explanationfor everything.Thereis no contradiction in Islam betweenfaith and religion. Only Occidentalreason separatesthe religious vision from the scientific rational thought.30 Thesepropositionsareconstantlyreproducedamongthe Islamizers, with variationsand shades. Parallel to the Mecca Conference,and coinciding with the rising Islamization of Egyptian intellectuals, 'Adil Husayn, the former Egyptian Marxist economist,arguedthat there exists an epistemological and conceptualbreak betweenEast and West. This break runs parallel to the break between Islam and secularism (dunyawiyya). In defining this break, 'Adil Husaynputs 'faith' as a classificatory mechanismdividing EastandWest.What distinguishesthe East from the West is the maintenanceof faith. By borrowing the notion of 'umran (the Khaldunian notion for fundamental allembracingcivilization), 'Adil Husayn attemptsto furnish us with



solutionsto the crucial problemof Middle Easternsocieties,namely, the problem of economicdependency.31'Adil Husayn presenteda paperin the early eightiesat the Centerfor Criminology and Social Studiesin Cairo. It appearedin a volume of collected articles in 1985. The essaywas entitled 'WesternSocial Sciences:Deficient and Hostile'. Both appearedin a collectionof his essaysentitled Towards A New Arab Thought: Nasserism,Developmentand Democracy.It is interestingthat 'Adil Husaynis an economistand not a sociologist who attacksWesternsocialsciences.'Adil Husayn'sthoughtwas discussedat lengthby Sami Zubaida,32in particularHusayn'spaperon social sciences entitled 'Western Social Sciences: Deficient and Hostile'. 'Adil Husayn's stand was equally criticized by Morsy, Nelsonet al,33 BassamTibi 34 and Muhammadel-SayyidSa'id.35 ElSayyid Sa'id extendedhis critique to both 'Adil Husaynand Tariq al-Bishri's notion of asala (authenticity). El-Sayyid Sa'id's disapproval of Husayn is worth attention. Sa'id arguesthat Husayn discardedthe already long and well debatedcriticism in the West concerningthe value neutrality of science.El-Sayyid Sa'id pointed to the fact that Husaynconfusedthe scientific method,as a particular mode of knowledge, with the subjects of the knowledge.36 Furthermore,El-Sayyid Sa'id expresseda strong skepticismabout the end resultsof developing ametaphysicalsciencethat would lead to religious oppressionand systematiccensorshipof topics and ideas.He voiced a powerful suspicionaboutthe idea of a metaphysical scienceand whetherlosing one's 'identity' through interacting with the West is unavoidable.According to Sa'idthe notion of identity has already been debated in philosophical and sociological studies,like thoseof the Frankfurt School, and is in itself an unresolvedquestion.Onecould extendthe notion of 'sociologyof faith', which SamiZubaidadevelopedin discussing'Adil Husayn'sideas,to al-Faruqi,al-Attas and S.H. Nasr'swritings. In summary,it is meaningfulto end this sectionwith Mohammed Arkoun's comment of Islamic reasonand the stanceof Western social sciences.Arkoun would be considereda harsh critic of alFaruqi'sand the Islamists'position, which he would seeas limiting itself to the discourseof the 'ideology of combat'.37Arkoun's primary concernfor reform is through institutional changethat will allow intellectualsto think and expressthemselvesfreely. Although Arkoun's writings are rich through his borrowing from anthropology, philosophy,linguisticsandsociology,he neverclosedhis eyes to maintaininga critical standtowardsthe limits of modernity, of capitalistcultureand the so-calledclaimsof Westernuniversality.In 27


otherwords, he maintainsa critical discoursetowardsboth the East and West. Yet Arkoun's stand is clear, one cannot understand Islamic heritagewithout 'Westernsocial-scientificmethodology'.38 His inner critique of Islamic reasoncould be readas an enlightening counter-projectto the Islamization of knowledge debatewhich is worth studying.

Anthropology Islarnized Anthropologistshave discovereda new field of investigation. For example, Akbar Ahmed is an advocate of the Islamization of anthropology.In his book Toward Islamic Anthropology:Definition, Dogma and Direction he surveys the critique of colonial anthropology, a task already undertaken by previous Third Worldist anthropologistslike Talal Asad and Banaji who are also mentioned by him.39 If anthropologyas a sciencereflectsseriouscontroversies and prejudicesof the Orientalistheritage,the readeris yet left insecure as to whetherthe Islamic anthropologyis not a reverseside of the same coin. Richard Tapper reviewed A. Ahmed's Islamic Anthropologyquite negatively.He statedthe following: ~s a pieceof anthropologyit doesno credit eitherto anthropologyor to Islam'.40 The authorneverthelessseemsto concealwhat is really the genuine contributionof Muslim anthropologyto the generalfield of anthropology. Is it the fact that a growing 'native anthropology'and an increasingnumberof anthropologistsare viewed as a seriousthreat to their Westerncolleaguesbecausethey naturally masterthe languageand culture? Does this detail render anthropologyIslamic? Thesewere questionsraised by Richard Tapper. Is it the fact that Ahmed proposesa different taxonomy in certain tribal areas-a legitimate task to be undertaken- and thus correctssomemisconceptionsof previousanthropologiststhat makesanthropologymore Islamic? However, one could interpret Ahmed's undertakingas a power fight againstthe heritageof colonial anthropology,equally againsta meta-languageamongWesternanthropologists,essentializing specific cultural conceptsinto generalhuman characteristics. His analysisof Fredrik Barth'sstudyon the SwatPukhtunsattempts to show that he reproducesanthropologicalprejudicesand the mis41 conceptionsof essentialization. Fredrik Barth hasbeenaccusedby meof reductionismin his portrayal of the Swat Pukhtuns(Ahmed1976). Barth, respondingto the criticism, revisited Swat. The visit did little to changehis ideas(Barth 1981, Vol II). He provides us with a lengthy example- 'new' ethnography- purporting to explain his


THE ISSUES AT STAKE thesis. The driver of the bus he was on refusedto give way to another van on the Nowshera bridge, an old pre-independenceone-lane railway bridge (ibid:131-132, 163). Both held their groundand the situation, madetenseby the arrival of a train, was diffusedafter considerabledelay. Barth sees'deep structures' in the incident. This then, is serious anthropology explaining humanbehavioramongPukhtuns. If 1 were to cite examplesof bad drivers or more accurately - bad mannereddrivers -from Englandor the USA, wouldtheysupporta moregeneral thesison Westernsociety?1 think not. The exampleis thus parody not . SCIence ...42

Again Tapperarguesthat Ahmed is indeedadvancingracist propositions, otTerslax standardsof scholarship,andhis critiquesseemto take the shapeof a rather personalvendetta.43 WhetherTapperis not himself part of the powergamewithin the marketof anthropologists,is perhapsthe issuewhich is at stake.Let us havea closelook at Akbar Ahmed'sbiography. Akbar Ahmedis a socialanthropologisteducatedin GreatBritain at the universitiesof Birmingham,Cambridge,and London. He was a visiting Professorat Princetonand Harvard. He has beena member of the faculty of the Islamic Instituteof AdvancedStudiesin the USA and the Islamic academyin England.In addition he taughtat the University of Washingtonand the Quaid-e-AzamUniversity of Islamabad.He also held the position of Allama Iqbal Fellow at Cambridge and worked as Commissioner of Sibi Division in BaluchistanProvince, Pakistan.44 Ziauddin Sardar was also educatedin Englandwhere he studiedphysicsand information science. He hasbeenworking as a sciencejournalist for British journalsand haswritten on Islamic themesfor variousinternationalpublications. Sardarhas worked for Saudis as an 'information consultant'for managingthe pilgrimage.Sardarhadproposeda speciallanebe built for pedestriansto avoid traffic jams.45 He was the adviserof Anwar Ibrahim and we are told that he divides his time betweenEngland and Malaysia.46 Sardar'ssuggestionsmight be appealingfor the Green movementin the way he approachesecological issuesand adds to it the 'Islamic' perspective.Sardaris also an advocateof reviving local culture,like environmentand Islamic architecture.His inquiries of post modernityin the Third World are worth the attention in that he voicesa protestagainstAmericancultural hegemony and irresponsibilitytowardsthe social issues.His ideason consumer culture are discussedin the next chapter. Perhaps England found in the figures of Akbar Ahmed of Cambridge and Ziauddin Sardar desirableEnglish speakerswho promote an apologetic Islam that comforts and appeals to the



resentfulIndian sub-continentcommunitieswhich have beenfacing growing discriminationin England.Here Islamizationlooks like an invented'going native of the natives'trend that might takethe shape and languageof an emancipatorytrend but that is in reality the direct outcomeof the Saudi Arabian, petro-Islam,Salafi ideology. One could think of drawing analogiesbetweenthe Islamizersand the Subaltern studies group in India as representingalternative Third Worldist voices.This comparisonhowever,would do injustice to the highly intellectual quality of Subalternvoices which have indeed developeda genuinecritical stand to metropolitancultural hegemony. Both Z. Sardar and Akbar Ahmed are representativeof the Indian sub-continentIslamic voice in England.It is legitimatethat such voices be represented,in particularwith the growing wave of racism and right wing ideologiesin Europe.Thesetwo figures are active in massmediaand the press.Sardarproduceda seriesfor the BBC called Faces of Islam where he invited mainly non-Arab Muslims.47 Both could be labelled as 'mediatic'figures who marketize a new languageof Islam as a strategic self-positioning in England. Both seemto have won sympathizersand gaineda large audienceoutsidethe UK. Ahmed'spublicationsin Routledgeand other English publishinghouseshavegaineda popularity that has reachedSoutheastAsia. It is interesting that, Akbar Ahmed in defining the 'Islamization of knowledge' in the Oxford Encyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World arguesthat althoughit is a recentterm, he wants to 'historisize'it and attribute it to the earlierefforts of Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan in the nineteenthcentury in Aligarh.48 In relation to the Islamizationdebate,in recentyears,sociologists have raisedquestionsrelatedto the strugglein the sociologicalfield between 'local', indigenous and international scholars; the issue beingwhoseknowledgecountedmore and the 'bargainingover who knows reality better'. The debateover the indigenizationof social sciencesas a post-colonial discourseand the varying competing forces within the sociological field, has already been analysedby Morsy, Nelsonel al.49 Since the late eighties,a large body of literature has been producedconcernedwith global versus indigenous knowledgeand the interactionand intricate dialectical relationship betweenthe global and the local.50 Whetherthe particularemerges against- or is complementaryto - the universal, and whetherthe weight of 'local truth' may be part and parcelof the global cultural condition, havebeenthemeswell elaboratedby RolandRobertson.51 30


Moreover, debateson globalizationpointed to the developmentof sociology in relation to the modem nation-state,they questioned whetherthis led to trendsof integrationor disintegration52 and cultural homogenizationversuscultural heterogenizationwere equally debated.53 The placeof the cultureof resistanceandthe inventionof tradition in relation to the wave of Americanizationwere issues broughtinto connectionwith the technologicalrevolution and mass media.To quote Friedman: Ethnic and culturalfragmentationandmodernisthomogenizationare not two arguments,two opposingviews of what is happeningin the world today, but two constitutivetrends in global reality. 54

This chapter revisits the issue of 'indigenization of knowledge' through a comparative examination of the debate over the Islamizationof knowledgein two different countries.Even though the debateappearsto be critical of the Westerndiscourse,it seems to be imprisonedin the game of mirrors of 'orientalizing orientals'.55 More precisely, while agreeing with the general inquiry which Edward Said directed against Orientalism, this chapter points to the effectsof what S. J. al-'Azm expressedas 'Orientalism in reverse'among Muslim academicsand researchers,in that it entailsthe samemetaphysicaland orientalistvisions.56 The glorifiof the domestication cationof 'sheerotherness'as the consequence of the post-colonialdiscourse,as Aziz al-Azmeh puts it,57 is one mechanismof the West-Eastinteractive dynamicswhich the protagonistsof Islamization are indeed consciousof. Essentialismis therefore not necessarily restricted to Western scholarship or orientalistsand this work is mainly concernedwith its effects on local intellectualfields. The rejectionof 'imported'valuesand at the sametime, of sociological tools which could be broadly classifiedunder the rubric of 'cultural invasion', are the direct consequenceof the competitive interactionbetweenEastandWest. In otherwords, sucha discourse should be contextualizedwithin a dialecticalWest/Eastrelationship rather than understood as an inherently 'oriental' indigenous discourse. I plead for an interactionist sociology on the crosscultural level. The claim of 'importedvalues'areclassificatoryterms setby the interactionwith the West. In this contextTzvetanTodorov is right in arguing that identity is shapedthrough the awarenessof difference. He furthermore argues that a culture cannot develop without externalcontacts.In fact, Todorovsaysthat the intercultural is constitutiveof the cultural.58 31


However,to seethe advocatesof Islamizationas reactingagainst the Western paradigmsof knowledge makes it appearto be an attractive intellectual exercisefor both Westernand Muslim intellectuals.This is evenmore true sincethe parallel questioningof the paradigms of Western scientific thought stimulated by Kuhn's celebrated work.59 Feyerabend'sconception of the anarchistic enterpriseof science argued for the complexity of history and humanchangein sciencewhere'anythinggoes'.60The reasonwhy I bring Feyerabendin is becausehe is a celebratedauthoramongthe Islamizers, who misappropriated his work. Paradoxically Feyerabendadvancedthe idea that anarchismmight be of use for progressin science. To Feyerabend,counter induction, myth or magic is as valid as anything else, by borrowing from Feyerabend, this is preciselyhow the Islamizersclaim that their enterpriseis the other side of the coin of the maxim 'that anything goes'.It is no coincidence that during the International Seminar on Islamic Philosophyheld in 1989, Anwar Ibrahim gave a speechon Science and the Islamic Approach in which he quoted Kuhn and Feyerabend'sAgainst Methodconcerningthe strugglebetweenthe competingparadigms.S.N. al-Attas, S. HosseinNasr, and Sardar were also quoted and combined with Feyerabendand Kuhn.61 Anwar has been advocating Islamization as an alternative to Westernimitation, accompaniedby an admirationwith Japanand Korea.62 Equally, there has been in recentyears a growing interestin the magnitudeof 'local knowledge' in different cultures and times:63 Karen Knorr's constructivism and view of the 'fabrication' of knowledgein the laboratory analysesthe context and languageof the scientific community.64 Since then, a considerablerange of studieshave appearedarguing that scientific knowledgeis socially 65 However,constructiviststudiesandtheir affinity with constructed. relativismhavebeensubjectto criticism for what is seenastheir overstatementof relativism and consequentneglect of the questionof whether or not a scienceis true.66 One major criticism was that: 'Constructivists ... apply their theory only to the knowledge of others,and resistits applicationto their own knowledge'.67 Another problem, as Murphy argued,was that constructiviststendedto disguise and often exclude the weight of nature and its laws at the expenseof the social 'fabrication'of science.68 In relation to the history of science, Yehuda Elkana, while inspired by the work of Geertz,arguesfor the interpretationof scienceas a cultural system. He argues that the different dimensionsof culture, religion, art, 32


science,ideology, everydaythinking and music correlatewith each other as cultural systems.69 In sociology,it is importantto mention the earlierandcrucial work of PeterBergerand ThomasLuckmann The Social Construction of Reality,70 a study concernedwith the theory of sociology of knowledge (Wissenssoziologie).This work pointed to the issueof subjectivity and how knowledgeand reality are socially constructed.It askedthe questionof how knowledgeis perceivedin everydaylife. On the otherhand,Clifford Geertz'sLocal Knowledge,7lcould be viewedas a poeticwork of interpretativesociology. It examines the interaction between the anthropologist's worldview with the observedand the variousunderstandingsof the observedself. All theseendeavoursin the searchfor alternativeparadigmsin the sociology of knowledge,togetherwith the post-Orientalismdebate paved the way, directly or indirectly to self-representationof the voicesof the Southas 'indigenous'and 'authentic'local voices.They indirectly enhancethe notion of relativity.

The job market:jongleursand migrants Insteadof just concentratingon 'discourse',we can view the abundanceof lIlT publicationsas an expansiveform of 'Islamic mass culture' on the level of book production and as the conquering stance of a 'new' Islamic public religion on the academiclevel. Perhapsalso the IIIT n publicationsin both the Arabic and English languagescaterto the Indian subcontinentMuslims73 by providing a market for the new generationof young Muslim scholars74 who are searchingfor publishingoutletsin the USA and job marketsin other partsof the Muslim world. For example,the lIlT list of publications of 1997 lists the numberof 23 thesesin Arabic language. Theseyoung graduatesare preciselynot graduatesfrom traditional religious centres like al-Azhar, Zaituna or Deoband, but rather from the technical and hard sciencefaculties. For instance,S.H. Nasrtrainedas an engineer.OsmanBakar,his studentand follower from Malaysia, who becameDean of the Departmentof Science, University of Malaya and was a former active memberof ABIM, was trained as a mathematician.They competewith, and want to conquerthe field of the traditional 'ulama as well as that of the secular intellectuals.The Islamizers,would like equally to discreditthe secularintellectualsin the field of interpretingand 'openingup' the text hermeneutically.The Islamizersconsiderthe educationalsystem in Muslim countriesdeficient becauseit producesWesternized 33


elites and 'diludedhybrids'75(a designationthat ironically perfectly appliesto them). It follows from such a logic that there is a necessity of creating'Islamic institutions' to liberate the Muslim world from the 'secularistmentality'. In relationto this topic, it is no coincidencethat S.H. Nasr is read as being highly critical of the 'ulama to the extentof being definedas anticlerical.76 However,we should differentiatebetweenthe famousprotagonistslike Sardarand Nasr who, accordingto Leif Stenberg,are consideredas the Muslim 'jetset', who fly from one conferenceto another77 and the younger generationgraduatesor ratheracademicmigrants. Many of the academicstaff who are recruitedto the International Islamic University of Kuala Lumpur have little to do with a clear missionof 'Islamizing knowledge'and are ratherthereto earnhard currencyvery much like foreign academicmigrantsin SaudiArabia or Kuwait. The quantitative aspect and the abundanceof their publicationsis worth taking into consideration.Indeed,what we are witnessingtoday, besidesthe image of economically deprived,frustratedyoung anti-governmentactivists,is the expansionof religious institutions constructedby Islamic states. These institutions are characterizedby substantialfunding and staffedby academicswho areparticipatingin suchideologicalstateconstructions.Islamization and the concomitantcreation of alternativechannelsfor academic positions in Muslim countries could be viewed as reflecting the question of the variation and fluctuation of job markets and the fragmentaryappearance in offering a voice to suppressed minorities, while disregardingissues of increasing racism in the metropolis, citizenshipand equalrights. If we take Europeas an examplethere is nothing new in the fact that the recessionswept many Westernuniversities. Consequently many academicpositionswere cut down and funding for research and book acquisitionwitnesseda decline. With the growing ascendanceof right wing ideologies,overseasstudentswho found a wider spacein academiclife after the 1968 events,are today faced with increasingparochialismin academichiring decisions.Islamization and the creation of alternative channelsof academicpositions in Muslim countries (even if in institutions consideredby some as third rate) may be consideredas relatedto the questionof the varying job markets. Social scientistshave previously pointed out the growing racism, ethnocentrism,anti-Semitism,provincialism and parochialismin Westernacademiclife. 78 It should not surpriseus that the Islamizersare reflecting a form of reversedparochialism which they have experiencedin the West. Leif Stenbergprovidesa 34


different view by arguing that well educatedMuslims scholarsin Europeand the North Americancontexthavebeenin short supply so that those who were secular educatedsuch as engineersand 79 Stenberg's observation teachers,filled the minbarsof the mosques. of combining can help us perhapsreflect about the consequences preachingwith academiccommitmentsas was the caseof al-Faruqi which I discusslater. To give another example, it is no secret that academicjobs in Egypt are very badly rewarded financially. In order to survive economically, academicsare visibly forced to maintain a double languageand searchfor alternativesto provide a double salary by working for foreign organizationsto provide hard currency funds. HereNGOsin Egypt representa dilemmafor on the onehand,these organizationscertainlycould playarole in pushingthe wheel of furthering the role of civil society,civil rights and further awarenessfor humanrights. But, on the otherhand,they are equallya new source of earningmoney for many intellectualswho havecertainly moved socially through political activism. This is a universal unresolved paradox.Earningone'sliving is the concernof everyone,intellectual or not, Islamized or secular.Despitethe strong negativeresponses directedtowardsthe Islamizationdiscourse,the lIlT office with its networks all over the world could be seenas an outlet for young academicsto publish and to travel to the USA. The lIlT library in Cairo is well frequentedby studentswho find it difficult to obtain Islamic literatureat the nationaluniversities. There exists today in Cologne, Germany, an association of Muslim social scientists. This society publicizes extensively the activities and publicationsof the lIlT offices in various placesin on Islamic anthropology,socithe world. It organises conferences ology and education.In addition,it hastranslatedsomeof the lIlT publications into German.80 However, despite the negative responsesdirected againstthe Islamization of knowledgeproject, this associationhighlights migrant culture and the problems of racism in Germany.Their newsletterpoints out to the discrimination which Muslims face in finding jobs and renting houses.The issue of discrimination against Islamic attire is mentioned.They seemto have widenedtheir scopeto discussissuesconcerningthe Muslims in Europe. This again is part and parcel of the local differencesand fighting for a voice in the Westernworld. In the following section I will attempt to look at the context and internationalizationof the debate.Although the discourseandlanguage of the Islamizers may take a homogeneousshape,and while the



debate entails a global dimension, the politics of Islamization differ locally. The languageof the Islamizersentailsa homogeneitythat is replicatedand travels betweenthe USA, Pakistan,Egypt and Malaysia. But the endeavourhereis to transcendthe languageand look at the local variations. In fact, the Islamization of knowledge debate revealsto us to what extentthereexistsa homogeneityin the repetitive jargon that is reproducedin both the Arabic or English language,be it in Malaysia or Egypt. However, texts in isolation, say very little if nothingwithout contextualizingthem. This is wherethe 'local variations'becomeinterwovenwith the politics of modernity. The discoursehas been globalized. One can, for instance,purchasein Kuala Lumpur or Cairo the samewritings of Egyptian, Arab, Pakistani,Malaysian and Arab-Americanintellectuals,and meet Algerian, Tunisians and Pakistani working at the International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur.s1 It is also global in that it was promotedby a PalestinianAmerican at a conferencein Mecca. This goeshand in hand with a diversification, in the local context, in the pattern of the various governments'manoeuvres with the politics of Islamization. These variations could be observedeitheron the level of co-optionfor stateconstructionfrom 'above',or suppressionand the useof a reverseIslamic languageto fight the undergroundreligious opposition. I will here attempt to describethe different proponents,each of whom claims to be the 'sole' and true advocateof Islam. Yet they all maintain a common denominatorin the logic of their argumentation,usually dissociating the history of the Islamic world from mainstreamuniversal history. Thus, they refuseto acknowledgethe impact of the nearly two hundredyears of colonial encounterand the long-established processof secularizationof institutions in the Orient. In fact, the critics of the Islamistdiscourselike SayyidYasin and SadiqJalal al'Azm acknowledgethe effect of the creationof institutionslike the press,the modemeducationsymbolizedin the birth of the modem university and the modemjudicial system.S.l al-'Azm arguesthat the term fundamentalismis equally valid to Islam as to other religions. He says: After all theforces that havebeenshapingand reshapingArab life for the last 150 years or so are, in every instance, of Europeanorigin and provenance, such as capitalism, nationalism, colonialism, secularism, liberalism, populism, socialism, communism,Marxism, modernism,developmentalism, evolutionism, the idea of progress, scientific knowledge,applied technology (both civil and military) ....82



Also, the quality of the writings variesfrom one contextto another. So for instance, the I1IT recently published a booklet by the EgyptianintellectualTariq al-Bishri83 an intelligent booklet on the Gulf war, dependencyand globalization, Islam and national identity, in the I1IT publications.84 In fact, in recentyearsal-Bishri has beenconnectedto the activities of the lIlT in Cairo. One might disagreewith al-Bishri's political stance,but the quality of his writing, and his detailed and distinguished historical scholarly work is certainly noteworthyin comparisonto anotherbook on Islamizing attitudes and practice in embryology also published by the lIlT, which interprets the Qur'an for instrumental purposes,a point which will be analysedlater. By borrowing scientific interpretations from the Holy Book, it unfortunatelylends itself to charlatanistic 85 Another paper attemptsto apply Islamic beliefs interpretations. and fundamentalsin the areas of mathematicsand computer science86 (see chapter eleven). Another serious work worth mentioningis the MA thesisof EmadEldin Shahinpublishedunder the title of Through Muslim Eyes: M. RashidRida and the West.87 This work deservesattentionbecauseit proposesa novel perspective in interpreting the work of the reformist Rashid Rida. Shahin undertook the task of analysing the journal al-Manar (The Lighthouse), which was published in Cairo from 1886 to 1936. According to EmadEldin Shahin,Rida's main concernwas to reconcile betweenthe trendwhich aimedat preservingold customsand traditionsandthosewho adopteda moderneducationbasedon free thinking. Rida's main zeal with al-Manar was to promotethe idea that Islam was not in contradictionwith modernity,science,reason and civilization.88 The publicationsof the lIlT extendto the writings of RashedGhanushi,who publisheda work on the rights of citizenshipin the Muslim society.89Ghanushiinsistson the statusof ahl-al-dhimma(the non-Muslims in the land of Islam). He quotes extensivelythe works of the Pakistanial-Mawdudiand supportsthe idea of non-Muslimspaying a tribute. The former Muslim Brother and Azharite Yusuf al-Qaradawihashowever,also publishedat the IIIT.90 The Cairo office thus servedas a publication outlet for the various Islamic trends. Whenthe critical opponentsof Islamizationattackthe whole project for its intellectual poverty, simplistic assumptions,and in SoutheastAsia somehold the view that the key word 'Islamization of knowledge'is beenusedas mere rhetoric for a political agendaa fact which seemsto be undeniable- they neverthelessignore the fact that the chief cross-culturalgame is an institutional power 37


struggleaboutwho has the supremacyto decideupon 'knowledge'. Meanwhilea new generationof Muslim graduatesof universitiesin the United Statesis expandingand competingon the job market. While discussingthe issue of the 'legitimate' appropriationof the English languageby non-Englishpeople,as in the caseof India whereit becamethe uniting languageof the nation, Aijaz Ahmad in a stimulating article about 'Third World literature', migrant intellectualsand Englishwriters in India,91 developsthe interesting ideathat the ex-colonialcultureswitnessedan expansionof sophisticated-largemiddle classeswhich becameprofessionalizedin the ex-colonies.The samecould be said about the wave of migrations to Britain in the late sixties which led to the consolidationof a large middle class that went parallel with the expansionof the working class. Ahmed first provides us with a rich comparison betweenthe various waves of migration to the USA and Britain. He weavesthe configurationsof migration with the phenomenon of the growing second generation of foreign students where 'the liberal, pluralistic self-image of the university can always be pressedto make room for diversity and multiculturalism .. .', also paradoxically: this sameuniversity is usually, for the non-whitestudent,a place of desolation, evenpanic; exclusionsare sometimesblatant, moreoften only polite and silent, and the documentsof one'sculture becomelittle sicklesto clear one's way through spirals of refinedprejudice.92

Perhapssuch observationsabout the demiseof the Westernuniversity could give us one answerwhy such a debatereflects a Western creationratherthan an inherentlyEasternone. ConcerningMalaysia one should draw attentionto the fact that we are dealing with a new understandingof 'Islamic' institutions, which aims to promotealternativeeducationalprospects,differing from al-Azhar and DeobandUniversities, but also from Western universities.The University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur was established in 1962 as the national university, succeedingthe former University of Malaya in Singaporewhich was establishedin 1949, while the University KebangsaanMalaysiawas establishedin 1970 with three faculties only (Arts; Islamic Studiesand Science)at the old M.T.C. building at Pantai Valley. In 1973, the Faculty of Medicine and the Institute of Malay Language,Literature and 93 On the other hand, the International Culture were established. Islamic University at Kuala Lumpur founded in 1983 is a more recentdevelopmentwhich is intertwinedwith Anwar Ibrahim'srise 38


in politics and with Malaysia'simage of maintaininginternational relations with the Muslim world. The International Islamic University of Kuala Lumpur was sponsoredby the Organizationof the Islamic Conferenceand sevenother Muslim countriesin addition to Malaysia: Maldives, Bangladesh,Pakistan,Turkey, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. According to some of its senior ideologues,the Dean M. Kamal Hassan,the aim of the university and '... Its philosophy of the integration of religious knowledge and worldly sciences,togetherwith the vision of Islamization of human knowledge, were inspired by the recommendationsof the first World Conferenceon Muslim Education held at Mecca in 1977'.94 However,oncein Kuala Lumpur, the observerwill notice that the International Islamic University has little to do with developing Malay culture or Malay Islam, but rather that we are witnessing theretransformed,'modernized'knowledge,which is basicallycirculating in English and Arabic. Even if the teaching staff includes traditionally trainedal-Azhar 'uiama, many of them combinedtheir theologicaltraining with Westerneducationandlong sojournsin the USA and Europe,and call themselvesthe 'New Muslim intellectuals'.95 For example,the current rector of the InternationalIslamic University at Kuala Lumpur, who was the former presidentof the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Washington, DC, 'Abdel Hamid AbuSulaiman, was born in Saudi Arabia. He obtainedhis BA in 1959 and M.A in 1963, from Cairo University, and earneda Ph.D. in internationalrelationsfrom the University of Pennsylvaniain Philadelphiain the United States.He alsoworkedat the University of King Saudin SaudiArabia. He was very active in the Muslim StudentsAssociation in the USA. Looking into the biography of the Iraqi born Taha Jabir al-'Ilwani, one of the founders of the lIlT, who is connectedto the lIlT in Washington and Cairo.96 Al-'Ilwani in fact receivedhis early educationin Iraq and then obtainedhis first degree,MA and Ph.D. from al-Azhar University. We are also told that he was equally active in many Islamic organizationsin the USA. He taught at the university of Muhammadbin Saud, in Saudi Arabia and is a member of the Muslim World Leagueand the fiqh Council in the United States. Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi,one of the main advocatesof Islamizationof knowledge,spentseveralyearsat al-Azhar, which he combinedwith a seculareducation.97 In Egypt, on the other hand, the retired professor of English literature 'Abdel Wahhab al-Messiri (who has a strict secular training), by adopting the Islamization discourse, 39


aspiresto be the 'adviser'and the 'intermediary'of the traditional Azhariteswho lack Westerntraining andare antiquatedin their out98 look and argumentation. To summarize,it is clear from the abovementionedbiographies that we are dealingwith hybrid trajectories.I haveattemptedin this chapterto contextualizethe discourseand networks of the debate within the confinesof the job market and the either descendingor ascendingstatusof intellectuals.The rejection mechanismsexperiencedby Westernacademiaasarguedby Aijaz Ahmad,coupledwith the paradoxof becomingthe tokenMuslim, Arab or Turk who articulates difference to be heard, is indeed part and parcel of the discourseformation of the islamizers.




TheseMalays are interesting. So is the jungle. Trees, nothing but trees. A monotonouscountry. One entersit ... andfindsthe enchantedforest. Henri Fauconnier* The appendedplans, drawings, tables, andlists of monumentsor rulers as well as the readingofany bookon the architectureof Cairo madeclear two unique featuresof this extraordinary city. One is that no other city of the Muslim found in Cairo, and in world possesses the wealth of architecturalmonuments the world at large Romealone matchesin numbersandperhapssurpassesin variety the richnessof Cairo. The secondis that, just as those in Istanbul, Isfahan, Delhi or Samarqand,the monumentsof Cairo punctuatethe city; they serveas inescapablefocal or nodalpoints in one'sperceptionandawarenessof at least the urban area as it existedbefore the momentousphysical and social changesof the nineteenthcentury. Oleg Gabrar** Turning back, in this seesaw,now-Asia-now-Africaexposition, to Morocco, the establishedreligious tradition which Lyusi was attemptingto sustain in the face of social transformationwas again that most succinctlysummedup in the term 'maraboutsim'. Clifford Geertz+

To comparetwo societieswhich have as a commondenominatorthe sweepingclassificationof Islam or Islamic societies,must necessarily lead to the feeling of 'seesaw',so poetically well expressedby Clifford *The Soulof Malaya, (First publishedin 1931),Oxford University Press,1990. p. 59. "'The Meaning of History in Cairo', The Expanding Metropolis Coping with the Urban Growth of Cairo, The Agha Khan Award for Architecture, Proceedingsof SeminarNine in the Series,ArchitecturalTransformationin the Islamic World Held in Cairo November11-15, 1984, (Singapore:1985), p. I. +Islam Observed,(Chicagoand London: The University of ChicagoPress,1968),p. 43.



Geertzin his now classicwork Islam Observed.Theoristsof globalization have pointed to the increasingeffects of homogenisationwhich societieshaveundergoneall aroundthe globethroughmobility, migration andthe rapid flow of informationandcommunication.This led to the rethinking of notions of 'time-spacecompression'and 'disembedding' in the sensethat peoplecan today move and cross boundaries while keepingtheir lifestyles andculture.1 On the otherhand,it is possible to argue that there might not be much difference in lifestyles betweensay, a Malaysianand an Egyptian yuppie in their respective consumeristattitudes,as much as theremight be little differencein the spreadof shoppingcentresand condominiumsin thesetwo different milieus. There is also much discussionabout the changingnotion of locality with globalization, meaning that communal ties could be extendedand maintainedthroughthe facilitation of travel while many end up havingmore than onehome.All this hasled to questioningthe changing notions of 'home', 'locality', 'milieus', the 'city' and the 'global city'. This chapteris concernedwith drawing analogies,but equally attemptsto highlight the strongvariancesbetweenCairo and Kuala Lumpur which are certainly connectedto globalization. The argument here is that although homogenizationis certainly taking place globally, the two cities comparedin this chapterpossesstwo radically different historical and morphologicalconstellations. What broadly relatesEgypt to Malaysia,besidesthat both may be characterizedas Muslim societies,is the sharedcommoncolonizer, the British. By the end of the nineteenthcentury, the British, while consolidating inEgypt the rising landowningclassand pauperizing the majority of the peasants,re-institutionalizedthe Malay Sultans and Malay feudalismin Malaysia. However, apart from the British consolidatingthe local bourgeoisieand feudalismin both countries, we are indeeddealing with two entirely different morphologiesand landscapes. Cairo and Kuala Lumpur are two towns with two different rhythmsandcontrastingweathers,one Mediterraneanand the other tropical. Cairo, the city of 'contrastsand contradictions,of extreme 2 the city of multiple social worlds is indeedirreconanachronisms', cilable. Cairo even typifies a morphologicalantithesisto the young and fast-growing Kuala Lumpur, with its two tallest towers in SoutheastAsia. Cairo, the soul of urbanization which contains about a quarterof Egypt's population,3 which surpassed60 million inhabitants,is an entirely different story from Malaysia's18 million. It could be argued that Kuala Lumpur's Klang valley equally contains at least one fifth of Malaysia's population. Nonetheless, 42


Cairo's density is perhapsdazzling. In fact, the contrastbetweena typically urban town like Cairo, with its old markets, mosques, madrasahs,khans and fascinatingCoptic and Islamic sites and the 'new' Kuala Lumpur is tremendous.Kuala Lumpur originatedas an agglomerationof Kampongs4 (villages) which were demarcatedethnically. Theseurban-ruralmorphologicalcontrastsare not only conceptual spatial differencesbut they apply as cultural distinctions. Malay culture, art and religious practicesare basically rural. The Malay fishing village constitutes a symbolic cultural core. Intellectual life in Egypt owes a lot to down-town Cairo (wast albalad), to Cairo's coffee housesand intellectual meetings.Cairo is also an attractive metropolis for the Arab world. 'In terms of regionalinfluence,Cairo is in many respectsthe equivalentof Paris, the Vatican, Oxford, Hollywood and Detroit combined'.5 JanetAbu-Lughodtell us that thereare two typesof towns which saw the light in the Muslim Middle Easternworld: army campsand princely towns,6 and Cairo belongsto the first category.AI-Fustat was foundedby 'Amr ibn al- 'As in 642 outsideold Cairo. Cairo,alQahira, the victorious city, was originally foundedas an army camp by the Fatimidsin 969 A.D.7 Cairo'sparticularity is its harat (quarters) which, accordingto al-Maqrizi amountedto 37. When AbuLughod undertookresearchon Cairo, there remainedthirty quarters, which remind visitors of a certaincontinuity.8 What a contrast to the new city of Kuala Lumpur. Cairo, the two thousandyearsold Cairo, with its affiuence of minarets and syncretic fusion of Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic architecture; with the old Azhar mosque-universityin allusionto FatimaAl-zahraandthe Citadel.All this provides a different picture from the tropical, fast-expanding, 'postmodern'Kuala Lumpur. The contrastis clear, Kuala Lumpur was a creationof colonial culture and a massivelabour movement. It expandedduring the nineteenthcentury as a young settlement, basicallya working camp. Kuala Lumpur saw the light as a small settlementof tin mines on banksof the Klang river. It beganas a trading post at the river junction. Already in the 1820sMalay villages in Petalingare indicatedin sources.The town is mentionedin historical recordsin 1880,whenit becamethe State capital of Selangor.It was previously known as 'Klang'.9 Kuala Lumpur startedas a village that expandedthrough time. The Malay quarter was kept distinct from the Chinese. This is becausethe Malays kept distantfrom pork. The Malays who settled before the Chinesewere mainly migrants of Sumatranorigin who 43


settledon the banksof the Klang river. Kuala Lumpur's specificity prevails in its ethnic composition,which has been shapedby the English who brought in Chineselabour for tin mining. The ethnic compositionalso defined the natureof labour; the Chineseworked in mining and Malays in agriculture.This createda peculiaratmosphereas regardshow the two communitiesinteractedculturally. We aretold that by 1886the town wasbecomingan orderedChineseand Malay town.lO By 1890 there existed a densely populated China town, wherethe 'shophouses' with two andthreestoreysreplacedthe single storey buildings.II Thus, Malaysia'sethnic compositionand the reshaping of landscapes,which is a creation of nineteenth century colonial migration policies, explains the 'newness'and the senseof a lack of history that might strike the visitor. A feeling which grows once one crossesthe borders to Singapore,where constanterasing of historical landmarks and the re-inventing of science-fictiontropical landscapeshas becomea consciouspolitical aim from the government. Malaysia hasexperiencedsincethe (NEP) in 1969 intenseurbanization which was associatedwith social mobility for the Malays. The MalaysianintellectualChandraMuzatTarl2 attributesthe rise of Islamic fundamentalismto swift urbanizationanda harshalienation experiencedby the newly settled migrants in Kuala Lumpur.13 Abrupt urbanizationagainaddsto the vision of Kuala Lumpur as a mammoth,devastateddomainwherethe Malays are strugglingwith the disappearingvillage values. For the sake of comparison,social scientistsarguedconcerningEgypt, that it hasexperiencedin the last twenty years a similar phenomenon,namely the ruralization of urban Cairo through massive peasant migration. The contrast betweenCairo and Kuala Lumpur is neverthelessstriking. The climate in SoutheastAsia is worth pondering upon. The emphasison the difficult climate hasbeenperhapsmorethe concern of Westernobserverswho wereinfluencedby orientalistperceptions. Malaysiais a tropical country with heavy tropical rains and forests which are under threat of disappearancefrom the logging by Japanesecompanies. Forests and tropical climate have been an importantsubjectin colonial literature.It is no coincidencethat1M. Gullick describesMalaysia'swet climate as 'humid, monotonous, and somewhatenervating'which might havecausedmuch trouble to 14 A heavy and difficult hot climate that slows down the Europeans. movementoncemonsoonseasonstartsand createsunbearabletraffic jams and paralysesthe city. Public transportis one of the most significant shortcomingsof this town.



In contrast,Cairo's urban culture cannot be dissociatedfrom the agrarianhydraulic societyof Egypt. Historically the centralizedstate has controlled the irrigation and tax collection and lent itself to despoticand military rule. The thin strip of the Nile surroundedby the desert,a homogeneous ethniccomposition,remindsus of Clifford Geertz'scomparisonbetweenthe arid, harsh, Moroccancivilization versusthe linient, syncretic,fertile and greenIndonesia.But the comparisonbetweenEgypt and Malaysiais fundamentallybetweena five thousandyear pharaonic,culturally homogeneoushydraulic civilization versusa young post-colonial,migrant, multi-ethnicculture. Shifting back to Kuala Lumpur, a massive reshapingof landscapesthroughthe multiplication of highway constructionis taking place. The samecould be said about Cairo. Nevertheless,the world of Malaysian highways, built with efficiency and to international standards(in spite of the exhaustivedestructionof nature) offer a totally different vision from Cairo's flyovers that are a monstrous pieceof handicraft.However,Malaysia,like many of its neighbours is confronting seriousecological problemsdue to soil erosion, the usageof chemicalfertilizers and the pollution of streams.All consequencesof the massiveindustrializationof recentyears. Before the Asian crisis, Malaysia belongedto the economically fast growing Asian Tigers. Westernobservershave defined societies like Malaysia,Thailand,SouthKoreaand Singaporeas a novel configuration of a rising 'authoritariancapitalism'.15Economicgrowth reached8 to 9% yearly. Before the wave of Islamizationwon terrain in Malaysia, the Malays were portrayedas tolerant Muslims. The womendid not wear the veil, and they perpetuatedvillage rituals of paganand Hindu origin.16

Cultures homogenized:Cairo through Kuala Lumpur Every capital city in the world is getting to look like everyother; it is Marshall McLuhan'sglobal village, but the style is exclusivelywestern.Andnot just in consumerfashions: the mimicry extendsto architecture, industrial technology, approachesto health care, educationand housing.

Paul Harrison*

When referring to the reshapingof landscapeswithin the phenomenon of globalization, Arjun Appadurai provides us with a very stimulating outline of what he terms complex, overlapping and disjunctive landscapes. I? Inspired by Appadurai's visions on *Inside The Third World, PenguinBooks, 1979. p.48.



globalization, it might be interesting to look at both Cairo and Kuala Lumpur ascities wheresuchdisjunctionsandvarious'scapes' are being reshaped.Kuala Lumpur is today a fast-growing metropolis with skyscrapersincluding the twin Petronas,the two tallest towersin the world, andthe longestsupermarketsin SoutheastAsia. The city is rapidly and prodigiously eating the jungle. Flying over Kuala Lumpur is fascinating; the city looks like an endlessconstruction camp with vast new and expandinghousing estatesand condominiums.The feeling of eternalconstructioncampsextendsto the countryside,where the effects of logging seemdevastating.The governmentboastsof Petronastowers as the symbol of Asian success and of resilience of Malaysia's post-crisis economy. A point which Mahathir flirts with in particular after the financial crisis to symbolizethat Malaysia is recoveringfast.18 Lavish five star hotels of post-modemarchitecturedesignbecomethe spaceto escapethe heat, traffic and frustration of hunting desperatelyfor taxis (specially during monsoon rains). Invented architectural styles extendto Islamic institutions(for instance,the nationalmosque,the Pusat Islam [Islamic Centre], the Bank Bumi Putra and the main post office), all of which symbolizean imaginedgrandioseIslamic architecture. In Kuala Lumpur, telepreaching- in particular for the Muslim community- is undertakenwith greatsophisticationby mediaprofessionalswho areeitherinfluencedby mediain the United Statesor receive assistancefrom American expertise.Religious programmes constantly emphasizethe combining of modem technology with faith. Black American convertsoften telepreachand bring associations with American Christian sects.Again and again, technology and faith are on the agenda;the breaking of the fasting month of Ramadanis presentedon television with a sceneof a pilot eating dates while he is flying the plane. The incantation traditionally believed to have been sung when the Prophetmigrated to Medina 'tala'a al fajr 'alayna, min thaniyatul wada" is today mediatizedon severaltelevisionchannels.It is sungin both Arabic and English, to caterfor the non-ArabEnglish-speakingMuslim community. Islamic institutionsare advertisedand aesthetisizedin flight magazines. In March 1995, the Malaysian airlines inflight magazine, Wings of Gold, featuredan article entitled 'RediscoveringIslam at K.L.'s new Institute of Islamic Understanding'about the Institut KefahamanIslam Malaysia,the Institute of Islamic Understanding (lKIM) with an emphasisupon a reconstructedimagery of Islamic architecturefor mass-mediaand fliers consumption.It statedthat



IKIM was supposedto play the following role: 'We are the research and problem-solvingarm of Dr. Mahathir's vision 2020 plan for socially integrated,prosperousculture founded on Islamic values'. HereIslam andIslamic architectureis commodifiedandmarketized. Malaysia'svertiginouseconomicgrowth,19led to the expansionof the middle classeswith growing consumeristattitudesand the creation of huge 'empiresof consumption'with shoppingmalls that attractedlarge sectionsof the society. Consumerismhere seemsto playa role - evenif it is a superficialone- in breakingthe fear of an 20 The revival of 'Malay', 'Indian' Islamic oppositionalresurgence. and 'Chinese' cultural artefacts, costumes and traditions are 'hybridized'21 with consumer tastes and the Westernization of habits. Islamic attire, the mini telekung(headcover), the Malay baju kurung (long female dress),goeshand in hand with mobile phones and with enjoying the food at the 'Deli France'Coffee Shop.Young Muslim couplesbelongingto the Darul Arqam sect, the wife completely coveredup, holding the hand of her husbandwhile he talks on a mobile phone,is a daily sight in thesemalls. Specialimagined Indian, Malay and Chinesefashion adaptedand hybridized with Westernfashion stylesmay be seenin Singapore,Jakartaand Kuala Lumpur. This raisesthe questionof the 'folklorization' or the 'traditionalization' of culture which goes simultaneously with the Westernizationof habitsamongthe middle classes.Concerningthis point, Clive Kesslerarguesthat: 'As the former (,traditional') Malay peasantculture order declinesor is eroded,the Malay middle class becomesincreasinglyinvolved in andcommittedto what is now seen as 'traditional Malay culture': a simulacrum, a hyper-realisation even, of Malay tradition that, since it goes far beyond whatever existedin the past,is nothing if not modem'.22 'Malls'in its original meaningrefers to the tracts for strolling. Now most of the malls are shoppingmalls, tracts to stroll while you shopand to shopwhile you stroll. The merchandiserssniffedout while you stroll. 23

Bauman reminds us that it was Walter Benjamin who made the

fliineur as the symbolic figure of the modemcity. Through associ-

ating the new spaceof the shoppingmalls with flaneuring, Bauman tells us that malls make the world 'as the carefully walled-off, electronicallymonitoredand closely guardedpart of it safefor lifeas-strolling'.24 Could we apply Bauman's observationsfor the laboratoryof the Third World? Is not herethe Third World a good casein point wherebyunexpectedusageof spaceby youth is to be observed?



Through reshapinglandscapesand the consequentprofusion in the numberof highwaysand cars,jltineuring, which is an attraction of any town, has becomenearly impossiblein Kuala Lumpur. As trees are constantly choppeddown and the jungle is rapidly disappearing.Cool, cleanair is increasinglyavailableonly in shopping malls which are now almostthe 'real' and only spaceassignedto the jltineur. During my stay in Kuala Lumpur in 1996, I regularly frequentedthe Jaya Jusco,shoppingmall in the areaof BandarUtama. It was striking to observethe non-stop, repetition of video clips which are displayedeverywhere.Showslastedfor long hours in the halls of the mall. Theseclips attractedthe attentionof largenumbers of families and children. On weekends,extendedmiddle classfamilies of all races- Malay, Chineseand Indian - with their different ethnic (Islamic attire in its severalvariations,saris,sarongsand even the robes of Buddhist monks) fill these spaces.This traditional wardrobeintermingleswith mini skirts, shortsand sandals.Masses frequent the Deli France,Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald fast food outlets, as well as Malay, Chineseand Indian restaurants. They enjoy shopping (window shopping for the economically deprived)or the movies. Thesespacesare also important gathering placesfor noisy groupsof youngpeople,25children'sgamesandperformanceslike the Chineselion danceduring the Chinesenew year and other dancestake place in the spaceof theseshoppingmalls. Dancesand celebrationsof the Chinesenew year take place in the shoppingmalls and Malay, Indian and Chinesefestivities are also celebratedin thesesuper-modernsettings.The breakingof the fasting during the month of Ramadanamong young Malay couples could take place in the McDonald chains. Dates are first eatento mark the breaking of the fasting by following the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad. One could interpret these artefacts as an aspectof 'folkorization of culture'26which goeshand in hand with the growing 'etatization'of Malaysia. Globalization is producing a certain homogeneityin reshaping landscapesof Cairo and Kuala Lumpur. One could take as a focal point the shopping malls which multiplied in Cairo in the last decade,accompaniedby the rise of consumeristattitudes.I returned to Cairo in 1998 after a long absenceto observeother new developments, similar to those I saw in Kuala Lumpur before the crisis. Namely, the increasein purchasingpower amongcertainclasses,the rise of gourmet consumerist appetites, the construction of condominiumsand swimming pools on newly reclaimeddesertland and of beachresortsinspired either by the Asian model or by an 48


invented Islamic architecture.All theseattractedlarge amountsof savingsof the middle classes. Located in the popular and poor area of Boulaq, in Cairo, the World TradeCentre,which was erectedin 1990, togetherwith other nearbytowers (the Conradand Hilton hotels),at the expenseof an abrupt elimination of one of the oldest and architecturallyrichest quartersof Cairo. This quarter underwentan incredibly fast and profoundly revealingtransformation.Boulaq developedduring the last century as a bourgeoisquarter. Boulaq is today consideredas one of the most densely populatedareasof Cairo and has been known for retail, textile and car repair shopsand secondhandmarkets in wikalat al-balah. Boulaq was also famousfor its first printing houseal-mataba'al-ammiriyyawhich hassincedisappeared.What a contrast,a few metresaway from the imposing ultra-modemmall, the Boulaq marketsprovide lively scenesof packedmasses;mainly strongbaladi women bargaining.Traditional coffee shopsand popular streetlife havesurvivedthe change,but for how long?Not very far away, on the sameriver bank,the RamsesHilton hasconstructed anothermall, which is still expandingat the expenseagain of the popularback streetquarter. Other newly constructedmalls in Cairo, suchas in Ma'adi, in the newly constructedquarter of Madinat Nasr, the Tiba mall, The Hilton Ramsesandthe YamamaShoppingCentrein Zamalek,made me feel that I was experiencinga deja vu connectedto my Kuala Lumpur experience.The descriptionsof consumerismand hybridity in tastesand architecturein SoutheastAsia may be very well pertinent to Cairo. The World Trade Centrefor instance,incorporatesa new conception of space, for leisure (cinemas and discotheques, shops, computer games) alongside communication facilities and housingapartments.A novel mannerof occupyingspaceand spending time for the middle classesis in the making. This huge complex with somehundredsof shops,restaurantsand cafeteriasis meantto integratethe residentialwith the recreational,businessandcommerce with jlaneuring. The offices of several international organisations, such as the United Nations and the International Office for Migration, are located there. A variety of customersfrequent the WTC. Fashionablyveiled or unveiledwomen,families wanderingand window-shopping,gangsof youth playing computergames,young couplesholding hands,visitors of the hotel from the Gulf countries, Egyptianyuppiesparadingtheir mobile phones,regularcustomersof the night clubs, and the billiards halls, expatriates working in international organizations,they all seem to frequent this space. 49


Security measuresare extremelytight and taking photographs,for instance,is strictly forbidden. Designedsymbolically in the form of an Islamic wikala, with shapedwood that alludesto mashrabiyyas, a so-called pharaonicentranceand Europeantiles, the idea of a central open spacewhere visibility is public, the WTC createsthe feeling that one might be in any mall be it in Europeor Asia. There are rumoursthat the spacewas originally meantto be usedto house the stockexchangemarket,but the projectnevermaterialised.At the end of the fasting day, during the month of Ramadan,large banquetsare served in tents located in the open space of the entrance. These bear a similarity to the mawa'ed al-rahman the free public tablesfor the needy.Set up throughoutCairo during the month of Ramadan,the WTC, however, symbolizeswell the obsessionof Cairo's rich to push away as far as possible the unwantedpoor.

Hybridity and consumerism Hybridity in culture was a conceptdevelopedin connectionwith the growing significance of Third World intellectuals living in the metropolisesof the centre.It was associatedwith the experienceof migration and of metamorphosis.'Hybridity' as a conceptstirred exciting debatesamongoverseasintellectualslike Edward Said and Homi Bhabha and on the question of the location of culture. Hybridity implies the mixing of races.It brings to mind the notion of the French word 'metisse', 'metissage'and also the notion of 'bastard',a term which is in contradistinctionto pure race.Its antinomy resonateswith notions of racial purity and animal pedigree. The state of metamorphosisrelatedto somehowbelongingto two culturesand yet not belongingat the sametime was the most interestingfacet of SalmanRushdie'swork, The Satanic Verses.Salman Rushdie'snovel stirred many debatesand controversiesthat are beyonddiscussion.What interestsus, is that it triggeredthe debate about 'difference', 'sameness'and mutationsin cultures. Rushdie's novel provides a witty picture of transmutations,metamorphoses and incarnationbetweencultures.It is no coincidencethat he refers to the pygmalionandsimulatedfilm backgroundsin suchan ironical tone. The anthropologistPninaWebnermaintainedthat hybridity was the outcomeof debateson post-modernityand that it was characterized by proposing an anti-essentialistand anti-integrationist outlook.27 For some, the discourseon hybridity was considered 50


progressivefor breakingthe notion of 'boundedness' in societiesand emphasisingthe forceful role of transgressionin the postureof being a hybrid. However, the question whether hybrid identities would concretelysubverthierarchiesandovercomehierarchicalsegregation was subjectto doubt.28 Aijaz Ahmed arguedthat hybridizationand cross-fertilizationarean inherentfactor of all culturesand all movementsof people.29 His argumentseemsto be supported,albeit from different perspectivesby Edward Said and Aziz al Azmeh, but each one arguing from a different perspective.The discourseof hybridisation and creolizationwas also criticized for presupposing"'museumising" culture as a thing' and being in the end a 'form a confused essentialism'.30One could read Edward Said's Culture and Imperialism as a plea that 'cultural forms are hybrid, mixed and impure'.31As a counterargumental-Azmeharguesas follows: Hybridity, by pretendingto be a mix of unmixables,merelyconfirmsthepresumptionof the purity of its two termini, postmodernityandpre-modernity, exoticismandculturalism. Yet we haveseenboth to be radically impureof the angels, the only purity we can hopefor in this situation of virtuality and of dissimulationresidesin the quality of the critical gaze.32

Whateverthe critiques might be, perhapsin order to transcendthe complicated question of migrant cultures in the West, hybridity might be a useful conceptwhen applied to consumerculture in the Third World. In fact, the deadlockin the discoursecanfind an outlet if one looks at consumptionfrom a multicultural perspective.33 Here SoutheastAsian shoppingcentresbecomea fascinatinganthropologicallaboratory.This is whereeverythingis recycled,metamorphosed, and put togetherin a new form. Paradoxically,the more the discussionfocuseson hybridity, the more the Islamizers,in accordwith various Islamist trends, insist on the cultural and intellectual split with the West.It is nonethe lesspossibleto arguethat SoutheastAsia and Egypt have beenwitnessinga form of hybridity in massculture andin the everydayhabitsof the rising middle classeswhich coincides with a discourseaboutpurity. Most interestingare the recentsociological studiesundertakenby SoutheastAsian scholarson hybridity in food in Singapore.34 ChuaBeng Huat and AnandaRajahprovide a stimulatingstudy aboutthe hybridizationof food that 'may be seen mistakenlyas purecuisine'.35 They point to the changingperceptions towards what is consideredas either pure or hybrid in Fujian and Guangdong,PeranakanandIndian food. Furthermore,they observe the fusion of Chinesecuisine with Malay food and relate it to the Islamization of Chinesefood. The processof 'imagined cuisines' 51


becameassociatedwith ethnicidentitiesandthe markerscontainedin language,dressand food. True that this invention of cuisine in the Singaporeancaseowesa lot to the externalimpactof tourismandthe promotionof a cosmopolitanand friendly imageof the island; none the less,it seemsto havedevelopedits own dynamic.

Sardar'sIslamic massculture One does not see an Indian Michael Jackson, a Chinese Madonna, a Malaysian Arnold Schwarzenegger,a Moroccan Julia Roberts, Philippino New kids on the Block, a Brasilian Shakespeare,an Egyptian Barbara Cartland, a Tanzanian'Cheers',a Nigerian 'Dallas', or a Chilean 'Wheelof Fortune', or Chineseopera, Urdu poetry, Egyptian drama etc,. on the global stage. The global theatre is strictly a Western theatre, a personificationof Westernpower and prestige and Western control and domination of the planet. Ziauddin Sardar*

I shift from the point of hybridity in consumerculture in Southeast Asia, which dealt with issueslike reproducingfakes that look more authenticthan originals, to move to the issue of the postmodern condition, a themewith which the Islamizersflirt. While I am quite critical of the Islamizationproject - and Sardaris one of their fervent advocates- his intelligent observationson postmodernityand consumerculture neverthelessdeserveattention. Sardar criticizes postmodernityas profoundly nihilistic. He arguesthat while postmodernity has adoptedthe motto of 'anythinggoes,36and appears to be tolerant of the Third World in acceptingand authenticating certaincultural traits, it is in fact, no lessethnocentricand nihilistic than modernity.On this point one can only agreewith Sardar: Postmodernismin South-EastAsiahastakenaform uniqueto itself Here the postmodernpremise that reality and its image are indistinguishablehas espouseda thriving culture and economybasedon fakes. If the real and its representationcannotbe distinguished,what is the differencebetweena real Gucci watch anda fake 'Genuineimitations' are freely available. Counterfeit CD's not only look the sameas the real onesbut haveexactlythe samesound quality makingit practically impossible,evenfor industry experts,to tell the difference. But its not just fake watches,cassettesand CD's that are being marketedin Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesiaand Singapore. Counterfeitculture produces everythingfrom designer clothes to shoes, leather goods,

*'Do not adjustyour mind, Post-modernism,Reality andthe Other',Futures,Vol. 25, no. 8, October1993, (pp. 877-893),p. 880.


LANDSCAPES, VARIATIONS AND PERCEPTIONS antiques, even spareparts for cars and industrial processes.An astonishing 2(f'/o of the region's economyis basedon fakes. This is an ambiguousburgeoningof enterprise. It is both itself a fully fledgedinadvertentpostmodern product and a potential, though unconscious,weaponfor the subversionof Western capitalism. In either case it is a thoughtlessprocess; and where thoughtlessness rules co-optionto the dominantpostmodernconditionofconfusion, angstand meaninglessness is notfar behind.37

Sardarneverthelessadoptsa moralistic tone in reprimandingmass culture, pop music and other forms of art. Sardar'sthesis is well argued and the empirical observations he makes are sharp. Elsewhere,Sardarcriticises Baudrillard'snotion of simulation and post-modernityand his notion that the 'Gulf war has not taken place',but was rather a gameof images,a simulacrum.38 Although Braudrillard'snotion of 'simulation'as overwhelmingreality under the post-moderncondition is indeed appealing, if his statement about the Gulf war is true, then Sardar'sThird Worldist position soundsquite legitimate.Sardarseesthat the travel of ideas,pictures and imagesare flowing globally only in one way.39 Sardar'sexplication ceasesto becomecritical when he proposesas his alternativea vision of Islam that is fundamentallyno less problematic,in that it essentializesIslam. His alternativeparadigmis slogan-ladenIslamic jargon to support the idea that the notion of reality and the construction of reality differs in Islam becauseit distinguishesbetween absolutereality (the reality of God) and determinedreality. Sardar thus proposesa fixed conceptof an Islamic reality which he calls haqiqah.40 In fact, middle classbehaviourincorporatesboth the Islamic attire and the latest consumeristgadgets.In other words, the processof Islamization - in Kuala Lumpur or Cairo - goes hand in hand with consumerismand the Westernizationof habits.Islamizationof middle class habits and tastescoincideswith the Americanization of the media.Kuala Lumpur'sshoppingmalls teachus spectacularly about fusion and hybridization of various tastes,where Western dishesare adaptedto Asian taste. Dress,textiles, householdgoods, music and children's gamesin such malls certainly reveal that the term 'glocalism'is operatingefficiently.41 Sardar'slamentabout the absenceof a ChineseMadonnaor an Egyptian BarbaraCartland the 'global theatre'is to my understandingfar from being an issue. His complaint is the fact that the Third World is not represented in the rubbish of massculture. Globalizationdid not, for instance, hinder Tayyeb Saleh, Nagib Mahfouz, Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, from being read and appreciated 53


universally. It is of course true that these authors becameinternational only through the acknowledgementof the metropolis. But this might be an entirely different issue.However, Sardar'svision is discardingthe fact that Madonnain someof her showshas tended to vamp with 'oriental' garmentsand has borrowedSufi and other non-Westerncultural symbolsas part and parcelof a gameto incorporatethe exotic 'other'.Thesesymbolsare emptiedof their essence and philosophicalmeaningand reducedto cliches. The sociological assignmentis ratherto look at how this metamorphosingincorporation of non-Westernsymbolsinto Westernglobal culture and mass mediais operatingtowardsunfamiliar and confusingspeedyimages on the cross-culturallevel. This is possibly a frightening vision, for the Southand the North alike. Sardar'sblatantcontradictionis that he representsthe successfulincorporationof the 'mediatic' public figure who seemsto be fond of televisionshows.The mediatictrack turnedironically to be his way out for integrationand possiblysocial ascensionin British society. The mere fact that he marketizedtalk showsassessed 'Islamic', makeshim, willingly or not, part and parcel of preciselythe mirageof the 'simulation'game.Indeed,no one escapesthe pitfalls of the counterfeit of moving pictures. Is it a liberating processor a new form of Fascism?Islamic, Christian or Jewishrepresentationbecomesfar from being the issue.




Afallaciousquestion:how muchknowledgedoessomeoneneedto be an intellectual? Difficulties of a statisticaldefinition. The intelligentsiadoesnotjust representtranscendence;in reality it reflectsa conflict betweenthe transcendentand the historically determined. GeorgeKonrad and Ivan Szelenyi*

In Plaidoyerpour les intellectuels,lJeanPaul Sartrebeginshis essay

with the negative perception of the intellectual in society. He remarksthat the intellectual is someonewho is looked upon with suspicion and ambivalence. The intellectual is constantly condemnedfor being negativeand critical, he is often mistakenin his analysisand understandingof the world. He is weak, he does not produce,but has to survive merely on his salary.When it concerns Marxist intellectuals,they in particularare attackedfor being dogmatic. But, for Sartre,the intellectual'sinterferencein matterswhich are not his businessis still a necessaryevil. Sartrefearedthat intellectualswould wither away underthe increasingwave of Americanization and be replaced by specialists and technocrats.What interests us in Sartre is precisely the idea that technicians and specialistswould in the long run threatenthe statusof the intellectual. For both Sartre and Edward Said's Representationsof the Intellectual,2 what distinguishesthe intellectualfrom other specialists is the self-critical stand,the critical mind and his consciousrole in debunking bourgeois ideology as a 'universal-particular' problem. Briefly, in wanting to changethe world, the intellectualis caughtup in the contradictionbetweenpracticalknowledge(truth, universality) and ideology (particularism). Sartre's book is a * The Intellectualson the Roadto ClassPower (New York: The HarvesterPress,1979), pp. 24, II.



collection of lectures he gave in Tokyo and Kyoto in 1965. The debatesaboutFrenchcolonialismin Algeria, the Algerian nationalist movement,the legitimate use of violence as an anti-colonialist riposte and the stand of the French left towards the issue of violence, were the concerns of the intellectuals in the sixties. ReadingSartrefrom the perspectiveof the ninetiesis certainly illuminating, but not without problems.The slogan of changingthe world and representingthe peopleor the massesas an ideological alibi, to make the revolution as a professionthat might lead to of the revolutionaryintellectual,is yet an socialstatusenhancement eternal dilemma which paradoxically stranglesintellectuals. The work of Bourdieu on intellectualsteachesus how easy one could fall into demagogicandpopulistattitudesin attemptingto speakon behalf of the proletariat. He points to communicationproblems and habitus differencesbetweenthe intellectualsand the working in representinga classthat led to the feeling of bad consciousness classto which they did not belong. Bourdieuconstantlyremindsus that oneway of escapingthis deadlockis self-criticism.3 I think that both Bourdieu and Sartre'sobservations mightbe of use in comparing differing intellectualcultures. There is, certainly, a characteristicand different Middle Eastern understandingof the location of intellectuals, more particularly 'avant garde' intellectuals,in society. A major distinction between Malaysia and Egypt is the way the intellectual setsquestions,finds answersand perpetuatesself-perceptions.Put in fashionablejargon, the Egyptian specificity did producea cosmopolitancoffee house culture and Cairene 'down town' coffee house intellectuals. Most often theseintellectualsidentified with Marxist andleftist ideologies. One cannotdeny the negativeassociationsthe famousmuthaqqafun qahwatriche - the intellectualsof Cafe Riche- might provokein the mind of someEgyptians.Neitherdo I idealizethe Egyptianintellectual production, which again, might appear as impoverished comparedto contemporaryIndian intellectualswhose voices have reachedan international staturethrough their writing in the language of the colonizer. Writing in the hegemoniclanguagecould have been the common cultural thread betweenEgypt and India. The English language,however,seemsto havebeenmore effectivein the Indian sub-continentin the way it challengedandquestionedthe hegemonyof the metropolis. I only wish to stressthat sucha 'relative'cosmopolitanimageof the Egyptian intellectual has perpetuatedstronger repercussionsin the secular-Islamistconfrontationin Egypt than in Malaysia. From that 56


perspective,it is possibleto find moreaffinities between,say,Egyptian andFrenchintellectualsin termsof culturethantheir SoutheastAsian homologues.This section attemptsto draw a comparisonbetween thesetwo entirely different intellectual cultures and juxtaposethem vis-a-vis the discourseof the new Muslim intellectuals. In general,the Arab intellectualhas beenclosely associatedwith the discourseof 'crisis', as Abdallah Laroui, HishamSharabi,Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Anouar Abdel Malek, Sadiq Jalal al-'Azm and many others have argued.Crisis was for long years the catchword among Arab intellectuals; accompanyingit was the intellectual's failure to fulfil a revolutionary function. Intellectuals have been marginalizedby the regime. The discourseof crisis was especially prevalentafter the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict and the defeatof the Arabs. Crisis is also mentionedtoday in relation to identity politics and identity construction vis-a-vis Western and American hegemony.However, the discourseof crisis should not be merely understoodin negative undertonesbecauseit seemsto produce paradoxicaleffects. In relation to the discourseof crisis Armando Salvatorehasargued: ... a crisis doesnot witnessthe occurrenceof an ontologicaldiscontinuityof paradigmsor epistemes,but rather the necessityof thinking in termsof discontinuity: a crisis producesnew typesof discoursesor at least inducesnew usesand combinationsof extantcategoriesand terms.4

If I haverightly understoodSalvatore,the discourseof crisis can be positive when it inducesthe creationof new discourses.This might explainthe stimulatingandyet controversialproductionof works on authenticity in Egyptian and Arab intellectual life. It might also reveal that the clash among intellectuals(secularand Islamists) is perhapstaking a more dramatic turn in the Middle East as comparedwith SoutheastAsia. Beforethe recentAsian crisis, it was possibleto arguethat the discourse of crisis appearedto be absent in the Malaysian scene. Luckily, SoutheastAsia has the benefit of escapingthe Middle EasternArab-Israeli conflict. This would be only partly true and this hypothesistoo speculativebecausefor years, communismwas regardedby the Westernworld asthe major threatin SoutheastAsia. The massive massacresof communistsin Indonesiain the early sixties, the war between between the state and the Malayan Communistparty5 in the 1950shaveindeedaffectedthe intellectual culture in SoutheastAsia in generaland in Malaysia in particular. One could proposethat intellectual 'avant-garde'culture was in a 57


certainmannereradicated.In Indonesiaand MalaysiaCommunism is still considereda taboo.For the Malaysiancase,to be moreaccurate, it is then possibleto arguethat the discourseof crisis took a different shape.Indeed,the ideology of Bumi putrism and the boostingof the 'New Malay' is the result of a crisis that was epitomizedin the ethnic riots of the late sixties. Mahathir 's Malay Dilemmais reflecting such concerns.What then interestsus is how the discourseabout crisis is articulateddifferently in thesetwo societies.I would tend to arguethat althoughthe discourseof crisis existsin both societies,in Egyptit takes a moreconspicuousand consciouscountenance. In the period following decolonizationSoutheastAsia witnessed an increasingdominationby Japanand the USA. Massiveindustrialization took place thanks to the extremely low wages of female peasantsand child labour, and the silencingof the tradeunions.The Asian economicmiracle appears tohaveset different criteria for the role of intellectuals.Before the recentfinancial crisis, the Malaysian 6 scenewas dominatedby managers,bureaucratsand technocrats. One often hearsof a new type of Malaysianintellectual,working as a 'think tank', willingly co-optedand participatingin the ideologyof the 'New Malay' and the state.(Which is not to say that think tanks, bureaucratsand 'advisers of the prince' should be systematically excluded from the classification of intellectual representation). PerhapsEdwardSaid is right in redefiningthe debateaboutthe role of the intellectual in contemporarysociety as someonewho challengesin broad terms orthodoxy and is not that easily co-optedby government.?Egyptian intellectuals,although ambiguousvis-a.-vis the state, have often wavered between being either co-opted or excluded.They developeda critical andsarcasticattitudeof mistrust towardsthe government. This point however, moves us to general reflections about the endangeredstatusof intellectuals,so well thought out by Konrad and Szelenyi and which are universally applicable. Konrad and Szelenyi'sstudy on Hungarianintellectualsand class power under communismis most revealingfor our case.They maintainedthat the position of intellectualsin the capitalistsystemis very much dependent upon the market economyand their ability to sell their skill at a lucrative price. The successionof the shamanby the priest in earlier times, and today in bourgeoissocietyby the technicianin the contemporarycapitalistsocietywas relatedto the intellectuals'evaluation of and 'elevation of their own immanent intereststo the status of transcendentvalues'.8 However, one crucial point they makeis the constantcontradictionandthe schizophreniainherentin 58


the natureof professingthe role of an intellectualas a priest, academic or whateverprofessionrelatedto culture. Who is a true intellectualandwhat weighsmore; is it the high priestor the prophet,the anarchistrevolutionaryor the governmentofficial, the apologistor the social critic? Thesewere questionswhich they raised.The merit of Konradand Szelenyi'swork is that they highlight the ambivalence and the inclusion of both establishedand counter cultures in the making of and unmakingof knowledge.They give the exampleof the two faces of Malraux: Malraux the young revolutionary and later, the minister of culture as an exampleof 'antitheticalmetamorphosis'.9 They argue that one cannot understandone side without studyingthe other. If the intellectualin the Middle Eastfacedcontradictionsborn of the discourseof 'crisis', the Malaysiansceneand the ~sian wonder' have developeda culture of 'problemsolvers'.In Malaysia, in spite or rather becauseof Mahathir'sauthoritarianism,one often heard before the financial crisis that the governmentdelivers the goods. One can perhaps relate this idiom to Mahathir's praise of the Japanese model. It is no coincidencethat he launcheda 'Look East' campaign.Indeed,observershavepointedto the fact that Malaysia is experiencinga unique caseof a successfulstatethat has accomplishedits objectives.Asma Larif-Beatrix observesthat the accumulation of the statepower: ... has succeededin creatingfor itself an efficient bureaucracy;a disciplined andpowerfularmy; a numberofstrongresearchPrince'sadviserson economic and other strategic matters; a well-establishedpolitical party that controls accessto major resourcesand managesgreat wealth; a prosperouseconomy; and last but not least, an enhancednew stature and presenceon the international stage. For theseand also (as we shall see) other reasons, the State tendsnowmore than everbeforeto haveattaineda measureof autonomyfrom its social base, to transcendsocietyitself and its specialdemands... 10

In summary,Malaysia seemsto promote a discourseof co-option and inclusion of intellectualsas 'technocrats'and as advisersof the prince,while in Egypt we arewitnessinga situationof exclusionand marginalizationof intellectualsas a 'process'. 'Crisis' amongArab intellectualsoriginatedeitherfrom accommodation or sometimesfriction with the omnipotentstate which was replacingintellectualsand reducedthem to state functionariesand 'scribes'.Anouar Abdel Malek demonstratedthe role of the imposing 'military society' and its impact on intellectual life.!! He portrayedfaithfully the panoramaof debatesamongintellectualsin 59


the sixties, their frustration,isolation and apathytowardsthe regime. At the same time he highlighted the contradiction between the 'peopleof trust' to the regimeand the experts.12 Intellectualshad to struggle with the contradictions and problems concerning the conceptof civilization, cultural duality andwhat was to be borrowed andselectedfrom the Islamic heritage.13 Abdel Malek also pointedto the contradictionof the intellectualswho had to acceptand follow the demandsof the 1952 revolution as a motor of social change.14 The notion of crisis extendsto the Sadaterawhereintellectualsfaced the paradoxicalproblemof beingconfined'professionally'to the state and the public sector.15 The severeArab-Israeliconflict and the 1967 defeataddsa dramaticdimensionto the Middle East.The absenceof the discourseof crisis coupledwith the economicwonderin Malaysia might renderthe position and statusof SoutheastAsian intellectuals much more privileged than their Middle Easterncounterparts. In contrast,the paradoxbecomeseven more interestingbecause the Islamizationof knowledgein Egypt might espousea wider range of intellectualswho seemto be involved in the discourseof authenticity. On the other hand, in Malaysia intellectualsare turned into bureaucratsand 'think tanks'of the regime.

Muthaqaf, 'Alim, the new muslim intellectual and muslim intellectuals Little noticed by much of the West, Asia is witnessingthe revival of the debateover democracyand civil society. This discourse,rooted in Asian traditions andculture, is led by a newgenerationof confidentandassertiveAsian - intellectuals, social activists, artisits andpoliticians - who subscribeto the universalityof democraticvalues.

Anwar Ibrahim·

As mentioned earlier, the Islamizers ranging from South and SoutheastAsia, America and Britain have defined themselvesas 'new intellectuals'or 'new Muslim intellectuals'.16 The questionthat follows is how to locatethese'new Muslim intellectuals'within two different cultural contexts. Egypt witnessedthe emergenceof the term 'new Islamic intellectuals'during the seventiesin correlation with Islamic revivalism, al-sahwaal-islamiyya. Someof theseintellectual vanguardof the revivalist movementhavebeendefinedas 'a sort of lumpen intelligentsia'17which could not be integratedinto • The Asian Renaissance (Singapore,Kuala Lumpur Times BooksInternational,1996) p.47.



the statejob market. However, figures from earlier generationslike SayyidQutb who is considereda leaderin the movementanddefined as belongingto the 'religiously-orientedintelligentsia'shouldbe differentiatedfrom the trend of the seventies.18 In this context, Khalid Ziyadeh'scomparativehistorical study on the evolution of the professionof the scribe(al-katib) as adviserand book-keeperof the ruler in Egypt and Syria underthe Ottomansis most illuminating.19 Ziyadehpoints to the fusion betweenthe function of the 'alim andthe sametime that of the scribe(katib) in earlier times. Ziyadeh tracesthe socio-economicand professionaldistinctions betweenthe fuqaha, 'ulama, scribesand fiscal administrators. He convincinglydescribeshow a slow separationand the emergence of a division of labour took placewith the introduction of foreign elementsinto the Ottomanadministrationand the consolidationof the Coptsin Egypt as a classof scribes.Furthermore,he points out that the nineteenth century saw the emergenceof the modem educatedadministrator-intellectualwho basicallyoffered his knowledge for the service of the modem state. He observedthe break betweenthe fuqaha and the new class of literati in terms of high Arabic language.In otherwords, the split betweenthe modemintellectual and the 'alim was linked to the defining markers of the project of modernityand secularism. If one looks at the Middle East,it is often arguedthat the major throughthe encounter impact of the nahda(the Arab Renaissance) with the West was the birth of the modernist,liberal intellectual. Through the natureof the questionsraisedabout Islamic heritage in attemptingto relate it to modernity, thesethinkers becamecritical of the traditional systemof educationof al-Azhar university. The twentiesin Egypt saw the emergenceof a culture of the effendi and the tarbush versus the culture of 'alims and 'turbans'.Taha Husaynwho documentedhis suffering at al-Azhar, epitomizesthe image of the modemmuthaqaf The third part of Taha Husayn's biography al-ayyam, opens with an expressionof the agony of having studied at al-Azhar for four years that seemedto him like forty years.What a wonderful discoveryit was for him to enterthe world of Cairo University!2o Muhammad'Abduh'sadvocatinga new type of an 'alim or a new elite to trigger change has been convincingly posited by Albert Hourani,21 as the direct ideological factor that stimulatedthe birth of the Egyptian intellectual. The reformist movementof 'Abduh tremendouslyaffected the nationalist wing led by Sa'adZaghlul's revolution. Hisham Sharabihas defined the generationof Ahmad 61


Amin as one of Muslim secularists,who soughtto answerquestions by reconciling religion and scienceand who used'reasonand logic' in an innovative standagainstthe 'ulama.22 This standwas apparently associatedwith an admirationof Westernvalueswhich was to be criticized later. This second generationof Taha Husayn, Husayn Haykal and Ahmad Amin was equally defined as liberal thinkers. The modern intellectual experiencedthe birth of the secularnational university which offered new channelson the job market, new ideological orientations,and a new Weltanschauungquite distinct from that of the traditional 'alim.23 The modern intellectual expressedhimself throughthe pressand in variousartistic fields. The early generation of intellectualshasbeencriticized for its universalisticdiscoursethat dislocatedthe particularisms.They were also criticized for being disconnectedfrom reality.24 Culture for them was meantto be occidental culture. It was closely related to the authoritarian 'from above'stateculture. Iman Faragpointedto the affinity betweenthe Egyptianintellectualof the twentiesandthe Sorbonnecultureof the eighteenthcenturyand the model of 'hommesdeslumieres'. Today, thereis much debateamongsocial scientistsregardingthe dual systemof education.It is viewed as having generatedan antagonism betweenthe 'ulama, who are the product of the traditional religiouseducationalsystem,andthe muthaqaffun,who disputewith the 'ulama as to the legitimate interpretationsof religious texts. I have doubts about those who argue that the border line in the dichotomy between the muthaqafand 'alim does not exist. This argument gained popularity after the Iranian revolution as an attempt to re-Islamizehistory as well as all cultural traits. It is no coincidencethat HusaynAhmed Amin pointed to the fact that the mostinterestingwritings on Islam in the last decadessincethe liberal agewereundertakenby leadingintellectualsandnot by the religious clergy. However, the way this dichotomy is articulated in Egypt might take an entirely different shape in either Indonesia or Malaysia. The Muslim reformist movementin Indonesiafor instancetook a different turn. Muhammed'Abduh'simpactled to the creationof the Muhammadiyyahmovementwhich is a religious organizationvery much influenced in its outlook and organizationby Christian missionaries.'Abduh's impact in Indonesiahas taken a more religious orientationthan in Egypt. Today,in Indonesiathe discourseis about Muslim intellectualswho combinethe training of thepesantren(religiousboardingschools)educationwith ideasthey broughtbackfrom



McGill, Temple or Chicago universities.The late Pakistanischolar Fazlur Rahmanis yet anothercrucial figure for Indonesianintellectuals. Amin Rais, the leader of Muhammdiyyamovementnoticed that the 'ulama in Indonesiadresslike the rest of the people.(They wear trousersand batik shirts). According to him, thereis no 'physical' wall betweenthe 'ulama and Muslim intellectuals.He seesthat thereis an integrationof functions. He pointedout that he is invited to give religioustalks in religiousschoolsandin mosquesalthoughhe is consideredto be seculartrained.'ulama arealso invitedto give talks at the university.25 Whetherthis statementis true or not, or whether it is an ideologicalsloganwhich is to be analysedwith distancewould perhapsrequirea separateinvestigation. After the Iranian revolution, the avant-garderole of the intellectual was more than ever questioned,sinceit was the clergy that led the revolution. For a numberof Muslim intellectuals,the image of the faqih emergedas an ideal. The return of the image of the faqih and its mythologizing as a revolutionary figure, in place of the organic intellectual was undertakenby many disappointedMarxist intellectuals.HasanHanafi is a casein point for the Egyptianscene. Hanafi's proposalof a left Islam, as a form of revolutionizing an ahistoricalimage of the faqih, is an attemptto replacethe modern intellectual, who failed to fulfil a revolutionary function.26 The Islamizersafter the Iranian revolution seemto ride on the wave of suchan idea. The new Muslim intellectual,suchas al-Faruqi,would like to substitutethe now revolutionaryfaqih, for the intellectual.AIFaruqi reproducesthe sameposition towardsthe imageof thefaqih. The question,however,is how, would this new Muslim intellectual be receivedby the traditional 'ulama class?I have in mind Hasan Hanafi as a casein point, he was paradoxicallyrecentlyaccusedby al-Azhar for disbelief and his ideaswere deemeddisruptive by the Azhar establishment. In Egypt, the discourserevolvesaroundthe split betweenthe 'alim and the muthaqaf Social scientists pointed to the fact that the Islamistsare the productsof technicaluniversities.Also, figures like Hasanal-Bannaand SayyidQutb, we are reminded,are the product of the Dar al-'ulum university and thus would rather fit within the imageof the muthaqaf,or the Muslim intelligentsia,ratherthan the 'alim. In this context,it shouldbe observedthat the Muslim Brothers were suspiciousand critical of the 'ulama whom they considered reactionaryandresistingchange.27 Qutb'slife providesus with a clue aboutthe different 'alimlmuthaqafworldviews. I quoteIbrahim Abu Rabi': 63

IMAGES OF INTELLECTUALS IN TWO DISTINCT CULTURES Qutb did not belong to the theologicalenvironmentof the Azhar, nor did he develop,at this early stagein his life, a systematicphilosophicaldoctrine. Far removedfrom theological and philosophicaldisputes, he was drawn to the world of literature and literary criticism.28

After all, the Muslim brotherswere a modernorganizationthat had similarities to any other massmobilization organizationwith populistic elements. According to Abu Rabi', the Egyptian Muslim brothers were more interestedin social and political issuesrather 29 than theologicaland philosophicaldebates. Today,it seemsthat the fight betweensecularintellectualsand the 'ulama in Egypt is taking an intense form. Not that there is no tensionbetweenthe classof technocratsand the 'ulama. Mahathir's recentfrequent attackson the 'ulama (as shown below) reveal that suchcontradictionsalso exist in Malaysia. However,the confrontation in Egypt hastaken a more violent dimension. The advocatesof the Islamizationof knowledge,due to the effect of the Iranian revolution, understandthemselvesin both countries (Egypt and Malaysia)as the new interpreters,as guidesand spokesmen for the antiquatedclassof 'ulama.3o At leastthis is the way the Western-trainedCairo university Professorof English Literature, Abdel Wahhab al-Messiri, defines himself. They unite with the 'ulama in their aversion towards the secularists.The leftist neoIslamists that becameco-optedby the Islamization of Knowledge channelslike Tariq al-Bishri becameruthlessanti-secularists.

The Malaysian scene The Malays whoseown hereditary and environmentalinfluencehad beenso debilitating, could do nothingbut retreat beforethe onslaughtof the Chinese immigrants. Whateverthe Malays could do, the Chinesecould do better and morecheaply.Beforelong the industriousanddeterminedimmigrantshaddisplacedthe Malays in petty trading and all branchesof skilled work.

Mahathir Bin Mohammad*

The unfolding of the debateof Islamizationof knowledgehas had more seriousinstitutional repercussionsin Malaysia than in Egypt. Malaysia witnessedthe constructionof a new state discourseon scienceand Islam which is closely linked to institutional Islam. The promotersof this discoursemay be viewed as attemptingto enhance a new bureaucratic elite in Malaysia, the .promoters of the *The Malay Dilemma,(Singapore:Times Books International,1970), p. 25.



'Islamizationof knowledgedebate'are in the centre of power and are spokesmenof the Malaysiangovernment'svision of Islam. They hold significant positions in the academyand in publishing and governmentoffices. Although Islam hasbeenthe official religion in Malaysia, it is not an Islamic state.In recentyearsthe government has been constantly confronted by conflicting dakwah (Arabic: da'wah) groupsas well as oppositionalparties.The government,in an effort to combat the growing influence of Islamic groups, has been increasinglyappropiatingIslamic representationsto establish legitimacy vis-a.-vis the fundamentalistswithin the stateapparatus. Thus the use of religious symbolshas becomewidespread.In order to counter-attackcommunismand the secularnationalistsin many Muslim countries, religious symbols and activities have been employedby thesediverse regimesin the fight for legitimacy. It is understandable that the political struggletakesthe form of a war of religious symbols as M. Lyon, puts it (this in fact, applies to the Egyptianscenetoo).31 For instance,in Malaysia,the policies of the governmentof the early 1970swere energeticallydirected towards Islamizing the governmentmachinery,as witnessedby the increase in the numberof Islamic programmesand policies.32 Moreover,the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) encouraged Islamization by launching Islamic conferences,initiated for the purposeof controlling andregulatingIslam in the country.The state also respondedto Islamic resurgenceby increasingIslamizationproceduresin the massmedia and public life. 33 Malaysia furthermore witnessedthe promotion of a bureaucratizedinstitutional Islam, and as a part of which the PusatIslam (the Islamic Centrethat promotes an official version of Islam and counteractsdeviants) was upgraded.The official declarationof the 'Islamizationof the governmentmachinery'took placein 1984.The Islamicjudgeswerepromoted to the samestatusas the civil judiciary in 1988.34 Indeed, there is a prevalentargumentamong SoutheastAsian intellectuals that the statehasitself reinforcedIslamic resurgence. In 1969, Malaysia experiencedSino-Malay ethnic riots after elections which reflectedthe growing resentmentsof the Malays vis-a.-vis both the Chineseandthe inefficiency of the government.This led later to the launchingof the New EconomicPolicy (NEP) to encouragethe social ascendanceof the Malays. The idea was to boost policies to encouragethe Bumiputras(the indigenous),meaningthe Malays versusthe non-Bumiputragroups(non-indigenous)meaningthe Chinese. Malay national identity have becomesince then increasinglyinterwoven with Bumiputrism and Islam and after the NEP (the new 65


economicpolicies that led to the creationof a large well-to-do Malay middle class). This was coupled with what Clive Kessler calls the 'traditionalization'of Malay society. For instance,rituals and titles given by the royalty were reinventedand reinstitutionalized.35 In connectionwith the Islamizationpoliciesand Bumiputrism,it is important to state that Malays were granted privileges in higher education.For instance,55 per cent of the placesthat were reserved for the Chineseweregiven to Malay students.In general,nevertheless the Malays are sti11laggingbehinddespitetheseprivilegesthey were offered in education.The generalmood amongthe Malays, according to the Far EasternEconomicReview,is of contempt.We are told that the Bumiputrasin 1970 owned 1.9 per cent of the stock market, while in 1990 they owned 19 per cent in the stock market.36 Without denyingthe strongcondemnationsagainst'Mahathirism'by intellectuals like ChandraMuzaffar, who seesthat the new heroesof culture are all corporate barons,37I am merely highlighting the nuancesof the intellectualculture in comparisonto the Egyptianscene. The particular political culture of what Khoo Boo Teik rightly defined as the politics of 'Mahathirism', consisting of an amalgamationof nationalism,Islam, populism, capitalismand authoritarianism38 coupled with economicsuccessadds to the Malaysian specificity of how intellectuals deal with the successstory. While being a championof Third Worldist ideology, Mahathir launched the 2020 vision which he linked with the idea of a pan-Malaysian 'race' to grant equality and partnership among races.39 This occurredafter having promotedBumiputrism for years. Mahathir has been portrayedas a social Darwinist, a medical doctor, a self mademan of modestorigin, an anti feudal who attackedthe fatalism of the Malays as well as the antiquatedreligious teachers,i.e the 'ulama. Recently, Mahathir, directed a strong attack against the Islamists. He blamesthem for underminingeconomicdevelopment and hindering Malaysia from entering the age of modernity. Mahathir led a campaignagainstbeardedreligiously conservative UMNO party members,questioningthe 'obsessivereligious practices'.Accordingto him they stick to the ritual at any cost.40Perhaps this attack is to be interpretedas revealingthe increasingdifference betweenthe secularorientedMahathir and Islamic orientedAnwar Ibrahim. Mahathir is also describedas an intellectualwho wrote in the newspapersand composedan important book, The Malay Dilemma. Although The Malay Dilemma can be criticized for its social Darwinist undertones,it providesnoteworthyinsights about inter-ethnic relations, socio-economicactivities and the interactive



aspectsof the three communities.It is indeed an intelligent book, rich in detailed information about inequalities among the races, education, job opportunities and the intricate ethnic economic dynamics. Mahathir today is portrayedas a modernistleaderwith a secular outlook.41 He was described as ' ... the first non-royal or nonaristocratic incumbent of the position, the first non-lawyer (and apparentlythe first non-golfer)'.42A man who is uneasywith the royalty and who fought againstits corrupt attitudes.Mahathir also faced the challengeand repraochof PAS's demandsfor an Islamic state as well as criticism from ABIM (Islamic Youth Force of Malaysia) and other groups such as the Aliran KesedaranNegara (National ConsciousnessMovement). Under such circumstances Mahathir's card was to heighten his Islamicity to counteracthis Islamic opposition. The creationof the InternationalIslamic University could be seen as enhancingMahathir' s credibility and popularity in the Muslim world.43 It is interesting that Mahathir declared his intention of creatingan InternationalIslamic Universityimmediatelyafter a visit to the Gulf Statesand Jeddah.44This brings us to the ambiguous love-haterelationshipwhich SoutheastAsianshavewith the Middle East.The Middle Easternvisitor would noticethat oneof the effects of the Islamic dakwahmovementhasbeenthe growing borrowingof Arabic terminologyfor statusenhancementand authenticityin politics. Also until today the Malay 'ulama, returningfrom their studies in the Middle Eastareviewedwith eithervenerationbecauseof their Arabic background,or fear that their religiouseducationis the result of their failure to enterthe secularsystemas the Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir expressedit in 1992 in his political campaign againstthe PAS 'ulama. UMNO formulatedthe needto reform the institution of the 'ulama on the grounds that they were dropouts from the English medium schoo1.45 In recent years Mahathir expressedstrong feelings against the feudal politics and Islamic fundamentalismthat is often portrayedas a middle Easternexport to SoutheastAsia. It is precisely that love-haterelationshipwhich needsfurther research.On the one hand, the Malaysian state has borrowedsymbols,knowledgeand academiafrom the Middle East, and yet on the other hand it is suspiciousabout the type of formation of the clergy and assertsthat SoutheastAsian Islam is somehow autonomousand different.46 In addition, Mahathir Muhammadinauguratedthe International Conferenceon Islamic Thoughtin Kuala Lumpur with a talk about 67


'Islamization of Knowledge and the Future of the Ummah'. He stressedthe importanceof an 'Islamic future', and the planningfor the future where Muslim academicsshould masterall modemdisciplines.47 This might appear as a jargonic ideological rhetoric expressiveof an etatizedIslam. But we might also addthat Malaysia hasas its mirror the neighbouringisland of Singaporewith its complicatedandlatentconflictual relationshipsymbolizingan unspoken competition between the Chinesemajority in Singaporeand the Malay Muslim majority in Malaysia. Historically, Malaysia always seemedto express fears against the nationalist and communist feelings of the Chinesein Singapore.Malaysiaperceivedsuchsentiments as contradicting communalism. Moreover, Singapore, the urban,Chinese,industrialtown representeda counter-imageto rural Malaysia.In the early sixties Singaporewas askedto withdraw from the federation of Malaya.48 Not only that, but the former Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew actively promotedConfucianism,andAsian valuesasa stateideology. Confucianvalueswere specificallyencouragedas an importantfactor for promotingcapitalism.Here, the discourse of Islamization and the promotion of Islamic values as a stateideology could be seenas the Malaysianside of the samecoin. The smallness of the Chinese-majority-dominatedisland of Singapore, surrounded by one of the largest communities of Muslims in the entire world, readily providesthe analogywith Israel and the Arab World. However, viewed from a different angle, Singaporeis often comparedto Israel. In SoutheastAsia, it is seen as playing the role of the watchdogthat possessesa sophisticated military army and a leadingfinancial centre.The Malays, who form a minority in Singapore (although, unlike the Palestinians, SingaporeMalays suffer no legal discrimination), are quite often comparedto the Arabs of Israel. Thus, both societies,Egypt and Malaysia, have their oppositemirror imagesthat affects their selfrepresentationin ideological and religious terms.49 In this respect, one could equally view the discourseof Islamic fundamentalismin Egypt as a reactionto the successful'religious'stateof Israel. Similarly, the Islamization of the state machinery took place in Egypt during the regimeof Sadat.Thereare, of course,considerable local and economicdifferencesbetweenEgypt and Malaysia. The first differenceis that Malaysiais one of the smaller Muslim countries in Asia, with a populationof aroundseventeenmillion and yet it is one of the fastestdevelopingMuslim nations.The successstory of Malaysiaasoneof the economictigers,is becomingan interesting experiencefor the rest of the Muslim World which is acutelyawareof 68


lagging behindthe West. This is why Malaysiabecomesa fascinating model for someEgyptian intellectuals,which is a heavily populated and economicallyburdenedcountry on the vergeof a seriouspolitical crisis and collapse.50 Kelantan,North of Malaysia is led by the oppositionparty, the PAS, which attemptsto apply Islamic law. For someMiddle EasternMuslims, like the Egyptianal-Ahramcolumnist Fahmi Huwaydi, Malaysia is 'imagined' as a different field where Islamic shari'a could be paired with economic take off. 51 For instance,Fahmi Huwaydi52 and the former Marxist 'Adil Husayn, were both invited separatelyto Malaysia. Each wrote respectivelya seriesof articles, in al-Ahram (Huwaydi) the semi-official daily and al-Sha'b, an oppositionweekly (~dil Husayn)in admirationof the Malaysianeconomicflowering and its political system.53 Second,for the sake of speculation,we proposethe following hypotheses;the differencebetweenEgypt and Malaysiawith regard to the debateof 'Islamizationof Knowledge'is that, in Malaysia,the debatewas mainly concretizedby a former militant Muslim, Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar Ibrahim was a charismaticstudent leader in the departmentof Malay studies,University of Malaya. During the late sixties, he becamepresidentof the National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students.54 In 1971, he establishedthe Muslim Youth Movement.Widely known today by its Malay name,the Angkatan Betia Islam Malaysia (ABIM). His charismaticappealwasenhanced by his arrest in 1974 after demonstratingagainstpoverty. He was detainedfor two yearsandwas releasedin 1976without havingbeen charged.55 Anwar's personalbiography reveals Mahathir's mechanism in co-opting oppositionalIslam within the stateapparatus.It revealsa lot about the inclusion of radical Islam. To read Anwar Ibrahim's The Asian Renaissancefrom the perspectiveof mirrors towardsboth the West and Singaporemight give us a hint why there is a strong emphasisupon 'the right to difference' in comparing Asian with Europeanrenaissance.According to Anwar the fundamental differencelies in that the Asian renaissance'has its foundations in religion and tradition - Islam, Confucianism,Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianitybeing the major ones'.56 He furthermore stressesthat 'the Asian man at heartis personaretigiosus'.57 Anwar scores a point over Lee Kwan Yew by thus being aware of the Westerncondemnationsof Asian regimesandthe cultural specificity of Asian values.I quotehim: ... Asiansmustbepreparedto championideals which are universal. It is altogethershameful,if ingenious,to cite Asian valuesas an excusefor autocratic practicesand denial of basic rights and civil liberties. To say that freedomis


IMAGES OF INTELLECTUALS IN TWO DISTINCT CULTURES Westernor un-Asianis to offendour own traditions as well as our forefathers who gave their lives in the struggleagainst tyranny and injustice.58

It is no coincidencethat in The Asian Renaissance,59 Anwar quotes

at length the work of al-Faruqito enhancehis Islamicity:

The late Isma'i! al-Faruqi, in his essay,'Is the Muslim definablein Termsof his EconomicPursuits?'hasrefutedthe claim that there wasany inherentcontradiction betweenIslam and the continuousstruggle to improve economic well-being. His vision of developmentwas certainly not basedon the idea of Homo economicus, the one-dimensionalmodel with an obsession with economicsalone. He thought of homo islamicus, a conceptthat demandsa balancedemphasison material and spiritual well being'.60

The discourseis promotedand encouragedfrom above,which led to the creation of 'Islamic institutions' from the top with a large bureaucraticapparatus.The debateis advertisedas a stateideology (to counteractthe religious opposition, the PAS in the North of Malaysia, Kelantan).It also seemsto carry an institutional importance exemplified in the creation of the International Islamic University (in contrast to the old Egyptian Azhar University in Cairo) as the political ticket to Anwar Ibrahim'scredibility.61 It is a fact that both governments(Egypt and Malaysia)facedthe problem of Islamizing the statemachinery.Both governmentsgave an increasinglylarge arenato 'official Islam', in order to counteract the growing Islamic oppositionexemplifiedin the studentmovement andthe variousIslamic parties.However,Malaysianspecialistsoften complainaboutthe absenceof a public culture and the lack of critical intellectuals.They also complainthat intellectualshavewithered awayto be replacedby advisersof the 'prince',ghostwriters for ministers'speeches,and 'think tank' managersfor the government. However, whether this statementis valid or not, one has to acknowledge the oratorical skills and the elaborate and well researchedpublic speechesof Anwar Ibrahim. His attempts to employ a so-called intellectual and scientific jargon into his speeches- even when it is mere rhetoric - deserve attention. Moreover, one has the impressionthat for many intellectuals in Kuala Lumpur, their dreams and perspectiveswere to become 'better Anwar Ibrahims' through being co-optedby the Mahathir governmentmachinery.Even the ABIM circles witnesseda change in their Islamic goals and slogansto shift to 'problem-solving'and 'corrective participation' in cooperationwith the government.62 Certainly, after Anwar's detention the picture must have been entirely different.



Egypt For I neednot emphasizethat in a place like the Middle East. believingonly what people say about themselves(particularly what the dominant class coalitions and ruling elites say about themselves)is the shortest route to political catastropheand the end of all rational speechabout social change. reform options. and hope in the future. And since the majority of Arabs.for example.are basicallysane. theymoreoften than not take with a grain of salt (andpeppertoo). what their regimesandbossessayeither about the ruled or about the rulers themselves.This is why their basicpolitical daily life attitude is characterizedby a substantialdoseof healthycynicism vis-a-vis the arrogant claims of power, and a debunkingsenseof the skeptical vis-a-vis the pretensionsof high authority. Sadiq1. al-'Azm*

Paradoxically,althoughEgypt'sstatemachineryhasbeenweakened since the Nasserperiod, -a weaknesswhich went hand in hand with the decline of public services, infitah, open door policies, corruption and the growth of an Islamic opposition- one could witness the rise of a public culture in the mid-eighties with the 63 Observerspoint increasingsignificanceof journalsandmagazines. to the paradoxicalsituationof the growing debatesand demandson the civil society where there are more and more social groupswho earnedfurther spacefor expressionthrough the associationsand political parties.64 Parallel to it, the Islamists seemto pose a real threat to the government through violent action. For many observers,the Islamist opposition- exemplifiedin professionalsyndicatesof lawyers, medical doctors,teachersand the like as well as trade unions - is viewed as an alternative 'social movement'and socialwork, which is replacingthe vanishinggovernmentin offering social servicessucha kindergartens,schools,clinics, jobs and social mobility for the expandingmiddle classeswhich are threatenedby the worseningeconomicconditions.65 In Egypt, the new economicelite who represent8 per cent of the total population accumulate more than third of the national income. While 86 per cent of the population gets only a quarter of the national income. Rushdi Said calls the rich minority kutlat al-basharal-tafiyyah (the 'floating humanentity') and the remainder kutlat al-bashar al-ghatisa, (the 'sinking human entity'), earninga monthly income of between100-00 L.E.66 Of the total *'Islamic FundamentalismReconsidered:A Critical Outline of Problems,Ideasand Approaches',SouthAsia Bulletin. ComparativeStudiesof South Asia. Africa and the Middle East, Part I, in Vol. XII, nos. I and 2, (1993), pp. 93-121;Part II, in Vol. XIV, no. I, (1994), (pp. 73-98). p. 95.



population of Cairo 46.6 per cent lives in scatteredunplanned housing (manatiq 'ashawa'iyyah), or 'spontaneouscommunities' which one could easily call slums.67 The averagehereis aroundsix personsto one room and there are no private toilets. Illiteracy is around60 per cent amongthis stratum.In Egypt there are around one million persons,consistingof one hundredfamilies, representing less than 2 per cent of the population,they get 40 per cent of the nationalincome. Underneath,there is anotherclassof around 3.5 million persons:(around700,000families) living on an income between500 and 2000 pounds with an averageof 1200 pounds. This stratumrepresents6 per cent of the total populationand they get 9 per cent of the nationalincome.Betweenthis stratumand the top one, there is anothermiddle one of around3.5 million people consistingof 700,000families living with an income between2000 and 7000 Egyptian poundswith an averageof 4000 poundsand they get 25 per cent of the nationalincomealthoughthey represent 6 per cent of the total population of Egypt.68 The top 2 per cent consumes20 per cent of the electricity. Many in this stratum acquired their wealth through import, fraud, smuggling spoiled food, and speculatingon land, money dealsand weapons.69 This picture complicatesmattersconcerningthe role of secular intellectualsand the assessmentof the Islamist movement.This is not to claim that the Egyptiangovernmentis more democraticthan the Malaysian one. As a reminderand for the sake of contrasting Egypt to Malaysia, the Internal Security Act (ISA) which entails detention without trial, introduced in 1960, is still applied in Malaysia and used as a meansfor hunting political opponents.It was for exampleapplied on the sociologistProfessorS. Husin Ali, who is a socialist,and on Anwar Ibrahim in earlier times.7o And the recenttrial againstAnwar Ibrahimcan only confirm the further violation of humanrights. It is no secretthat electionsin Egypt havebeenconductedwithout respectfor democraticprinciplesandprocedures.In recentyears,the governmenthas violently crushedthe Islamists. There were brutal arrestsof young Islamists.For instanceduring 1981-1991,450officers, soldiers, governmentofficials and Islamists were killed and 1050 woundedin violent skirmishes.From July 1992 to July 1993 there occurred239 violent incidents, while between 1986 to 1990 only 46 incidents were recorded.7! In fact, a close look at the AlAhram daily over the last two yearsrevealsthe frequentskirmishes of a kind of informal civil war taking place aswell asthe appearance in the villages of Upper Egypt betweengovernmentofficers and 72


'terrorists'.This goesalongwith arrestand torture of Islamist activities and the currentcourt casesagainst'terrorists'.72 Simultaneously,the state apparatushas been Islamized and the official Islamic figures havebeencooptedby the state.73 SinceSadat' s time the dosesof religiosity in mass-mediaand the press have increasedto counteractsecularand communistforces and to co-opt the official Islamic institutions. Humanrights in Egyptianjails have beenconsistentlyand seriouslyviolated.?4The humanrights situation in that regard is far worse in Egypt than in Malaysia; and it must not be forgottenthat the Islamistsare the only oppositionthat haveseriouslythreatenedthe government.Someview the situationin Egypt as a vicious circle where both the government and the Islamists have demonstratedan intoleranceeither againststudents (the Islamists) or towards worship (the government).?5The prominent role of these intellectuals during the sixties in the various spheresof arts,literature,academiaandthe presswashighlightedby Anouar Abdel Malek. With the advent of Islamism, the Marxist heritagein the Arab World was belittled and its impact minimized. Yet secularintellectualsdo rely on the 'public sector'and the state 76 I proposethat therenow exists salaryfor their professionalization. in Egypt a wide stratum of literati and secularintellectuals consisting of artists, painters, film directors, novelists, playwrights, journalists,freelancewriters, who are currently facing a confrontation with both the Islamistsand the stateIslamizationthrough the institution of al-Azhar. It was also pointed out that parallel to the phenomenonof Islamism we are witnessingpower strugglesand conflicts within the various religious institutions which contradict each other. For examplethe conflict betweenthe different institutionslike Dar al-ifta' (the houseof fatwa) and lagnat al-fatwa (the committeeof fatwa) that issue different and contradictory fatwas, the fight between the and ReligiousAffairs and al-Azhar Ministry of AwqafEndowments on the onehand,andthe variouspreacherson the other.Also, clashes are to be observedbetweenthe shaykhof al-Azhar and the mufti of Egypt, versusthe Muslim Brothersandprofessionalpreachers.?7 This picturetransmitsthe impressionof chaosandnihilism in the religious institutional discourse.It is difficult howeverto statethat the whole official religious body is entirely under the control of the government.?8Notwithstanding,al-Azhar has beengiven extensivepowers sinceSadat'stime and is playing an ambiguousrole in promotingan official Islam againstthe undergroundIslamists79 and also in tracking down secularintellectuals. 73


Secularintellectualsin Egypt have been facing strong pressure. They are caughtin the gameof being either co-optedand playing a double game as 'employed and salaried' intellectuals, or used as scapegoatsby the regime to counteractthe rising religious opposition. There is much talk about the crisis of intellectualsand their ambiguousposition vis-a.-vis the statewhich is, one the one hand,a sourceof income,andwith which they arenonethe lessin conflict.80 One needonly refer to the Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd case,the recent in attempton the life of Nagib Mahfouz, FaragFoda'sassassination 1992 and al-Azhar's constantcensorshipof literary and political works, to exposethe pressuressecularintellectualsare facing. Even intellectualslike Tariq al-Bishri, who is affiliated with the Islamic trend, was not sparedfrom al-Azhar censorship.8!It is possibleto arguethat secularintellectualsalthoughmarginal, are strugglingto shapethe cultureanddebateover Islam, Islamizationand secularism in Egypt. In contrast to Malaysia, this group of intellectuals in Egypt is still strugglingto revive the liberal age.This stratum82 might havegiven a different turn to the entire 'Islamizationof Knowledge' debate,which takesa rathermorecritical standtowardsthe question of the official institutionalizationand the misuseof religion. Public figures and intellectuals like Husayn Ahmad Amin, Muhammad Sa'id al-'Ashmawi, Fu'ad Zakariyya, Sayyid Yasin, and the researcherSayyid al-Qimni shouldbe mentionedhere, to remind us of their role in this debate. Possibly, the relative well-being of Malaysia'seconomy(beforethe crisis) and its rising affiuent middle 83 weakenthis confrontationbetweenintellectuals,the state c1asses Islamizingapparatuses andIslamists.84 Perhapsbureaucraticinstitutions in Malaysia may transmit an appearanceof 'modernity' and 'newness',85which is non-existentin Egypt. Possibly,the absenceof an old Egyptian'scribe'culture,is what paradoxicallyconstitutesthe strengthand equally at the sametime the weaknessof Malaysian intellectual culture. Although a chaotic and conflictual situation dominates on the institutional level in Egypt, the confrontation betweenthe secularistsand Islamistsled to a flourishing of intellectual production.Thus,althoughpublic life in Malaysiamight appear more 'ordered',the debatesand cultural and artistic life, as a result of the confrontation, are certainly more lively and stimulating in Egypt.




ISMA'IL RAJI AL-FARUQI: POPULISM, OR THE GUERRILLA SCHOLAR? The intellectual has been transformedfrom a sacerdotalpersonageinto a secularexpert. In the state bureaucracyand in private economyalike wellpayingjobs havemultiplied; skilledprofessionalsare able to capitalizeupon their knowledge. Politics is divorcedfrom theology, and the intellectuals, abandoningthe sacral exploitation of their monopolisticknowledge,now offer it for saleon the openmarket. Aspettyproducersandownersofa small stock of such knowledgethey do not have any special class status on the labor market. Under modern Western capitalism the intellectuals make commoditiesof the ideologiestheyproduceand offer themselves for hire to the real social classeswhose ideologies they formulate, whoseintelligence they will become. This new situation is in direct contrast to the earlier teleological and moral mission of their priestly estate; hence the term 'professionals'is a more precisedescription of the new social situation of the intellectuals. GeorgeKonrad and Ivan Szelenyi*

Thereare times when a biography,a trajectoryof a life, can give us clues more revealingthan the written word. Take, for instance,the life of Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi, the Palestinianscholarwho migrated to the Statesandbecamean Americancitizen. AI-Faruqi is generally known as the main ideologistof the 'Islamizationdebate';but he is far more interestingbecauseof the aurahe createdin the American context. Peoplewho knew him and whom I knew in Cairo, Kuala Lumpur or Singaporerememberhim as someonewith top-level political connections at the centre of an extensive network of contacts.He seemsto have resembleda militant country preacher, able to raisehugesumsfor researchto fund Muslim studentsstudying overseas.In otherwords, he was a kind of academicmanager.In terms of priorities, his networking with the 'Islamization project' took precedenceover his intellectual production. I do not wish to

*The Intellectualson the Roadto ClassPower(New York: The HarvesterPress,1979). pp. 12, 13.



mInImIZe his intellectual production which was none the less quantitativelyextensive.In fact, JohnEspositopointsto the fact that he wrote, edited,publishedand translated25 books,and more than a hundredarticles.1 In an apologeticbiography,MuhammadShafiqdescribeshim as a 'guerrilla scholar'.2This was the tenorof his life - and his fate seems uncannilyappropriateto the characterization. AI-Faruqi's writings ring with a powerful populism, very similar in tone to presentday Islamist discourse. Predictably,they contain simplistic repetitions of the ever-recurring problematic - the cultural duality between Islamic authenticity and alien Western importations. There can be no doubt that his discourse on 'Islamization'is foundedon an imaginaryandideal vision of a transcendentalmadrassahbeyondtime and space,in which educationis bound to the early morning prayer and the religious ritual. AIFaruqi transposedinto Islam the militant languageused in the sixties to mobilize the masses.His texts are full of phrasessuch as 'Never in Islamic history has the cry of Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest)beenneededon the intellectuallevel asit is today'. Faruqi's languagemost closely resemblesa patchworkof remnantsof PanArabism and other ideologies. S.1. al-'Azm and Abrahamianhave convincingly highlightedthe modernityand borrowingsof the contemporary Islamist discourse.Abrahamianhas illustrated this in relation to Khomeini and al-'Azm has focusedon the Arab constellation aroundMarxism and secularistideologies.Al-'Azm offers us a numberof clues to the systemof appropriationand substitution utilized by many Islamists: ... 'Worldism' (al-'Alamiyyah) in place of the socialist 'Internationalism' ( al- Umamiyyah) as in the sophisticatedIslamist theoretical work which appearedin Beirut in 1979, underthe title, The SecondIslamic Worldism (al'Alamiyyahal-Islamiyyahal-Thaniyyah).Also includedamongthe shiftsare 'overturning' (Inkilab) and its derivatives in place of 'revolution' and 'Revolutionary'; 'Protest(Ihtijaj)in place of the liberal 'Opposition' (Mu'aradah) as in the 'loyal opposition' ...3

AI-Faruqi's entire frame of discoursecan be understoodas the transpositioninto Islamism of a distorted Arab nationalist terminology. But which aspectsof al-Faruqi's populist discourse are worth closer examination? I would say that he was one the first scholarsto penetrateinto academiclife with Islamist jargon and Islamist activities. AI-Faruqi roundly condemns the West for ignoring andexcludingthe billions of blacks,the billions of 'brown-



skinned'peopleand the billions of 'yellow-skinned'inhabitantsof Asia and Latin America. He is thus echoing many 'Third World' commentators.

I. Let us now take a closerlook at the life story of this man. Isma'il alFaruqi was born in Palestinein 1922, and was educatedat traditional religious schools.4 In 1926 he went on to study at the French Dominican College of the Freresof St. Joseph.He continuedhis studies at the American University in Beirut. In 1942 he was appointedRegistrarof CooperativeSocietiesand later held the post of District Governorof Galilee. After the confiscationof his land throughthe Israeli occupation,he becameincreasinglydisenchanted with the political situationand left for the USA. Al-Faruqi earnedhis Ph.D. at Indiana University, USA in 1952. Important for us, is the fact that 'Both a poor job market and an inner drive brought Faruqi back to the Arab world'.5 Esposito's remark in pointing to the factor of the job market in the Western world, is of paramountimportancefor many Arab and Muslim intellectuals.It is a clue to understandhis discourseandthe audience he dialoguedwith later on when he returnedto the States.We are told that he spentfour yearsat al-AzharUniversity in Cairo followed by two years at the School of Divinity at McGill University in Canada.He subsequentlycrossedcontinentsto continuehis work at the Islamic ResearchInstitute in Islamabad,in Pakistan. When Muhammad Ayub Khan attemptedto Islamize the country, alFaruqi and his colleagueFazlur Rahmanwhere brought over from McGill University to create the Institute of Islamic Researchin Karachi. It would seemthat both al-Faruqiand Rahmanafter various attemptsto reform educationfaced strong oppositionfrom the traditional 'ulama. Al-Faruqi's struggle and eventualdefeat by the Pakistani'ulama may explain why his later writings containtactical, the orthodoxaspectsof pleasfor enforcingfiqhandover-emphasized Islam. According to Shafiq: 'He learnedthat orthodoxy was very strong, a fact that he must have thought about long and hard in order to devisea strategyfor dealingwith it in the future'.6 In contrastto Rahman,al-Faruqiarguedpassionatelyfor the notion of the faqih (the Jurisconsult)as the ideal intellectualand scholar.This is a crucial differencebetweenhim andRahman,who wasextremelycritical of the 'ulama class. This is also what differentiatesal-Faruqi from al-Attas, who seesSufism as an alternativeto thefiqh. Shafiq,



al-Faruqi'sbiographer,rankedhim on the sameintellectuallevel as Fazlur Rahman.However,this fails to awarddue credit to Rahman, whoseintellectualachievementis indisputablyof higher quality. AI-Faruqi later joined the Departmentof Religion at Syracuse University andcreatedin 1962the Muslim Students'Association.In 1968 he joined the Departmentof Religion at Temple University.7 He later becameactive in the Muslim Students'Association in America,and throughit the Associationof Muslim SocialScientists wascreated.Anotherimportantgroupingfoundedin this periodwas the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers. Al-Faruqi played a significant role in its establishmenttoo. The Islamic Medical Association,on the other hand, was alreadyin existence.8 AI-Faruqi was a key figure in creating the International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur and that in Islamabad. The International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur establisheda Departmentof RevealedKnowledge,which pursuesa programmeof Islamizationof knowledge. Al-Faruqi was assassinated togetherwith his wife in 1986. They were savagelystabbedto deathin their houseby a mentally deranged black American Muslim apparentlyknown to the Muslim circles of TempleUniversity. The reasonsfor their murderremaina mysteryto this day. MuhammadShafiq,his biographer,interpretsthe murderas a Zionist-Americanconspiracy.He arguesthat someAmericanJewish circles consideredal-Faruqi's activism and al-Faruqi's call for dismantling Israel to be a major threat.The jargon al-Faruqideveloped againstZionism is worth studying:he interpretedthe struggleas 'both a corporatereligious obligationifard kifayah) for the Islamic community and a personalobligationifard 'ayn) for every able Muslim adult andcalledfor holy war (jihad) againstthe Zionist state'.9 Ratherthanspeculatingaboutthe actorsbehindal-Faruqi'sdeath, I think it is more relevantto look at his militancy and missionary zeal. This might perhapsexplain why he becamein someway a victim of his own deeds.Al-Faruqi was describedas 'a sort of a Jamalad Din al-Afghani',IO which might be an inflated picture and might againbe somewhatunjustto aI-Afghani. This latter wasrathermore of a free thinker and pantheist,in comparisonto al-Faruqi, who proselytizeda ritualistic,faqih type of Islam. Yet al-Faruqi seemed to havebeenvictim of a mentallyderangedmanwho wascloseto the black American converts within da'wah circles. It is important to note here that if we put aside the early writings of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers - al-Faruqi was among the first to reduce the Arab-Israeliconflict andits secularaspectsto a religiousdimension,



repletewith religiousjargon. He thusdiscreditedthe PLO'sdemands for a secularstate.By doing so, in our view, he implicitly recognized the legitimacy of the 'theologicalJewish'state,where citizenshipis guaranteedwith the supremacyof religion and which is constructed on the negationof the 'Other' Arab. For instance,al-Faruqi also expresseda clearantipathyagainstpan-Arabismand secularnationalism which, accordingto him was enhancedin the Middle East by Christianand Jewishintellectuals,and which aimedto 'de-Quranize and de-IslamizeMuslims'.ll One could interpret the significanceof the trend of Islamization in Americaas a counterweightto the powerful Jewishlobby andpreponderantinfluenceof Jewishintellectuals.The American Muslims who have beengetting more and more professionalized,and whose 12 felt sucha pressure. numbershaveincreasedin the last two decades Thus, the cultural fight which is taking place in the United States seemsto revolve around religious groundsto disguisethe political dimension.As Yvonne Haddadand Adair T. Lummis haveput it: The religion of Islam is now an Americanphenomenon.Once thoughtofprimarily as the way of life of the Arabsanda faith alien to the Judeo-Christian heritage in this country. it has movedinto a position of sufficient size and strength that it must be countedtoday as one of the prominentand rapidly growing, religious movementsin America.13

For instance,it is interestingto note that in 1987, the number of mosquesandIslamic centreswasput at 598, cateringfor two to three million Muslims.14 Also Muslim organisationssuch as the Muslim World Leagueof Mecca,the Islamic Societyof North America and the Muslim StudentAssociationhave,in recentyears,playeda growing role in supportingand funding mosquesand centres.IS It seems,however,that al-Faruqi developeda specialunderstanding of Arabism (,urubah),16 which is not Arab nationalism 'but rather the essenceof an Arab person'P His notion of Arabism entails a rather paternalistic attitude vis-a-vis non-Arabs, which might poseseriousproblemsin relation to the reality of the sensitive issueof conflicts of minorities in the Middle East: Archetypalcategoriesof consciousnessthat were not necessarilypossessed solely by Arabs but could include all Arabic-speakingpeopleand millions of non-Arabic speakingpeople who represent comparativelyhigher or lower degreesof Arabness.18

Although al-Faruqi saw Arabnessas universal,beyondcolour or race and talked about 'the Arab streamof being', sucha definition 81


can only be describedas very vague.It is again an idealizationof a 'people' and of 'essence',a precisely Orientalist vision, placed beyond history and space,and no less ideological than the Arab nationalistshe is targeting. But most important, al-Faruqi deligitimizes Arab nationalistsas 'Westernstyle nationalists',19as if his own definition of 'urubah is no lessWestern.Here again,his attacks- often repeatedin the abundant Islamist literature - are fixated on 'Ali 'Abd al-Raziq and Khalid Muhammad Khalid, whom he labels 'confusednationalists'. Like many other Islamists, he had repeatedlyattacked'Abd al-Raziq for having 'studiedin the West' and had arguedthat 'his borrowing from the ideas of Hobbesand Locke has resultedin his confusion over Islam'.20 What is important to note here is that such a trend of 'authentication'versusthe 'alien'is indeedborn out of a cross-cultural encounterwith the West-a claim which many Muslims would deny.

II. AI-Faruqi visited Malaysiamany times, and it seemshe maintained close contact with the studentmovementaround Anwar Ibrahim and ABIM (Muslim Youth Movementof Malaysia). He also built up a relationship with Mahathir, during his early years in the governmentas an adviseron the Islamizationof culture. We are also told that he played a crucial role in bringing Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim togetherin the early 1980's.He wasconvincedof the importance of Anwar's modernist approach to Islam.21 Many of alFaruqi's followers and studentswho are today holding academic postsin Malaysia,still rememberhim and his wife, the musicologist Lois Lamya al-Faruqi. AI-Faruqi's statedintention was to develop: ... alternativeparadigmsof knowledgefor both natural and social sciences and to conceiveand moulddisciplinesmost relevant to the needsof contemporary Muslim societies.22

This task would be undertakenby creating'The specificrelevanceof Islam to eachareaof modernknowledge',because: It is not Islam that needsto be maderelevantto modernknowledge;it is modern knowledgethat needsto be maderelevant to Islam.23

AI-Faruqi is hereproposinga holistic projectto Islamizeknowledge. This project has been taken by his followers and extendedto the Islamizationof educationandscience.AI-Faruqi'sprogrammeadvocatesthat all knowledgemust be reorderedunder the principle of 82


tawhid (onenesswith the Divine). 24 But why attemptthis in the first place?BecauseWesternsocial scienceis incompleteand 'violates a crucial requirementof Islamic methodology'.25 Al-Faruqi goeson to arguethat his project is not a merespiritual undertaking - he adds an Islamic dimension which he calls Ummatism,which he definesas follows: The principle of Islamic methodologyis not identical to the principle of the relevanceof the spiritual. It adds to it somethingpeculiarly Islamic, namely, theprinciple of ummatism.Thisprinciple holds that no value, henceno imperative is merelypersonal,pertinent to the individual alone. Neither value-perception nor value-realization pertains to consciousnessin its personal moment,to its individual, secretrelation with God. Islam affirms that God's commandment,or the moral imperative, is necessarilysocietic. It is essentially relatedto, andobtainsonly within, the socialorder of the Ummah. That is why Islam entertainedno idea ofpersonalmorality or piety which it did not define in ummatistterms.26

Again, what we should note here is that al-Faruqi 'accused'the objectivity of Western social sciences of pretending to a false standard of objectivity. Tawhid becomesthe focus upon which knowledge is built around, and unity of knowledge the basis of Islamic methodology. Neverthelessone is left wondering why so much criticism should be levelled at the 'objectivity' of Western social sciences.First, al-Faruqiseemsto lump all the social sciences togetherwithout giving the readerany historicalaccountof the birth and evolution of social sciences,especiallyof their strugglewith the unresolvedquestion of objectivity. In fact, the various schoolsin Western social scienceshave never claimed any absolute truth. Secondly,he says nothing about what Islamic methodologymeans from his own perspectivewhich seemsto be merely an infusion of a jargon called Islamic mingled with conventionalWesternsociology andsupplemented by a condemnationof the moral decadenceof the West. Apart from the notion of unity with God being rathervague in terms of practical application of the social sciences,al-Faruqi links the notion of unity with God with the idea that the family in Islam is the crucial pillar of social order. Here again, one is confronted with shallow moralistic statementsabout the decadenceof the West and work plansthat appearlike mereslogans.27 As pointedout earlieral-Faruqi,like manyIslamists,tendsto adorn his languagewith Quranicverses.Culture is thus understoodas dualistic and simplistic, and one Islamic 'authentic'and one alien. This simplistic dichotomy extends to dichotomy Westernization= deIslamization;andWesternsocial sciencesare regardedas antagonistic



per se. A militant languagein the style of ta'bi'at al-jamahir (mobilization of the masses)thus becomesfilled with Islamic sloganslike 'May the thinkers of the Umma rise to the challenge,May Allah (SWT) be their constantguide'.28 A cross-culturalapproachmay help us to an understandingof alFaruqi'sclaim for da'wahin America. The moreonereadsabouthim, the more one sensesthat his political activism, ratherthan his academic career,is what bound him so closely to Muslim-Americanassociationsand the Americanway of life. 29 He seemsto haveborrowed a lot from the Afro-American Muslim style of preaching.AI-Faruqi createda programmeon Da'wah to IndigenousMuslimsprogram in Philadelphia. The emphasiswas on ritual,30 along with training imamson the campus.31 It is importantto highlight the dichotomous way in which the 'decadentAmerican family' was to be replacedby the counter-imageof a pious Muslim family.32 Ratherthan dealing with reality, these teachingspromulgateda pristine, idealized and moralisticvision of what a good Muslim family shouldlook like: He thereforecalledupon thoseMuslimsin the Westto minimizetheir divorce rates, to takegoodcare of their children, to promotesexualabstinencebefore marriage, to enter into marriagecontract, and to setup extended,as opposed to nuclear,families.33

It would be pointlesshere to re-emphasizethe modernity of sucha movementin termsof organizationand ideology.34It was namedal'Urwah al Wuthqa (The Reliable Grip) in referenceto al-Afghani's early journal. It entailed a mithaq, a charter,35 which refers to Muslims as an usrah, a family (in the early seventiesin Egypt, the

Islamists appropriatedthe word on university campuses).Along with this is a manifestowritten in a tone of command.36 Thus, while viewing the Westernsocialsciencesas 'incompleteand useless'for the Muslims andinsistingthat 'truth is one,just like Allah is one',37 the Islamizersneverthelessremain silent about their own aspirationsto modernityand their partial borrowing of militant languageand other aspectsof Westernmovementsfor popular mobilization.38 They veil their invertedmodernitywith discreetsilence.

III. In the Cultural Atlas of Is/am, al-Faruqi, attempts to use the phenomenological methodin writing history, andto counterposeit to the Encyclopediaof Islam. He writes the Atlas from the perspectiveof faith.39 Al-Faruqi adoptsthe phenomenologicalmethod in writing



the history of a religion. But Faruqi'sperspectiveon Islamic history undoubtedlyraisesquestions: Hence, true objectivitydemandsthat Islam be distinguishedfromMuslim history and insteadbe regardedas its essence,its criterion, and its measure.40

His writings41 portray the imageof Islam from the point of view of faith. His approach is similar to al-Azhar pamphletsabout the pillars of Islam as a fait-accompli, and quite often omits any historical explanation. This is, of course, simplistic and reductionist. Divorce and polygamyare againtreateda fait accompliwhich needs no discussion.Written in a somewhatpreachingstyle, al-Faruqi's work makesno mention of the historical evolution of the various schoolsof law in dealingwith divorce, marriageand ritual. It is no coincidencethat the Atlas again underlineshow Islam ought to be and how good Muslims should perform rituals, rather thanexaminingthe reality of Muslim life. Whenal-Faruqidealswith the Malay basin,42the emphasisof the Atlas is upon 'primitiveness' beforethe arrival of Islam. In this way the history of the pre-Islamic periodin the Malay Archipelagois considerablydistorted,just asthe Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic) times have beenpervertedby the Islamists, who view this as a period when the peoplewere devoid of history, knowledge,or culture.43 The peopleof the Malay basin are consequently portrayedas follows: ... These tribesrelied onfood gathering, or at least agriculture to survive,and related their miseries to fanatic myths in terms of which they understood themselvesand the reality aroundthem. Theylived on cannibalism,instituted human sacrifice, tolerated infanticide, and never saw the nakednessof the body or the needto read and write, to record human experience,and they existedwithout civilization or evenawarenessof humanculture.44

Al-Faruqi is silent about the ancient Hindu IndonesianKingdoms which werecosmopolitancoastaltradecentres,suchasthe Kingdom of Srivijaya which existedaroundthe seventhcentury AD, and the Javanesekingdoms based on peasantry, like the kingdom of Mataram.45 He argues: Where the first outside influence upon the primitive mentality camefrom Hinduism or Buddhism,as in the Malay archipelago,it prOVidedno exposure or link to the outsideworld andformedneithersocietynor empire. Insteadof developingnative trade andindustryor laying downfoundationsfor the developmentof learning and civilization, Hinduismpushedprimitive mythologyto a higher degreeof complexityand sophistication.



and hereagain: As to the impact of Buddhism,it may have taught the Malay how to build templesand carve statuesto the Buddha(although it is by no meanscertain that Borobodouris the work of natives; rather it seemsthe work of imported craftsmenwho left behindthemno tradition of sculptureor architecture).But as in the other casesof contact, theprimitive mentalityremainedprimitive.46

Here we are once more confrontedwith the Jahiliyyah ideology, in the sensethat anythingpre-Islamicis equivalentto primitive. Islam transformedthe primitive mentalitycompletely.It eliminatedsuperstition andspirits and ascribedall causationto one supremecreator ... it ended cannibalism... It outlawedalcohol andnakedness.... It bannedghazw(raiding) .. .. It establishedschools.47

Sucha purifying attitudetowardshistory can only be understoodas a counter-actionto Orientalist biases, but is no less biased and reductionist.AI-Faruqi ignoredthe fact that Islam developeda form of syncretismwith Hindu-Buddhistelements,as shownby the works of Clifford Geertzand many othersafter him. AI-Faruqi seemsto overlook the tensionsand contradictionsbetweenhigh and low culture, an issuealreadydiscussedin relation to Arkoun, Certainly Bali would pose problems for al-Faruqi, with its Hindu-Buddhist elements and the oft-neglectedMuslim minority, But what would alFaruqi say aboutthe surviving habitsof gamblingand cock fighting which are also practised among Muslims and always created a conflict betweenorthodox and lax Muslims? And what about the persistenceof Bomohmagicalcultureamongthe Malaysin Malaysia and Singapore,who none the less considerthemselvesMuslims as SyedHusseinAlatas pointedout? Certainly, the growing Islamization in SoutheastAsia that took placein the seventieswas an importantfactor in purifying and altering habits. This also createdtensionswith non-Muslims. Tensions and contradictionscould be observedwithin the Malay community in relation to the constantredefinition and reshapingof a modem Islamic identity. As a concluding remark, al-Faruqi, again like the Islamists, exhortsto faith and arrives at the recurrentlyrepeatedidea that the Westernstateis radically different from the Islamic one. The Islamic statewould be thus basedon the covenantof Madinahwhich: has determinedevery Islamic state in history. The covenantstatedthat the Muslims, regardlessof their origins (they belongedto different tribes and


ISMA'IL RAJ! AL-FARUQI nations), are one ummah,or community. That is to say, they constituteone corporate entity regulatedby Islamic law. The Ummah has its own institutions, courts of law, and schoolsfor the educationof its children.48

The Islamic statethat al-Faruqi proposesis an ideal one, radically different from the Westernone. Without a territory, it can include the whole earthor eventhe cosmos: Part of the earth may be under direct rule of the Islamic state and the rest may yet have to be included; the Islamic state is at any time restricted to a few of the world's population, it doesnot matter as long as it wills to comprehendhumanity'.49

Not distinguishinghimself significantly from the Islamists,al-Faruqi revertsto Golden Age imagery to promotethe constantlyrepeated idea that the constitutionof the contemporaryIslamic stateshould be derived from the Covenant of Madinah which the Prophet grantedto the city on his emigrationthere in 622. This is matched with highly pragmaticstatementsthat betraythe very modernity of the discourse: The Islamic state is therefore not really a state but a world order, with a government,a court, a constitution, and an army.50



From a discoursethat is mainly concernedwith the issueof assimilation of American Muslims in American society, let us return to Malaysia;to SyedNaquib al-Attas and his entirely differentconcept of knowledgeand his relationshipto the Malay establishment.To approach Syed Naquib al-Attas is far from easy. ISTAC (The Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization), al-Attas'sextraordinary architecturalfortress constructedon top of the jungle of the DamansaraHeightsin Kuala Lumpur, conveysan absolutelyunreal sensation.One regularly encountershordesof monkeysif one takes a stroll around ISTAC's ground. The DamansaraHeights have becomea fancy, upperclassareawith interestingfusions of various architecturaltastes,Sumatran,Chinese,Indian, Malay and Western. Natureis contrastingand it addsto the exoticismof the place. This fortress is a constantreminderthat this spaceis not Malaysia, but could be somewherein the Middle East.It seemsto me, that al-Attas makesit a point to makehimself scarce.His whim in refusingto meet visitors and scholarsis legendary.He is known to shunmany Malay and equally Westernacademics.Meeting him is an unforgettableritual and any visitor has first to passthrough his assistantand secretary who both insist that he seldommeetsanyone.It is a sort of rite de passage,which, it seems,he usesas a form of exercisingauthority. Al-Attas once said to me that German Orientalists would have receivedforeign guestsexactlylike he did, which suggeststhat his attitude was a retaliation to his experiencein the West. (Certainly, this washis perceptionof the late GermanOrientalistBertold Spuler.)He would recurrently say that people should keep a 'proper place' in dealing with him and this has becomehis obsession.However, once the ritual of overture is over, anotherwarm, rather eccentricand



moody personappears.In fact, al-Attas is quite cheerful,he likes to talk for long hoursto foreignerswho in the endarehis foremostaudienceand who haveprobablybecomethe only remainingcuriousand daring visitors. How often am I told by my Malay friends, that they havegiven up going thereandthat they are,in any casenot interested in being belittled in ISTAC. When lecturing on his self-designed baroque,eccentric,chair, AI-Attas 's silver-whitebeardandcurly hair might remind us of a lion who might easily be provoked. In one of his latestwritings, BassamTibi dermedthe advocatesof the Islamizationof knowledgeas 'purist fundamentalists',and S.N. Al-Attas as anotherkind of fundamentalist.1 What Tibi missesin his analysisis the crucial difference in the way local politics affect the discourseof Islamization. Merely restatingS.N. al-Attas'ssloganof 'de-Westernization of knowledge'asan expressionof fundamentalism lends itself to a generalizationthat clouds the difference between oppositionaland institutional Islam. Quite often, Westernobservers havetendedto associatethe term fundamentalismwith angry,protesting anti-Westernmovements.Is this the casewith S.N. al-Attas? The conceptof 'de-Westernizationof knowledge'could be associated with the general mood of Islamic revivalism which affected Malaysianuniversitiesin the early seventiesandin particularafter the 1969 ethnic riots betweenthe Chineseand Muslims. It was after this incident, togetherwith the policy of Islamizationof the government, that Malays becamemore and more associatedwith Islam. The movementwas launchedby Anwar Ibrahim, a charismaticstudent leader,at the departmentof Malay studies,University of Malaya. S.N. al-Attas, who was then Dean of the Arts Faculty, becamea crucial figure in stimulating the students to read contemporary revivalist literature. He attracteda circle of studentswho met at his house and to promote a comprehensiveIslamic way of life. 2 Meanwhile Anwar Ibrahim, the former studentleader, was in the centre of politics and decision-making. When Anwar was still Deputy Prime Minister, he was trying to give a counter-Islamic imageto PAS'spolitics. The creationof ISTAC could be seenas the relationshipbetweenal-Attas and result of the closeteacher-student Anwar Ibrahim-Anwarwas one of the main figures in creatingand 'generously'financing ISTAC.

AI-Attas and orientalism S.N. al-Attas beganhis careeras an army officer after studying at Eton and then at the Royal Military Academy,Sandhurst,England 89


(1952-1955).He was active in fighting communismin Malaysiaand

obviously this point is strongly emphasizedin his biography,written by Wan Moh. Wan Daud. I seehim as combininga military habitus with science.He then studiedat the University of Malaya and later obtaineda fellowship to study at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.AI-Attas earneda Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies,University of London. It is an interestingfact that al-Attas's teacherswere eminent Orientalistsand scholarssuch as Martin Lings, Hamilton Gibb, Fazlur Rahman,Tashihiko Izutsu, A.I Arberry, Sir Mortimer Wheelerand Sir RichardWinstedt.3 No doubt, al-Attas'sworks and his training reflect a pattern of traditional Orientalismwith strongphilological inclinations.He retainsa greatpersonalrespectfor traditional Orientalistslike Bertold Spuler (1911-1990).4I understandthe project of ISTAC as an attemptto compete with traditional Orientalism, in the way it boasts the purchaseof precious libraries from the West and the nature of publishingand editing Islamic manuscripts.Today, al-Attas, who is a clear product of Orientalism through his training and emphasis upon the philological school, paradoxicallymaintainsa harshantiOrientalist discourse against the West. In short, al-Attas is the prototype of the anti-Orientalist Orientalist. AI-Attas privately expressedresentmentagainstsomeDutch scholarsfrom the Leiden schoollike G.W.I Drewes(1899-1992)who wrote extensivelyabout 5 Probably also, one nineteenthcentury JavaneseMuslim teachers. could trace the competitivemechanismsin the field of knowledge production between a 'local', 'indigenous' scholar like al-Attas versusthe traditionalOrientalistDreweswho wrote a critical review of al-Attas's earlier writings in the reputed Dutch journal Bijdragen.6 AI-Attas's philological study of HamzahFansuriwas in fact his doctoral thesis. Both scholarswrote about similar topics and publishedbooks about the same Sufis, Hamzah Fansuri and Nuruddin ar-Raniri. We are told that the last editedmonographof Drewes which was originally written in collaboration with Lode Brakel was aboutthe poemsof HamzahFansuriandwas published in 1986.7 In the prefaceDrewesand Brakel argueagainstal-Attasas follows: AI-Attas's argumentin favour of the authenticityof the anonymouspoems and those by Hamzah Fansuri and 'Abdel al-jamal had failed to convince Brakel (1979a: 80,94, note60), andasfor me, manyyearsago I hadalready arrived at the conclusion that for various reasons the ascription of these poemsto Hamzahwas withoutfoundation.8



Drewes,in his introductionto The Poemsof HamzahFansuri, seems to challengesome of al-Attas's findings such as the birthplace of Hamzah Fansuri which might have been, according to al-Attas, Shahr-i-Naw (Shahrnawi) which Drewes holds as untenable.9 DrewesequallyquestionswhetherHamzahspokeandfluently wrote Persianas al-Attas argued.One gets the impressionthat the whole introductionof Drewesand Brakel is directedtowardsdeconstructing andcontradictingal-Attas'stheses.Ironically, Drewesunderwent in his turn equallystrongcriticism in a book review.10 Amin Sweeney notedthat Drewes'slast edition ' ... summarilydismissas "an untenable contention"al-Attas' s view that this refers to Hamzah'splace of birth'.11 According to Sweeney,it is not a matterof the 'correct' readingthat comesfirst, but he pleadsratherfor the multiple possible readingsof the Malay text (amongwhich al-Attas's important contribution) which Drewes seemsto have dismissed.Also we are told that both scholars,al-Attas and Drewes,had different interpretationsaboutal-Raniri who directeda religiouspurgeagainstthe followers of HamzahFansuri. Al-Attas interpretedal-Raniri's action as intentionally distorting al-Fansuri and taxing him as a heretic who shouldbe persecuted.Al-Attas seemsto portray al-Raniri as a political opportunist. Drewes seemson the other hand to place Raniri within a wider context where Indian influences are to be traced.12 Neverthelesslater, in his Commentaryon the Hujjat AISiddiq of Nur aI-din AI-Raniri, al-Attas seemsto want to rescuealRaniri, through arguing that his major effort in the Malay Muslim world was to initiate 'The "intensification" and standardizationof the processof Islamization'.13 In anotherpassageal-Attassaysagain about al-Raniri: 'In fact he was the first writer in Malay to present history in universal perspectiveand to initiate scientific, modern Malay historical writing.'14 By arguingso, al-Attas thus elevatesalRaniri to the level of the scientific modernizerof Malay language. It is significant that both al-Attas and Dreweswrote on the theories of Islamizationin the Archipelago.In 1968Drewespublishedan article in Bijdragen tot de taal-en Volkenkunde,titled 'New Light on the Coming of Islam to Indonesia?',while al-Attas's booklet to which I refer later in this chapter,waspublishedin 1969. My impression is they oughtbe readas parallelandmirror texts.Al-Attas's text, in a certainway, constitutesan indirect reply to Dreweswho through summarizing the previous theories of Islamization provided by orientalists like Keyzer, Pijnappel, Snouck Hurgronje and Fatimi, seemsto give more weight on the Indian elementin the processof Islamization.On the otherhand,al-Attas refusesto acceptthis view, 91


to further stressthe internal characteristicsof Islam as a religion. What orientalists saw as Indian elements,according to al-Attas, turnedout to be Arab or Persian.l s

AI-Attas and education ISTAC, The Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, was founded in 1987 as a post graduateinstitute, by S.N. al-Attas, the former Dean of the Arts Faculty at the University of Malaya. He was also one of the founding membersof the National University (Universiti KebangsaanMalaysia). ISTAC was originally establishedas a part of the International Islamic University. Nevertheless,oncein Kuala Lumpur, the visitor is very quickly informedthat the al-Attasthe Director insiststhat he has nothing to do with the InternationalIslamic University (IIU) and its Islamization of knowledgeproject.16 Neverthelessfrom the technicalpoint of view the degreesawardedby ISTAC carry the seal of both the IIU and ISTAC.17 The Director's elitist, authoritarian and 'hierarchical' understandingof Islamic education, and the exclusivity of the Institute which only acceptslimited numbersof students(only for the khasah,the few) the difficulty of accessto its library and the basically foreign teachingstaff (Iranian, Sudanese, Turkish, American and a few Malays), makesit very clear that the two institutions (the InternationalIslamic University, and ISTAC) do indeed function separately,if they do not distancethemselves from eachother.In 1996,the academicstaff of ISTAC comprised19 membersincluding, Iranian and Turkish national academics who studiedat Mc Gill andChicagoUniversitiesunderthe supervisionof the late scholar Fazlur Rahman. The academicstaff comprised Sudaneseacademics, Ph.D. holders from Madison, Leicester, Istanbul, and Temple Universities. The studentsnumbered60. AlAttas vehementlyinsiststhat he haslittle to do with any of the lIlT activities or conferencesin Kuala Lumpur. Likewise, the visitor is also reminded that although al-Attas attended the Mecca Conferencein 1977 with al-Faruqi,he hasexpressedprivately strong antipathies towards al-Faruqi's writings and ideas. One possible readingof sucha text is on the level that we areheredealingwith different variations and rivalries turning around the discourse of 'Islamization'. The emphasison the elitist backgroundof al-Attas as a 'Syed'18 of Arab, Hadramiorigin, whoseancestorswere saintsand scholars, his writings on Sufism, and his military training are all colourful



ingredientsof the re-creationof 'elitism', 'chivalry' and hierarchy.It is an elitism of a closedcircle. It is the inventedhierarchy,coupled with a particularunderstandingof an Islamic senseof orderthat alAttas personallycultivates. Perhapsbecauseal-Attas also stresses the 'Arab' physical appearance,19 althoughhe is a PeranakanArab i.e. he is a descendantof mixed marriages.He maintainsa differentiated habitus, as a form of elevationand distancethat commands our attentionhere: Thereis no doubt, however,that his military training - particularly the Islamic elementsof respectingorder, discipline and loyalty - continuesto influence someof his viewsand waysas an Islamic scholarandadministrator.20

A small detail to be noticedin relation to the invention of tradition of Arabnessis that al-Attas signed his earlier works, like Some Aspectsof Sufismand The Mysticism of HamzahFansuri, as Syed Naguib al-Attas, but later changedhis name to Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas for his Islam, Secularismand the Philosophyof the Future. Therearetwo possibleexplanationsfor sucha move; it might be that the Arabic letter Qaf soundsdeeper(in contrastto Malay) than the Jim, but probably also becausenaquib means chief in Arabic.21 In contrast,his brothersigns under the latinized nameof S. HusseinAlatas. Here one could interpretAlatas'sway of signing as a form of giving lessweight to his Arabness. AI-Attas was awardedthe al-GhazaliChair by the governmentof Malaysia and an honorary Doctorate by the Islamic government of Sudanin 1995, which gives us somehints about the Islamic networks he maintains.Within Malay society the aura createdby the sainthoodof the Syedsof Arab origin is a significantsourceof symbolic capital. The Arabs in SoutheastAsia have since long enjoyed the privilege of being the cultural carriers of imported Middle Easternideasand religious traits. Yet their imageamongthe Malays is ambivalent and carries a lovelhate relationship which could be generalizedvis-a.-vis the Middle East. Interestingfor our purpose hereis to analysehow al-Attastracesbackhis pastandhow his family history is presented: Syed MuhammadNaquib al-Attas bin Syed Ali al-Attas was born on September5th, 1931 in Bogor, Indonesia. His genealogicaltree can be authentically traced over a thousandyears to the Ba'Alawi Sayyidsof Hadramautandall the way back to the Imam Hussein,the grandsonof the Holy Prophet (PBUH). His later illustrious ancestorsinclude saints, scholars and savants, one of whom from his maternal side was Syed Muhammadal-'Aydarus, the teacherandspiritual guideof SyedAbu Hafs


S.N. AL-ATTAS 'Umar Ba Syaibanof Hadramaut, who initiated one of the mostprominent scholars in the Malay world, Nur ai-Din al-Raniri into the Rifa'iyyah Order. SyedMuhammadNaquib's mother Sharifah Raquan al-'Aydarus, from her maternalside, camefrom Bogar, Indonesiaand was a descendant of the Sundaneseroyal family of Sukapura.His paternalgrandfather,Syed Abdullah bin Muhsin al-Attas was a saint (waUy) from lava whoseinfluence was not confinedonly to Indonesiabut also to Arabia. His paternal grandmotherRuqayahHanum, a Turkish lady of aristocratic lineage, was married to Ungku Abdul Majid, the youngerbrother of Sultan Abu Bakar of lahore (d. 1895) while her sister Khadijah was married to the Sultan himself, and became the queen of lohore. When Ungku Abdul Majid passedaway, leaving two sons Ruqayahmarried SyedAbdullah al-Attas and later gave birth to their only child, SyedAli al-Attas, the father of SyedMuhammadNaquib.22

Hierarchyextendsto the idea of hierarchyof knowledgean existent componentin Sufi tradition. It is a recurrent theme in al-Attas's understandingof Islamic education.It finds parallels with Malay feudalism and goes hand in hand with the increasinginvention of ritual. This is not without problems, becausenot all the Malays acceptsuch hierarchicalritualism. Similarly, many think that such traits of Arabnessare an unwarranteddisplay of superiorityvis-avis Malay culture. In my discussionswith academicsfrom the University of Malaya, the National University of Kebangsaanand even the InternationalIslamic University, it becameapparentthat they were reluctantto deal with ISTAC becauseof al-Attas'sdifficult character.Many Malay intellectualsperceiveISTAC in Kuala Lumpur as a closed and unapproachablefortress, an ivory tower with a particularunderstandingof how knowledgeshouldbe undertaken: The notion of right or proper placesinvolvesthe necessityfor things to be in that condition, to be deployedin a certain order, arrangedaccordingto various 'levels' maratib and 'degrees'darajat. Ontological/y, things are already so arranged, but man, out of ignoranceof the just order pervadingal/ creation, makesalterationsandconfusestheplacesof thingssuchthat injusticeoccurs.23

AI-Attas personallydesignedISTAC in a Moorish style with mashrabiyyahsand an inventedIslamic architecturethat remindsthe visitor of an Italian or Castilian monastery.AI-Attas's lecturesare highly ceremonial,and ritualistic. He often gives his lectureson Saturday night in the major auditoriumwhosedesigndeliberatelyremindsus of a cathedral.On the podium, he occupiesthe highestchair which he designedhimself in a Baroquestyle. A large orientalcarpetis displayed on the table where he placesthe readingmaterial. Questions following the lecturetake a ratherformal and ritualistic aspect.



Al-Attas is a delicate calligrapherwith a highly developedaesthetic sense.He often designsthe covers of his books and he also designed the logo of ABIM (The Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia). ISTAC has imported Italian pottery, expensivecarpets and decorations,plenty of rooms, and a hugeconferenceroom that reminds foreigners of an Italian monastery. It also has a large Andalusian-stylecourtyard.Constructionof a madrasahis planned in the next years.In the last threeyears,the library hasacquiredover 110,000 volumes, encyclopaediasof religion, a large collection of journals,preciousold Islamic books, generalworks, and collections in the Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Malay, Urdu languages.This in additionto the FazlurRahmanUrdu collection,the Max Weisweiler, the Bertold Spulerand the Robert Brunschvigand the Oleg Grabar collections. ISTAC publishesworks on Islamic sciencesand manuscripts. The GermanOrientalistAnnemarieSchimmelattendedand spokeat the openingof ISTAC. One could view ISTAC as a symbol of the Malaysian government's vision of 2020, with its intentions to promote economic prosperity as one of the leading Asian tigers and to cultivate an Islam with money, statusand the meansto acquirerich collections of books from Europeand the various parts of the Westernworld, an Islam of power andwealth and lavish institutions. It is no coincidence that ISTAC is located near the Seri Perdana, the Prime Minister's official residence,the Ministry of Education and other Ministries at PusatBandarDamansara.Visitors to ISTAC enjoy a view of a hill wherethe nouveauriche financial classand the foreign embassiesare located and where condominiums and villas are blooming. The Beaconon the Crest of a Hill, the title of one of the publicationsof ISTAC, is none other than S. N. al-Attas. Tibi may indeed be missing the point when he classifiesal-Attas as a fundamentalistwithout revealingthe socialcontextand nuancesof differencebetweenthe biographyof al-Attas and that of Nik Aziz of the PAS in Kelantan, Northern Malaysia, who opposesthe Mahathir governmentandis constantlyquestioningthe government'sreligious credibility.24

The reconstruction of Malay sufism for modern purposes Al-Attas's best known books are Some Aspects of Sufism as Understoodand PractisedAmong the Malays,25 The Oldest Known Malay Manuscript: A 16th. Century Translation of the 'Aqai'd of alNasafi,26 The Mysticismof Hamzahal Fansuri,27 A Commentaryon 95


Hujjat al-Siddiq of Nur ai-Din al-Raniri.28 Certainly, al-Attas'searly philological works on Fansuriand Raniri becamecrucial landmarks for Malay Sufismand Islam. His writings aboutSufismas Practised and Understoodamongthe Malays havegainedimportancein that alAttas is an 'indigenous' researcherwho followed and added to C. SnouckHurgronje's workon Islam and Sufism. Justas certainly, al-Attas became an important figure during the post-colonial period; for he was among the first to challengeDutch Orientalist biasedviews of the theoriesof Islamizationin the Malay-Indonesian Archipelago.29 Indeed,his writings on Sufism have gaineda significanceamong ABIM circles.Onecould interprethis endeavouras providing Malay Sufismwith a modemreadingthat hasappealedto the generationof the angrystudentsof the seventieswho searchedin Islam andsocialism for a solution. Of coursethe situationhaschangedtoday, since Anwar Ibrahim was co-opted by the government and al-Attas grantedofficial recognition. AI-Attas representsthe establishment point of view. But why shouldhaveAnwar Ibrahim financedsucha lavish institution, In spite the extravaganceof al-Attas 's character. The following sectionwill attemptto examinehow al-Attas reinterpretedMalay Sufismand how it appealsto proponentsof the modem reconstructionof an etatizedIslam. One could read al-Attas major work The Mysticism of Hamzah Fansuri30 as a modemattemptto rescueSufism from its decadent imagefor the SoutheastAsian context.To rationalizeit, andto highlight the local variation of the Malay Sufis through the seventeenth century Sumatranmystic from Barus, Hamzah Fansuri. Another Sufi who was referred to by al-Attas as privileging intellect over emotionsin the pursuit of knowledgeof God was Shamsu'l-Dinal Sumatrani,known as Shamsu'l-Dinfrom Pasai.31 AI-Attas rescued as Fansuri from the harsh commentsof the 'Orthodox' Nurul alRaniri andregardedhim asan original Sufi mystic, he rankedhim as the Malay Muhiddin Ibn 'Arabi. Fansuriwas portrayedas a mystic well-travelled in the Middle and Far East.32 AI-Attas interpreted HamzahFansuri'smysticismas a revolt againstthe simple-mindedness of the Qadi, who becomes Hamzah's object of ridicule. Hamzah'scry was a revolt againstthe 'Ulama and thosewho follow them (taqlid) without thinking: In one of his versesin which, for the benefit of the public ('awamm), he explainsthe meaningof mystical'nakedness'('uryan) - the stripping off of all sensualpassionsfrom the body- he warns themnot to extendthis meaning to physicalnakednesswhich the Qadi condemns:


S.N. AL-ATTAS 'Strip your bodiesnaked'- if you want to find out [the meaning}, Don't understandit as the nakednesscondemnedby the Judge. This verse is also to be interpretedas showing Hamzah'scontemptfor the Qadi, who is seen as incapable of understandingwhat mystical nakedness 33 meansand who only knowsand understandsphysicalnakedness.

HamzahFansuri rebelled againstthe rich and powerful as well as againstthe aristocracy.AI-Attas elevateshim to the level of a spiritual reformer: ... one who exhortshis fellows not to believemerelyin the letter, but to have knowledgeand understandingalso of the spirit; to love God truly; to abandon superstitionand to establishreason. His constantappealis to the use of the intellect, for man is a noble creatureand mustfirst know himselfin order to know his Creator andhis lofty origin, and thenceto true faith culminatingin Divine love. He combinesin his teachings,both asceticismandferventardour of the early Sufis and the metaphysicsand theosophythat characterizethe Sufismof Ibnu'I-'Arabi. 34

Fansuriis thus presentedas the first Malay to lay down the fundamentalaspectsof Sufi doctrines.Al-Attas's endeavourwas to highlight Fansuri the well-travelled scholar,as the translator and intermediary transmitter of Arabic Sufi culture into the Archipelago. Hamzahspoke Malay fluently and his writings reveal that he also masteredArabic and Persian: Thefact that Hamzahsayshe writes the book in Malay so that those (i.e. Malay Muslimsand thosewho know Malay) who do not understandArabic and Persianmay be able to discourseupon the subjectseemsto me to show clearly that beforeHamzahwrote such a book, all known bookson the subject were written in Arabic and Persian.35

Onecould interpretal-Attas'sefforts with Hamzahas a form of giving the Malays a pride in their own Islamic cultural heritage. For many, Hamzahis consideredas the greatestMalay poet that ever existed.We are told that Hamzahmentionsnamesof Sufis belonging to the school of wahdatu'l-wujud(Onenessof Being). Hamzah composeda book entitled Drink of Lovers (Sharabu'l-'Ashiqin)on the doctrineof Onenessof Being.36 AI-Attas providesa semanticanalysisto understandthe key words in Fansuri's mystical world and understandingof Divine will (iradah). AI-Attas explainedthat Fansuri'sconceptsevolve around threewords which are wujud, ada and diri (which are all translatable as 'being').37He also elaborateshow the Sufi mystics of the eighteenthandnineteenthcenturiesleft someArabic wordslike al- Wujud 97


untranslated.Harnzahfollowed Ibn 'Arabi's ideas in arguing that things existsas ideasin the Mind of God. Al-Attas, in contrastto al-Faruqi,emphasizedthe importanceof Sufism in explaining Islam's penetration into the Archipelago. Tasawwuftakesa highly rationalisticand intellectualdimensionfor al-Attas.38 It as a form of Sufism that could be harmonizedwith Anwar Ibrahim'smodernistvision of Islam. It is thusno coincidence that al-Attas's works are appreciatedby governmentcircles. AlAttas, at ISTAC, occasionallygives lectures to state officials on Sufism, secularismand Islam as part of their training.39 Ibn 'Arabi'sinfluenceextendsto al-Attas'slaterwork on Islam and secularism.Sufi mystical language,which includesthe perfect man (al-insan al-kami/) [which is the title of a Sufi work by 'Abd aI-Karim al-Jili (d. 1403)]40andthe ideaof drawingcirclesaboutthe hierarchy 41 owe a lot to the terminologyof of knowledgeandthe key concepts 42 Ibn 'Arabi. Ibn 'Arabi speaksin his work of wujud, existenceand the absoluteessenceof Allah (dhat allah). Ibn 'Arabi's terminology, like universalman, absoluteessence,unity (ahadiyya)and non duality appearrecurrentlyin al-Attas'swork. In his last work on Raniri, al-Attasendeavoursto give an orthodoxinterpretationof wahdatalwujud - to makeacceptablea doctrine that has beencondemnedby most of Malay 'ulama. Al-Attas revealedthe extentto which theorieson Islamizationin the Archipelagofaced an ideological prejudicein comparisonwith the theoriesof Hinduismand Buddhism,which havebeenmagnified at the expenseof Islam. He questionedthe theoriesof Islamization advancedby Schriekeand Van Leur, which seemto haveignoredthe impactof colonialismandthe biasesof historianstowardsChristian missionaries. Schrieke seems to have magnified the role of Christianity and the Portuguesewhile discussingthe rise of Islam in the Archipelago.Al-Attas arguedthat while Van Leur's theoriesof Hinduism may be valid, his final judgementon Islam was neverthelessuntenable,sinceaccordingto Van Leur: Islam did not bring a higher civilization. Nowherein his book did Van Leur provide enlightenmentas to his criterion for the measuringof high and low culture nor what he meantby civilization.43

Ratherthan speakingof syncretismin pre-Islamicreligion, al-Attas advisesthat we speakof parallelism. Here, al-Attas's 'Preliminary Statementon a GeneralTheory of the Islamizationof the Malayindonesian Archipelago' gains a particular significance for the reconstructionof the 'new Malay' identity. Islam is herehighlighted



at the expenseof Javaneseand Hindu elements.It is an ideological reconstruction that is co-opted within the official ideology of 'Malayness',closely interwovenwith a new rising Islamic consciousness.The following statementis important: From what hasbeenstatedabove,it maybe concludedthat Islam, as opposed to Hinduism and Buddhism,is a scientific and literary culture. Addedto this is the fact that it was Islam that first brought the Malay-Indonesian Archipelago in contact with 'Western'rationalistic thinking in the form of Greek philosophy representedchiefly by the ideas of Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus.44

This might explain why Anwar's backing of ISTAC and of AIAttas'sprogrammeis of political significanceas a meansof 'scientifying', 'rationalizing'andincorporatinga form of a modemIslam in the political jargon. In this context, languageand precisely Malay languagebecomesan importantvehicle for modernity: The Malay language,it seemsto me, developedinto a new streamas a result of its being employedas the vehicule for philosophical discourse in the Archipelago. This newstream,probablyoriginating in Barus, hadits centrein Pasai (later Acheh), the earliest centre of Islamic learning in the Archipelago,whenceits influencespreadthroughoutthe Archipelago. Thenew stream is characterizedby its terse, clear style, its Islamic vocabulary; it reveals a language of logical reasoning and scientific analysis very much influencedno doubt by its writers-Sufi, scholars, translators, and much commentators-whowere themselvesunder the sway of the Qur'an which I have alreadypointedout, extolls clarity and intelligencein speechand writing. 45

Similarly, AI-Attas was perhaps thefirst to highlight the idea that Nur aI-Din al-Raniri was for the Malay world the equivalentof an Ibn Khaldun. AI-Raniri's Bustanal-Salatin is consideredas the first piece of scientific, modem Malay historical writing. 46 Again, Hamzah Fansuri is describedas highly rationalistic, as 'the true father of modemMalay literature'.47 In relation to this topic, it is importantto note that al-Attas was a strongadvocateof replacingEnglishwith Malay languageas the languageof education.He foundedand directedthe Institute of Malay Language,Literature and Culture at the University of Malaya. AlAttas became popular with the notion of 'de-Westernizationof knowledge'.For al-Attas, it seemsthat one of the problemscausing 'confusion'of the Muslim mind is the de-Islamizationof language.48 One could interpret al-Attas's notion of history as a form of modem 'authentication'of the past.49 AI-Attas's understandingof Islamization also has an ideological dimension. He constructshis



interpretationof the history of the spreadof Islam in Southeast Asia essentiallyon the premisesof de-paganization,de-secularization and de-Westernization.In Islam, Secularismand the Philosophy of the Future, al-Attas arguedthat: Thephenomenonof Islam and its impact in the history of world culturesand of nature, civilizations did in our view bring about theproper disenchantment and the proper desacralizationof politics, and the properdeconsecrationof values, and hencewithout bringing about with it secularization.Not only is secularizationas a whole the expressionof an utterly unislamic world view, it is also set againstIslam ... 50

By promotingthe conceptof the 'de-Westernizationof knowledge,' secularizationaccordingto al-Attas becomesthe major dangerfor knowledge,from which it needswhat he calls a disintoxication.51

Islam and secularism I will, however,take a rather critical standtowardsal-Attas's latest writings, and in particular his work on Islam and Secularism.Van Nieuwenhuijze'searlier review was not incorrect in depicting alAttas'sIslam andSecularismasexpressing'strongandrecurrentovertonesof apologeticsvis-a.-visthe West, which is regardedas both the competitorand the corruptor of Islam'.52 and in maintainingthat the author does not differentiatebetweenChristianity and Western civilization. Van Nieuwenhuijze,moreover, argued that al-Attas is indeeda follower of Nasr'... He envisagesa revivified knowledgeout of illumination. In so doing he assignsthe rescuingrole in the present quandaryto what hecalls "existentialist"mysticismratherthanto the two hitherto dominantaspectsof Islam, namely"essentialist"theology and philosophy(not a word aboutlaw).' On the level of knowledgeand science,of course,the reconstruction of 'difference'turns out to be one of fundamentalinner religiousconcerns,andthe questionof de-Westernization,as advocated by S.N. al-Attas, points in this direction: Knowledgemustbe scrutinizedso that there is nothingthat containsthe germs of secularizationor the germsof tragedy in it, or the germsof the dualistic vision of reality - becauseall theseare spread, are scatteredaround in the branchesof knowledge,in the entire body of knowledge.I think one has to makeselectionsand choice, one has to know what to take, what not to take.53

For Muslim intellectualslike al-Attas, the West seemsto be refuted by its own devices.Concerningthe themeof secularizationand the negationof the existenceof this notion in the East, al-Attas uses 100


variousargumentsalreadypresentedby Christianphilosophersand Jesuitswho were alarmedby the crisis of the declineof Christianity in the WesternWorld.54 He quotesMax Weber on the disenchantment of the world55 and Nietzsche'sDeathof God. He nevertheless reversesthe criticisms developedin the West to assurethat secularization and the secularis rejectedin Islam. AI-Attas, like Nasr, neverthelessseemto interpret Westernsecularism to meanthat the West hasdeniedthe religious experienceand that it lacks spirituality 56 and thus confusesthis notion with the separationbetween'Church' and State. True, this separationwas institutionalizedin the West,but it canbe arguedthat this separation was present in the treatises of Muslim thinkers such as Ibn Khaldun.57 The negationof such a separationhas its roots in the Orientalisttradition.58 Secularization,which is synonymouswith deIslamization,accordingto al-Attas, has to do with the 'infusion of alien concepts into the minds of Muslims'.59 By representing Western civilization as materialistic and this-worldly oriented, alAttas wantsto convincethe readerof the specificity of Islam: Religion in the sensewe mean,as din, has neverreally takenroot in Western civilization, due to its excessiveand misguidedlove of the world and secular life. 60

Van Nieuwenhuijzeis not wrong in drawing an analogybetween Nasr's position and al-Attas's concerningtheir view of the West. Nasr saysthe following: Today modernman has lost the senseof wonder, which resultsfrom his loss of the senseof the sacred, to sucha degreethat heis hardly awarehow miraculous is the mysteryof intelligence,of humansubjectivityas well as thepower of objectivity and the possibility of knowingobjectively.61

Obviously what is at stake here is a fight with the West over the sacred.AI-Attas like, S.H. Nasr, neverthelessremainsilent on questions of the sphereof everydaylife and popularculture in Muslim countries where the secularcomponentis overwhelming. He also fails to mention that many of the Muslim countriesin the Middle East, for instance,witnesseda modernizationand secularizationin the judicial, parliamentaryand educationalsystemwell beforemany Europeancountries. Moreover, this refusal to separatethe sacred from the profanequite often is usedto justify tyranny, againan old Orientalistvision of the theory of power in Islam. Here one might here add an idea expressedby WC Smith, whose article indeed appearsin al-Faruqi's anthologythat 'Faith is man'smost decisive 101


quality, according to various of the world's cultural traditions'.62 Indeedby insisting on the specificity of the spirituality and the faith of Islam versus the secularismand materialismof the West, The Islamizersseemto removeIslam from the universalfield of the sociology of religion. Al-Attas also provides a theory of the Arabic languagewhere 'social change'and the 'infusion of alien conceptsled to the confusion of the Islamic mind'. 'It is a kind of regressiontowards non-Islamic world-views; it is what I call the deislamization of language'.63The 'infusion of alien concepts' extends to Greek thought through the writings of the Muslim philosophersand throughthe intrusion of social sciences. AI-Attas promotessimilar argumentsto those of the Islamists who advocatethe purification of history and language.Al-Attas's aversionextendsto the questionof the renovationof the Arabic language. He neverthelessremains silent on the subtle levels of the alreadywell-developedmodernArabic language,literature,the novel and poetry in the Middle East, which have since long beenundergoing secularinfluence.AI-Attas seemsto expressa strongaversion towards sociology,64perhapsas a meansof setting himself apart from his older brother, S. HusseinAlatas, the founder of sociological investigationin SoutheastAsia (seenext chapter). AI-Attas, like many Islamizers,wants to undertakea project of Islamizingepistemology.This is doneby: ... exposingthe inadequaciesof Westernepistemologiesandby outlining the guidelines along which Islamic epistemologiesmust direct the intellectual power of Muslim scholars.65

But epistemology,like social sciences,are universal tools. The fact that ideological and political factors affect the nature of scientific researchshouldnot be confusedwith the argumentthat developing a specific indigenousmethodologyexclusive to Muslims and the Muslim 'mind' is a problematicalracist idea. One of the contributionsthe Islamizersare attemptingto offer is the metaphysicalprogramme,or making metaphysicsthe core of Islamic science: They could constitutegeneral metaphysicalclaims or statementsabout the purposeof creation, the existenceof order and nature as implying the existenceof the Greatnessof God.66

Al-Attas, (like S.H. Nasr), the alternativepath he proposesis on a higherlevel of experiencewhich is the intuition experiencedby Sufis.67 102

S.N. AL-ATTAS The metaphysicalvision of the world and the ultimate reality envisagedin Islam is quite differentfrom that projectedby the statementsandgeneralconclusionsof modernphilosophyand science. We maintain that all knowledge of reality and of truth, and the projection of a true vision of the ultimate nature of things is originally derived through the mediumof intuition. The intuition that we meancannotsimplybe reducedto that which operatessolely at the physical level of discursive reason basedupon sense-experience, for since we affirm in man the possessionofphysicalas well as intellingential or spiritual powersandfaculties which refer back to the spiritual entity, sometimes called intellect, or heart, or soul, or self, it follows that man'srational, imaginal and empirical existencemustinvolveboth the physicalandspiritual levels.68

Unfortunately, it is exactly the distinction that al-Attas wants to draw betweenIslam, Islamic philosophyand the West that makesit so similar to Europeanreligious mysticalmovements.Onecan trace in al-Attas's position some affinity with the works of Titus Burkhart on Sufism. The modernsearchingfor alternativeintuitive ways of thinking is not peculiarto Islam or Sufis; indeed,one can trace the samemode of thinking in the Westernanti-industrialization movement in Europe, the various modern religious groups which have witnessed revivalism, be they Christian, Jewish or Buddhists, the German intellectual romantics, who, up to the SecondWorld War, advocatedsimilar claims concerningintuitive knowledgeand alternativecognitive forms of knowledge,to name but a few. 69 The elitist theories of knowledge, mystical and restrictedintellectualcirclesas advocatedby al-Attas,beara certain similarity with the StefanGeorgpoeticaland mystical circles at the beginningof the centuryin Germany.This point is discussedin the next chapterin relationto Henry Corbin'smetaphysics.The circle of Eranos was founded in 1932 in Ascona by Olga Frobe-Kapteyn, inspiredby Rudolf Otto. Eranos,providesus with a perfectexample of the sophisticatedintellectualcircle which produceda voluminous intellectual work. The outcometurned to be annualmeetingsthat lastedmore than a quarterof a century and that stimulateda collection of writings that reached45 volumes in 1978 that included the work of around 150 participants. Long lasting intellectual friendships and affinities aroseout of this round table. Certainly, the encountersbetweenthe psychologistCG. Young and the historian of religions Mircea Eliade were of crucial significance for Henry Corbin'sunderstandingof the Imago and active imagination referred to in the next chapter.7o Thus, to what extent al-Attas's alternativepathsare 'oriental' or Malay becomesa very debatable question. However, in contrast to Eranos, perhaps,is al-Attas's 103


authoritarianoutlook which might not be exactly what intellectual exchangesare all about. My aim in this chapter was to draw parallelisms between alAttas'sworks and the modemIslamic Malaysianpolitical culture.It is no coincidencethat the Singaporeanpolitical scientist Hussin Mutalib, in analysingMalaysianIslam, ethnicity and the theoriesof Islamizationrefers extensivelyto al-Attas'sidea that Islam addeda positive value to 'Malayness'.He arguesthat, traditionally, it is 'unMalay' to rebel but once the Malays Islamized, a new conceptof obeyingonly thejust king was addedwhich alloweda novel spacefor protest.7 l I quoteMutalib: Hence, Islam not only provideda vehicleof dissentagainst the Malay feudal systemand checkedthe ruler's excesses,but also madepossiblesomeradical changesto the Malay social stratification systemby introducingnew Islamic values (and vocabulary) into Malay culture, suchas adil (just) and amanah (trustworthiness).72

AI-Attas's readingof Malay mysticismis appealingas a revitalizing and rationalizingIslamic discourse.AI-Attas is certainlydifferent in orientation from al-Faruqi who was shari'a oriented, more orthodox, dogmatic, and populist in transposingan Arab nationalist languageinto an Islamic jargon. AI-Faruqi addressedan American audienceas well as the Arab Americancommunities,while al-Attas is discoursingwithin a strictly Malaysian context. AI-Attas's 'deWesternizationof knowledge'could only be understoodif contextualizedwithin contemporaryMalaysianpolitics. I havein this chapter attemptedto reveal the local Malaysian nuancesas well as the dynamics of al-Attas's complex relationship with the West and WesternOrientalism.Both S.N. al-Attas and his brotherS. Hussein Alatas havea peculiarposition in Malay societydue to the fact that they are of Arab and Peranakan descentand thus they are not typical Malays. They are thus perceivedin an ambivalentmanner within their own society. They are the Kulturtriiger of an ArabIslamic cultureandknowledge,while at the sametime they belongto the Malay world. In relationto this point, it is useful to be reminded that during colonial times the Chineseand Arabs in the Dutch East Indieswere categorizedas 'foreign orientals',73 a categorywhich has certainly remainedin the unconscious.Their careercan tell us much about how to re-think the domain of the aires culturelles which DenysLombardso finely developed,74AI-Attas's postureremindsus that we cannotdissociatehis discoursefrom Orientalism, but that both brotherscould be good examplesthat teachus how to bridge 104


and fuse regionsand cultureswithin the South-Southdimension.I meanherethe specificity of Arabnessin a Malay context.If I define al-Attas as an anti-OrientalistOrientalist (a statement,I am sure that may distressmany), I would like to standwith DenysLombard and rescuethe positive heritageof Orientalismagainstthe growing wave of Orientalismin reversewhich is threateningscholarshipin many Muslim countries.75 AI-Attas's protestagainstWesternmaterialismis understandable as a form of cultural critique and asa higherintellectualconcernfor ultimate moral norms. Here ISTAC revealsan inclination that certainly competeswith the high premises of traditional Western Orientalism. It is no coincidencethat al-Attas's major works are written in English. That ISTAC is run in an authoritarianmanneris one issue,but that it is an attemptat building an alternativeinstitution to Western ones is another point that should be taken into seriousconsideration.Nevertheless,in the Malaysiancontext,Islamization as a constructionof the political culture is instrumentalized as the caseof Anwar Ibrahim and the PAS's (the fundamentalist) manipulationof the religious symbols. The outcomeis indeed an instrumentalizationtowards bureaucratizationand the reconstruction of the political culture of the nation-state. AI-Attas's early careeris linked to anti-communistactivities as an officer, his impact on the Islamiststudentmovementof the seventies was significantsubstantialin reviving Islamic cultureand rationalizing Sufism. If the early Attas interpreted Hamzah Fansuri as a reformerand a rebelliousSufi thinker, ISTAC incorporatestraits of 'refeudalization'and the institutionalizationof an Islam of power. Al-Attas's individualism allows us to argue that he has little in commonwith the 'Islamizationof knowledge'project. He exemplifies a particularMalaysiandimensionthat is quite distinct from the circles of the International Islamic University of Kuala Lumpur. However,asmanyin Kuala Lumpur are of the opinion that suchan institution will have very little impact, if any, in the politics of MalaysianIslam. I have no predictionas to how this castlebuilt on sandwill survive the political tempests.




Tout n'est que revelation; II ne peut y avoir que re-velation. Or la revelation vient de l'esprit, et il n'y a point de connaissancede l'Esprit.

C'est Ie crepusculebientot, mais maintenantles nuagessontencoreclairs, les sapins ne sont pas encoresombres,car Ie lac les eclaire de transparence.Et tout est vert, d'un vert qui serait plus riche que tout un jeu d'orgue, au recit. II faut l' entendreassis, tres proche de la Terre, les bras bien clos, les yeux aussi,faire semblantde dormir. Car il nefaut passepromenercommeun vainqueur,et vouloir donnerun nom aux choses,a toutes les choses;c'est elles qui te diront qui elles sont, si tu ecoutessoumiscommeun amant; car soudainpour toi, dansla paix sanstrouble de cetteforet du Nord, la Terre est venuea Toi, visible commeun Angequi serait femme,peut-etre,et dans cette apparition, cette solitude tres verte et tres peup/ee,oui, l'Ange aussiest vetu de vert, c'est-a-direde crepuscule,de silence, de verite. Alors il y a en toi toute la douceurqui estpresenteen l'abandona une etreintequi triomphede toi. Terre, Ange, Femme,tout cela en une seulechose,quej'adore et qui est dans cetteforet. Le crepusculesur Ie lac, mon Annonciation. La montagne:une ligne. Ecoute! II va sepasserquelquechose,oui. L'attenteest immense,l'air frissonnesousune bruine a peine visible; les maisonsqui allongent au ras du sol leur bois rouge et rustique, leur toit de chaume,sont la, de l' autre cote du lac.

Henry Corbin*

It is nothing new to arguethat thereis a closeaffinity and similarity

in the discourses of both Orientalists and the 'Orientalized Orientals'.The FrenchOrientalistHenry Corbin was a major innovator in contributing to the study of Iranian spirituality and the revival of interestin Iranian philosophyin both the West and East. The aim of this chapteris first to highlight the relationshipbetween *Leksand en Dalecarlie, au bord du lac de Siljan, 24 aout 1932, 18 heures.Henry Corbin, ed. ChristianJambet,L'Herne, 1981, p. 62.



S. HosseinNasr and Henry Corbin concerningspirituality and then to illuminate the peculiarity of the intricate EastlWestintercultural exchanges.IndeedNasr'sintellectualismowesa greatdealto Corbin. In his book Traditional Islam,l Nasr dedicatesa chapteras 'hommage'to Corbin; it is worth readingfrom the East-Westinteractive perspective.Corbin was certainly the spiritual mentorof S. Hossein Nasr. If we considerS.H. Nasr as representingone trend amongthe Islamizers,he would be unique in acknowledginghis debt towards Orientalismand in particular towards Corbin. Yet Nasr, although extensivelyquoting Westernsources,maintainsin the last instancea discourseof breakand divorce betweenEastand West. Nasr was born in 1933 in Tehran. The finest biography written aboutSeyyedHosseinNasr,so far, is highlightedby a Turkishscholar who submitteda doctoral thesisin philosophyat the University of Lancaster.2 Adnan AsIan's thesisfollows faithfully the trajectory of Nasr, who peregrinatedbetweenTehranand the States.Originating from a family of religious scholarsand physiciansin Iran, Nasr was sentto study in the United States in1945 at the age of 12 when the SecondWorld War was coming to an end.3 Mter an undergraduate degreein physicsat MIT, he wrote a Ph.D. in history at Harvard.4 On his returnto Tehranhe wasinfluencedby two thinkers,F. Schuonand Henry Corbin.5 Nasr edited the writings of F. Schuon.6 Rene Guenon(1886-1951)was anotherintellectualfigure who we are told seems to have influenced Nasr. Both Guenon and F. Schuonconvertedto Islam and becameknown for their respective adherenceto Sufi tariqas such as the Hamdiyya Shadhiliyya for Guenonas for Schuon,he establishedthe Maryamamiyyatariqa, a quite controversialtariqa that lendedto 'unorthodox'or rathersyncretic practiceswhen one readsthe descriptionsof the stimulating researchof Mark Sedgwickon the GuenonianSufis.7It is no coincidencethat theseWesternthinkerswereequallyattractedto Hinduism and Buddihsmwhich are important elementsin the constitutionof their Islamic trajectories. According to Sedgwick, Guenon and Schuonwere the first Europeansto act as shaykhsof tariqas and to give ijazas(the traditionallicencepassedby the shaykhto his student, murid to teach).When Schuonmoved to the US in 1981, he established a zawiya.8 As for the Maryamamiyyatariqa, it was apparently associatedwith Schuon'svision of the Virgin Mary andhis display of icons and pictures.9 Nasr stayedin Tehran from 1958 until 1979, the year when the Iranian revolution occurred. He wrote about the school of Suhrawardiand the spreadof the Illuminationist school, of which 107


topics dealt with Corbin's legacy.lO In 1975 Nasr founded with Corbin the Imperial Academyof Philosophyunder the auspicesof empressFarahof Iran.II After the revolution, he was criticised for having collaboratedwith the regime of the Shah.Nasr left Tehran and was appointed Professor of Islamic Studies at Temple University, Philadelphia.He remainedthereuntil 1984.12 Nasr also played an intermediaryrole in introducing Corbin to Iranian religious scholarslike Allamah Tabataba'i,who travelled especiallyfrom Qom to Tehran to see Corbin.13 We are told that Corbin conductedintensive dialogues with the Iranian religious scholars.Nevertheless,in contrastto Corbin, Nasr has developeda bent towards 'esoteric'religious thought. This is probably due to being more influenced by Rene Guenonwhom he refers to extensively.14Justto remindthe reader,Guenonbelievedin magicandhad an attractiontowardsFreemasonry'which he consideredto contain the vestigesof "valid" Western"initiatic traditions'".15 Obviously what attractedNasrto Guenonis the latter'sdisapprovalof modern sciencebecauseof its reductionism. Nasr's attraction to esoteric Westernthoughtextendsto what he calls the 'anti-historyand antiphilosophy' and the non-rationalisticphilosophy such as hermeticism and the Kabbalah.He often mentionsRomanticslike Goethe and Schelling as critical philosophersto state his disappointment with Westernscience.16 One could read Nasr as using the Western Romanticcritique of scienceandmodernityto reversethe argument and find a refugein Sufism. Sucha bentfinds resonanceamongthe hippies and Europeanmystical trendsof the sixties. Leif Stenberg mentionsthe fact that Nasr has been labelled as an anti positivist due to his alchemicalinclination and his allianceof Islamic science with revelation.17 There are severalreasonswhy I wish to analysesome of Nasr's writings. Firstly, he was connectedwith the MeccaConferenceand the project of constructingIslamic universities.Secondly,his writings seemto be popularin Malaysiaand other partsof the Muslim Worldl8 primarily becauseof his emphasisupon spirituality of the Eastas well as the blend of sciencewith revelation.His publications are reprinted in Malaysia. Furthermore,there are Malay students who studiedwith him and are his adeptstoday in Malaysia. Nasr seemsto blamethe West for analysingsacredtraditions in the light of secularizedreason.Like al-Faruqi and al-Attas, his project is to revive 'the lost senseof wonder'. In talking of resurrectingand rediscoveringthe senseof the sacredl9 Nasr implies an activationof intuition, a point which he againshareswith al-Attas and, of course, 108


Corbin. He aspiresto a cosmologywhich has withered away in the Westernworld. Nasr'sprogrammeis to highlight forms of traditional Islam so as to distinguish it from both the Marxist treatment of Islam (aboutwhich he in manyinstancesexpressesdoubtson many occasions),and of 'fundamentalist'Islam. Although Nasr'swritings are a good example of hybrid knowledge in the sense that he extensively quotes Western Orientalists, and philosophers like T. Burckhardt,Henry Corbin and others,yet he seemsto be deeply worried himself about the fusion of different trendslike Marxism with Islam. In his view, they are irreconcilable.2o In fact, one could read a parallelismbetweenthe emphasison spirituality and strong anti-Marxist leanings.In severalpassagesof Traditional Islam in the Modern World, one gets the impressionthat what he definesas traditional Islam is an immutable cultural entity which seemsto have suffered damageand intrusion by modem and secularizing trends: Time is in fact a most importantfactor becausethe withering influencesof secularizingideologiesandfalse philosophiescontinue to erode the foundations of Islamic tradition beforeour very eyes.21

For Nasr, it seems,thereexists a corpusof traditional Islam which appearsto havebeenmaintainedfor centuries,an authentictradition and what he calls a pseudo-traditionwhich is counter-traditional. What Nasr means by pseudo-traditionalis 'fundamentalism'.22 Again one could tracea similarity in thoughtbetweenNasr and the 'authenticators'who detect a binary opposition betweentradition and modernity. It implies that traditional Islam has beenstatic for centuries, which is again what the orientalists have always maintained. For Nasr, traditional Islam in the political domainimplies acceptance of the various forms of authority and tinting them with a sacraltone: In thepolitical domain, the traditional perspectivealwaysinsistsupon realism based upon Islamic norms. In the Sunni world, it accepts the classical Caliphate and, in its absence,the other political institutions, such as the Sultanate,which developedover the centuriesin the light of the teachingsof the Shar'iah and the needsof the community.23

Nasrimplies a certaindivine aspectin the institution of the Sultante as afait accompli.He seemsto differentiatewhat he calls traditional Islam from modernistideaswhich sawthe light in the eighteenthand 109


nineteenthcenturies.Theseideasare seento have intrudedinto the traditional body. On the other hand, S. Hossein Nasr's knowledge of Islamic sciencesand institutionsis considerable,and his publicationson all branchesof scienceimpressive.Certainly, he is one of the most prolific and interestingIslamic academics.AsIan mentions that Nasr publishedover twenty booksand two hundredarticles,which AsIan divided into two branches;first Islamic sciencesand secondperennial philosophy.24However, Nasr's writings was subject to harsh criticism by the historianof scienceDavid King to whom I will refer later. His esotericand Sufi vision of Islam seemsto have found a certain audiencein Malaysia.25 Again, in common with al-Faruqi andal-Attas,Nasremphasizesthe ideaof sciencewith revelation.As he haswritten: In a traditional civilization like that oj Islam the cosmologicalsciencesare closely related to the Revelationbecausein such civilizations the immutable revealedprinciple, or the 'presidingidea', manifestsitselfeverywherein social life as well as in the cosmosin which that civilization lives and breathes.26

S.H. Nasr's interpretationof spirituality and mysticism seemsto have gained a popularity through special focus upon astrology, alchemy and the occult science.Some of the Islamizers interpret N asr as proposingan alternativeform of science: Nevertheless,Nasr managesto convey the Jeel oj an alternative sciencein action: a sciencethat is just as 'objective' and 'rational' as Westernscience, but draws its legitimacy and its philosophical and sociologicalJramework Jrom the all-encompassingepistemologyoj Islam.27

Nasr's idea of searchingfor an alternative sciencemay be traced back to the circles he frequentedin the fifties when he was active in the group of TheodoreRoszakwhich identified itself as 'counter culture'. Thanks to this group Nasr discoveredOriental wisdom.28 One could equally see that 'counter-culture'is another common denominatorwith the Schuonianswho becameknown for a certain laxity in the ritual and equally an increasing interest in native Americanreligion. Schuonalso seemedto havepractisednakedness after he experiencedhis vision of the Virgin.29 Moreover, Nasr's interest in Islamic esoterismand spirituality owesa lot to T. Burckhardt.30 If spirituality is what connectsCorbin to Nasr, we should definitely point to a slight nuance in Corbin's posture. Esoteric trends were not exactly what inspired Corbin. Corbin tendedto follow the world of dream,the world of 110


active imagination; the world of imagina131 forms, (Ie monde des formes imaginalesor mundusimaginalis), which he translatedfrom Arabic as 'alam al-mithal.32 He was sensitiveto the call of the angel. Corbin was rather interestedin the metaphysicsof active imagination (la metaphysiquede ['imagination active).33Corbin dedicatedan article to the conceptof Mundus imaginalis,34in which he finds an equivalentof sucha conceptamongthe Muslim mystics(for whom Corbin usesthe term theosophes)that could be translatedas the eighth climate 'Ie huitieme climat'. Corbin analysesthe visionary tales of spiritual initiation composedby Suhrawardi.He further elaborateson the idea of 'corpssubtils', subtlebodiesthat createa link betweenthe pure spirit and the material body.35 According to Corbin active imaginationis a pure, spiritual faculty, independent of the physicalorganism.It thereforereplacesthe physicalorganism 36 Two articlesof greatinterestto us after the latter'sdisappearance. are included in a volume by Roger Caillois and Gustav E. Von Grunebaumentitled 'Le reve et les societeshumaines'.37 One is by Henry Corbin, 'Le songevisionnaireen spiritualite islamique'and anotherfascinatingarticle by Fazlur Rahman,with the title of 'Le reve, l'imagination et 'alam al-mithal'.38 In this article Corbin developsthe fascinating idea of the significanceof the visionary conceptof dreamin Islamic spirituality. Corbin looks at Ibn ~rabi's 'active imagination'and the gift of visualizing or visionary imagination. He associatesspiritual ethos and visionary dream with the structureof prophetology.He examinesclosely the conceptof the prophetand the idea of the Imam in Shi'ism and analysesthe idea of mundus imaginalis, propagatedby several Sufi mystics, which he translatesas 'alam al-mithal: Or, nos spirituels en ont pris admirablement eux-memesconscience. A plusieurs reprises, notammenten parlant du monde mysterieuxou reside I'Imam cache,nousavonsprononceles motsde 'alam al-mithal. Pour etablir la portee ou la valeur noetiquede leurs songesvisionnaires,de leurs perceptions suprasensiblesen general, nos spirituels ont ete amenesa developper I'ontologie d'un tiers monde, intermediairesentre Ie mondede la perception sensibleet Ie mondeintelligible pur. 39

In fact, Corbin differentiatesbetweenthe imaginal world and hallucination. He arguesas follows: Nos auteursIbn 'Arabi, Molla Sadra de Shiraz en particulier, ont donnedes developpements considerablesala tMorie de la puissanceimaginante,I'imaginatrice', enonfantavecsoin les criteres qui permettentde discriminer entre l'Imagination vraie et ce que nous appellerionshallucination. Plus encore: Molla SadrarevientfrequemmentdanssesIivres sur la thesequi lui est chere,



a savoir que l'Imagination activeest, comme!'intellect, uneJacultepurement spirituelle, dont /'existencen'est pas conditionneepar celie de /'organisme physique.40

In his study on Mullah Sadra,Corbin notesthat this mystic, active imaginationis not an organicfaculty relatedto the world of matter andthe perishingof the body, but rathera spiritual faculty which the soul takesaway with it. 41 While Nasr'semphasisis upon esoterism, one could still argue that S. Hossein Nasr's spirituality has great affinity with Corbin's phenomenologyand the world of mundus imaginalis. Corbin neverconsideredsubmerginghimself in esotericthinking. Although he expresseda strong sympathytowardsgnosis,alchemy and visionary literature,he was clearly againstobscurantism: Mais nulle complaisancea /,"esoterisme" trivialement entendu, a l'occultismeobscurantiste.Bien au contraire, s'il reJusait de suivre Descartesa considererles 'sciencescurieuses'commepuressuperstitions,simplesvesanie, s'il nous invitait apenserces pensees,c'etait afin que la Raison s'enrichit assezpour qu'elle se rendit capablede compteravec leur experience.42

The subtledifferencesbetween'Ie Maitre' Corbin and Nasr the disciple extendsto East-Westinteraction.Corbin interpretedthe East as a mirror of the West and a continuationof ideas,which, although born in various places, played analogous roles within different mystical traditions. This is an intellectual position most Islamizers want to deny. Corbin was a geniusin fusing and rediscoveringthe 'electiveaffinity' betweenthe EastandWestin termsof philosophies and cultures.His achievementwas to readand associateSuhrawardi with JacobBoehmeby arguingthat sincethe (image)is magic in the texts of the greattheosophists,it should also be so for our contemporary world.43 His work on Iranian Sufism gained an originality becausehe explored and interpretedshi'a gnosisin relationshipto Christianand Jewishgnosis.44 But it is worth contemplatingCorbin's careerand what he represented as an intellectual who crossed borders and who moved between different spiritual and geographical spaces. Iran and Germanywere crucial geographicand spiritual points of reference for him. From 1954, Corbin travelled to Iran every year. After having succeededLouis Massignon at the 'Section des Sciences Religieusesde l'Ecole desHautes-Etudes', Corbin wasableto stayin Tehranfrom Septemberto Decemberyearly, to edit manuscripts.He had previouslyspentsix yearsin Istanbulduring the SecondWorld War. 112

HENRY CORBIN, THE ABSENT CENTRE C'est ainsi que l'Iran et l'Allemagnefurent lespoints de reperegeographiques d'une Quetequi sepoursuivaitenfait dans les regionsspirituellesqui ne sont points sur nos cartes.45

But there was also Eranos. 'De l'Iran a Eranos'is an article written by Henry Corbin46 about the scholarly meeting-placein Ascona. Figureslike Rudolf Otto, Mircea Eliade, T. Isutzu, G. Durand,C.G. Jung gatheredfor discussion(see the illustration of the volume on Henry Corbin editedby Christian Jambet).It is this constanttravel betweenthe Eastand West, this constantshifting as a life style, that should be highlighted here. Thanks to Young's psychological research,Corbin discovers the notion of internal Imago that has influencedCorbin'sunderstandingof the metapysicsof activeimagination.47 Corbin borrowedthis categoryfrom psychologyto use it in a metaphysicalperspective. But more importantly, Corbin usedthe image of a Heideggerian terminologyand philosophyas a key to opena lock. Heideggerwas thereforeappropriatedto understandIranian Sufism: line s'agissaitmemepas de prendre Heideggercommeune clef, mais de se servir de la clef dont if s'etait lui-memeservi, et qui hait la disposition de tout Ie monde.48


Corbin thus drew on Western spirituality in order to understand IranianSufism.Perhapsthis is what the Islamizersseemsto suppressin denying the connectionbetweenEast and West. Indeed,many Islamizers unconsciouslyseemto suppressthe sourcesof their ideas. For exampleISTAC publisheda thesisby AlparslanAcikgenc49 on a comparisonbetweenthe metaphysicsof Mullah Sadra(born in Shiraz in 1571) and Heidegger. Both philosophershad a great influence on Henry Corbin'slife and works. Thereis no mentionin the entire book of Corbin'sworks or any bibliographicalreferencesto it. Furthermore, thereis no mentionof Corbin'smajor contributionon Mullah Sadra, which he published in Volume IV of En Islam Iranien.50 Acikgenc attemptsto draw a parallel betweenthe doctrine of wahdat al-wujud, which is translateda 'unity of Being' in Sadraand Heidegger'sterminology. The authorconsidersbothasphilosophersof Being. Hencethe Heideggerianterm 'Sein',which Acikgenc translatesas 'Being', means 'wujud' in the terminologyof Sadra.51 Acikgencconstructsa common groundbetweenthesetwo philosophers,Sadraand Heidegger,who are separatedin time by nearly three centuries,by arguing that they are both existentialists.'Both take Being as the startingpoint in their philosophy, not only as a beginningfor their systembut as a necessary foundationand an inevitableelementof their thought'.52 113


What is interestingfor us hereis the renewedinterestin Heidegger within Islamic circles: Heidegger,the philosopherwho ambiguously collaboratedwith the Nazi regime,the philosopherof existenceand transcendentalism and the jargon of authenticity so well criticized by Adorno. It is this interactive aspectwhich reveals that it has become practically impossible to divorce the discourse of Islamizationfrom mainstreamWesternphilosophy. Apart from Nasr,who acknowledgesthe teachingsof Corbin, and Fazlur Rahman, who did not predict the 'Islamization of Knowledge' debate,most of the Islamizersseemto be unawareof Corbin'ssignificancein religious studiesand amongIranian intelectuals who designedCorbin as 'Ie Maitre'.53Equally, Corbin'silluminative visions influenced Iranian painterssuch as NasserAssar.54 Nasrhimself hasstatedthat beforediscoveringIraniantranscendentalism, Henry Corbin expressedgrowing interestsin the philosophy of Heidegger,Husserland Scheler.Corbin was an impressiveman, a humanist,highly culturedand well versedin Germanphilosophyas well as Islamic culture: Si l'on demandeautour de soi qui est Henry Corbin, on recevrades reponses apparemmentincompatibles:commentIe memehommepeut-il s'etre voue a la resurrectiondesphilosophesde l'ancien Iran, a la traduction de Heidegger, a l'hermeneutiquelutherienne?En fait son projet fut de bouleversernotre paysagementalen multipliant les rapports, en tendantdespontsentre les differentesgnosesdes religions du Livre. 55

It is important that Corbin was the first to translateinto Frencha He cormajor work of Heidegger,Qu'estce que ta metaphysique?56 respondedwith Heidegger(about Sein und Zeit) and Karl Jaspers

and they exchangedideasabout the various philosophicalinterpretations and translations.Corbin visited Heideggerin Freiburg in April 1934andJuly 1936to discussthe translationsof Qu'est-ceque ta metaphysique? 57 Corbin also translated Heidegger's text on Hoelderlin and the Essenceof Poetry.58 There are two different explanationsfor Corbin's relationshipto Heidegger'sExistenzphilosophieand Iranian philosophy.Thesetwo versionsrevealhow the Muslim vision locatesa contradistinctionof Westernphilosophyvis-a.-vis the mystical East. One is S.H. Nasr's interpretation, where he emphasizesCorbin's disappointmentin Heidegger'sphilosophy.Here I quoteS.H. Nasr at length: I onceaskedCorbin,' 'how did you becomeinterestedin Suhrawardi?'Having in mind thefact that no one has renderedgreater serviceto the knowledgeof Suhrawardiand later Islamic philosophyin the West than Corbin. He said,


HENRY CORBIN, THE ABSENT CENTRE 'For several years I was studying Martin Heidegger and the German Existenz-philosophieand had gone several times to Freiburg to meet Heideggerbut his philosophydid not satisfyme.59

Until Massignongave him a lithographedition of Hikmat al-ishraq of Suhrawardi... : 'HenceforthI put Heideggeraside on the shelf and becameinterestedin seriousphilosophy'as Corbin told Nasr.60 Corbin, on the other hand, seemsto refute the abovestatements and insistsupon Heidegger'ssignificancefor him. He writes the following: J'eus Ie privilege et Ie plaisir de passerquelquesmomentsinoubliablesavec Heidegger,Ii Freiburg, en avril 1934 et enjuillet 1936, doncpendantla periode ou j' elaborais la traduction du recueil des textespublies sous Ie titre Qu'estce que la metaphysique? II m'estarrive d'apprendreavecetonnement que, sije m'etaistourne vers Ie soufisme,c'estparcequej'auraishe defupar fausse.Mesprela philosophiede Heidegger. Cette versionestcompletement miere publicationssur Sohrawardidatent de 1933 et 1935 (mon diplome de ['ecole des langues Orientales est de 1929); rna traduction de Heidegger parait en 1938.61

It is this fine distinction that requiresour attention.

The impact of S.H. Nasr in Malaysia Like al-Faruqi,Nasr reducesscienceto tawhid, underthe bannerof God. It is a science based on faith. Western oriented educated Muslims are viewed as a threat. Some of Nasr's former students today hold teaching positions in Malaysia. For example, Osman Bakar is a former mathematicianwho studied mathematicsin London and later wrote a Ph.D. on the philosophyof scienceunder Nasr'ssupervisionat Temple University, Philadelphia,USA. Today he is professorof mathematicsand philosophy of scienceat the University of Malaya, in Kuala Lumpur. Osman Bakar was the Secretary General of ABIM (Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia)in the early eightiesand also the Presidentand one of the founders of the Islamic Academy of Sciencewhich was createdin 1977. Bakar had closecontactsin Malaysiato the late Ismai'il Raji al-Faruqi, when in 1981 he visited Malaysia62 and persuadedBakar to studyin the USA wherehe workedunderthe supervisionof Nasr. Bakar's writings are quite similar to Nasr's in emphasizingthe importanceof faith in science.'The extensiveuse of logic in Islam did not lead to the kind of rationalismand logicism onefinds in the modernWestpreciselybecauseof the useof reasonwasnevercut off from faith in divine revelation'.63 In Tawhid and Science, Bakar 115


providesa panoramaof the history of sciencein Islam quite similar to Nasr'sworks to arguethat the Muslims were faithful to the true spirit of tawhid (onenesswith the Divine). In Islam religious consciousness of tawhid is the sourceof scientific spirit in all domains of knowledge.... Similarly, the idea of objectivity which is so essentialto the scientific enterpriseis inseparablefrom religious consciousnessand spirituality. 64

Anothernotion relatedto tawhid, accordingto Bakar,and similar to al-Attas, is the presumptionof the hierarchyof knowledge: As long as Muslims were faithful to the true spirit of tawhid, implying a faithfulnessto the idea of the hierarchy and unity of knowledge,they were sparedof that unfortunateand intellectually precarious situation whereby onemodeofknowingis affirmedat the expenseof other modes,or the validity of some modes of knowing negatedin the name of upholding the supremacyof someother modes.65

This said, it is not provenat all in Bakar'swork that Kuhn's theories on scienceshouldnot or did not apply to the history of sciencesin the Muslim context.Again similar to Nasr, what seemsto makesciences 'Islamic' is that investigationis centredaroundfaith and the notion of tawhid. This is undertakenas a counter-distinctionof a reduced empiricist understandingof the practiceof sciencein the West. But the conceptof tawhidis not only restrictedto the religiouscircles, it seemsto circulate also within the political milieu. In 1979 at the eighth annual meeting of ABIM, Anwar Ibrahim spoke of tawhid: a term he reinterpretedto fight racism: Invoking the Muslim principle of the Unity of God (tawhid), Anwar generalizes to the unity of mankind(kesatuandan persamaanmanusia)and reiteratesIslam's aversion to discrimination. While decryingnarrow racial and nationalistsentimentas socially destructive,however,Anwar doesnot rule out forms of nationalismbasedon Islam (nasionalisagamaor wa'i Islami) as opposedto wa'i qawmi, which is 'racial nationalism'.66

This reveals the close interconnectionof the use of conceptsin scientific andpolitical circlesin Malaysia.However,the invigoration andmodernizationof the conceptof tawhidfor an ideologicalIslam and its broadeningbeyondthe sphereof theology owesa greatdeal to Ali Shari'ati, the ideologueof the Iranian revolution. Shari'ati saw that tawhidwould encompassall affairs of society.This is where the impact of the Iranian revolution is significant. Shari'atiand, of course,Corbin beforehim, both workedextensivelyon the notion of 'tawhid' but again merely from the standpoint of spirituality. The 116


notion of esoterictawhidin Iranian thinking, aswell as the vision of multiplicity in unity and unity in multiplicity in tawhid, is due perhaps

in somedegreeto the original interpretationof Henry Corbin.67 Like many Islamizers, Nasr seems to negate the universal accumulationof humanknowledge.Thus accordingto him, Iqbal's innovative interpretation of Plato is condemnedas following 68 Here, indeed, Nietzscheratherthan the early Islamic philosophers. Fazlur Rahman'sreading of Iqbal is illuminating in explaining Iqbal's creativity in fusing intuition and reason,but also of Iqbal's tacticsin emphasizingreasonor intuition accordingto the audience he was addressing: While addressingthe Westandthe WesternizedMuslim, he tendsto minimize the role of reason and even disparagesit, whereashe emphasizesit while addressingthe conservativewhom he desiresto reappropiate Westernrationalism and scientism.69 For otherwisehe recommended,indeed,a respectfulandresponsivebut at the sametime independentattitude to Westernthought.70

In contrast to S.H. Nasr, Fazlur Rahman warned against the misunderstandingof Iqbal by contemporaryphilosophical interpretationsof sciencewhich assimilatedexcessivelythe naturalwith the spiritual.71 The emphasisupon Islamic particularity is madein the following manner,through pointing out the distortion of the Westernphilosophicaltradition and representinga partial truth. Parallel to this, the genuinecriticisms of alreadyexisting Third World intellectuals mentionedearlier are discarded.This distortion extendsto incomplete exposition of some notions such as 'modernman as cut off 72 Modernism is contrastedwith tradition from the transcendent'. which he translates as ai-din which is religion, and a trait of modernismis the lack of principle.73 Modern man can practically be definedas that type of man who has lost the senseof the sacred, and modern thought is conspicuousin its lack of awarenessof the sacred.74

Nasrseemsto confusethe religiousexperiencewith the incapacityto differentiate betweenabsolutepower and the rule in the name of religion, which the Westernworld managedto abolish. One is left wonderingwhy, if this makesthe Westernworld modern,religious revivalism is no longer restricted to the East. But this is perhaps whereNasrjoins Corbin on the questionof secularizationas a negative phenomenonand a destructionof the transcendental.Nasr 117


and Corbin are united in their aversion towards secularization. Taking RobertsAvens' interpretationof Corbin, we get the feeling that he consideredsecularizationa rathernegativemodemphenomenon.Corbin sawsecularizationasa banalization,a reductionof the mundusimaginalis: Secularizationis 'disorientation', the loss of the orient, the Alam al-mithal. In the caseof the West, this loss is markedby a transition from eschatological Christianity to historical faith, fides historica - a gradual adaptation to the external historical condition and the replacementof the freedom of propheticinspiration with the dogmaticmagisteriumof the Church.75

Corbin wished the processof secularizationbe confined·'only by rediscoveringthepolar dimensionofman,andby developinga gnoseology which culminates in the figure of the angel as the dator


PerhapsCorbin was more of a dreamerand visionary. One could arguethat he sharedwith Nasr the problem of refusing to seehow 'modem man is religious' and how the secularizationthesis is no longer applicable. Since the seventies,the world has witnesseda strong religious revivalism in all religions - paradoxically, under strongsecularand modemconditions. Corbin has beenblamedfor his over-exaggeratingspirituality at the expenseof neglectingexisiting processesof secularizationas a universalmodemphenomenon.It is possiblethat he overlookedthe dimension of political Islam and the impact of the wide-ranging effects of the Iranian revolution. It is no coincidencethat in a conferenceon Ibn Rushdin 1976commemoratingthe 850thanniversary of his birth, Corbin refusedto separatephilosophyfrom theology. He arguedthat there were philosopherswho were not metaphysicians,but he did not believethat one could do metaphysicswithout of Corbin'spositionwas that being a philosopher.Oneconsequence the Egyptian philosopherAbderrahmanBadawi, who introduced existentialisminto contemporaryArabic thought, pleadedagainst Corbin for rational philosophyand la 'philosophietechnique'(technical philosophy). The paradox of this conferencewas that the 'Oriental' Badawi was advocatingthe technicalOccidentalphilosophy while the 'Western' Corbin was drawing parallels between Westernmysticism, philosophy,on the one hand and on the other, Suhrawardi,Ibn 'Arabi and the mystical philosophersof Isfahan, Khorasan and Tehran.77 The paradox that secularismhas to be defendedagainstthe great mystical Orientalist by an Egyptian or 'Oriental' versus is extremely striking. It is no coincidencethat 118


Corbin saw that the disappearance of the intermediaryangelichierarchy in Ibn Rushdand Averroism is relatedto the loss of Ie monde imaginal in his thought. What he defines as the 'imaginaf is no longer the usual idea of imaginary (l'imaginaire). From that moment,we can perceivethe divergencefrom the Occident,and in the wordsof Corbin, the triumph of the Latin Averroism,in contrast 78 to the Orient, wherethe Iranian Avicennais being perpetuated. Peut-etre faut-i/, en Occident, faire commencercelie decadenceavec Ie momentou l'averroismerejeta la cosmologieavicennienneavecsa hierarchie angelique intermediaire des Animae ou Angeli cae1estes.Ces Angeli caelestes (hierarchie au-dessousde celie des Angeli intellectuales)avaient en effet Ie privilege de la puissanceimaginativea l' etat pur. 79

In this context,Avicenna'sphilosophyis still subjectto heateddebate amongArab intellectuals,who regardit a point of departurefor criticizing rationality and transcendentalism in Arab thought. I haveno intention of competing with the extensivelist of Orientalist and Muslim writings dedicatedto Islamic philosophyand in particular to Avicenna and Averroes/IbnRushd, who are the two most celebratedIslamic philosophersin the West. What interestsus hereis the contemporary reading of these early philosophers for modern purposes.On the questionof scienceand rationalismin early Islam, it is appealingto contrastNasr'swritings with the critical contribution of the contemporaryMoroccanphilosopherMuhammad'Abid al-Jabiri,who throwsinto questionthe official writing of history and philosophy. He adopts a 'scientific approach', dividing Islamic thought into the stream of reason,the rational (ma'qul) and the a-rational or the fantastic tendency(al-Ia ma'qul). Al-Jabiri advocatesa scientific, countera-historicalreadingof the turath (Islamic heritage)and in particularthe establishedunderstandingof the history of sciencein Islam. The works of Avicenna, accordingto alJabiri, are thus reinterpretedin a new light and namely classified betweenthe skilled scientific medicaldoctoron the onehandandthe a-rational,or fantasticphilosopheron the otherhand.80 Avicennais thus dissectedand analysedthroughhis political opponents,professional adversariesand the variouscultural, ideologicalinfluencesof his time. Avicenna is read through the influence of al-Farabi and understoodasthe philosopherof the soul (nafs), versusal-Farabithe philosopherof reason(al_'aql).8J Al-Jabiri's long-term project is thus to contrast Ibn Rushd or Averroes, the philosopher of the Western Muslim World with Avicenna, the philosopherof the EasternMuslim World and to 119


promote Averroism in Arabic culture which he seesas rationalist, realist and critical.82 In other words, accordingto him this is more 'Descartian'and in tune with our times. The adoptionof Averroism thus entails an epistemologicalbreak with Avicenna's late ishraqi 'illuminative' streamof thought, which is accreditedto Iranian phi83 losophyand Sufismandthus accordingto al-Jabiriis obscurantist. Al-Jabiri's exploration towards a Descartianvision proposesone programme(amongothers)of salvationfor the Arab World against the growing confusion and political rivalry in interpreting turath. Here again, according to al-Jabiri, the Avicennian vision which seemsto have triumphed in history is interpretedas rather 'magically' oriented,84obscurantist,85and metaphysicalin shaping the 86 overall understandingof Arabic culturewhich led to its decadence. AI-Jabiri also criticizes Avicenna'sfollowers and studentsfor adopting the magical and metaphysicalvision versusreason.87 One may reject or acceptal-Jabiri'sperspective;none the less my aim in this contextis to examinedifferent opinions. Finally, it would be a mistaketo say that Corbin over-estimated the spiritual dimension in Iranian thought to some degree,at the expenseof the political aspectof Islam. He died in 1978, one year before the Iranian revolution. He probably overlookedthe Shah's politics and the growing political force behind the mullahs. Corbin always seems to have insisted on depoliticizing shi'i Islam. For instance,he did not view that the dynastyof the twelve Imamsas a political dynasty competing in these worldly matters with other dynasties.88 It is precisely this emphasison spirituality which has beenpicked up by the Islamists,but in contrastto Corbin, however, it is usedby them today for instrumental,political purposes.Let us move back to the Malaysiansceneto provide a counter-pictureof a critic of Islamization.




My irritation against the Malays was of recentdate. Hitherto myfeelingfor themhadbeenoneof indifference. What interestsus is what servesour interests- andthe Malays are not servile. Obliging, certainly: but that is little. We are too practical to be contentwith that. We refer to thepopulationofa country as 'labour', just as we shouldlike to describethe entire animalkingdomas 'cattle'. But the Malays do not at all wish to be consideredin this light. Their point of view is contrary to ours. They can easily get their daily rice by working one day a weekand they askfor no more. All fatigue is uselessand harmful. Life is long why hurry?

Henri Fauconnier*

The distinctive physical appearanceof the two brothers,Alatas/alAttas, becomesevenmoredistinctivein the SoutheastAsian context. Both brothersare tall and heavily bearded,in contrastto average Malay maleswho are shorterand smaller.In my conversationswith Malays about the brothers,their physicaltraits emergedas the subject of admiration and sometimesenvy. It seemsto me that these characteristicsare perceivedin the imaginationof Malays as 'Arab' traits, eventhoughthe habitusof both brotherswould hardly differ from any Europeanintellectual or scholar. Physical appearanceis what mostunitesthe two brothers- in intellectualtermsthey belong to two different worlds and to entirely opposingpolitical orientations. Syed Hussein Alatas, unlike his brother, is most pleasantly approachable.His houseis alwaysopento guestsandhe is very generousto students.Both brothershavecreatedtheir own circle of followers or their own halqas.It requiresno secretariesor assistants,to *The Soul of Malaya. First publishedin 1931,Oxford University Press,1990. p. 59.



meetSyedHusseinAlatas. He is a nocturnalpersonand discussions at his housecan last until three o'clock in the morning. He is a well travelled man and as many have noted, he bearsa physical resemblanceto Fidel Castrowho invited him yearsago to Cuba.Alatas is married to an Indian convert, who is an NGO activist. His newlybuilt large indigenousstyle houseimmediatelystrikesthe visitor on account of its natural ventilation, in the residential areasof the Damansaraheights(air conditioninghasrapidly becamea must for the new consumingmiddle classesof SoutheastAsia). This preludewas an attemptto provide a descriptionof Alatas's setting.In this chapter,however,I wish to draw attentionto the inherent relationshipbetweenthe Third Worldist sociological discourse, the reconstructionof Islam as a progressivesociologicalperspective and the political Malaysianscene.More specifically, I wish to focus on the ideas and life of S. Hussein Alatas and contextualizehis thought within the political Malaysian scene.Alatas is considered today to be one of the founders of sociological investigation in SoutheastAsia. In recent years, he seemsto have directed critical statementsagainstthe advocatesof the trend of 'Islamizing knowledge'and specifically Islamizing sociologyin Malaysia. The journal he foundedduring his studenttimes in the 1950s,ProgressiveIslam seemsto be the focal point of a culturalist Third-Worldist discourse which could be indirectly relatedto what has becomein Malaysiaa dominating intellectual discourse, namely the 'Islamization of Knowledge'debate.This chapterwill attemptto highlight the competing trendswithin the field of sociologicalproduction. Important hereis to mentiona few words relating to the spreadof ideaswhich attempted to fuse Islam with socialism. In 1924, Haji Omar Tjokroaminoto published a treatise on Islam and Socialism. Two yearslater Sukarnowrote an article wherehe arguedaboutthe close connection between Nationalism, Islam and Marxism.! Certainly Alatas'sProgressiveIslam may be viewed as an extensionof the trend which beganin 1924. It is possibleto view the advocatesof the Islamizationof knowledge as representing one competing force among others in life. Let us take a closelook at the Malaysianinstitutional-academic existingfield of socialsciences,in particularthe impact of the older generationThird-Worldist intellectuals.Although the protagonists of the Islamizationproject seemto attack ruthlesslythe West and Western rationalism, a point they might superficially share with Occidentalcritical theorists,they nonethe lessdiscardthe previous debatesabout decolonizationof history and anthropology.Indeed



the discursivecontinuitiesbetweenthe 'secular'culturalist standof the 1950s and the 1960s is therefore, difficult to trace. Islamists today seldom mention the previous indigenous Third-Worldist responsesto Westernsocial sciences.MalaysianIslamizersseemto ignore the writings of Syed HusseinAlatas, who might be legitimately consideredan invisible protagonistin shapingthe discourse of intellectualsand their role in developingsocieties.The suppression of Alatas's writings can be interpretedas a symptom of the generationalstrugglebetweenthis scholar-a productof the postcolonial Malaysia/Singapore era and whoseorientationwas secular - and Anwar Ibrahim, the younger former student leader who combinedIslam with socialist rhetoric, influencedby the mood of the seventies. Alatas often expressedstrong criticism of the Islamizationprotagonistsas merely fighting for a spacein the job market. I define Alatas as a secularintellectualbecausehe draws a clear distinction betweenreligion and state. Although Alatas was influencedin his youth by the Egyptian Muslim Brothers,he later shifted to a liberal position. Today, he insiststhat his early vision of the Islamic statewas cultural ratherthan political. By placing S.N. Al-Attas's position, the philologist of Malay Sufism, and his antagonismagainst 'social sciences'expressedin 'Islam and Secularism', in contradistinction to his brother S. HusseinAlatas the sociologist, might provide a clue about the personal-politicalfight, a powerfight implicating Naquib al-Attas's close conpection with Anwar Ibrahim and government circles. While HusseinAlatas'spoliciescost him the resignationof the Vice Chancellorship. S.H. Alatas'sresignationfrom his position of Vice Chancellorof the University of Malaya in 1990 symbolisedthe strugglebetween two different generations.When he was appointedVice Chancellor at the University of Malaya, he insistedthat merit shouldsupersede race.2 Alatas appointednon-Malay academicianson the basis of merit (he nominatedsuggestedIndian and ChineseDeans),which stirred the anger of the Malays and clashedwith the Bumiputrist (pro-Malay) policies of the then Minister of EducationAnwar. This clashendedin Alatas' resignationfrom the Vice Chancellor'spost.3 Alatas' resignationmay be interpretedas illustrative of a generational power struggle. Bumiputrism and Islamizationrepresentthe new classinterestsof the new rising Malay bourgeoisie.The Straits Times of Singaporeportrayedthe controversyas potentially harmful to the interestof Anwar Ibrahim, the thenMinister of Education unlesshe took measuresquickly. 123


Alatas startedhis academiccareeras a studentof the sociology of religion at the University of Amsterdamin the Netherlands. During this period of intensiveacademicformation and encounters with the West, Alatas developeda strong network of communication with Indonesian,Malay and other Muslim intellectualsfrom SoutheastAsia and the Middle East. In 1948, togetherwith other studentshe formed the Associationof Islamic Studentsin Holland. This associationlater mergedwith the Islamic Council in Holland. He was affiliated with the IndonesianMohammadNatsir; they met during a short stay in Indonesia,in 1953. A friendship betweenthe two was quickly established.As a result, Alatas launchedthe magazine'ProgressiveIslam' (1954--1955)which will be lookedat closely at the end of this chapter.For many Singaporeansand Malaysians the name of Syed HusseinAlatas is associatedwith the founding and building of the Departmentof Malay Studiesat the National University of Singapore,4and later on, in the late eighties with earningthe positionof Vice Chancellorat the University of Malaya in Malaysia.

I. SyedHusseinAlatas and Anouar Abdel Malek While belonging to the same generationof critical Third World intellectuals,Alatas the Malaysian,like the Egyptian Marxist intellectual, residing in Paris, Anouar Abdel-Malek, both proposedthe notion of. 'cultural specificity'. The circle of specificity would include the sphereof Islam and 'Islamic socialism'.In essence,cultural specificity indeed has affinities with the movement of the return to 'authenticity'as a movementof social emancipationand cultural recognition.Perhapsa closerlook at thesetwo intellectuals might provide us with a clue about the link in ideasbetweenthese two intellectualswho are the spokesmenof decolonizationandidentity constructionand the later generationof Islamizers. The works of SyedHusseinAlatas are of primary significancefor anyoneinterestedin the contemporarysociologyof SoutheastAsia. He is recognised,not merely as one of the foundersof sociological investigationin that part of the world, but also becausehe is repreThird World sentativeof the generationof the post-independence intellectualswho stirred debatesabout decolonizingmentalities,the dilemma of the 'captivemind' and the re-thinking of development. The endeavourto decolonizeanthropologysaw the light as a result of the crisis in Westernsocial sciencesdue the strugglefor nationalism. The post-colonialera, however,witnessedthe perpetuationof



what Atal has coined as newer forms of 'academiccolonialism' originating in the USA and USSR.5 Abdel Malek and Alatas used the term 'endogenous'creativity as stemming from within the nationaland regionalcommunity.It was neverthelessunderstoodas a fusion betweenWesternand non-Westerncultures. In anthropology, as a result of the debateon Orientalismthe idea of the 'indigenizationof socialsciences'and 'indigenous'solutionsversus Western socialscienceasan ideologicalstandwherethe political overtookthe ideologicalsaw the light in the 1970s.It was meantto raisecriticism againstthe 'implantation of social sciences'and·broadly speaking againstAmerican,and capitalistsocialsciences.The debateover the 'indigenization'of the social sciences- as opposedto 'endogenous' creativity seemsto take a more dramaticdimensionconcerningthe breakbetweenEastand West. culture Alataspointedto the problemof shapingan 'endogenous' with the expanding modernizationof SoutheastAsian societies. Endogenouscreativity meantthat it should arise from the national culture and yet 'it meanshere that the assimilationof ideas from exogenoussourceswhich are deemednecessaryfor the intellectual effort shouldbe consideredas part of the endogenousactivity'.6 It is no coincidencethat Alatas'sinvestigationsextendedto the struggle of Indian intellectualsin the turmoil of the post-colonialera.7 His writings found a sensitivereceptionin Japan,and the volume edited by Anouar Abdel-Malek8 testifies to the context and the debates that occupied the minds of the Egyptian, Indian and Malaysian intellectuals who were attempting to struggle for recognition and 'space'within the broaderinternationalintellectual field of sociological production.Certainly Japanprovideda fascinatingmodel of modernizationfor manyThird World intellectuals.Abdel Malek and Alatas both developedan admiration for and a desire to study Japanesesociety. Both were often invited there and both often refer to the Japaneseexperiencein their works. However, Abdel Malek's intellectualismowes greatly to the Marxist heritage,while Alatas's earlierideologicalorientationsconstituteda blend of socialismwith the ideology of the EgyptianMuslim Brothers. For this generation,'cultural specificity' seemedto swing towards nationalism rather than Islamism. Nevertheless,Abdel-Malek's 'specificity' endedup being apologeticfor contemporaryIslamism. Abdel Malek advancedthe idea of a civilizational approachto the issueof political Islam. In an article publishedin 1982, three years after the successof the Iranian revolution, Abdel Malek alteredhis jargonto include Islam. He talked of the 'progressivesectorof pop125


ular masses'.9He linked what he called the 'civilizational approach of Islam' with political Islam arguingthat it includesthe whole heritage of Egyptian civilization.lO In fact, both Alatas and Abdel Malek sharedthe issueof specificity raisedin the seventies.Alatasin fact talks of 'endogenous'intellectual creativity. Although Abdel Malek is an 'occasionalChristian',in Nazih Ayubi's designation,his positionin recentyearshasbecomemore andmoreinclined towards the issueof the specificity of Islam.11 For Abdel Malek, the crosscultural civilizational exchangetakesa ratherconfrontationalform. His understandingof civilizations, in particularafter the successof the Iranian revolution, tendedto be reducedto religious essence,a point which he paradoxicallycriticized in his writings in the early sixties on Orientalism: Le christianismeest la philosophiedominantede l'Occident; Ie bouddhisme, essentiellement celle de l' Asie; seull'Islam recoupeles civilisationset les cultures de notre temps;d'ou vient l'efficacite de son action commenousl'avons vu au cours des deux demierssiecles.12

It was Sadeq Jalal al-'Azm who first noted the 'Orientalism in

reverse'in AnouarAbdel Malek's stand.This was more than a little ironic, sinceit was Anouar Abdel Malek who, in 1963 first spokeof the essentialismsand biasesof WesternOrientalism.His exaggeration of Easternspirituality, 'Easternspecificity' and magicalspirituality is what the Islamizersof the eightiesappropriated.It is possible to view the 'Islamizationproject'as beinga distortedextendedvision of 'cultural specificity', as a continuation of the same discourse, transposedinto a languageof the nineties. On the other hand, 'endogenous'intellectual creativity, in the seventiesmeantthat Marxism, Buddhismand the Asiatic mode of production could be used as conceptualtools of analysis for the underdevelopmentof Asian societies.13 'Endogenous'was interpreted as 'self-reliant' creativity, a creativity that would oppose Orientalism and exoticism.14 Abdel-Malek refers to different civilizations entailing their own 'specificities',15Indian, Japaneseand Chinesetraditions, scientific heritageand varietiesof philosophical thinking were highlightedin the volume of Abdel-Malek and Amar Nath Pandeya.The dynamic of specificity-universalitywas undertakenin the following: A work through all scientificproblemareasof our project is theproblem, and concept,of specificity. It would, therefore, be proper to developa universally valid theory of specificity, from and bearing upon major civilizational and national-culturalareasof the world. 16



For studentsinterestedin the study of 'globalization',it is possible to proposethat this notion alreadyoperatedon the level of SouthSouth intellectual interaction during the period of the fifties and sixties. In otherwords,the languageandconcernsof this generation of intellectualsrevealedsimilar affinities and worries. Alatas was concernedabout how to createa synthesisbetween'cultural specificities' and,in the caseof India, it implied that the 'Asian tradition' is to be blendedwith socialism,as the Indian Marxist Jayaprakash Narayanattemptedto undertake.While maintaininga universalist discourse about methodological tools of social inquiry and revealingan intuitive understandingof the significanceof Western sociology, Alatas was struggling against the West's monopoly of knowledge. He arguedthat: The effort to constructnewconceptsforthe studyof SoutheastAsiansocieties is in keepingwith a genuineapplication of the socialsciences.The generaluniversal and abstract conceptof the modernsocial scienceswhich developedin the Westshouldnot automaticallybe applied to non-westernsocieties.17

II. In his article on 'The WeberThesisand SouthEast Asia', Alatas pro-

vided a valuablereadingof Max Weberand the applicability of his thesis in a SoutheastAsian context. Alatas analysedthe points of view of the various Westernscholarswho discussedWeber'scausal analysisof the emergenceof capitalism,in which religion and innerworldly asceticismled to the birth of a specific personalitytype. He criticized Bellah'sapplicationof the Weberthesisto Japanand also is said to havesingledout the critics of Weber.The Weberthesiswas discussedin the light of Asian history, in particular in China and India. Webersaidthat capitalismcould not developindependentlyin these two civilizations due to the influence of religion. Alatas challengedthis position through his attempt: 'at establishingthe proposition that the spirit of modern capitalism can rise in Asia from within itself'.18 Alatas advancedexamplesfrom the coming of Islam in SoutheastAsia by pointing to the 'mutualalliancebetween Islam and trade'.19 He noted that the role of the Arab tradersand small industrialistsbefore the SecondWorld War, in manifestinga capitalist spirit, was accompaniedby innerworldly religious asceticism.2o Alatas provided examplesof how Asian scholarssuch as D.M.G. Koch applied Weber'scausality of religion and economic activitiesto the caseof the IndonesianSarekatIslam party.21He also 127


discussedSchriekeand Van Leur's works, who borrowedfrom Max Weberand appliedsomeof his observationsto SoutheastAsia. He concludedhis study by arguingthat: If the capitalist spirit is so closely tied up with the religious attitude we can expecta uniform pattern of expressionamong Muslims of commonschools andmysticalinterest. Apparentlywhat is decisivehereis not religion but other factors. Thefactors which releasedthe capitalist spirit amongArab Muslims, Indian Muslims, Minangkabau, Acheh and Bugis Muslims, and also the Chinese,mustclearly be of non-religiousorigin. 22

In The IntellectualsandDevelopingSocieties,23Alatas developedthe notion of Bebalisma, from Bebal which is Malay for stupid and which alsoimplies ignoranceandstubbornness but which also seems to be a way of reasoningin developingsocieties.His reproachof the unconcernedattitudeof the scientific world view were bitter. Alatas posesthe problemof 'decolonizing'knowledgeand questioningthe biasesand prejudicespromotedby colonial culture againstthe local populations.Obviously, what is at stakein this processis the undermining of the ideology of imperialism. By deconstructingthe figure of Raffies the founder of modern Singapore,Alatas reveals that Raffies was far from a humanitariancolonial administrator. He demonstratesthat throughsociologicaldevicesthat in fact (Raffies) was a progresivepolitician in his conceptionof Westernimperialism as a comprehensiveeffort of the Europeanto transformthe societies of othersfor their own benefit. Raffies had the 'total ideology'concept of imperialism.24

III. Alatas'swritings on Islam andthe democracyof Islam, on Islam and socialism,25 on colonialism and corruption,26 on the problem of occupationalprestigeamongthe Malays and their over admiration of civil servicedeserveattention.He observesa certaincontinuity of the past in the value systemof Malay society. While someoccupations have witnesseda decline in prestige, other occupationshave completely disappeared,like the slaves, the individual warriors attached to the ruler and the court entertainers.Shamansand medicine-menalso experienceda declinein prestige.This was related to the modernizationof Malaya. Civil servantsand professionals therefore,replacedthe warrior class.27 Alatas'sdetailedobservationsextendto the phenomenonof the perpetuation of Bomoh (witchcraft) culture among the upper 128


echelonsof the royalty in Malaysia. They deserveastuteattention 28 In attemptingto theorize corruption, as empirical observations. Alataswasvery keento demonstrateits universalitydespitethe disparity of the specific details in the various individual country. Furthermore,Alatas providesus with lively examplesof corruption in Latin America, Asia, India. He links the phenomenonwith Marcel Mauss'snotion of the gift, and how it is shrewdlypractised under the table in various Third World countries.For thoseinterestedin how Islam treatedcorruption throughouthistory, Alatas brings examplesof later periods of Islam when the office of the Qadi (judge) was strongly abhorredby the scholarswho wantedto maintaintheir integrity.29He also, mentionsthe caseof the African UthmandanFodio, who attackedcorruptpracticesandthe habit of giving presents. BeforeEdwardSaid'sOrientalismappeared,Alatas30 (like Anouar Abdel Malek),31 tackled the questionof Orientalismand Western biasesin studyingAsian and Muslim societies.32 It is no coincidence that Edward Said in Culture and Imperialism points to the intimate ideological similarity in raising issues between Alatas and other Third World intellectuals.33 The Myth of the Lazy Native is analysed by Said as a post-colonial critiqueof Orientalism where the lazy native becomesan invention of colonialism.34 In the Myth of the Lazy Native, Alatas revealedhow biasedracial 35 This views equally affected the Malay indigenous perceptions. work challengedthe views of Mahathir's social Darwinism, which linked backwardness with race, particularly in the case of the Malays.36Mahathirdevelopedthe ideathat the Malaysareby heredity inferior to the Chinese.Alatas challengedMahathir'sview that Malay economicbackwardnessis related to the myth of the lazy native.37 Alatas discussesstereotypessuch as that the Malays are fatalistic and ignore time. In his critique of the writings of the (UMNO) The United Malay National Organization, the book RevolusiMental (Mental Revolution),Alatasrevealshow the Malays reproducein themselvesstereotypedand colonizedideasabout the backwardnessof the Malays. Alatas revealedhow harshand biased the Malay indigenousvision of backwardnesscould be, being even morebiasedthanany British analysisof colonial society.38His merit was to demonstratethe inner contradictionsof Malay society and the government'srefusal of all responsibilityto improve conditions in the Malay community. His critique extendsto the fact that no thorough analysis of the mechanismof the capitalist system has beenundertaken. 129


Alatas questionedthe Westernunderstandingof 'objectivity' in research.It seemsthat specialistsin Asia constructedan affinity betweenobjectivity and being an 'outsider'of the field in order to discredit the position of the 'native' in studying his own society.39 Alatas's understandingof scienceis positivistic. Although science and technologydevelopedin the West, for Alatas they are universal. Sciencewas borrowed,and spreadall over the world. In otherwords sciencebelongsto everybody,while sometraits of culturelike magic would be impossibleto be modernized.On the other hand, Alatas expressedreservationsabout the advocatesof the Islamization trend.4o He rejects the scientific validity of Islamizing any field of knowledge,be it scienceor sociology,andcharacterizesthe debateas a merelypolitical fight instigatedby a youngergenerationof university academicswho are attemptingto createa spacein the academic 41 In other words, althoughIslamizationmight seemto marketplace. speak of giving a scientific foundation to religion (an endeavour which might be legitimate),it in fact trapsscienceby 'religiosizing'it. Alatas is also critical of SeyyedHosseinNasr on the samelevel as he would criticize ideological manipulationand Third World intellectuals' failure to develop an 'analytical method independentof currentstereotypes'. 42 Alatas'scritique of N asrderivesfrom the fact that Nasr was closely relatedto the Shah'sregime rather than from his writings on the Islamization of knowledge. Here Alatas'scriticism of SeyyedHosseinNasr is quite revealing: The confusion,inconsistency,and credulity in the severalwritings of Seyyed HosseinNasr require a separatetreatmentwhich shall not be attemptedhere. Oneof his viewswhich demandsa tremendousamountof credulity on mypart is that kingship is not a secular institution but has always been associated with divine authority. I presumethe Shah of Iran is consideredby Seyyed HosseinNasr as the embodimentof Divine authority. lfind it also difficult to count the number of prophetsGod sent to mankind. SeyyedHossein Nasr suggestedthefigure of 124,000.How he arrived at this figure, we are not told but it is certainly not from the Qur'an.43

For those interestedin a comparisonbetween the post-colonial culture of the Middle East and SoutheastAsia, Syed Hussein most significant. I will attempt here to Alatas's work is certain~y combinean analysisof the early writings of Alatas in particularthe monthly publication of Progressive Islam which appearedin Holland during Alatas'stime as a student,with his later writings. In fact, ProgressiveIslam has not been studied. The fact that it was publishedin Holland perhapsexplains why English was the languageof communication. 130


IV. ProgressiveIslam ProgressiveIslam (1954--55) is the expressionof the early Islamic commitments of young Alatas in the period of his studies in Holland.44 It is of interestfor us becausethesewere the formative interactiveyearsof a young man who was striving for knowledgein the West andyet maintaininghis Islamicity. It reflectsthe concernof a generationof young Indonesiansat that time; they perceivedthe strugglefor independence and socialjusticeas being associatedwith the reaffirmation of the religious identity. We have to recall that thesewere the timeswhenthe Federationof Malayawasnegotiating independencefrom British rule, while Sukarno's Indonesia was involved in the post-independence struggle in building a modem nation state to build the Islamic constituencyand the idea of an Islamic statewas strongly presentin the debatesabout the charter. The advocatesof Islam were competingwith ideologiesthen threateningthe West,namely,nationalismandcommunism.Shouldnot be forgotten, the stronginfluence of the communistpartiesin various SoutheastAsian nations.For someobservers,Islam wasperceivedto be a possiblecard for the West to be played againstcommunism. Americansand Russiancommunistswere competingto extendtheir influence on Muslim leaders and intellectuals from the Third World.45 For example, Haji Omar Tjokroaminoto, the leader of SarekatIslam of Indonesia,hadwritten a book on Islam and socialism in 1924 in order to counteractcommunistinfluencesinfiltrating the Islamic movement.46 The generation of intellectuals like Mohammad Natsir47 and Alatas initially maintained friendships with communiststhroughfriendships,but throughtime nevertheless grew increasingly antagonistictowards them. Alatas in particular became,with time increasinglyanti-communist. ProgressiveIslam appearedas a monthly publication.It was 'dedicatedto the promotionof knowledgeconcerningIslam and Modem thought'.The Editorial announcement said the following: This monthly, which we havecalled ProgressiveIslam, is the realization of an attempt to formulate a serious view concerningthe nature of Islam and its relation to modern thought. The condition of the Muslim people, the nature of the Islamic religion and the impact of Westernthoughtupon the societies of the East shall be the primary concernof this monthly.

The first issue appearedin August 1954 and the last issue was in December1955. The editorial articles were written by S. Hussein Alatas. ProgressiveIslam survived with the supportof the then ex131


Prime Minister of IndonesiaMohammedNatsir. Later, Alatas continued to collaboratewith Natsir, in particularin 1957 in Bandung, wherethey hadmanyideasin common.While ProgressiveIslam also receivedfinancial support from supportersand contributorsfrom different partsof the Muslim world, the short existenceof the journal was intimately due to a lack of funds. ProgressiveIslam says a lot about cross-culturalEast-Westperceptions.On the onehand,many articlesattemptto exploreWestern culture and civilization and its interactive aspects.On the second level, ProgressiveIslam, illustrates Islamic internationalismin the Europe of the fifties. It is an English languageimitation of the Egyptian magazine,al-Manar, launched in 1898 by Muhammad 'Abduh and Rashid Rida (ceasedpublication in 1936). Al-Manar intendedto disseminatenewsfrom all over the Muslim world. Like al-Manar, Progressive Islam contains many articles about interIslamic relationsalong with newsfrom all the Muslim world. Natsir's review of Henri Pirenne's book Muhammad and Charlemagne(although outdatedtoday) is a revealing exampleof Natsir'scuriosity during the early fresh post-colonialperiodin highlighting the interactionbetweenthe West and the Muslim world. It is interestinghow he usesPirenne'sthesis about the spiritual conquestof Rome by the Arabs Islam versusthe conquestby sword of the Germans,to attack C. SnouckHurgronje,the famousspecialist of Islam on Indonesia: With a bit of humor we could expressourselvesin the sameway as Professor SnouckHurgronje did towardsus in his book The NetherlandsandIslam'. We shall say to them: Christianity has the slogan 'Preach the faith to all the nations', but that only is not enoughfor them. What they really hopedfor was that after the teachinghad beenspreadcomesthe real domination. It is not necessaryfor us to look at Rome.Look at what happenedat central Sulawesi. Amongstthe missionaries(Protestant) the name of Mrs. Hofman-Stolkis well known, Sheis regardedas a very active worker, togetherwith her husband, in spreadingthe Christianfaith and not lessfor pacification of theseareas.

In fact, various articles discussedmisunderstandingsof the interaction betweenthe East and the West. Two other short articles by Natsir, one on Ibn Maskawiyya, the philosopherand historian of 5th-lIth century Islam, who Natsir compareswith Schopenhauer, and anotheron the life of Al-Ghazali, revealNatsir's generalinterest in the Islamic heritage.AI-Ghazali is comparedto David Hume (1711-1776 AD) Both philosophersaccording to Mohd. Natsir, reacted against mainstreamphilosophical trends. Both suggested that beliefs and convictionsrestedon emotionsand passion. 132


Other prominent Indonesian politicians like Moh. Hatta and Moh. Roemare a goodillustration of the voicesaddressingIslam in a post-colonialIndonesiastrugglingwith democracyand 'Pancasila' as a state ideology. According to Alatas, Hatta, M. Natsir or M. Roem all representthe Muslim point of view and radically differ from the EgyptianMuslim Brothers,48in that they carry on dialogue with Christians,and weremore tolerantand democratic.Natsir, in a later period of his life and due to the ban of the Masjumi in Indonesia,becameincreasinglyinclined towardsexpandingcontact with Saudi Arabia through the Muslim World leagueand Da'wah activities. The sociologist might find it curious that Alatas's early work emphasizesin presentingthe life and work of Karl Mannheim as well as Ibn Khaldun. The attemptto mergethe ideasof the eminent Arab historianwith Westernsocial theory is worth attention.Alatas providesus a summaryof the major works of Mannheim,namely: Man andSocietyin an Ageof Reconstruction,Diagnosisof our Time, Ideology and Utopia. Much has beenwritten in recentyearsabout Ibn Khaldun as the founder of the scienceof sociology and history.49 Since the 1930s and the pioneeringstudiesof Kamil Ayad and FranzRosenthal,there has beena revival of sociologicalinterestin the works of Ibn Khaldun.5o It is interestingto notehow as an Indonesianstudentof Arab origin in Holland in the 1950s,Hussein Alatas,51was alreadyconsideringthe sociologicalimportanceof Ibn Khaldunin the fifties. S. HusseinAlatasvisited Cairo twice. In 1952, he recalledhis visit to the houseof TahaHusayn.52 Alatas'swanted to question Taha Husayn about the possibility of viewing Ibn Khaldun as the founder of modemsociology; Alatas thought that TahaHussainwas ratherinclined to emphasizeIbn Khaldun'squalities as a historian. The then-youngAlatas initially thought that Taha Husaynwas quite Westernized,an idea that quickly vanished after he read Taha Husayn's al-Fitna al-Kubra. Alatas wrote an article titled 'Objectivity and the Writing of History' about the conceptionof history of al-Ghazali,Ibn Khaldun, Iqbal and other historians.There,Alatasdiscussesthe ideathat Ibn Khaldunwasthe first to proposethe idea of a universal and objective writing of history andfurther theoriesaboutobjectivity in writing. Onecansee how he combinesWesternknowledgewith Islam by drawing other comparisonswith otherhistorianslike Arnold Toynbee,Karl Marx, and MohammedIqbal. The wide choice of topics of Progressive Islam and differing views of Islam rangingfrom the poetsof Persia, to religious Parties in Western Europe (written by a religious 133


Dutchman),to educationin Islamic society, the reconstructionof Islamic law, information on Islam in Burma and Pakistan,Sarikat Buruh Islam Indonesia,the Muslim Labour Union of Indonesia,the Russian Revolution,53 or the rich and stimulating information presentedby a SenatornamedA.M. Azeez on the exile of 'Arabi ('Urabi) Pashain Ceylon, (the leader of the Egyptian revolt led against the British troops colonizing Egypt in 1882) are a good illustration of the type of Islamic internationalismwhich existedin the fifties. As a veneratedMuslim leader,the Muslims of-Ceylon gave'Arabi Pashaan impressivewelcome. In Kandy we are told that he had a greatsuccessand that the indigenouspeopleadoptedthe red fez or tarbooshas a symbolic act. In Kandy, moderneducationwas greatly encouragedand thanks to the advicesof 'Arabi Pasha.The article stresses'Arabi Pasha'sinfluencein Kandy in reformingeducation,in particular English educationand religious practices. Siddi Lebbe createdAI-MadrasatuzZahira in 1892, underthe auspicesof 'Arabi Pashawho chose its name. It received a strong support of the Muslims of Colombo.It later becamethe Zahira College. The article on the Sarikat Buruh Islam Indonesiarevealsthat this labour movementwas createdin 1947, as a sectionof the Masjumi party, but separatedfrom the Masjumi a year after. When the article waswritten, its membershavereached180,000.Interestingis the fact that massaction but not revolution as a form of social changewas advocated: Mass action as we preach it doesnot necessarilymeana social revolution or violence to kill each other. Actions are taken through legal ways in opposing parliamentto enactlaws relating to socialandjob security,industrialpeace.etc.

Not all the writers shared a homogeneousline of thought. The generalconcernabouthistory and religion is illustratedin the summary of the talk by Arnold Toynbee. Indeed the article on the Political Systemof Islam, by SyedAbul Ala Mawdudi differs from Natsir's perspectiveon Islam. MohammedRoem of the Masjumi party arguedat that time againstthe separationof state and religion.54 One possiblereadingof somearticlesof ProgressiveIslam is an attemptto substituteWesternmodernity with an Islamic framework for nationalformation and state-building. The questionof 'scientification'of Islam, the initial rejection of the theory of evolution, and then its appropriationfor the purpose of giving the Qur'an a new scientific explanation,datesback to alAfghani and Muhammad'Abduh who were both concernedabout 134


reviving intellectualismandcreatinga new classof 'ulama. Thus,the topic of religion and science55 Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution,56can be seenas a continuationof suchconcerns. In the Editorial article Vol.L No. 6 Jumadal-Ula 1374 A.H., January 1955, 'Some Problemsof Leadershipin Islamic Society', Alatas identifies a dichotomy betweendiffering and contradictory forms of knowledgethat would leadto a clashbetweenthe orthodox 'ulama and the modernist Muslims. He seems to criticize both camps. The 'ulama lacked the knowledge of modern scienceand Westernlanguageswhile the modernistMuslims would like to interpret religion as a private matter. Speakingaboutthe 'ulama,onecannotoverlookthe two inspiring articles on Muhammad 'Abduh's humanism by the eminent EgyptianphilosopherOsmanAmin. 57 The first article highlights the life andwork of Muhammad:.\bduh.Amin describes:.\bduh'sinner crisis during his study at al-Azhar. :.\bduh'sbiography,his relationship to aI-Afghani, his exile in Syria and sojournin Parisare beautifully described.Amin stressed:.\bduh's interest in logic which he borrowedfrom Aristotle as explainedby Ibn Rushd.Amin portrays Muhammad:.\bduh as an 'alim cultivating a scientific spirit with a 'highly moral character,an 'alim who by his courageadvocated'that man liberates himself from the slavery of Taklid, of all blind submissionto whateverauthority .. .', An 'alim critical of Muslim society, a reformer, a humanist compared to Rousseau,and a universalist.Theseearly articles on :.\bduh gain significancetoday becausethey were written in the fifties, well beforethe appearance of Albert Hourani'sprominentwork on the Egyptianliberal age58 and Ahmed'sIntellectual Origins of EgyptianNationalism.59 Alatas knew OsmanAmin personally, and had correspondedwith him. Alatas had several encounterswith Osman Amin, once in Holland and anothertime in Egypt, whenAlatasgavelecturesat variousEgyptian universities. Alatas alwaysmaintainedrelationswith the Middle East.As early as 1952, he sojournedfor four months in Baghdadand Tehran to undertake post graduate field study for the University of Amsterdam on 'The perception of social problems amongst the leadingelites in Iran and Iraq'. Alatas attemptedto look at perceptions of governingamongthreegroups: labour, religious and political leaders.Earlier in 1950, he undertooka short trip from Holland to Algeria wherehe contactedin Algier, ShaykhBashirIbrahimi, the leaderwho createdthe associationof 'ulama, and MessaliHajj who was under housearrest. Perhapswhat induced Alatas to travel to 135


Algeria wasthat he hadalreadymet AhmadBen Bellah in Jakartain the late forties and was much impressedby his personality. The article HusseinAlatas wrote at this time on the Islamic state revealsthe concernsof the young generationof Indonesianswho wantedto mergeIslam with nationalism.Islam went hand in hand with independence. Alatas writes the following: Everywherein the world of Islam wefind intensepolitical fermentationwhich is getting momentumby the day. In Morocco. Tunis and Algeria. the people of Islam are pressingfor their independence.we know. is a meansto attain an ideal. For the areaspredominantlyinhabitedby Muslims. to attain independencewithout endeavouringto establishan Islamic state would be not only meaninglessbut also injurious to the welfare of Islam and the communityin general. non-Muslimsincluded. This is the reasonthat all the Islamic organisations in Indonesiaare striving with all the might at their disposalfor the establishmentof an Islamic State.60

However, the Islamic stateproposedwas supposedto be devoid of chauvinismand radicalism: The Islamic stateshall be a deadly enemyof both racialism and chauvinism. ProfessorToynbeehadrecommended this Islamic spirit to Westernsocietyas a force to diminish the influenceof racialism. We might agreewith Professor SnouckHurgronje that the 'The ideal of a leagueof humanraceshas indeed beenapproachedby the Moslemcommunitymorenearly than by any other'.61

Alatas was acquaintedwith the writings of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers, among other Islamic writings. He knew the Egyptian Muslim BrotherSa'idRamadan.Nevertheless,Alatas'sreferencesin the The Democracyof /s/am,62from which he deriveshis comparative analysesof different civilizations, are strongly influenced by both Muslim and Westernthinkers. In retrospect,it is possibleto arguethat the ideals of an Islamic state, as Alatas expressesit in the editorial of Vol. I, No.3, Safar 1374, could be viewed as imprecise.This is perhapsbecauseno real exampleof an Islamic statewas availableat that time. In fact several articles dealing about the ideals of an Islamic stateinsist upon the non-separationof the state and religion. The secondpoint is their emphasizinghow Islam would be different from the Westernpolitical and cultural system.Alatas hasstatedthat his early understanding of the Islamic statediffered radically from examplessuchas the Sudan,Pakistan,or Iran. Today Alatas arguesthat what he meant was rather a form of an Islamic philosophyof the stateinsteadof the political instrumentalizationof the Islamic Shari'a. Although radically differing from Maududi's opinions that appearedin 136


ProgressiveIslam, the young Alatas underestimatedthe role fundamentalistswould play in politics in the seventiesand eighties. His previousworld view had little in commonwith the practical,instrumental politics of contemporaryfundamentalists.He imagined an Islamic state rather as a philosophical base whose organization could be Western.Today, Alatas confessesthat he overlookedthe 'fundamentalist'impactof Mawdudi'spolitics andacknowledgesthe limits of applying Islamic law in a punitive manner.In fact, in his later writings, Alatas criticizes the Islamists and their simplistic attack on the 'materialistic'West.63 He foreseesthat social sciences could be endangeredby further Islamization: There is a noticeable growth in social-scienceresearch on economicand relatedsocialproblems,but it can hardly be Islamic in thematicorientation. Developing Islamic social-scienceresearch is a hopeful prospect, but the obstaclesare great if cooperation is not forthcoming from authority. For example, in a society attemptingto implementthe traditional shari'ah law (hudud), sociological study of its impact would only be possible with the cooperationof the ruling powerand with accessto data in official files. 64

In fact, Alatas's later writings testify that one cannot, as a Third World intellectual write about religion without tackling issues relatedto modernization,the elitesanddevelopment.It is possibleto argue that later, and perhapsthrough his Singaporeanexperience, the mature Alatas opted for the nationalist, secular perspective. While the trend of 'Islamizing knowledge'of the seventies,seeksto createa sociologyof faith by stretchingthe argumentto the question of the separationof state from religion which according to the Islamizersonly occurredin the West.65 The Islamizersseemto confuseand transposevariousdiscourses in their arguments.One point which they sharewith the Islamistsis the refusal to see the complexity of the West and to link this complexity to the questionof secularism.66 In failing to do so, they misinterpretthe political andsocialprocessesthat mostThird World countries have been undergoing.The Islamizers borrow the trenchantexplicationsof Westernecologistsandpessimistswho criticize industrializationin the West to fight for an alternativeIslamic epistemology. They ignore the fact that Muslim societies although invadedby mass-cultureand integratedin the capitalistsystem,face a distorted processof industrializationwhich is rarely mentioned. Any text needsto be contextualized:if someof thesearticlesmight appear today to be self-evident and perhapsnaive, nevertheless, conceptssuch as colonialism were still fervently discussedin the fifties. For anyone interested today in the question of Islam, 137


modernity and the state, a reading of Progressive Islam offers insights into the post-colonialepochwhich tend to be forgotten in favour of the discourseon post-modernityand Islamic resurgence. For many intellectuals,the Iranian Revolution was a trigger to revise ideas about the ambivalent role of religion in resisting despoticregimes.The notion of 'theology of liberation' and terms like 'leftist Islam' 'al-yasar al-islami', promoted by the Egyptian Sorbonne-trainedphilosopher,Hasan Hanafi, becamepopular in the eighties.Whetherone agreeswith HasanHanafi or not, whether his project would indeed lead to a revolutionary ideology, and whether such an ideology would in practicebe devouredby totalitarian Islamic governments,is still an openissuethat needsits own research. Nevertheless,Progressive Islam reveals that debates attemptingto establishthe link betweenIslam and progressalready existed in the fifties, but that the context and aims were different. Indeed, one could say that the debateson Islam in the fifties were concernedwith the issueof nation-statebuilding andthe dilemmaof how to adjust in Islam. Both Indonesia'sSukarno and Nasser's Egypt displayedandusedreligioussymbols,while also opting for the secularsolution. Both later on took hostile action againstthe religiouspolitical parties.ProgressiveIslam nevertheless,representsone of the earliest attemptsto createa decolonized'Islamic' scholarly discourse.In the seventies,voicesof resurgentIslam roseas communism and nationalismcollapsed,abandoningthe field to ethnic and separatistconflicts. I haveattemptedto tracea continuity in the discourseaboutIslam betweenthe earlier generationof social scientistslike Abdel Malek and Alatas and the more recent advocates,the Islamizers of Knowledge.The claim of 'cultural specificity' entails affinities with the return to authenticity movementand the Islamizers, a consequence which Alatas seemsto deny. The notion of endogenous creativity proposedby thesepost colonial intellectualsseemsto be more open to cross-culturaldialogue, in contrastto the claims of indigenizing knowledgedepartingfrom the principle of the inadequacyof Westernsocial sciencesin analysingnon-Westernsocieties. However, both Abdel Malek and Alatas faced criticism within their own societies.Abdel Malek is perceivedby someas an isolated intellectualbetterknown in Francethanin Egypt. In Malaysia,some view Alatas as an idealist who could not managepractical matters whenhe wasappointedVice Chancellorat the University of Malaya. It was often said that Alatas overlookedthe Malay way of handling politics. He was intransigent.S. HusseinAlatas failed to createhis 138


own school of empirical researchin either Singaporeor Malaysia. He provided no generationof studentsto undertakesociological studies of SoutheastAsian societies.An exception to that is the human rights activist and critic ChandraMuzaffar on Islam and social reform. For years, Muzaffar maintaineda close connection with S. HusseinAlataswho washis mentor.This wasduring the time that Muzaffar was a post graduate student at the National University of Singapore.Muzaffar is today one of the most critical - after having been a convinced Mahathirist - of contemporary Malaysian intellectuals. Muzaffar's writings are concernedwith Islam and equality, communalism,the ethnic questionand Islamic resurgence.I was informed that since Muzaffar moved to Penang and foundedthe NGO Trust Organization,the relationshipbetween the mentorand his studentseemsto havecooleddown. Also, not by chancethat Muzaffar got into trouble with the Mahathir governmentin pointing to the injusticesdoneagainstAnwar's recentdetention. Certainly, this is to be associatedwith early convictionsabout Islam and socialism.





Whoeveris versedin the Jargon doesnot haveto say what he thinks, doesnot evenhaveto think it properly. The Jargon takesover this task and devaluates thought. That the whole man shouldspeakis authentic, comesfrom the core. Thussomethingoccurswhich the jargon itself stylizesas to 'occur'


The lIlT office in Zamalek,Cairo, is connectedwith the Washington office and the other offices. The office has a rich Islamic library and is attendedby studentsfrom the various Egyptian universities.The office startedto operateas a private initiative. The whole building which is located in Zamalek belongs to the father of Mona Abul Fadl, a professor of political science at Cairo university and the spouseof Taha Jabir al-'Ilwani, one of the main ideologuesof the lIlT in Washington.Before the attempton PresidentMubarak'slife in 1995 and the subsequentarrests of the members of both the establishedfaction of the Islamic movementtogetherwith the undergroundgroups,the Cairo office was activein organizingseminarsthe proceedingsof which regularly appearedas working papers.A large number of these seminar paperswere later published in Egyptian newspapersand books, as is the case of 'Immara. The seminar participantswerewell known public figures like thejournalistsFahmi Huwaydi and Ni'mat Fu'ad. The late Shaykh of al-Azhar Gad-alHaq was invited, along with ShaykhAbul-Wafa al-Taftazani(shaykh mashayikhal-turuq al-sufiyya[the GrandShaykhof Sufi Orders))and many otherMuslim intellectuals.Topics variedfrom the Islamization

*The Jargon of Authenticity, Translated by Knut Tarnowski and Frederic Will, (London: Routledgeand KeganPaul, 1964), p. 9.



of knowledge,Islamic sciences,Sufism, contemporaryIslamic views, issuesrelatedto contemporaryIslamic philosophyof sciencesto the questionof Islamic revivalism. A paperon the hisba2 was presented in relationto the NasrHamid Abu Zayd scandal.Not all participants are necessarilyadvocatesof Islamizing knowledgebut they are sympatheticto the generalpolicies of Islamization.Tariq al-Bishri and Muhammad 'Immara publish in the lIlT series. They have been labelledas 'leftist neo-Islamists'andarecollaboratingwith the office.3 The secularphilosopherZaki Nagib Mahmud is an exception.He wasinvited to talk beforehe passedaway becauseof his critical stand towards the Islamization project. Many of the intellectuals who publish through the lIlT channelsare rather spokesmenof various contemporaryIslamic trends, they have been labelled by Western observers,rightly or wrongly, as Islamic liberals.4 More recently, 'Immara has advocatedthe Islamic middle path (al-wasatiyya alislamiyya) claiming that this position would counterbalancethe extreme exploitation in the Western capitalist system. The middle pathaccordingto 'Immaraattemptsto createanequilibriumbetween religion andlife (ai-din wa al-dunya),betweenspirit andmatter(al-ruh wal maddah). In the field of political sciencethe writings of the younger generationof scholarssuch as Saif uddin ~bd al-Fattah Isma'il and NasrMuhammad~rif are of significance.s SayyidYasin only sparedthe writings of ~bd al-FattahIsma'il asgenuineattempts to follow up the ideasof the eminentlate Egyptianpolitical scientist Hamid Rabi' in trying to searchfor indigenoussocial and political theories.6 According to ~bd al-FattahIsma'il, Westernsociological methodsand political conceptsare inappropiatefor analysingoriental societies. It follows from this rationale that conceptssuch as democracy,nationhood,the state and electionsare inadequatefor explaining oriental social and political mechanismsand are thus replacedby Muslim words suchas the umma,shura, and ijma'.7 lIlT publications in the Arabic languageare indeed abundant. There are numerouspublicationsof seminarsand compiledconferencepapers.As an interestingexampleonecould mentionthe papers of a conference entitled 'Towards a Contemporary Islamic Philosophy'8which comprisedpapersof specialistson Islamic philosophy but not necessarilyof those who advocateIslamization of knowledge.Figureslike Ibrahim Madkur and ~tif al-'Iraqi, whose 9 and who would be consideredas works are discussedelsewhere opponentsof the project of Islamization of knowledge,appearin al-'Iraqi presenteda paper on the possibility of this volume. ~tif modernizing the programme of Islamic Studies in Egyptian 144


universities.1O He advocatesthat turath (heritage)shouldbe desacralized becauseit is man-made.Heritage thus should be selectedand shouldceasedto be looked as somethingstatic. In the lIlT publication,Al- 'Iraqi stressesthat religion shouldbe at the centre. He argues that the scienceof kalam is taught at the Islamic universities in the same manneras Europeanuniversities. He puts the blameon the fact that the methodsof teachingare not different from Orientalistsin the WesternWorld. II He then stresses the scientific and rational aspectof teachingIslamic studies. At the sametime, the lIlT office in Cairo servesas" a bridgeto send Egyptianacademicsto Malaysiato teachArabic, Qur'anicsciences, sociologyand othersubjectsandhelpsto build contactsbetweenthe various tendenciesof the Islamists in Egypt and Malaysia.I2 For instance, the retired professor of Literature Abdel Wahhab alMessiri and the Cairo University political scientist 'Abd al-Fattah Isma'il lectured at the International Islamic University of Kuala Lumpur. The lIlT in Cairo also sendsacademicsto the USA. Suffice to mentionherethat amongthe most significantand prolific writers is Muhammed'Immara. In recentyearshe has written extensively aboutthe Islamizationof knowledge. The intellectualswho publishin the lIlT seriesaremostly famous public figures representativeof the Islamic movement.My criteria in selectingtexts that are of relevanceto my researchis either that these authors published in the lIlT series, or that they were cooptedinto writing independentlyon the Islamizationof knowledge. The Egyptian sociologist Hasanal-Sa'atiis a casein point. Thus, the texts which I deal with here say much more about the overall debates,tensionsand conflicts aboutIslam and secularismin Egypt than the specific channelspertainingto the Islamizationof knowledgedebate.

Someadvocatesof Islamizationin Egypt Ibn Khaldun, both in the East and the West, is consideredthe first sociologistever. The themeof Ibn Khaldunianmethodologyas an alternative indigenous means of understandingcontemporary Muslim societies recurrs in both SoutheastAsian and Middle Easternscholarship.This is associatedwith the needfor sociological theoriesthat derive from Islamic valuesand teachings13 as an alternative explanationof the functioning of the statein contemporary Muslim societies.The significanceof Ibn Khaldun in historical and socialstudiesandhow appealingit is to readhim is not to be denied, 145


bearing in mind the contemporaryMuslim reality. Nevertheless, such works seemto overstatehis theory of civilization as a focal point for modem Arab positivism, through which they enforce a Durkheimian interpretation. By undertakingsuch a project, they attemptto revealhis modernity.14They neverthelesssuccumbto the pitfall of denyingthe universalcontributionto the humanitieswhich followed after Ibn Khaldun. Put in the wordsof al-Jabiri, they transposeour centuryinto the time of Ibn Khaldun andthey thereforetie contemporarysocial scienceswith the samechainswhich hindered Ibn Khaldun from further elaborationof his project.15 Along with the thinkers mentionedabove,the prominentsociologist HasanEl-Sa'ati is an illustrative exampleof Islamizing knowledgein Egyptiansociology.HasanEl-Sa'atiis regardedas belonging to the first generation of Egyptian sociologists, who studied in England.He submittedin 1946 a thesison delinquencyand youth in Egypt.16 El-Sa'atihas written extensivelyon industrial sociology, on Ibn Khaldun and sociology,17and is one of the leading empirical sociologistsin Egypt.IS It was pointedto earlierl9 that Ibn Khaldun hasbeenan anchorto modemArabic sociology.To write treatiseson Ibn Khaldun becamea form of 'rite de passage'for many Egyptian sociologistsat the tum of the centurywho wantedto enterthe profession. Alain Roussillon pointed to earlier generationsociologists such as ~bd al-fuiz 'Izzat who wrote in 1932 a thesis on Ibn Khaldun and later publisheda study comparingIbn Khaldun with Durkheim.20 Also, MuhammedAbdullah Enan wrote in 1933 an excellentwork on Ibn Khaldun. He consideredhim as the founderof sociology; 'the scienceof human society', the first who proposeda new science(al-Umran).21 One could considerHasanEl-Sa'atias an extensionof such 'rites de passage'.The languageof Islamization appearsonly in Sa'ati'srecentworks, specifically with respectto the King Faisal award in Islamic Studies.22 Our prominent sociologist reproachesArab youth for cultural Westernization (which is a concreteproblem).He stressesthe needfor an Islamizationof social sciences,which shouldreceivesupportfrom variouseducationalinstitutions. He advocatesalso that the Islamic identity shouldbe emphasized.He blameshis generationof academicsfor adoptingimported educationalmethodsin the social sciences.Their fascinationwith the West has led to the loss of values accordingto El-Sa'ati. Here, he remindsus of the evilnessof the Westbecauseit teachessexualityand encouragesyoungstersto practiseit at a young agewhich contradicts 'our' philosophy. He concludesthat cultural colonialism, al-isti'mar al-thaqaji, was the major factor that led to changesin society. 146


In a recent study, EI-Sa'ati recurrently refers to the theme of 'Westerninvasion' and its impact upon youth.23 He warns against the importationof foreign goods,fashionsthat shapeyouth and the materialistic invasion. Cultural invasion according to EI-Sa'ati is manifestedin bookshopswhich import foreign books and contain 'revolutionary'destructivethoughts.Cultural dependencyis transmitted from teachersto students.According to him, the spiritual preachersof Westernculture constitutethe real danger,(he nevertheless does not tell who he really means by that). Here again, consumerismwhich canbe seenas a concretethreat,is interwovenin the languageof EI-Sa'atiwith the importationof booksandculture. He points to the fact that some of the publicationsof Arab professors are entirely copied from Western sources (which is not incorrect).24The solution for the protection of youngsterswould come through the appropriateeducation of the family, through preachersin the mosques,and better orientation of mass media. Muslim scientistsand philosophersshould be taught and popularized, since they are ignored in favour the expenseof Western philosophy.25The idea that Western philosophy is taught 'at the expense'of Muslim philosophysuggeststhat we aredealingwith two antagonistic subjects and reveals a great deal about EI-Sa'ati's emphasison the clash betweencultures. Unfortunately, EI-Sa'ati, with his major studiesin industrial sociology, seemsto be compromising himself in this recentstand.The West as the Otheris lumped togetheras one entity. The moral discourseof EI-Sa'atiimplies that cultural invasionis perniciousnot only in consumerculture but also in the arts, literatureand books.Doesthis total denunciationof the Westentail a bias againstyouth andyouth culture?26After all, social scientists in the West have interpreted the phenomenonof consumerismregardingclothes,as an outlet for deprivedworking class youth who are unable to purchasehousesor more durable goods. Could one read it a revealing generationalconflict of worldviews? Again, the discourseabout the intoxication of the West implies simplistic splits.

The spirituality of the Eastversusthe materialism of the West A common denominatorin the Islamist discourseis the issue of Easternspirituality and thus its moral superiority. The spirituality and strengthof the East has beena belovedthemeof Orientalists. From Henry Corbin to AnnemarieSchimmelto Michel Foucault's 147


journalistic articles on the Iranian revolution,27admirationfor the spiritual Eastis strongly presentin Westernthinking. Corbin'sand Schimmel'scontributionson aesthetics,arts, and mysticismare not to be underestimated.The extensionof this tendencyin the interpretationof history, accordingto al-Azmeh is to be found among earlierliberal thinkerslike HussaynHaykal who contrastedthe high spirituality, aestheticsand refinementof Easternman, versus the materialistand decadentWesternman.28 The only exceptionto this trend was TahaHusaynwho defendedthe West by arguing that 'It is not true that "the west is materialistic", as orientals think; its material triumphs are the productsof its intellect and spirit, and evenits atheistsare willing to die for their beliefs'.29To remind ourselves, Taha Husayn dedicatedto the theme of the spirituality a chapterwhich he named'The Materialism of Civilization and the Spirituality of the East and its Civilization' in his distinguished book The Future of Culture in Egypt.30 He vehemently argued againstthe danger,stupidity and the ridiculous stand,accordingto him, of such a simplistic vision of the West. To him it was most importantthat youth be protectedfrom false science(al- 'ilm al-kadhib) - deceitful and lying science- if one pepetuatedsuchvisions.3! We find analogiesamongIndian intellectualsat the turn of the last century. Partha Chatterjee,by providing a genealogyof Indian nationalism,analysesthe thought of Bankimchandra(1838-94) a novelist, satirist and an acclaimedman of letters in Calcutta. He brings up similar analogieswith the spirituality/materialismproblematic. I quotehim: The superiority of the West was in the materiality of its culture. The West hadachievedprogress,prosperityandfreedombecauseit hadplacedReason at the heart of its culture. The distinctiveculture of the Westwas its science, its technologyand its love ofprogress.But culture did not consistonly of the material aspect of life. There was the spiritual aspect too. and here the European Enlightenmenthad little to contribute. In the spiritual aspectof culture, the East was superior- and hence,undominated.32

One can contextualizethis intellectual attitude among Egyptian liberals as well as Indian intellectualsat the beginningof this century as part and parcel of a reactivenationalistthought. After all, colonial forces were physically present in Egypt and India. Spirituality and the superiorityof the Eastcould be understoodas a reactionto the inferiority complexwhich colonizedpeoplefelt in facing aggressivecolonizing forces and military defeat.Spirituality self-defencemechanism.33 Thereis no was then an understandable doubt that, today, the aggressiveNorth still exercisesa hegemonic 148


influenceon the South.It is no coincidencethat thosewho cultivate the spirituality/materialistEastlWestdivide arethe productsof long sojournsin the States.Easternspirituality is juxtaposedwith the materialism of the West. And here again sexual promiscuity becomesa focal issuein the EastlWestdialogue.

Abelel Wahhab al-Messiri 'Abdel Wahhabal-Messiri,a retiredprofessorof Englishliteratureat 'Ain Shams University, and editor of an Arabic language EncyclopaediaJudaica,is anotherof the advocatesof Islamization. He adoptedthe languageof 'Islamizationof Knowledge'in recent yearsasa reactionto beinga 'participantobserverof Americansociety for eleven years', he said. He earned his doctoral degree in English literature in the USA. In the Faruqi Memorial Lecture alMessiri brings up the primary evils of the West: Let megive you an exampleof Westernman'sattitude towardssexuality.This is an area that is always seenas an expressionof individual selfhood. But I suggestthat it is one of the mostfertile areasto seetheprocessof something as social as secularizationand to seehow it leavesa deep impact on western man. First of all, sexis divorcedfrom guilt, from any moral values,the meansfor merepleasure. Then it is divorcedfrom procreationas well, actually it is also divorcedfrom humanrelationships.I find that casualsex is the ultimate secularization of humans,for two humanbeingsto be engagedin a relationship that is generallysupposedin traditional culturesto be an expressionof something deeperthan the surface. But the duality is liquidated, and therefore it has to remain of the surface, contractual, well defined, highly scientific so to speak. It is definedin the terms of a pure physicalpleasure. The only criterion becomesefficiency in the performance. The logos imminent in matter here becomeseros,freed completelyfrom any humanmotivation.34

Here again we are faced with an evil, materialist, impure, secular, sexually promiscuousWest that implies as a counter figure a pure East.35 AI-Messiri's putting down of the Westfor sexualpromiscuity, reducibleto merephysicalpleasure,is not widely different from vulgarizedIslamistliterature.Thesedichotomies,sexualpromiscuityand spirituality, are used as a core argumentby scientistswho promote the Islamizationof hard sciences.It is a basicargumentativetool. I takethe exampleof the recenteditedpublicationof Abdelwahab al-Messiri's 'ishkalliyat al-tahayyuz' (The Problematic of Bias), which is publishedby the lIlT in Cairo in collaborationwith the Syndicateof Engineers,1996. This work is a compilationof articles in two volumes of nearly one thousandpages.The articles encom149


passthe fields of architecture,literatureand the conceptof the family from the perspectiveof Islamizationof knowledge.The volume includesformer Marxist writers (Amina Rashid,Sayyidal-Bahrawi), well-known academicsfrom the American University in Cairo, (Ferial Ghazoul), the Agha Khan Prize recipient in architecture (Abdelhalim1. Abdelhalim) and a youngIslamic feminist influenced by the Islamizationideology (HebaRa'uf). No doubt that the articles on architectureand literature related to the problems of the Third World are extremelyinterestingand enjoyableto read.Again, not all articlesdeal with the ideology of 'Islamization',but they are rathera continuationof Third-Worldist, dependenciaideology. AI-Messiri's article 'The Fiqh of Bias', 'fiqh al-tahayyuz',provides a theoreticalframework for the volume. He usesa religious term, fiqh, which is relatedto Islamicjurisprudenceto meanknowledgeor science.By doing so he religiosizesthe language,replacing science withfiqh. AI-Messiri expressedsevereresentmentaboutthe fact that he faceda seriousbias in the USA when he attemptedto publish his Ph.D. which was refusedby severalpublishers.36 Bias accordingto him, is faced by every Westernresearcher,whetheroriginating from the North or from the South. In particular, Third World intellectuals undergo the imposition of different civilizational and cultural models upon their instincts, thought and society. Since the late eighteenthcenturywith the spreadof the white man and imperialism, cultural invasion has occurred.37AI-Messiri sees that every societyentailsbiases,and the variouspopulationsstartedwith colonialism to give up their biaseswhich were derived from their own historicalrealitiesto adoptotherbiasesthat turnedout to be against them.38 By highlighting the variousbiases,al-Messiriwishesthen to establishthe foundationsof a new science. He usedthe termfiqh insteadof 'ilm to denotethe interpretative, ratherprobableand inventive aspectof knowledge,in oppositionto the word 'ilm that emphasizesthe aspectsof precision, certainty objectivity and finality. 39 By arguing so, al-Messiri seems to dismiss the fact that the Westerncritics of scienceand scientismhave earlier pointed to the question of biasesin science. To consolidatethe idea of bias in Western social sciences,al-Messiri quotes extensively from 'Adil Husaynto the effect that Westernsocialsciencesarebiased.By identifying the problematicof bias al-Messiri wishesto emphasizehow revolutionary his endeavouris.4o One could read al-Messiri's discourse as fragments of a Third-Worldist language. His critique extendsto progressand materialistWesternculture. No referenceis 150


made to Western thinking or Romanticism. Nietzsche's and Darwin's theories- the two figures most misunderstoodand cursed by the Islamists- are in the sameway Islamistssimplify them. AlMessiri again reproducestypically the samevalue judgementsand popular idioms about the 'superhuman',materialismand the survival of the fittest.41 This makesus wonder about the political significanceof a professorof English literatureborrowing an identical languagefrom populist ideology. What al-Messiri proposesas alternativeswhich will challengebias is to alter dressand furniture. AI-Messiri, like the Islamists,seemsto stresschangemainly of the outerappearance.He aspiresto a change in working hours so that they fit with prayer time. AI-Messiri believes that suitable working hours would begin after the fajr (dawn) prayersand to stop before the zuhr (here he alludes to the noon prayers).Sociallife would be undertakenafter 'asr and people would sleep after 'isha'.42 This is of coursean idealist impractical vision. Anyone who knows the city of Cairo would realize that its livelinesslies in its popularnightlife. Cairenes,especiallyon hot days prefer to stay outsidevery late. Al-Messiri passesharsh judgementson the middle class for its Westernised'salon',living room andutilization of space(althoughit could be said that the gold chairs one often seesin middle class salonsare a parodicalimitation of the FrenchLouis 'something',it hardly has anything to do anymorewith France).He considersthe French style of furniture as a Western model which should be replacedbecauseof the cultural bias it entails. However, this style has undergoneso much mutation through imitation to become,in my view, quite genuineEgyptianizedFrenchfurniture. After all, the imitation of Western-stylesalonsin Egypt hasexistednow for more than a century. Nevertheless,al-Messiri proposesthat peoplemake lower chairs and sit on the floor and carpetsand Kelims as alternativeaesthetic solutions. There are definitively no objections to the beauty of Bedouin and Egyptian carpetsand Kelims. Yet it is anotheraspect of the folklorization of culture that goesso well with the encouraging of tourism in Egypt. One could imagine that for the Egyptian middle classes,sitting on the floor and replacing the dining table with carpetsand the shorttablewould imply the 'SaudiArabization' of manners,which the Islamistshaveadoptedas a counterstyle. The short table, the 'tabliyyah' is traditionally used by peasants.It becamein recent years a fashionableitem in hotels, like the phenomenonof Westernerswearing'jallabiyyah' (the white robe), or the 151


baking of breadas a tourist attraction.Upper and wealthierclasses havesimilarly in recentyearsborrowedfolklorized traits which they reproducein the rest houseson beachresortsand farms. However, when peasantsgentrify after their return from oil-producing countries they would ratherbuy Westernstyle furniture so that they look like the people of the city. AI- Messiri's idyllic, 'imagined',oriental style is no doubtaestheticallyappealing,but symbolizingaspirations of gentrificationand socialascent.Theseaspirationsareno different from those of the older lower middle classes whoadoptedFrench armchairs. AI-Messiri, however, wants to construct identity with such artefacts.43 He wants to open the door of interpretation'lath bab al-ijtihad', for using or not usingchairsin the living room.44 AIMessiri's nostalgiatowards the beautiful past versusthe decadent present,which as HusseinAhmed Amin noted is a belovedtheme amongEgyptian intellectualsis most revealingwhen he speaksin this article about his childhood in the Egyptian province of Damanhur. He speaks nostalgically of playing with the kurah sharab,the ball madeout of worn-out sockswhich was the football of the children of the lower classesin Egypt. He saysthat this was the only time when classdifferenceswere eliminated.While today classdifferencesare surmountedwith isolating video games.45 One could only agree with al-Messiri's disapprobationof children's video games,but whether the ball made out of worn-out socks symbolizesclassequalitiesis a doubtful issue.But al-Messiri seems to forget that the wealthier classesin Egypt maintain anyway a separateculture. I am not passingjudgementon the beautyor the practicality of the sock ball, I am only concernedwith the fact that it is still and will be always 'socially' consideredas the gameof the 'poor'. Well-off intellectualslike al-Messiri can romanticizeabout the phenomenon,but would he really like his grandchildrento play today in the streetsof Damanhurwith the sock ball, or would he prefer that they shouldspendtheir time in one thosefancy clubs at the foot of the pyramids? AI-Messiri, similarly to many Islamizers, belittles Egyptian liberal thinkersbecausethey areWesternized.He undertakesthis in a more sophisticatedway becausehe puts into questionthe ritualistic understandingof religion andthe simplistic scientificationof the Qur'an, that roots all scientific discoveriesin the Qur'an. But then again,he reproducesthe sameargumentsof the Islamistsaboutthe political corruption, materialism and decadenceof the West. Messiri similar to the Islamists seemto undertakesuch a critique that goeshandin handwith a nostalgicromanticunderstandingof 152


the self. Nuclearexperimentson humanbeingsare mentioned.He concludeswith sentenceslike, the contemporaryWesternmodel of knowledgeis rationalist,materialist,interest-oriented,46 the West is not universalbut particular: severeresponseswhich are very legitimate, but not really that revolutionaryfor any Westerncritic. The only party he rescuesfrom the decadentWest are the Greensof Germany. He concludes that his aim is to deconstruct Eurocentrism.47 He thus proposesan alternativemodel 'heritage' (al-turath al-thati), the same claims that are advocatedby many intellectualstoday. Heba Ra'uf becameknown in recent years as a young Islamic feminist. She writes about the family from an Islamic perspective using extensive quotations from al-Faruqi. Ra'uf reproduces the samepremiseabout the deficiency of Westerntheoriesin political sciencesbecausethey ignored the unit of the family. She nevertheless, gives credit to sociology and anthropologyas scienceslooking at the phenomenonof the family. Secularismis againunder attack. She pleads for the revival of the family in Muslim society. Her propositionis an idealizedvision of what an Islamic family would look like. The Muslim family becomesthe solution to civilizational decadence.One can read her work as a moralistic tract. It would have been interesting to make an empirical study of the actual situationof the family in Egypt andits alreadydissolvingcharacteristics. Her work in fact lacks empiricalinformation aboutthe family in Egypt. An example of Islamization in political science

The young academicfrom Cairo University Nasr M. 'Arif embodies the discourseof Islamizationin the field of political science.Nasr 'Arif contributesan extensiveoverview of the Arab specialistson dependency.'Arif's thesis is that dependencytheories stem from Europeanthought and are thus not applicableto Muslim societies. 'Arif discredits dependencytheories becausehe argues Western social sciencesare not connectedwith Muslim reality. Westerntheories apply only to the West and imitation of the West is invalid.48 'Arif's criticism of the dependencytheoriesimplies a blurring of the classconflict and burningsocialquestionswhich were in fact the lively responsesundertakenby the dependencyschool. The pinpointing of the pillage of the North by the Southis to be creditedto dependenciatheories. One wonders about the 'Westernness'of a Samir Amin, a Furtado, an Andre Gunderfrank, or Immanuel 153


Wallersteinwho are all leadingworld-systemand dependencyintellectualsnever mentionedby 'Arif. Deficient as thesetheoriesmight appear,'Arif missesthe fact that the originality of the dependency theories was that they made a link between the poverty of the peripheryand the wealth of the centreand the pillage of the South by the North on a world scale.Whereunequaldevelopment,to use Samir Amin's term, is taking placein the transitionto capitalismin different regions in Europe, it takes a definitive shapein the nineteenth centurywith colonial expansion.While Wallersteintalks of capitalism as a world system, being articulated through an international division of labour. Dependencytheoriesoffered a genuine critique of Modernizationtheorieslike thoseof Lerner and Inkeles and this is preciselywhat 'Arif seemsto dismiss. The Third Worldist criticism against the pillage of the North, namelythat the Third World remainspoor throughthe pillage of the rich centre,with the help of the compradorbourgeoisiesand multinationalcorporationis absentfrom the discourseof the Islamizers. This is overlookedby 'Arif. Instead,'Arif brings up Islamic theories as alternative solutions. Onceit comes to Islam, it boils down to divinity andthe Qur'an as a sourceof knowledge.This is undertaken with an often repeatedattack on Orientalismand secularism.The solution is that institutions should be built on religious values. However, it is possibleto argue that both 'Arif and 'Abd al-Fattah Isma'il representthe youngergenerationof scholarswho might be facing once more a competition with an establishedfigure like 'Immarawho is mediaticandwrites extensivelyfor the establishment press.Although all threepublishat the ITTT in Cairo, they certainly differ in outlook, ageandpolitical ambitions.Both 'Arif and Isma'il representthe continuationof the Nasseritenationalistdiscourseinto Islam, within the confines of the tradition of the departmentof political sciencesat Cairo University.

Tanwir and Islamization Enlightenment(tanwir), dialogue (hiwar), human rights (huquq alinsan) are catchwords which have been on the agenda among Egyptian intellectualsand the Islamists since the nineties. Equally, much discussionabouthumanrights, took placein North Africa in relation to the fact that it witnesseda growing confrontationtherein 49 These recentyearsbetweenthe Islamistsandvariousgovernments. catchwordshave by no coincidencefiltered through. How these concepts, in particular tanwir, are disputed, appropriatedfrom 154


conflicting political factions and negotiatedby the Islamizers,the governmentand the secularistsis a subjectof concern.This section looks at how Tanwir has been blended in the discourse of Islamization. Let me first draw attentionto the associationsthat cometo mind in the contemporaryMiddle Eastwhen tanwir is mentioned.Tanwir for many Arab intellectualsbeganapproximately200 yearsago. The terms Tanwir and nahda, renaissanceare often used synonymously. Associatedwith this movement,are early Arab thinkers and intellectuals like Abderahmanal-Qawaqbi,JamalaI-din aI-Afghani, Salama Musa, QasimAmin, TahaHusayn,MansurFahmiandothers.Rifa'a al-Tahtawi (1801-1873), one among the first Azharites to study abroad,is today referredin the discourseof Egyptianmodernityas a founding father of tanwir. Tahtawi'ssojournin Pariswhich lasted five years(1826-1831)andresultedin his descriptionof the manners and customsof the French, is an epitome of crossingboundaries that brought togethertradition and modernity. His endeavoursin being a pioneerin translation,his perceptionof the Frenchleft a lot for thinking concerningthe 'Other'. Our Azharite becamea acute transmitter of French enlightenment.He read Racine, Condillac, Voltaire, Montesquieuand Rousseauand translatedMontesquieu's L'esprit des lois and Rousseau'sContrat social and somewritings of Voltaire.50 It is no coincidencethat 'Immara wrote a book on Tahtawi to define him 'the pioneerof enlightenmentin the modem age'.51 Here again, Tahtawi like other figures has becometoday a source of dispute and interpretation for the secularistsand the Islamic oriented intellectuals alike. Both camps however, use the sameandidenticalword to define Tahtawi, namelythat he was a tanwiri.

Likewise tanwir is associatedwith an awakeningthat was bound up with cultural and socio-political encounterswith the West, the spreadof secularinstitutions and the imposition of a new mode of life. S. Jalal al-'Azm arguesthat tanwir has sufferedharshattacksin recent years. Since reformism resulted from this movement, it seemedto be too problematicand too narrowly linked with nationalism. For him and many other secularintellectuals,the movement of tanwir sawthe birth with the tanzimatmovementin Turkey in the 1830s. The knowledge which the Ottomans had gatheredabout military and scientific developmentsin the West, accordingto al:Azm, was a crucial factor in shapingreformism. This went parallel with the formation of middle classeswhich encouragedreformist ideologies.52 The recent and somewhatnostalgic debateon tanwir, 155


was that betweenthe Syrian intellectual GeorgesTarabishiand the MoroccanacademicMuhammad'Abid al-Jabiri in the late eighties which appearedin a/- Yawm a/-sabi' in Paris. The dialogue, which was pursuedin the nineties in various other Arab papers,ended patheticallywith confessionalcondemnationsbetweenal-Jabiri and Tarabishi.53 For al-Jabiri, the movementof tanwir is seenas having beenimportedand imposedsincethe periodof the Frenchinvasion, an argumentwhich became fashionableamong many intellectuals once the issue of identity and cultural invasion is discussed.AlJabiri's argument bears similarities to Tariq al-Bishri's notion of dakhil, the 'intruder' in culture. Al-Jabiri seesthat conceptssuch as reason,freedom,equality, citizenshipand humanrights are alien to the Arabic language.Theseare all notions derived from European enlightenmentwhich accordingto him have not yet taken roots in the Middle East.54 Tarabishi,it was pointedout by al-Jabiri was a Christianby faith and consequentlynot entitled to criticize al-Jabiri's project of an inner reformationof Arabic thought derived from Islamic heritage and premises.Tarabishireplied to this offenceby insisting upon his secularstand.Al-Jabiri offendedTarabishiby insisting that he was not entitled to criticize him considering the fact that he never obtaineda Ph.D., and was not an academic.Tarabishirespondedby arguing that al-Jabiri's works contain seriousmisinterpretationsof Islamic texts, inappropriatecitationsand truncatedand out of context exegeses.The so-calleddialogueinstigateda wide reactionfrom various intellectuals from the Arab world. These skirmisheswere very revealingand they raisedseriousquestionmarks about future prospectsof dialogueamongthe supposedly'enlightenedandliberal intellectuals'themselves,let alone the mounting clash betweenthe Islamist and secularists. Second,it was argued that Arab enlightenmentis an imported movementandthereforehasnevertakenrootsin Arab societies.This argumentleavesa lot to be desired.Did not Enlightenmentin France owe immenselyto travel discoveriesand encounterswith other cultures?Travel accountsof missionariesto the Far East,India, Turkey, and Persiafor the caseof Montesquieu,activatedcritical thinking with a perceptivevision about the relativity of other cultures.The Orient becamea counter image, a mirror for self-critique and of difference. Should not the samecommentapply to the Egyptians who sojournedin Europeand observedthe mannersand customsof the Europeans?This said, the discourse over tanwir, similar to secularismis multi-layeredand overloadedwith the fight for a voice 156


againstWesternhegemony.Nothing is more discussed- in particular after the Rushdieaffair - thanthe issueof identity and hybridity, of culturesin the WesternWorld. While Westernizationandthe dangers of cultural invasion have become,in the last fifteen years, a much debatedtopic among Egyptian and Arab intellectuals,I am not putting the accenton hybridity at the expenseof the debateson cultural invasion. In fact, one has the impressionthat the hybridity discourseseemsto be parallel with mountingracismand parochialism in Europe. The sweepingpopular reaction, in the last referendum undertakenin Germanyagainstthe proposition of holding a doublenationality and might be taken as a casein point. For many Egyptianstoday, the word tanwir brings to the mind the official governmentcampaignover A hundredyearsof enlightenment which resulted in the reprinting of the works of the early nahda thinkers and which aimed at reviving the liberal epoch. Also, for many the postersof the paintingsof the caricaturistSalah'Inani on the history of cinema,arts and intellectual life in Egypt, which was issuedin 1990by the EgyptianMinistry of Culture becamea marker of tanwir. The poster revealedcaricaturesof 23 famous Egyptian artistsandintellectualssymbolizingaccordingto Armbrust, the 'ideology of nationalist modernity'.55 Armbrust called the poster a 'posterthat is a textbookdisplay of Egyptianmodernism'.56A modernismthat, accordingto Walter Armbrustseemedpositivist andevolutionary since'A Hundred Yearsof Enlightenmentis both an isnada chain of figures who transmitthe valuesof traditionalistpastinto the progressivefuture in the sameway that the companionsof the ProphetMuhammadtransmittedhis statementsto later generations - and a cultural heritage'.57 Armbrust seemsto minimize the impact of Inani's posterby alluding to the fact that its symbolswere hardly noticedor appreciatedin the popularsegmentsof society.But, is not this applicableuniversally to almost all artistic works and their limited impact upon the so-calledmasses?My observationslead me to arguethat the variousworks of 'Inani, on Egyptiancinemaand art (which appearedafter the Hundred Years of Enlightenmentposter), although perhapswith a restricteddistribution were much appreciatedamongliterary and literate circles in Cairo. They are often seen hangingin many offices of intellectuals.This is far from sayingthat they becamewell distributedand popular. The recentTanwir campaignwasundertakenasa reactivemeasure againstmounting oppositionalIslam. The discourseof tanwir was promotedfirst by secularintellectualsto counteractthe ideology of the Islamists.It was then borrowedby the government,as a form of 157


co-opting secular intellectuals, which instrumentalisedtheir discourseto face both the growing stateIslamizationrepresentedby the institution of al-Azhar and the opposition Islam. Enlightenment was meant to convey an antonym to 'dark' and 'fanatic' forces of Islamic fundamentalism.Tanwir becamesynonymouswith being 'progressive'and openmindedto new ideas.However,the useof tanwir seemsto have beenstretchedout to include various standsand public figures and include various streamsand counter streams. Today, many in Egypt associatetanwir with the official government discourse.For instance,sinceTantawi'sappointmentas shaykhof alAzhar, the pressqualified him an 'enlightened'shaykh,who fought underdevelopment,fanaticism and religious extremism. Tahtawi rhymeswith Tantawi as we are remindedin an article by the sociologist of the American University and director of the Ibn Khaldun Centre,SaadEddin Ibrahim who placedTantawiand Tahtawi on an equalfooting i.e. as tanwiris.58 After the last populationconference in Cairo, shaykhTantawi's position was interpretedas him having taken increasingly 'progressivepositions' on women's issues. He expressedseriousdisagreement with the thenlate shaykhof al-Azhar Gad al-Haq. Recently,Tantawi seemsto havefaced a strongenmity and oppositionfrom the variousothersegmentsof the institution of al-Azhar after he hasdissolvedthe al-Azhar scholarsFront. In fact, a lawsuit was filed againsthim by the scholars'Front who seemedto disagreewith Tantawi on the issueof earninginterestbank deposits which they consideras un-Islamic.59 The Front attainedin recent yearsa reputationof being the bastionof condemningintellectuals of kufr (disbelief). The Sorbonne-trained philosopherHasanHanafi was not sparedfrom suchattacks. Also there exists a gamiyyat al-tanwir (Association of Enlightenment)which was founded by the late secularintellectual FaragFoda who was assassinated in 1992 by the Islamists.It publishes a journal called al-Tanwir. It is today headedby SaadEddin Ibrahim.60 Interestingenough,the first deputy director of the journal happensto be the famous Egyptian tycoon Nagib Sawires.For many, tanwir provokesnegativeconnotations,it has becomeassociatedwith Napoleon'sconquestof Egypt. Tanwir is somehowaccompaniedwith the mission civilisatrice ideology. Not to forget that the recent commemorationof Napoleon'sinvasion to Egypt stirred heateddebatesin 1998 aboutwhethersuchan eventis worthy of so muchattentionin a countrylike Egypt that underwenta long history of British colonization.61 Would the Indians celebratethe date of British occupationof India? This questionwas raised by many in 158


relation to the French-Egyptianpost-colonial relations of the nineties. The issue was initially raised by the researcherof the alAhram centrefor StrategicStudiesNabil ~bd al-Fattahwho wrote in 1995 an article publishedin the al-Dustur paperwhen interviewed about the Egyptian-Frenchrelations. Opinions differed widely within one and the samecamp, be they leftists, or nationalistsand very little consensusabout the commemorationwas reached.The debatedid, however, generatean impressiveflow of articles in the Egyptianpressthat reachedthe impressivenumberof 86 between30 January1998 and 8 May 1998.62 Particularly controvertialwas the article of the philosopher, Fu'ad Zakariyya who compared the paradoxesof Napoleon'sinvasion as an encounterwith the 'Other' leading to self-awakeningwith the Egyptian campaignin Yemenin the sixties63 an article which stirred wrath in various circles. Furthermore,tanwir has beenin recentyearsunder harshcriticism since someconsiderthat the project collapsedas it was linked with Arab nationalismand the renaissancemovement. Tanwir has also beenadoptedby the Islamic trendto claim authenticityin respectto the seculars.Let us havea closelook at 'Immaraand seehow his discourse on tanwir might be identical to the secularsbut it entails entirely divergentaims.

Muhammad 'Immara A more important and influential figure for Egypt is Muhammad 'Immara, the editor of the works of Jamal aI-din aI-Afghani and (the two major Muslim reformists)which were Muhammad~bduh li-I-Dirasat wal-Nashr in published by al-Muasasaal-~rabiyya Beirut. Today he is consideredas one of the most prolific Islamic writers. While he was known in the sixties for his leftist leaningsin interpreting Islam, today, in line with the growing Islamization of former leftist intellectuals,'Immaraseemsto havebecomea staunch anti-Marxist. The caseof 'Immara is fascinatingin as much as he enjoys a wide audienceof readerswho are attractedby his populist writings that filter throughin the media.He hasaccessto the official pressand hasmadeavailable'Islamic heritage'accessibleto a wider Egyptian and Arab market as well as to non specialists.'Immara's simple and skilful Arabic style fills columns in newspaperson Islamic figures and Islamic movements.He enjoys the pardoxical status of being recognizedby governmentcircles and while dialoguing and communicatingwith the Islamic opposition. He is a popularmediatic figure and his positionsare polemical. One could 159


read his texts as 'reactive' vis-a-vis secularists.For example, his recentwritings consistof respondingto secularintellectualslike the and the Cairo university judge Muhammad Sa'id al-~shmawi philosopherNasr Hamid Abu Zayd. He recently wrote a book as a responseto the French philosopher convert to Islam, Roger Garaudy.'Immaramainly criticizedGaraudy'sdefinitions of funda64 mentalism (usuliyya) and contemporary fundamentalisms. 'Immara basically attacksGaraudy'sinability to rid himself of his former Marxist garb. This is certainly ironic from a former Marxist who himself has used at length conceptslike class and revolution, which he appliedto the shi'a andthe mu'tazila,andprogressandprogressivethinking in Islamic history. In fact he wrote a book titled Islam and revolution (ai-islam wal thawra),65, he definesclear class divisions between the few (khasha) versus the masses('ammah). Reading'Immara is somehowa puzzle becauseone has the impression that his terminology (more so in his late Islamist phase)has becomea patchworkof nationalistand Marxist jargon that is combinedwith a strongdenunciationof secularand Marxist intellectuals. Muhammad'Immara was born in 1931. He studied in a village Qur'anschool and then at al-Azhar university and later earnedhis doctorateat Dar-'Ulum at Cairo University. He was known for his leftist tendenciesand wrote extensively about the Mu'tazila and Islamic philosophy.66'Immara is an extremely prolific writer who has producedmore than 50 books and many articles. He edited twenty works by famousMuslim thinkers,including thefasl al maqal (The Decisive Treatise)of Averroes.67 'Immara'sextensivepublica68 Over the tions on Islamizationshouldbe takeninto consideration. last ten years,in the liberal- right wing newspaperal- Wafd, he has written regulararticleson 'Islamizationof Knowledge'as the alternative to materialistknowledge.69 'Immaraborrowsargumentssimilar to those promotedby Christian scientists,and by the Greens aboutthe ethicalimplicationsof science.'Immaraseesthat while the laws of biological inheritanceareuniversal,the political implications of geneticsmay vary. Thus, he pleadsfor a spiritual and pure East devoid of Westerndecadence. 'Immara launched a strong attack against the secularistsin a papergiven at the lIIT in Cairo, in 1993,70which appearedin a book in 1995. He pinpointedin particularthe fact that the government's publishingagencyal-Hay'a al-'Ammali-I-Kitab, embarkedon a project of reprinting old works in the series One Hundred Years of Enlightenment(al-tanwir), sold at inexpensiveprices (25 piasters).?! The collection entailed historical and intellectual figures such as 160


R. al-Tahtawi, aI-Afghani, Muhammad'Abduh, 'Ali 'Abd al-Raziq, Taha Husayn, Sa'd Zaghlul, Muhammad Husayn Haykal, and SalamaMusa. The serieswas titled 'The Age of TahaHusayn'.Taha Husayn is regarded in Egypt today as the symbol of Enlightenment.72 By undertakingsuch a project, the government aimedto opposethe obscurantists,i.e the contemporaryIslamists.73 In this paper, 'Immara attacks the entire project of popularizing TahaHusaynand the other liberal intellectuals. The governmentattemptedto popularizethe enlightenedintellectuals, as 'tanwiris', enlightened,but 'Immarawishesto demonstrate that thesethinkers are misunderstood.They are not secularists,but are rather critical of Western civilization. One could interpret 'Immara'sstandas 'reactive'againstthe government'authoritarianism' in imposingits notionsof culture, and in this caseits revival of a secularheritagein responseto the threatof the Islamists. 'Immara starts with al-Tahtawi (1801-73).74 According to 'Immara, Al- Tahtawi refuted philosophy in Westerncivilization as misleading.He referredto the atheisticbehaviourand the irreligiosity of the French.75 'Immara equally attacks the late Egyptian 'Christian',Luis 'Awad,76because'Awad believedthat Tahtawi translated the Code Napoleonnot in order to be adoptedin Egypt but ratherin order to take precautionsonceinteractingand trading with foreigners.It is importantto noteherethat'Awad wasa greatadmirer of al-Tahtawi as representingone of the first reformersof modern Egyptianthought,for his opennessto Europeanideas.'Awad sawhim asthe founderof the modernEgyptianpress.'Immarain this context wantsto religiosizeal-Tahtawiin orderto counteract'Awad'slecture' by arguing that at later periods of his life, al-Tahtawi increasingly mentioned the Islamic shar'ia. Furthermore, he argues that alAfghani'sreformistmovementshouldnot be consideredasoneof the tanwiris (since 'Immarachangeshis mind and considerssucha label to be negative).We haveto takeinto considerationherethat 'Immara in his earlier writings used tanwir in a positive, progressivefashion andacknowledged,exactlylike al-Azmeh,Tahtawi'sborrowingsfrom FrenchEnlightenment. 'Immara points to the fact that shaykh 'Ali 'Abd al-Raziq retreatedfrom reprinting his book77 in a secondedition. At the end of his life, accordingto 'Immara'sinterpretationof the nineties,the shaykhdid not haveanythingto do with the book, and it was Taha Husaynwho apparently,influencedhim negatively,a fact very much disputed. The comparisonbetween'Immara'searly commentson 'Ali 'Abd al-Raziq's book which appearedin 1972 and 'Immara's 161


later writings is most fascinating.78 Leonard Binder who analyses the 1972 commentarypoints out that 'Immara'sreadingof 'Abd alRaziq was in generalpositive, in spite of his major criticisms as a confusedand contradictorywork.79 In fact, 'Immara'searliercommentsrevealthat the book was first of all crucial as a political tract against British colonial powers. Second,it pointed to the misuseof the 'game'of the Caliphatefor pure political ends.'Immara'sattemptin the seventieswas in fact to rescue'Ali 'Abd al-Raziq and offer an 'objective' study (al-taqyyim al-mawdu'i) of his Islam and the Principle of Authority.80 Abdou Filali-Ansary recently edited in French the work of Raziq. FilaliAnsari revealedquite accuratelythat 'Immara'sinterpretationare his mereinventionsanda way of self justification of his own 'retreat' from secularismto the Islamist camp. 'Immarabeginshis exaggeration by stating that 'Abd al-Raziq was inspired by Satan.'Immara 81 It reproduceshereall the argumentsof 'Abd al-Raziqadversaries. was rather the total silence to which the shaykhwas reducedthat 'Immarawishesto discard. 'Immara directs strong attacks against Taha Husayn, who is regardedas the 'imam al-mughtaribin wa muqalidin al-gharb' (the Imam of Westernizersand imitators of the West).82 According to 'Immara, Taha Husayn'sdangerto culture was that he arguedthat the oriental mind is Greek.83 He insists nevertheless,that Taha Husayn respectedreligion and advocated that the state should respectreligion. 'Immaraoffers the examplethat in 1959 as part of the committeeof writing the constitution of Egypt, Taha Husayn arguedthat faith shouldinclude the entire holy book insteadof just partsof the Qur'an.With this remark,ultimately, 'Immarawishesto rescueTahaHusaynfrom completeculpability.84 For 'Immara,SalamaMusa becomesthe true symbol of negative secularism.85 SalamaMusa is viewed as a negative'collaboratoron the civilizationallevel'.86For 'Immara, SalamaMusa is portrayed as imitating the West blindly and he arguesthat Musa advocated that Egyptiansshould become'faranjah' (Westernized,a term also usedfor foreigners) and to despiseanything oriental.87 He quotes him out of context as follows: 'I am a kafir (unbeliever) of the Orient, mu'min (believer) of the West'88in order to attack him on the grounds of Western 'collaboration'.SalamaMusa's symbolic understandingof 'Asia' aslaggingbehindversusthe Westis debased and oversimplified here. 'Immara draws a connectionbetweenthe Orientalists'negativeusageof the word 'Islam' with the conceptof 'Asia' to make us believe that Musa is just as guilty as the 162


Orientalists. He concludeshis criticism with Jabir al-'Asfuri, the launcherof this seriesof inexpensivebooks, becausehe advocates that Egyptiansshould ceaseto searchin the past for an identity.89 'ImmaradefendsIslamism as being the real authenticilluminative project. In so doing, he juxtaposesthe advocatorsof rationalismas imitators of the West. There is a tendencyto see the secular-orientedcriticisms of the 'Islamization'debateas the reverseside of the samecoin. Indeed Abdallah Laroui appropriatelycontextualizedSalamaMusa as 'Ie technophile'90who, throughthe blind adorationof "science,is in reality a terrorist who refuses to see that science is not value free. However,it is also true that, as Laroui arguedin his introductionof l'ideologie arabe contemporaine,modernity and the relationship betweenthe Arabs has beencentredaroundthe questionof 'who is the otherandwho am 1'. Throughthis questionthe problematicand cloudeddefinition of what is the Occidentemergesas an antithesis of the Orient. It might appearantiquatedto discussSalamaMusa and TahaHusaynafter more than 70 yearsafter the publication of their works, but it seemsthat they have becomethe marker of the confrontationand the attackson thesefigures havemultiplied in the Islamist milieu. Through bringing up a few examples,my aim was to reveal how the Islamizersseemto reinterpretintellectualproductionof the 'liberal age'in a biasedmannerthat leadsto the purification of the past. It is a legitimate undertakingto criticize the Egyptian liberal age literati for their admiration of the scientific spirit of the West and their uncritical standvis-a.-visWesterndemocracywhich entailedthe separationof religion andpolitics which wasthe otherfacet of colonialism. Neverthelessthe writings of 'Immaraseemto conveya very negativepicture of a generationthat is today under attack by the Islamists.91 True, Taha Husayn did not overcomethe limit and failures of bourgeoisliberalismwhich werepointedout by Laroui.92As Leonard Binder puts it, ' ...writing from Paris,ProfessorMohammedArkoun of the Sorbonnecriticizes 'Ali 'Abd al-Raziq and Taha Husaynfor their naivetein believing that they might demystify two of the most significantcultural symbolsof Islam: the political role of the Prophet and the divine origin of Qur'anic rhetoric'.93 Nevertheless,Taha Husayn has becomethe target of an unjustified demolition of his legacyby the Islamists. 'Immarasuppresses the ideathat Husayn'sgreatendeavourwas to reform educationand that he demandedto democratizeeducation, 163


in times where biased and racist argumentsagainst the peasantry were prevailing among the Egyptian bourgeoisie.'Immara equally forgets that Husayn's conception of reforming education, as Hourani puts it, was a 'humaneone'.94 And if he was merely a westemizerlike 'Immaraand otherIslamizersclaim, they shouldequally take into considerationthat he like many liberals, as expressedin the words of Albert Hourani, 'were all mastersof Arabic style, with a Europeaneducation(English or Frenchas the casemight be) solidly groundedin traditional culture ... '95 and therefore no less credible than the Islamizerswho want to de-authenticate this entire periodof history. AI-~ah argued that the campaignagainstTaha Husayn and Ali 'Abd al-Raziqled to various results,namely: ... the emaciationof Islamic reformismand its stagnationfollowing its start and the internal degenerationof the stanceof the Egyptian secular liberals. These were related with the rise of an irrationalist movementthat was anchoredin Arabic thought in Egypt; the effectswhich are still alive in the slogansof 'al-'i/m wal iman' scienceandfaith which was launchedby Sadat.96

Two contradictorypoints of views within the confrontationcan be observed.AI-Azmeh perceivesthe secularlIslamistdichotomy as a form of 'terrorism' practised against secular intellectuals. Sayyid Yasin, Aziz al-Azmeh, Sadiq Jalal al-'Azm, Georges Tarabishi, Fu'ad Zaquariyya, Husayn Ahmed Amin and Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd expressedstrongworries and critical responsesof the Islamist discourse,including the so-calledIslamic liberals. On the other side of the spectrumTariq al-Bishri also expressedvery pessimisticviews aboutthe dialoguewhich he definedas taking the shapeof an 'intellectual war' where fanaticism and intolerencereign on both sides, where intellectual spying similar to that of a war situation is the method of communication between the camps. AI-Bishri directs harsh investigationsagainst Marxist and secularintellectualswho want to harm the Islamic trend.97 On the other hand, Fritz Steppat seemsto interpret the dialoguebetweenthe Islamists and the seculars which was publishedby 'Immarain al-hilal in September1990 as a positive stepentailing a possibleconsensusand reconciliation: In spite of their conceptof the state, the secular nationalists are not only acceptableas partnersin dialogue, sincethey did not departfrom the ground of Islam, theyarepreciselyneededas secularistsfor dialogueandcooperation in the cultural project of the umma. This seemsin fact, to be an igtihad, which attenuatedthe dialogue betweenthe Islamistsand the secularsand locatedit on a constructivelevel.98 (my translation)



'Immara and Tareq al-Bishri However, the tone of 'Immara's recent writings reveals rather violence and the impossibility to reconcilewith the secularists.In suqutal-ghuluw al-'ilmani, (The Fall of the SecularistExtremism),99 Muhammad'Immaradedicatesthe entire book as a virulant attack against the judge Muhammad Sa'id al-'Ashamawi (whose life is under threatfrom the Islamists).The title in itself implies a strong grudgeagainstsecularism.'Immaraaims to discreditthe patriotism of al-'Ashamawi,who is accusedof collaboratingwith 'Christian' 'Western' and 'secular' institutions. 'Immara discredits al'Ashamawi by arguing that his writings are appreciatedby Israeli circles in Cairo. 'Immaraattacksal-'Ashamawi'sinterpretationand raises questionsconcerning the collection of the Qur'an during 'Uthman (the third Caliph) and the standardizationof the text of the Qur'an; a point which al-'Ashamawi raised in common with Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd and earlier TahaHusayn.The attacksproceedto al-'Ashamawi'shistorical interpretationsof hadith,jiqh and other branches.They crudely simplify and discredit al-'Ashmawi's ideas. Thus al-'Ashmawi is presentedas having argued 'that the Qur'an containsmistakes',and that Abu Bakr (The first Caliph) violated the rights of the Prophet. In another publication, al'Ashamawiis defined as belonging to talamidh al-tanwir-al-gharbi al-'ilmani, (the studentsof the WesternSecularenlightenment).loo Such statementsappearjournalistic and inconsequentialbut are quite dangerousand seek to incite populist anger. If the curse against secular intellectuals begins with SalamaMusa and Taha Husayn,IOI it extendsto the contemporarywritings of the Husayn Ahmed Amin.102 Even the distinguished Egyptian philosopher HasanHanafi is not sparedsuchcriticism.103 'Immara'srecentantiMarxist standis mostevidentin a book 'The Marxist Interpretation of Islam'.104 He wrote this book as a responseto the Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd scandal. Although 'Immara clearly states that he is againstapplyingthe law of apostasyaswell as beingagainstdivorcing a husbandfrom his wife againsttheir will, the entire book is a dedicatedharshcriticism of Abu Zayd'swritings. 'Immaraseesthat the Abu Zayd 's scandalcould only harm the Islamic movement. Yet, while rescuing him from trial, divorce and death threats, 'Immaraseemsto adopta more subtle but equally hostile position in attackingAbu Zayd for his 'materialistMarxist interpretationof Islam'. 'Immaradoesnot denythe fact that he was himself formerly practising Marxism. He argues,however, that it is a materialistic 165


philosophythat deniesthe existenceof God.I05 It seems,then, that 'ImmararejectsAbu Zayd'sanalysisof the religious 'text' according to a materialistic socioeconomicinterpretation. Ironically, this is preciselythe endeavourwhich 'Immarahimself undertooksome20 years ago. While avoiding the witch-hunting attitude which the opponentsof Abu Zayd did, 'Immaraarguesneverthelessin a similar way like the opponents.'Immara seemsto stress that Abu Zayd'sacademicstandardsare unacceptableand that his works are full of mistakes.The book containsa chaptertitled qilla fi al-' ilm which could be translated as ignorance or hick of knowledge, addressingAbu Zayd's academicstandards.'Immara arguesthat Abu Zayd was ill-intended and ignorant, (su' al fahm wal niyah.) 'Immara's choice of language in designing Abu Zayd's works denotesa deeplyvengefulframe of mind. It is difficult to place Tariq al-Bashri in the same basket with 'Immara. Thosewho know him personally,acknowledgein him his great sensitivity, his dialogical skills in public meetings and his extremelyrefined way of listening and acceptingthe opponent 'Other'. He is not a historian by training, but a jurist. However, his studies on the nationalist movement,his numerousarticles in the Egyptianjournal al-Katib, andhis voluminouswork on the MuslimCopt relations under national unity, publishedin 1982, warranted him the reputationof a solid and seriousscholar.Thosewho have approachedhim are immediately attracted by his modesty and appealing personality. One is nevertheless,confronted by the dilemmathat his recentwritings, in particularafter his shift towards Islam as an ideology, might not be so unprejudicedin dialoguing with the other. This is where perhapsal-Bishri might sharesome political positionswith 'Immara.In his recentbook on the secularIslamist dialogue (al-hiwar al-islami al-'ilmani, Cairo, Dar alShuruq, 1996), al-Bishri usesthe term muhakat,taqlid (imitation of the West) to denotea key problem in the interaction betweenthe East and the West. Although the book starts with promising premisesfor dialoguebetweenthe secularsand Islamists. He seems to insist that the two concernedcamps (the Islamists and the seculars)are in fact not engagedin dialoguebut rather in the selfperpetuationof often repeatedarguments.AI-Bishri reversesthe argumentsof the secularists.Secularismwas imported (wafid) from the West. AI-Bishri challengesthe idea that historically secularism appearedwith the beginningof the nahdaand reformistmeasuresat the beginning of the nineteenthcentury. Muhammad 'Ali Pasha undertookmany reforms in the economy,educationand the infra166


structureof the state.The moderninstitutionsthat werebuilt during the era of Muhammad'Ali Pasha,the founder of modern Egypt were shut down after him and the studentswho were sentto Europe were orientedtowards technical sciencesand very few for instance studiedhumanities.The few institutionsthat remainedservedfor the politics of dependencytowards the West. However, where he disagreeswith the secularistsis his point that the Pasha'sreformismwas part and parcel of belongingto the realm of the Ottomanempire. He remindsus that the Pashafought severalwars under the orders of the SublimePorte.Whenhe rebelledafterwards;it was still within the internal realm of the Ottomanempire. Second,that the duality in the systemof educationappearedmuch later than the times of Muhammad'Ali. Furthermore,reformismwas linked with the overwhelming of the Islamic shari'a as a frame of referencefor laws, and the notion of political belonging to the Islamic community. Muhammad'Ali lived and died as an Ottoman Muslim, and the cultureof his time wasmainly an Arabic-Islamicculture.106 By arguing so, al-Bishri wantsto reconstituteand emphasizethe 'Islamicity' of the Ottoman realm and the persistenceof the Islamic element with modernization. AI-Bishri concludesthat dialoguewith somesecularintellectuals is uselessbecausethey havebecomea Westernizedstratum(al-fi'a allati tagharabat) and they have retreatedfrom the roots of their nation (ibta'adat 'an juthur umatiha). The alienationof the secular intellectualsis comparablewith that of colonial settlersin Africa and the French 'colons' of Algeria. He seesthem as a colonizing, elite community 107 who mainly function within American-European framesof reference.One wondersif the analogybetweenEgyptian secular intellectuals and the post-colonial Westernisedelites is sound. Mter all, post-colonialMrican elites were ruling classesof businessmenand politicians. While the majority of Egyptian intellectualsbelongto rathermarginalizedmiddle classes.Here againthe secularistsare discredited as 'alien', in contradistinction to the Islamists being 'authentic'. AI-Bishri hardly transcendedin his argumentationany of the dilemmashe pointedto, regardingthe possibility of dialogue. The authenticity discourse reminds us of the relationship of Germanintellectualswith Frenchculture.Therearein fact analogies to be drawn with the Germanromanticmovement,which found an audiencewith its moral and economic crisis at the end of the eighteenthcentury.The movefrom a cosmopolitan,French-oriented culture to a nationalistone went togetherwith the romantic move167


ment, which returnedto the valuesof an idealist, GermanicReich and mystical culture. German nationalism provided arguments about the pure uncontaminatedlanguage;they were the real people of God becausethey were not contaminatedby externalinfluences. The discourse of authenticity and imported values prevailed betweenGermanyand Francebecauseof the impact of the French Revolution amongGermanintellectuals.108 The life and writings of the German Romantic Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) delineate a certain ambiguity in that he was marked as a go-betweencultures andin translatingone'scultureto another.Heine'sgazeat his French neighbourswas an act which was inherently meantto reflect upon 'his' Germanyfrom a counter-imageperspective.He often counterpoised his homelandto Francewhich cost him the price of being taxed for 'inauthenticity'. Heine's de I'Allemagne is an instructive work written in Frenchon Germanculture, religion and philosophy which was meant to be read by French audiences.When Claude Roels wrote the introduction of the 1979 edition he reminds the reader that Heine was assistedby French friends in writing the Frenchtext. Roels, points to the fact that there exists certain omissions and variations betweenthe Germanand the French text. A possibly consciousomission that reveals Heine's sensitivity to the varying audiences.In fact, his play on that difference, his comparativevision is what constitutedhis strength.Not by coincidence, after having failed to obtain a professorshipin Germany, Heine chosewillingly in the secondpart of his life to live in France.He was not the only German to chooseFranceas a land where political freedom was better respectedthan in Germany. In Paris, a close friendshipbetweenhim and Karl Marx, who was alreadyconsidered a dissidentintellectual in Germany,cameabout. Heine was subject to defamationsfor being a false Jew (sincehe was of Jewishorigin), a false Germanor rather an anti-Germanand a false Frenchman who was attackedfor having borrowedfrom Frenchculture merely the art of persiflage.109 Here again the issueof inauthenticityis at stake.Heinebecamea kind of an exemplarfor manycritical German emigresintellectuals.In fact he was rediscoveredor read againwith the 68 student movement in France and Germany. Certainly, drawing analogiesbetweenEgypt and Europecould be very instructive in realizing that the fight over intellectualismand dissidenceis universal. It seemsthat accusingtrenchantpolitical opponentsof betrayingtheir own culture and nation is a recurrentthemeregardless of cultural specificities. But what is then so specific about the Egyptianscene? 168


'Immara and the time factor In recent years, Averroes, Ibn Rushd,110 the Commentator of Aristotle, hasbecomea targetof attacksfrom fundamentalistswho by insulting him attemptto underminephilosophy.Concerningthis point Dominique Urvoy says the following: 'He (Averroes) was describedas mutafalsif- a term on a par with Berkeley's'minute philosopher',andon theselines wasconstructedthe term mutazindiq meaning 'mediocre heretic'.III The ideas of the philosopherand jurisconsult,born in Cordobain the twelfth centuryhavebecomethe battle field where contemporary secularism and rationalism is fought. Perhapsit is becauseIbn Rushd was subject to political mistreatmentand exile in a small town the majority of whoseinhabitants were Jews,and perhapsalso becausehe had more followers in the West as the Latin Ibn Rushd than in the world of Islam that today such facts take a political dimension in the discourse of Islamization.Scholarspointedto the fact that Ibn Rushdhadamong the Jewsa different receptionand interpretationthan in the Muslim milieu. It is perhapsthis ambiguity that makesthe location of this philosopherso crucial for the Islamizers.To remind ourselves,when Renan wrote his work on Ibn Rushd in 1861, it was basedupon Latin and Hebrewtranslations.Perhapsit was becauseRenaninterpretedIbn Rushdas a 'free thinker' that the contemporaryIslamists feel that they shouldreverseRenan'sarguments.1l2 Also, Renanhad a racist vision of Islam, claiming that it hinderedprogressin the Orient, and that it did not deservethe sameimportanceas Greece, Ancient India or Judea.The fact that AI-Mghani rejectedhis ideas complicatesmatters.This explainsSeyyedHosseinNasr'srefutation of Ibn Rushdas a 'free thinker', as a reactiveposition. I do not intend to undertakean exegesisof Ibn Rushd. In fact, Anke von Kiigelgen'sexcellentwork on the modernreceptionof Ibn Rushd in the Arab world is worth to be mentioning in this context.ll3 I would insteadlike to emphasizeagainhis appropriationof different ideological manoeuvres.Today in the Muslim world, Ibn Rushdhasbecomethe battlefieldwherethe Islamistsarefighting the secularists.It is no coincidencethat Egyptian film director Yussif Shahin, whose recent film has been bannedby al-Azhar, recently produceda film on the life and strugglesof Ibn Rushd.Muhammad 'Immara's relationship to Ibn Rushd is another good example of changingAverroist interpretationsaccordingto the Zeitgeist.Anke von Kiigelgen analysedMuhammad'Immarainterpretationof Ibn Rushdand the differing political orientationsfrom the sixties to the 169


eighties. According to von Kiigelgen, in the late sixties 'Immara belongedto the group of 'rationalist Salafis'.114 Ibn Rushdwas for 'Immaraa mediumto renewArabic thought.I IS It is interestingto comparethe writings of 'Immarawith regards to the 'time' factor. I will attempt to compare two articles by 'Immara on Ibn Rushd, one published in the Marxist oriented Egyptianal-tali'a 116 in 1968, and anotherin the journal islammiyat al-ma'rifah (Islamization of Knowledge), published by the InternationalInstitute of Islamic Thought in Cairo, in 1995). It is interesting to note the shift, if not the 'volte-face',117 of some argumentswhich obviouslyhaveto do with the life cycle of an intellectual biography. Von Kiigelgen's study of 'Immarais a comprehensivestudy of all his major publicationson Ibn Rushd.Her study however,was published in 1994 and doesnot includes 'Immara'srecentarticle in the Islamization of knowledge series,which I would like to highlight here.In his al-tali'a article 'ImmarareadsIslamic history in termsof forcesof progressversusforcesof conservatism,a quite popularidea at that time amongMarxist and Arab nationalistintellectualsof the sixties.118 'Immarathereemphasizedthe significanceof rationalism in Islam, a point which appearsconstantlyin his late writings. Ibn Rushdis interpretedas a prominentexampleof authenticrational thinking in Islamic civilization (al-fikr al-'aqli).119 as having attemptedto combine Greek philosophy with religion. Wisdom is amalgamatedwith shari'a, (the canonicallaw of Islam, shay' meaning the revelation,a term which 'Immaramight haveuseddifferently in the late sixties from the eighties and nineties). Shari'a becamea point which is elaboratedin 'Immara'slater writings, but given a greater emphasis and with a different meaning. For 'Immara, philosopherslike Ibn Rushdplayeda paramountrole in pushingthe 'wheel of development'(a sloganwhich was very much appreciated in the Nasserera).120Ibn Rushdcombinedthe relationshipbetween thoughtor theory (al-fikr) with praxis ('amal).121 'Immarasaw that: Ibn Rushdhada clear and decisiveposition in that struggle ('Immara means the struggle against the reactionary church in Europe and the inquisition, to use his language) '" for he stoodon the side of the secular rational Arabic 122 civilization against the clergy and backwardness.

It is preciselythe secularismof Ibn Rushd,so stronglypraisedin the sixties, which was cursedin the nineties.123 Secularismwas thus in the ninetiessupersededby the 'divine', and by Ibn Rushd'sreligiosity. The misreadingand misinterpretationof Ibn Rushdby the Arab 170


secularistsis in fact the major line of argumentationdevelopedin 'Immara'slatest article. Ibn Rushd becomesthe medium to attack the early secularists.'Immara'sgrudgeagainstthe secularthinkers124 who read Ibn Rushd extends to condemningthem as agents of 'imported'and imperialist powers.'Immaraseesthat there is a bad intention, 'su' al-than',125 in the modem reading of Ibn Rushd. 'Immara usesthe term 'al-hawa' (emotions,moods)126to describe the way Ibn Rushd was interpretedby the secularists.He blamed them for their limited perspective.Scholarsoverstatedhis importancein readinghim as an interpreterof Aristotle, conferringupon him an intermediaterole betweenIslamic and Greek philosophy. Othersexaggeratedthe Greekaspectof Ibn Rushdand the rationalist aspect 'aqlaniyyah' (rationalism) versus the 'naql' (copying or transmission).127'Immaraemphasizesagainthe notion of 'aql (intellect) in Ibn Rushd, as an intrinsic Islamic wisdom, urged by shay'. 'Immara reversesthe argumentof the Latin Ibn Rushdians,whom he seesas having understressed divinity (al-'inaya al-ilahiyya, divine grace)in humanaction. 'ImmarareadsIbn Rushdasopposingmaterialism and positivism.128 For 'Immara,Ibn Rushd'srationalistwisdom cannot be divorced from shari'a (divine shari'a). 'Immara arguesthat Ibn Rushdwas misreadbecausehis idea of the 'intelligenceof instinct' is at the expenseof the 'shari'a' .129 It is piety in the article of the ninetieswhich is thus stressed.Ibn Rushdwas viewed as a pious man who combinedfaith with reason.One can trace a similar position in the writings of SeyyedHosseinNasr who sees that the imageof Ibn Rushdas a 'free thinker' is basicallyan image of him as an Occidental.Ibn Rushdwas a piousmanwho combined faith with reason,especiallyin fasl al-maqal (The DecisiveTreatise, or in FrenchDiscoursDecisif).130 We are told that the 'Christian' Lebanese Farah Antun (1874--1922),whenhe publishedan essayon Ibn Rushd'sphilosophy which appearedin 1903 in Cairo, was among the first Arabs to restorehim and to tackle the questionof separatingsciencefrom religion. This led to a controversybetweenAntun and 'Abduh.l3l Notice here that FarahAntun is challengedby 'Immara as a secularist, 'materialist'Maronitewho misreadIbn Rushdandinterpreted his philosophyas materialist,groundedin science.132The Egyptian philosopherMurad Wahbais labelleda 'Marxist', and a 'Copt' and is not rescuedfrom suchfault-finding responses. 133 Murad Wahbais attackedfor his secularand rationalist readingof the philosopher. He subduesreligion to reasoning.The followers of FarahAntun are today accordingto 'Immara performing a Caesareanoperationon 171


Ibn Rushd.They disguisethemselvesand createan epistemological break with Islam. 'Immara attacks Farah Antun, as the first Maronite Arab intellectualwho transmittedthis 'false idea'- under the colonial authorities- of replacing the 'complete or extensive Islamic model' with the positivist, secularistmodel.134 In relation to this topic, Murad Wahbapointedin his book on enlightenment,to the most recent publication of al-ha'ya' al-'ammah li/-kitab of the work of Antun on Ibn Rushd. A publication that was meant to counterbalancethe wavesof terrorismandextremism.Wahbadraws a critical remark concerningal-ha'ya's recent publication, namely that Antun's original introductionwas omitted due to the fact that Antun preachedthe disunionbetweenstateand religion a point that seems to frighten the regime. Also the dialogue that occurred between'Abduh and Antun was omitted.135 Is not this sufficient evidencethat government's'enlightenment'from 'above'is not without restrictionsand censorship?Indeed,it is matchingwith the logic of reversingthe argumentsbut with identical meansexactly like the 'dark' and fanatical opponentsthey are fighting. By now, it hasbecomeclearthat the Egyptianparticularity,entailing the Islamist-secular antagonism, is perpetuated in the Islamization of knowledge discourse.Messiri, 'Immara and other Egyptianintellectualsuse the 'Islamizationof knowledge' language to ride on the heateddebateon authenticity and the 'imported'. Islamic philosophy and heritage becomesa battlefield on 'who' decidesupon the legitimate and 'right' interpretationof texts. The dialogueandconferencestaking placeat the lIlT is undertakenwith Azharis amongothers.As said earlier, the Cairo office has become an outlet for the youngergenerationof academicsanda doorwayfor academicexchange.In contrastto al-Attas'sendeavourto createa grandioseinstitution which is backedby the regime, the lIlT office in Cairo is the outcome of personal and 'family' efforts. The Egyptian governmentperceivesthe office with suspiciouseyesand has attempted recently to marginalize and restrict its activities. Reading'Immara'srecentwritings asmirror texts, vis-a-vis the secularists, tells us that the recentdebatesin Egypt aboutenlightenment, tanwir which were mainly promoted by government circles to counteractthe Islamic opposition have sharpenedthe dichotomy betweensecularintellectualsthe state and the Islamists. The fight over inclusion (of the Islamic camp) is undertakenwith a bitter attack on the secularsin a mannerthat leavesa lot to be desired concerning tolerance, acceptanceof the 'Other'. Essentially, 'Immarawants to provide an authenticenlightenmentvis-a-vis the 172


inauthenticsecularversion.It is somehowan inversedemarcheto the notion of 'authenticotherness'136on the other hand, The Islamic camp wants to reveal that there is a close relationshipbetweenthe governmentand the 'irreligious' intellectuals.A statementwhich is not totally invalid; given the fact that there is a tactical coalition betweensecularintellectualsandthe state.It is possibleto arguethat in recent years, the antagonismbetweenvarious campshas led to harsh condemnationsthat created boundariesand definitions of eithereminentlypolluting and contaminatingthe foe or over purifying the friend. This becamemore so evidentconcerningthe possibility of dialoguewith Israel and the Israeli peacemovementand those from the Arab side who have taken initiatives along that road. Inclusion-Exclusionof the other is also taking the shapeof a fight over who has the sacral commandmentand final judgementover religious texts, historical figures and symbols.




AI-Ghajw al-ThaqaJi, 'cultural invasion', has become one of the main topics on the agendaof Arab intellectuals.The term cultural invasionis constantlyusedby intellectual circles on the left, by the representationof the establishmentIslam like the al-Azhar and by the Islamistsin Egypt. No doubt,in the last threedecadesmost societies have been facing the seriousproblem of 'Americanization'of habitsand culture. A similar debatetook placeamongFrenchintellectualswarningof the dangerof AmericanizingFrenchsociety.The fear of being 'colonized'tells us that perceptionsof an invasion of values and norms is not only an Arab or Islamic obsession.Such apprehensionshave beenequally expressedby Latin American and SoutheastAsian intellectuals.The terms'cultural invasion','cultural imperialism','cultural colonialism'dateback to the premisesof the dependencia discourse.Today,cultural invasionis a phraseusedrandomly and recurrently. American hegemony,through economic and military interventions and the backingof conservativeregimes,has certainly shaped the internal politics of many Third World countries.The changeof valueseffectedthroughthe influenceof massmedia,Americantelevision programmesandconsumerism,haveindeedshapedtastesand visions in a rather negativeand destructivemanner.1 Consumerism in itself might havebeenseenas a liberationfor the working classin Europe,or ratheras a temporaryimaginaryreplacementof the middle class dream. The 'liberation' of participatingin the culture of shoppingmalls, of 'dressingup', and displaying the body as alternativesto middle classsocial climbing could hardly be comparedto the situation in most Third World countries, where the 'fat cats' and the new financial 'tycoons' have the greatest share in the world of consumption. Nevertheless,it still poses a threat



to Third World countries where pauperizationand the majority of the have-notsare sti1lliving below the povertyline. The have-nots can only participatein massculture through the passivereception of television images.It is thus legitimate that intellectualsexpress worries. One should perhaps add the Egyptian specificity. Egypt has witnessedin the last yearsa changein dresshabits, with the 'Saudi Arabization' of Egyptian society through the large-scalemigration of peasantsthat startedduring Sadat'sregime.A largesectionof the middle class, consistingof teachers,techniciansand doctors, also migrated to the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian style of dress (in particular the white transparent jallabeyyasas distinct from the popularEgyptian type), the Islamic shoppingcentres,the spreadof Islamic attire were new phenomena in Egyptian society. In recentyearsit has beenobservedthat there exist different Islamic attires, ranging from expensive bourgeois upper class dressesthat could be seen by middle class women frequenting international hotels, to very modest black robes that cover the face. Besides that, the Islamic groups offered during Sadat'stime inexepensiveIslamic dressesfor poor students.The scandal of Islamic investment banking and the phenomenonof Saudi Arabian citizens spending the summer in Egypt, which encouragedprostitution and quick money-making,were seen by some social scientistsas a new form of cultural invasion. The real estatemarketin summeris transformedby the prospectof the lucrative 'rentedflats' aimed at Saudisand Gulf Arabs which drive up prices. All of thesewere phenomenaof the oil boom era in Egypt. 'SaudiArabization'and at the sametime Americanizationof tastes and habitswent handin hand. It is interestingthat 'cultural invasion'is only seenas the invasion of Westernthought,while the Americanizationof Egyptian society coincidedwith the statewithdrawing from its public functions and leaving citizens to searchfor individual solutionssuch as migration to the Gulf countriesor resortingto religion. Many social scientists warned of the growing individualism that resultedfrom the open door policies launchedby Sadat. Whetheror not thereexistsa threatthroughthe Americanization of behaviour,our concernhere is how the themeof cultural invasion is utilized ideologically. It seemsto us that the misuseof the term disregardsthe subtledistinctionson the level of massculture in the society.



However, the term cultural invasion, like many ideologiesand concepts has been used reversibly. For instance, the al-Azhar religious institution in Egypt uses 'culture invasion' to demonize intellectualsand to sanctionartistic works, as in the censoringof the film of Yussif Shahinal-Muhajir (the migrant, l'emigre). This was censoredon the pretext that the film contradicts religious values. When Shahin'slawyers, supportedby severalintellectuals, presentedconvincing argumentsabout the crucial significanceof his film, the al-Azhar lawyer replied that the film was financed by so called 'dubious'Western(French)sources,aiming by this to put into question Shahin's 'authenticity' and 'Egyptianness'.2AlAzhar also usesthe term againstthe proposalsto reform both the religious and seculareducationalsystemwhich is facing an acute crisis in Egypt. The term 'cultural invasion' is in fact usedconfusingly. On the one hand,one could only agreewith Samir Amin's Eurocentrismin his definition of cultural hegemonyof the West and the marginalization of Third World intellectualsand national cultures in the discourseof globalization.But quite often the discourseof dependency and Third Worldism is today confusedwith a vagueunderstandingof a notion of cultural invasion.3 Thosewho usethe term seem to be the beneficiariesand the most instrumental once it comes to using Western technology such as microphones in mosquesand hi-fi records and telepreaching.Shaykh Sha'rawi's successcould mainly be understoodas one of the main revolutionary outcomesof television. For many Egyptians watching him regularly and passively is equated with performing a religious ritual. The Islamists seem to be successfulin running computer shops,and driving high statusMercedescars which they decorate with Qur'ans. While acceptingtechnology and consumerism,the chargeof cultural invasion is thus levelled at the domain of the intellect. This is an old and repeatedpatternfound in the practice of a lot of Arab intellectuals early this century, who wanted to selectfrom the West only its technologywithout the spirit and philosophy behindit. One might ask perhaps,whetherin recentyears either Egyptianor Western'culture' haswitnesseda corruptionby vulgar tasteand an alarmingdeteriorationin the nationaland religious system of education. Intellectuals today in Egypt wonder aboutthe collapseof academicmoralsand the total devaluationof intellectualwork. Thereseemsto exist no antagonismin the fact that the term cultural invasionis usedby the leftist-Nasseritecoalition al-tajammu'. 176


It is often mentionedin Friday sermonsin mosques,to debasethe

West as a great devil. The jargon also circulatesamong Islamists, researchersand in university circles. Orientalists and Western researchcentresin Cairo are lumped togetherunder the rubric of 'cultural imperialism'.One hasthe impressionthat everythingthat went wrong in Egypt is attributed to cultural invasion, with the implication that this is a fate to which simple Easternersare subjectedto with placid complaisance.A notable critic of this trend was the late Dominican father GeorgesChehataAnawati4 of Egypt, who was an eruditescholarwho wrote extensivelyabout al-'Iraqi, Muslim philosophy and mysticism. According to ~tif Anawati was very keen to defend the positive achievementsof Westernculture, refusing what 'semi-intellectuals'would define as 'cultural invasion'. Indeed, Anawati warned researchersagainst simplistic attacks on Orientalism, and argued that: 'The person who has a good stomachis not afraid of eatingeverything,opening up is a necessitywhile closing to other cultures is death'. He was similarly very careful in avoiding simplistic comparisonswith the impact of Islamic culture upon Westerncivilization.5 Sadiq Jalal AI-~m bitterly criticized Arab writing concerning 'cultural imperialism' in that it is corneredin an empty language. He sarcasticallypointed to thosewho attributecultural hegemony as dating from the times of ProphetSolomon.He discernsin such a discoursea languagesaturatedwith simplistic anti-imperialistic argumentswithout reflecting any clear materialist critique of the reasonsthat led to Westerncultural superiority. Furthermore,no seriouscritique of capitalism and capitalist culture is given. The term authenticity, asaia, then becomes a metaphysical saying divorced from time, space and any historical transformations. Therefore,no wonder that institutions promoting the ideology of 'cultural invasion' are those which adopt the ideology of asaia, authenticityand the return to the pure traditions. The apologetics of cultural invasion expound their view that everything which belongsto the movementof history and modernityis exportedand constitutesan invasion of the real authenticEast. This is unfortunately accompaniedby a disdain for the Arab citizen and the universal rights related to citizenship. AI- ~zm reverses the argumentby pointing out that one of the most dangerousaspects of today'sArab world is that 'cultural imperialism'is adoptingthe dress of nationalism; it expressesitself in high Arabic language. The blameaccordingto him shouldnot be restrictedmerely to the Westernmassmedia and the impact of the Zionist agencypress177


as Arab populist discourseproposesto us - nor is it a questionof the spreadof modernity. It is rather the deeprooted malfunctioning anddisorderedstructurein our cultural and scientific life which needs to be faced head on.6 The authenticity discourse is the reverseside of the phenomenonof globalization which has been createdby the West. GeorgesTarabishihasusedthe samecritique to describeviolent anti-Orientalistreactionsas a form of 'mental neurosis',egocentricity and equally the perpetuationof an inferiority complex towardsthe West.7 He characterizesa generalfeeling of failure and repressionamongArab intellectuals,a failure that demandsa disturbing purification from everythingWestern.8 Tarabishiis ironic about the fact that whereasOrientalistshave, for instance,discovered the significanceof the 'Book of Songs','Kitab al-aghani', of Abu aI-Faragal-Isfahanias one of the mostimportantturath 'treasures', the 'authenticators',in a reverse reaction would deny its authenticityandvalue for the Arab culture.9 The samewould apply to the works of Ibn Khaldun, which were discoveredin the West and should thus be devalued.The impact of Greek culture upon Islam is understoodas a form of invasionwhich requires'purification' from authenticculture. Thus, accordingto them,philosophers suchas al-Kindi, al-Farabi,Avicennaand Ibn Rushdare againnot authenticto Islamic culture sincethey offer an extensionof Greek philosophywhich is understoodundertheir light as having affected Islamic civilization negatively.For themthe creatorsof real Islamic philosophyare the theologiansand the fuqaha'.10By bitterly criticizing the writings of the EgyptianphilosopherHasanHanafi who advocates a left Islam, and other intellectuals including the Egyptian economistGalal Amin and the Moroccan philosopher M. ~bid al-Jabiri,11 Tarabishidepictsthe inherentcontradictions of the 'salaft' discourse.He labelsthem as the 'mutasalfin'intellectuals 12 (as pseudo-salafis).He points out that HasanHanafi contradicts himself continuouslyin his methodologyand his types of conceptualization.Hanafi furthermore, fails to distinguish properly between situations, reality and texts. Tarabishi dedicatesa whole chapterto qualify Hanafi's sentencesas exemplifying 'the unity of opposites'.13 Tarabishi in fact, ironically illustrated Hanafi's capacity to contradicthimself by adoptingand denying a position within one and the same text.14 He arguesin paradoxesthat Hasan Hanafi constantlycontradictshimself concerningthe questionof applying



scientific methodsin understandingreligious phenomena.Hanafi argueson the one hand,that this centurybelongsto social sciences in that it becamepossibleto transformreligion into a humanistic science like all the other sciences,while in other passageshe expresseshis doubtsaboutscientific biaseswhich employa method or a way that contradictsthe topic of research because it is 'materialistic'. Hanafi blames the Orientalists for applying social sciencesand for their understandingof revelationfrom a historical perspective,but then seemsto reproduce,accordingto Tarabishi, exactly the sameOrientalistpitfalls. Hanafi'sunderstandingof history is idealistic. Quotations where Hanafi praises history, the historical method and historical criticism, are juxtaposedwith otherpassages wherehe gives a priority to the religious text to produce a negativeattitude towardshistory.IS He furthermorequotes Hanafi'scontradictoryviews aboutthe separationof religion from the state.Tarabishiagain quotesHanafi saying that the realmsof religion and stateare inseparablebecausereligon is the systemof the state.16 Tarabishi brings the extreme example of 'Immara's inverted intoxication with the West. Tarabishiquoteshim as follows: 'If the West is combingits hair on a particularside, we will comb it on the other side. If they shave,we will let our beardgrow, if they grow it, we will shave it'. He commentsupon such an attitude as sick, reactive, automatic behaviour, reflecting an inverted imitation of the West.17 Not all intellectuals are caught within the closed confines of Orientalismin reverse.~tif al-'Iraqi speaksof the circulationof the myth of cultural imperialismwhich hasgainedsignificancein recent years.18This took place with a total refusal to open up to other civilizations. Anything which is foreign is regardedas dark and suspicious.The sloganhas becomea repertoire,reproducedloudly on microphoneswhich, 'Iraqi notes,arethe productof Westerntechnological advance.He wondersaboutthe fact that thosewho speak of it have,for instance,neverlearnt any Westernlanguage.19 He thus dismantlesthe hypothesisthat such an idea doesexist and reverses such a position by highlighting the paramountcontribution of Orientalistsin the enlightenmentof Arabic thought. He seesthat Orientalistsgreatly servedArabic culture. They were the revivers of the heritage.They providedmuch more detail and precisionin their work in proportion to some of the Arab intellectualswho merely copy and plagiarizethe works of others.20



Khalil ~bd al- Karim alludes to the fact that Yussuf alQaradawiwho is a good exampleof the main streamcontemporary Islamist ideology needsa study on his own.21 AI-Qaradawi was a former Muslim Brother and Azharite. After he was expelled from the organization of the Muslim Brothers, AI-Qaradawi migrated to Qatar and obtainedQatari nationality. Recently he won the King FaysalNobel Prize, and obviously has managedto acquirelarge financial assets.He dealswith huge sumsin a bank 22 His biographyis a goodexampleof the Islam of in the Bahamas. wealth, Islam al-tharwa, that is coupledwith a fundamentalistideology. ~bd aI-Karim defines him as al-Azhari al-khaligi (the Azharite from the Gult).23 AI-Qaradawi's writings reveal an unlimited insensitivity towardsthe concreteproblemsof poverty. His ideas are impractical. He argues,for example,that Muslims undergoeconomiccrisis becausethey spendlavishly on tombsand overdecoratethem, forgetting that three quartersof a million of Egyptianslive in Cairo in the 'city of the dead'aroundthe tombs becauseof the shortageof housingand under extremelydegrading and poor conditions.24 AI-Qaradawiseemsto reproducein his prolific writings (more than 40 books) the cliche which ~bd alKarim points to, namely,the conspiracy-oriented interpretationof history which the West is directing against Islam. Cultural invasion is systematicwith the acceptanceof the culture of the other, and the extremenarcissismtowardsthe Islamic ummawhich he considersas the highest civilization.25 The tone of his interaction with the liberals and the secularintellectualsis violent and intolerant. To conclude, cultural invasion triggered conflicting points of views, not only concerninga hegemonyof the North, but in terms of an inner debate which is caught within the secular-Islamist confrontation.As said earlier, the term becamea commondenominator for the left, the establishmentIslamic orthodoxy and the Islamists. However, the political agendaand aims differ from one al-'Iraqi's publication in the lIlT series,is camp to another. ~tif different from the onementionedhere,in that he defendsthe scholarly works of traditional orientalism as a counter-streamto the unreasonableattacksagainstorientalists.Perhaps,the most recent example of simplistic anti-Orientalismwas the violent reaction against the translation of the Qur'an by the late JacquesBerque and the attempt by al-Azhar to demolish his reputation. Berque, who has been known for years as a friend of the Arabs, (which earnedhim a controversialreputationin the West has becomethe 180


target of such a campaign.Thus thereis indeeda needfor serious reflection about the dangersof the indigenousand reverseappropriation of the Huntington thesis, and the far-reachingnegative effectsof cultural invasion.




ShaykhMetwalli al-Sha'rawion television: 'For forty years, the only andsole book I haveread is the Qur'an.'* Shaykh Metwalli al-Sha'rawi, Mayo Magazine: The noble shaykh alSha'rawisubjugatesa devil which possesedthe body of a youngman. ShaykhMetwalli al-Sha'rawi 'Women'swork is a denigration to the dignity of man.' ShaykhMetwalli al-Sha'rawi 'The womanshould wear the hijab (the head cover) so that the man would not doubt in the authenticityof his offspring.'

Shaykh Sha'rawiwas appointedby PresidentSadatas Minister of Endowmentsduring the period 1976-1978.1

The Qur'an and science The projectto demonstratethe 'scientificity' of the Muslims in the glorious past and how they could in the future combine the scientific spirit with faith2 has been a popular topic since the time of the Renanlal-Mghanidebate.Renanadvancedracist propositionsabout the inability of Muslims to developa scientificmind, propositionsthat triggeredal-Mghani to respond.Sincethen,the debateson Islam and sciencein the Muslim world do seemto have left the closedcircle of al-Afghani'sreasoning.3 It hasbeenpointedout earlier that there are misconceptionsabout the antagonismsbetweenreligion and science. The clashbetweenthesetwo spheresmight not necessarilyhavebeen 4 From this point, I move as bloody as in the popularunderstanding. to the issueof religion and modernity.Was it not Ernst Troelschwho *Thesequotesare from SonallahIbrahim'snovel That, Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbalal'Arabi, 1992.



viewed modem secularismin terms of a cultural transpositionof Christian Protestantforms of valuation? The appeal to merge the sphere of science with religion has been a Western concern. Well beforethe Islarnizers'pledgeof Islamizing sciences,Ignaz Goldziher, the HungarianOrientalist, drew on the importanceof proving that early Islam andJudaismare scientific religions.5 Goldziher,in making this point, was confrontedwith the Jewish orthodox community in Budapest.He imagined the 'scientification'of traditional religion as an instrumentof modernistbourgeoisemancipation. When referring to scienceand Islam, I cannotS'ee how one could neglectthe Afghani-Renandebate.6 It would neverthelessbe difficult to provide innovative contributionson the subject, especiallyafter the crucial works of Albert Hourani, Nikki Keddie7 and Hichem Djait. Suffice to say here, that this encounterhas now becomean often repeatedstereotypeof the understandingof the 'self' and the 'other' as regards science and positivism. The Islamizers of Knowledgebut also the Islamistsusesimilar arguments.They adopt a defensiveattitude and reversethe argumentthat Islam is compatible with scienceand that it is a religion of reason.They are trapped within the logic of the century old debate.Interestingfor us here, is that Edward Said in Culture and Imperialism recurrentlyrefers, with a novel perspective,to the Afghani-Renanchallenge.He interpretsit as an exampleof how the 'native', in order to be heard,has to use the language which is already classified by his challenger, the Westerner.A fight which aI-Afghani, similar to the Indian lawyersof the late nineteenthcentury, had to undertaketo win a spacein the cultural framework they havein commonwith the West.8 Renanpointed to the contemporarydecadenceof Muslim countries. The severityand racismof RenanplacesIslam beneathJudaism and Christianity. His reasoning,as Hourani said, would lead to the incompatibility of Islam with science.9 Djait neverthelessinterprets Renanas being not necessarilyper seagainstIslam, but consideringit a 'degraded'world. Renan'sratherpositivist positionleadshim to take a standagainstall religions in generalandCatholicismin particular.10 However,importanthere,andin contrastto the Islarnizersof knowledgewho misappropriateMghani, he paradoxicallyagreedwith Renan aboutthe sharedcommondenominatorof all religions,which is intolerance,11but also that 'neitherthe achievementsof Christiannor the failure of Muslim countriesare dueto their religion'.12 From that perspective,certainly al-Mghani is misunderstoodmore than ever today. On the other hand, the Islamizers of knowledge today reverse argumentsas a meansof cultural differentiation. They bring up the 183


ideathat in Islam theredid not exist a hostility betweenreligion and science.This is a plausible argument,in the sensethat inquisition happenedin the West while sciencesin the Muslim world developed with the flourishing of interestedsponsoringrulers.13 However,this very idea is usedby the Islamizersto deny the political implications of empoweringthe class of 'ulama in interfering in the field of scientific productionand the managementof science. Also, there have beenin recentyearsvarious attemptsto reconcile scientific investigation with the Qur'an. Some Muslims attemptedto classify the Qur'anicversesaccordingto sciences(natural sciences,biology, botany, zoology) and also economicsand ethics.Otherattemptswould count the numberof times the Qur'an mentionedfor examplethe term 'atom' to surmisethat all modern scientific discoverieswere already to be found in the sacredbook andthusthat recentmodernscientific discoverieswerealreadymentioned in the Qur'an; to prove the wondrousnatureof the Qur'an (the 'i'jaz al-Qur'an').14 Somewould list the frequencyof the term 'Um (science, knowledge) in the holy book, to reveal that Islam nevercontradictedscience.Somewould arguethat the theoryof the speedof light is an invitation to the interpretationof the motion of angels. We also witness Western-trainedengineers,biologists and mathematiciansin various Muslim countrieswho after a long residencedue to their studiesin the occidentalworld, rediscoverfaith and combine professional preaching (da'wa, da'l) with science. Somemergethe scientific professionaloutlook with a Sufi mystical inclination. Otherswish to combinethe function of being an imam in Friday prayerswith beinga good Muslim scientistasit is the case of some intellectualsof the Bogor Agricultural Institute and the Institute of Technologyin Bandung(Institut Teknologi Bandung) in Indonesia.Not to forget the publicationsof al-Azhar magazine in Cairo on early sciencesand famousscientistsin On this line one could also mentionthe writings of Bint al-Shati'(who represents the government'sviewpoint of Islam) and popularizes knowledge in the semi-official Egyptian al-Ahram daily on cele6 brated Muslim astronomers,geographersand philosophers.1 Interestingly, Bint al-Shati"s late husband Amin al-Khuli was among the first to refute the idea of a scientific exegesisof the Qur'an in the senseof extractingall scientific fields of knowledge from the sacredbook.17For a more recentrefutationof suchinterpretationson the groundsthat they lead to charlatanriesand pure self interest ends, one can mention the sharp critique of Kamel Husayn.18 In recentyearsthe phenomenonof shaykhsand so called 184


therapistsas popularhealers,who use Qur'anreadingas a healing method has spread.This stimulatedheateddebatesin the media. Furthermore,in the Egyptian scene,the jargon 'scienceand faith' was introducedthrougha programmecreatedby MustafaMahmud 19 in the Egypt of the Sadaterato mediatizeofficial Islam andat the sametime to counter-balance oppositionalMuslim groups.All this is a preludeto the vast modem practicesof instrumentalizingthe holy book. Parallel to writings regardingthe questionof faith, Qur'an and science, works criticizing the theory of evolution found a fertile ground in many Muslim countries, including Malaysia. The Malaysian scientist,OsmanBakar, edited a book in which Sayyed HosseinNasr'stexts are publishedtogetherwith articles criticizing the theories of evolution entitled Evolution: A Metaphysical Absurdity. The debate over evolution is also being conductedin Western scientific circles. One can quote an example, the active Christianmembersof the scientific community in America, and in particularthe movementof the ProtestantChristianswho call themselves the creationists, who are arguing against Darwin's theories, since the idea of evolution of speciescontradicts the notion of creationin the Bible.2o The movementof the creationistscould be understoodas an attemptto propagatea religiously foundedculture in the scientific community.Sucha tendencyalso appearsin Bakar's book in which articles by theologiansand Christian and Muslim scientistsappear;the Christian discoursehas beenappropriatedby Islamists.Therefore,althoughnaturalscientistsmight take an ironical stand regarding the creationists'mechanisticinterpretationof applying religious text over reality, which is indeed a product of modernity which they criticize, be they Muslim or Christian scientists, such a movement could be understoodas a struggle over 'reality' betweenscienceand theology.21 It is possibleto derive extensiveanalogiesin many Muslim countries with respectto the growing critique of the theory of evolution in Egypt,22 Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia. The rise of Islamic revivalismwasaccompaniedby a critique of Westernscience.Osman Bakar'sattemptto compile Muslim andChristianscientific critiques of the theoryof evolutionshouldbe takeninto seriousconsideration from the perspectiveof faith, whereasMuslim voices are trying to compete for a space in the field of philosophy of science. Nevertheless,it is important to note the far-rangingimpact of this tendency on the overall field of scientific researchin the Third World. In Egypt,23 Ahmad 'Abd al- Mu'ti Higazi and M. Rida 185


Muharram identified the consequences as harmful and mentioned the long-term effects and charlatanismwhen such endeavoursare 24 associatedwith the negativeattitude relatedto scientific research. PervezHoodbhoy'sbook Islam and Sciencepleadsfor scienceas a secularpursuit and points to the Pakistaniestablishmentscientists who undertookthe task of 'Islamizingeverything'to the extentthat 'They laid claim to variousbizarrediscoveries'.25

Charlatanism, science To what extent can the scientific community allow for a spacefor charlatanry?Somewould arguethat in looking into the history of sciencethat the borderline betweenmagic, alchemyand sciencewas alwaysvery thin. Nevertheless,perhapswe shoulddraw a distinction betweenmagical sciences,popular culture and charlatanry.We are told that the field of alchemy in the middle ages for instance, included medical doctors, natural scientistsand mystics, but also 26 Albertus Magnus for instancecalled it the new art, charlatans. 'NeueKunst'.27It is thanksto alchemythat the scienceof chemistry was born. Otherswould point out that sectsand believersin black magic and occultism, althoughmarginal are surviving well in contemporary Europe, and thus finding a space to operate within modernity. It seems,however, that when it comesto hard sciences,among the Islamizers of knowledge, the borderline betweenscienceand charlatanryis thin. I would like to distinguishhere betweenforms of popular culture and knowledge in the Muslim World where shaykhs would blend magic with religious knowledge and the contemporaryIslamizers, who are mostly graduatesof Western, secularand technicaluniversities,who want to religiosizecomputer sciences,biology and medicine. Thus a borrowed transcendental popular religious language is amalgamatedwith technological jargon. PervezHoodbhoywas amongthe first to point out the nihilism implied in such conferencesas the International Conferenceon Scientific Miracles of Qur'anand Sunnah,inauguratedby President General Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq in Islamabad28 on October 18, 1987. Hoodbhoy, who is himself a physicist at Quaid-i-Azam University in Pakistan,provides a shortlist of the type of papers presentedin the Scientific Miracles Conferenceto revealthe dangerously irrational side of such endeavours,among ~he presentations was a panel discussion on 'Things Known Only to Allah'. 29 186


Hoodbhoyarguedthat there is no such object as 'Islamic science', since scienceis universal. In taking Pakistanas an example, the policiesof Islamizingsciencehaveculminatedin concealingthe poor level of educationand political discriminationof scientistswho did not follow the line of the government.The mostnotoriouseventwas theJatwa of shaykhAbdul Aziz ibn Baz of SaudiArabia, president of Medina University and recipient of the 1982 Service to Islam King Faisal InternationalAward. He wrote a book with the title Motion oj the Sunand Moon, and Stationarityoj the Earth, meaning that the Earth is the centre of the universe and the sun turns aroundit. 30 In 1987,a workshopon 'Islamizationof Attitudes and Practicein Scienceand Technology'was held in Washington,D.C. and its proceedingspublishedby the lIlT. However,what is noteworthyin this collection of papersis how thesehard scienceIslamizersattemptto create a patchwork. They reproducetechnical jargon, texts from Westernsciences,medicalchartsand drawingsand literary glue and of the Qur'anthat areinterpreted makea collagewith somepassages in a literal manner. The paper of Ibrahim B. Syed on the 'Islamizationof Attitude and Practicein Embryology'31is an interesting example of the misusagesof the Qur'an. As said earlier, Maurice Bucaille's The Bible, The Qur'an and Science,32argueshow wrong the Bible is, in contradistinctionto the accuracy of the Qur'an,in order to concludethe scientificity of the Qur'an.In fact, Bucaille inauguratedsuchendeavoursin listing all the scientific discoveriesin the Qur'an. The 'new Muslim intellectuals'imitate him. They count the ayat (verses)of the Qur'an that deal with human embryology, implantation and anatomy.Adel Bakr33 refers to the passagesof the Qur'anmentioningwater, ocean,skies and wind to provide an 'Islamic view' of earth sciences. Another paper by Muhammad Ishaq Zahid,34 attempts to link 'the use of Islamic beliefs and fundamentalsin the teaching of mathematicsand computerscience'.Examplesare drawn from symbolic logic, data structuresand programmingin Pascallanguage.The 103rd chapter of the Qur'an,Surat al-'asr is takenup as 'a casestudy'.35The entire attemptconsistsof an amalgamationof symbolic logic with Islamic faith. The role of the Muslim scientistin using logic would be how to unravelthe faithful from the unfaithful. It is neverthelessnot clear what the function of suchan undertakingis. The author'saim is to reachsuccessas a hierarchy.36 The five articles of faith are programmedon computerby Zahid as follows: 187


God: He believesin oneAllah who hasabsolutelyno associateswith him in His divinity. Prophets: He believes in Allah's prophets, and in Muhammadand His final messenger. Books: he believesin all God'sbooks,and in the Qur'anas his last book. Similarly we can define propositionsangels and hereafter. Then the propositioni, definedabovecan be viewed as i = God" prophets"books" angels"hereafter Thus belief is the conjunctionof the belief in one God, all prophets,and so on. The propositionr which representsthe righteousdeedsof a personcan be further brokendown as follows: r = prayers"zakah" fasting" hajj Obligations-to-God" Obligations-to-Others Similarly, the propositionp which representsdawahcan be expressedas p =al Amr hi'! Ma'ruf" al Nahy 'An al Munkar.37

That this quotation is a reductionist understandingof both the religious ritual and computerscienceis no novelty. Also, it is not evident what the practical implications of such so-calledscientific publicationscould be. They are neverthelesslIlT publicationsthat needfurther reflection in termsof the expandingbook markets. The combination of Islamic ethics and biology can be a very exotic enterprise. Munawar Ahmed Anees'sIslam and Biological Futures, Ethics, Gender and Technology,38is yet another curious work. Sucha work claimsscientific investigation,but it could be also read as a pieceof pornographyintermingledwith moral statements believed to be 'Islamic'. The author constructshis argumentsin a patchworkof moral standsinterwovenwith quotationsderivedfrom critiquesof Westernfeminism, Greensandgeneticmanipulation.He saysfor instance,that 'the scarsof sexism,and social inequality are too deepto be ignored'.39 Aneesrepeatsthe critiques of reproductive biology and of the misuseof technology,alreadyexistentin the West. He doesthat in a double language.One level of the language is pornographicand violent when he describesthe decadentWest. It has a touch of voyeurism concerning sexual practices,especially when pornographyis quotedat length. Aneesgives himself the joy of describingand collecting the sexualperversitiesand mutilations of all cultures to dichotomize between'we are pure' and 'dirt is them'. On a second level, Western perversity is always counter188


weightedwith moralistic statements.Not that his critiques of biological determinismare wrong, or even practically original comparedto the existingWesterncritiques: The single most important distinction between reductive, deterministic, exploitative biology and the universal worldview of Islam is crucial in the total elimination of sexism,racism and socioeconomicinequities. We must confrontthe biological ideologywith the Islamic worldview. Towardsthat end, this bookaims to initiate somethoughts.40

I would like to draw attention to some of Anees'scatchy titles chaptersand sections suchas: the sectionon femalecircumcisionis entitled the clitoral inferno. He writes many pages about female circumcisionin all cultures.Sadisticscissorsis a detaileddescription of the various mutilating forms of circumcision. These are the following titles: castratedmale, toxic blood?, the gaping coitus, the bequeathed purity, the menopausalmisery,from crocodile to condom, betweensuck and smut, survival of the sexi(e)st, genocidal ritual, merchantsof the uterus, the bottled future, abortion: exitus acta probat, windowson the womb. His book is thus consideredas progressivebecausehe condemnscircumcisionin Islam and establishes the fact that it was a pre-Islamic tradition. In the section of the crapulousclitoris, he quotesat length Westernfeminism to confuse matters: Since women are capable of 'insatiable' orgasmic experience,exacerbated through clitoral eroticism, with the potentialfor the ultimate destructionof humansociety, it follows therefore that the clitoris must be regardedas the arch enemyof humancivilization. In other words, Sherfey,while first appearing to be a defenderof clitoral sexuality, turns out, in the long run, to be a protegeof gynophobesand misogynists.41

He constantlyshifts from the famousMastersandJohnsonworks on sexualityto Islamic morality, to arguethat: Islam, unlike any other religion, bestowsupon womanan inalienableright to sexualgratification. Whatevermaybe the intricaciesof thepurportedclitoral and vaginal orgasms,the clitoris remainsthe biological basisfor sexualpleasure in women.42

The headlinesare most intriguing and worth our attention in the sensethat almostall his passages beginwith the sexualdecadenceof the West to end up with an Islamic morality. To conclude,reading such literature invites us to think about its social function. Could one draw parallels with earlier traditional pornographicpopular treatiseswhich were distributed in front of mosquesto amusethe 189


masses?This type of literaturemight have had a function of entertainmentfor the non-instructedpopulacewhich was well-researched by Bouhdibaandwhich Aneesironically andextensivelyquotes.43 It symbolizedthe sexual 'imaginaire'and fabulous male fantasiesof the time. In contrast,Anees'swork is today publishedby Mansell in London. It circulatesglobally, and claims scientificity. Such works lack the aspectof playfulnessand laughterwhich might have characterisedearlier erotic treatises.However, one might reflect about Anwar Ibrahim'srecentconfinementand chargesof sexualmisconduct in orderto discredithim anddraw associationswith the inflated role of sexual scandalsand the media in Malaysian political life. Anwar'scaseis indeednot the first in the long seriesof sexualscandals conductedagainstacademicsand political opponentssuch as the PAS Islamic party. We should be remindedthat an intellectual like ChandraMuzzafar,who hasbeenin the last yearsan admirerof Mahathir'spolicies,endedup aligning himself with Anwar. Chandra strongly protestedagainst the appalling chargesand the abuseof democraticprinciples. It seemsthat the processof Islamization of the society goes hand in hand with increasingpunishmentof so called 'sexualdeviancy'.It is not new to realizethat obsessionabout segregationof sexesis pairing with a doublemorality. The prostitution industry has becomein recentyearsa widely practised,attractive job and is part and parcel of the logic to supply 'Asian cheap labour'. But sexual scandalsbecamerecently, the most appealing alibi to eliminate rising powerful opponents.A fate from which the Islamizerswere not spared.




Philosophywhich onceseemedoutmodedis now alive becausethe momentof its realization has beenmissed.


Secular intellectuals have aimed vibrant criticism at the empty languageof the Islamizers, their quantitatively large production, reflecting accessto amplefinancing of publications,but the qualitatively poor product - as regards the content.! For many Arab intellectuals,that the Islamizationof knowledgeis largely carriedon by charlatansis hardly news. However,the concernis to summarize the counterposition which is to the mountingcritiquesfrom secular intellectuals. For the Arab scene,one notesthe intellectualswho have written various critiques of the 'Islamizationof knowledge'discourse,such as Aziz al-Azmeh,2Burhan Ghaliun,3 Mahmud Gad,4 Muhammad Rida Muharram,5Muhammadal-Sayyid Sai'd,6 Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, the late philosopherZaki Nagib Mahmud,1andSayyidYasin.8 These bitter responsespoint to the a-historical vision of the Islamizersand the quest to authenticatea mythological past. The critics saw the danger of transcendentalismand the imposing of metaphysical interpretations resulting in an inquisition against scientists considered political opponents. Put symbolically, the ripostesgeneratedwithin the Arab world pointed to the dangerof transferringthe priestto the laboratoryand giving him the boundless power of the judge and arbiter over the scientific community. The Islamization project was viewed as propagandistic,linked to the growing money of the Arab oil-producing countries. The Saudi *The Jargon of Authenticity, translated by Knut Tarnowski and Frederic Will,

Routledgeand KeganPaul, London and Henley, 1964, p. 9



Arabianpetro-Islamideology andthe internationalIslamic networks financing various conferences,were the main agentsdisseminating this ideologyin Pakistan,Sudan,Egypt and Malaysia.The Egyptian sociologist and former director of al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studiesin Cairo, Sayyid Yasin, ironically describedthe Islamization publicationsas kutub tafihah (silly books),which were manufactured for opportunist(intihaziyyah) purposes.He relatedthe development to the migration of academicsto the Arab oil producingcountries. Revelationis thus applied to all forms of scientific enquiry. Akbar Ahmed's Towardsan Islamic Anthropology9 was criticized as a shallow work.lO The researcher,once confrontedwith a text analysisof the literature,is facedwith the problemof a repetitiveempty Islamic jargon, devoid of any meaning.Nevertheless,we shouldunderstand that during the seventiesa large numberof academicsin Egypt, in order to survive materially to maintainmiddle classliving standards (buying cars and flats) opted, due to the ridiculously low Egyptian salaries,to migrate to the oil producingcountries.One could view working in Malaysiaand its new institutions as a secondKuwait or SaudiArabia for expatriateacademics. The late Egyptian philosopherZaki Nagib Mahmudcan be consideredthe earliestto haveconducted,from a positivist perspective, criticism of the Islamization of knowledge project. Zaki Nagib Mahmudwas an advocateof liberalismin Egypt. He is remembered for his attacks against the popular preacherShaykh Sha'rawi.l1 Mahmud's advice is heard by a section of the Islamic trend. Nevertheless,for many Islamists, Mahmud is viewed as oscillating between being a secular intellectual and is yet consideredas an Islamic thinker, to be condemned,damned and debasedby the Islamistsas were the earlier liberals like TahaHusaynand 'Ali 'Abd al-Raziq.12 Yet Mahmud would be still regarded as a Muslim thinker, despite his opposition to metaphysicsin philosophy. Mahmud, we are told, aspires to create an 'authentic' Muslim thinking, 'fikr islami asif, a point which he in fact shareswith the authenticity movement and the Islamists.13 In other words, his languageappealsto the Islamic audience. Moreover,Mahmudis a popularwriter who providessuggestions about the new Muslim woman; he advocatedthat family law (alahwal al-shakhsiya) be altered. Mahmud sees that women have conqueredthe public sphereas university professorsand doctors anyway. He thus considersthe veil and the new forms of female Islamic attire to be mental and physical veils that would hinder women'semancipation.14 Mahmud also wrote against the idea of 192


Islamic banking, since, linguistically, modeminterest(fa'ida) is not equivalent to the usury (riba}.15 For all these reasons,Mahmud becomesan interestingfigure and his critique of Islamizing knowledgeis gaining significance. For Mahmud, scientific thought is objective and, therefore, divorcedfrom personalsubjectiveinclinations.16 Scientific methods, whetherin the field of sociology,economicsor psychology,entail no nationality and are not specific to either the East or the West.17 Mahmudseesthat the Islamizersrestrict themselvesto selectivehistorical sources,suchasthe works of al-Ghazali,Ibn Taymiyyah,Ibn Hazm, Ibn Khaldun, and the Islamic shari'a,18 Islamic heritageis indeed much richer. Mahmud furthermore refers to the notion of tawhid (divine unity with God), to challengethe position of the Islamizers.He in fact secularizesit. For him, tawhid symbolizesthe unity of the humancharacterwith all the various modemsciences. Mahmud arguesthat in earlier times, scientistshardly ever stressed their Islamicity, it was instinctive and thus led to the developmentof an analytical, empirical mind. The interest of earlier scientistsin Islam and their pursuit of scientific knowledgewere consideredpart of their religious ethos. For him sciencewill never becomeMuslim andthejargonof Islamic psychology,Islamic economicsandIslamic sociology are nonsensicalcategories.Mahmud argues that turath (Islamic heritage)is not to be restrictedto the works of the fuqaha Gurisconsults},but also includes mathematics,medicine, travellers' accounts, chemistry, astronomy, philosophy.19 Mahmud regards 'ibada (worship) as not restrictedto prostrationand hermitage;he transformsthe notion into work and study and thus secularizesit. Mahmudadvocatesstudyingthe Qur'an,andsimilarly sciences,with the application of the scientific method, analytical thought and observation.20 Mahmudformulatesa critique of the writings of Islamic psychology. He points to the fact that the Islamizersrefuseto acknowledge the significanceof Westernsources.The fact that the Islamizersposit a dichotomy betweenWesternand Muslim man as basicallydifferent in behaviourand drives seriously alarms him. The Islamizers seemto perpetuatea moralisticjargon derivedfrom the Qur'anand the sunnaparallel with their insisting on the divorce from the West. Mahmudattemptsto makeconnectionsbetweenthe Islamizationof Knowledgedebateand the material interestsof advocatingIslamic economics.Indeedthe Islamizersattemptto authenticatethe project with Islamic law by misleadinglyarguingfrom the failure of Western economictheories. 193


Mahmud maintainsthat Islamic psychologyis logically problematic; it entails a contradiction in reason, since they skew their researchto accommodateit to Islamic doctrine. He argues that psychologydoes not agreewith Islamic heritageand is even quite often in contradiction to the teachings of Islamic religion.21 Mahmud insists that the Islamizersare far from objective; they are simply fanatical and their contribution to scientific researchis mediocre.They solvelittle, or nothingat all, throughtheir readingof works like Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qaym. Mahmud insists that 22 suchstudiesare symbolic of scientific underdevelopment. Consideringthe fact that Mahmud enjoys a wide Muslim audiencethat receiveshis writings positively, Mahmudis himself no less ambiguousaboutheritage.In fact his discourseis no lessconcerned with authenticity than the authenticators,since he advancesan attemptto create: an indigenousArab philosophystartingfrom the 'self'. To this end, immediate apprehensionis the epistemologicalkey,for it is through introspection,he claims, that we can unveil the principles out of which arise 'our' judgements on all matters.23

By doing so, Mahmud extractsrationality from the Arab heritage. Another problem is that Mahmud seemsto reproducesimplistic arguments,not very different from those of the Islamizers themselves,whenit comesto Islamic doctrine,arguesal-Azmeh.Mahmud arguesthat in regard to ritual and worship, all Muslims are alike, devoid of contradictions,which is of coursenot a valid argument.24 Mahmud's position is problematic; in fact his eclectic stand towards Islamic heritagereveals that he does not diverge strongly from the Islamizers.25 But is not 'selectivity' regardingthe heritage, history of the holy text and hadiths(the Prophet'ssayings)the same approachas that of the early reformers?His demarchein emphasizing rationality in Ibn Rushd and the conceptof freedom in early 26 is not very different from the early works of Muslim philosophers 'Immara on Ibn Rushd. Mahmud'sservicehowever,was his awareness of the pitfalls of rejecting the Greek cultural heritage and divorcing it from Islam.27 Roshdi Rashedis a philosopher-mathematician whosework is a fascinatingattemptat providing illuminative examplesin puremathematics(in particularArab mathematicians)with theoreticalphilosophy,28Z.N. Mahmudis criticized by Rashedfor adoptingan uncritical understandingof turath.29 Rashed'sgeneralcritique is that when Arab thinkers discussturath, they usually presentit as a philosophy 194


of history and as a closedideology with an objectified framework, insteadof looking into its history. Usually, the point of view of the author and the solutions he offers to the problem of tajdid and turath - althoughsomemight be objective- are neverthelessdefined by this framework. The analysisis thus a justification of the framework. Rasheddisapprovesof Zaki Nagib Mahmud'slimited vision of the philosophy of the history of thought. Mahmud confines Arabic turath to the rationalism of the Greek on the one hand,30 while he periodizesthe birth of scienceand the scientific methodto the time of the Renaissanceon the other hand.31 For Mahmud, scientific progressis the result of a replacementof one methodby another.Sciencein the Middle ages(in the EastandWest) wasnothing but the knowledgeof commentingon texts. It would seemthat Rashedindicts Mahmud for his 'traditional' interpretationof the history of sciences. Rashed criticizes the classical historians of sciencesincethe eighteenthcentury,in particularthe French,claiming their position includes a certain racism. Renan for example positeda dichotomybetweena supposedSemitic, spiritual symbolic thought and an Aryan, rational, scientific thought.32 Another misreading was to argue that the scientific method developedonly during the Renaissance. The works of Archimedes,the achievements in statics,the works of Ibn al-Shatir, Ibn al-Haythamand the later scholarswere equally brilliant scientific works. Rashedarguesthat Babylonianthoughtwasequallyrationalin mathematicsandastronomy. According to Rashed,Mahmudfollowed the line of the early reformists(Afghani and 'Abduh), who were ideologuespostponing the real critique of the heritageand science.They adoptedan instrumental, amalgamatedposition between religion and science.33 Rashedproposesthat sucha positionhinderedthe real revolution of critical thinking. The reformist thought was indeed an ideological tool in the handsof leaderswho claimedto be revolutionary.In fact, these reformists were an obstacle to objective evaluation, and a proper understandingof what turath is about. They claimed that there existedno contradictionbetweenasala, which Rashedtranslates as 'religion' and mu'asara(modernity) which he translates'as shallow notion of science'. Zaki N. Mahmud is thus understoodas belonging to the new reformists (al-islahiyya al-jadida),34 who in the final instance hindered a critical reading of turath by combining religion with science.Rasheddefinesturath as: the totality of theoretical,philosophicaland practicalanswerswhich early Arabs gaveto answerthe question they themselves raised. It thus includes religious, 195


philosophical,scientific andpracticalanswersto problemswhich we shouldfirst define. This definition might appearto be very general, but in reality it is not.35 As a solution, Rashedproposesthe study of turath al-mutakhassisin,meaningthe heritageof the specialistsand scientistsin the narrow senseof the word, such as mathematicians, biologists,astronomers,musicians,or the fields of medicine,linguistics, philosophy like the writings of al-Farabi and Avicenna. For Rashed,turath belongednot only to the East but also to the West. The works of Khawarazmi,Ibn al-Haythamand dozensof others, werenot only known in Arabic but alsoin Latin andusedduring the Renaissancein Europe.36 This trend was not local but global in the real senseof the word. By providing a panoramaof the field of Egyptiansociology,Alain Roussillonarguedthat both 'Arab' and 'Islamic' sociologyare structurally homologousmirror imagesof eachotherandproductsof the samediscourse.The two discoursesdid not transcendwhat he calls the 'cloture reformiste' and the discourseof 'crisis', an argument that might bear a certain similarity to Roshdi Rashed'sand Tarabishi'scritique of the liberal thinker Zaki Nagib Mahmud.37 In practice nevertheless,this argumentseemsto ignore the mounting confrontation taking place between secular intellectuals and the various factions of the Islamists including the 'Islamic liberals' as Binder calls them. A fight centredaroundthe supremacyof 'credibility' and in the end about'who' hasthe right to offer a contemporary interpretation of the sacred texts. Indeed, the polarization between the Islamists and seculars reached a climax with the apostasycaseof Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd. Sayyid Yasin and MuhammadRida Muharramboth emphasized the charlatanistic aspect of the 'Islamization' endeavour. For instance,in pursuing the aim of a conferencetitled 'al-tawjih alislami lil-'ulum' (Islamic Orientationof Sciences),and held with the co-operationof al-Azhar and the Muslim League(Rabita) (24--29 October, 1992)38 and of Muslim Universities, it urged the application of shari'a (Islamic law), and turath (in the vague sense)in 39 Muharram, a Professorof Engineering at alnatural sciences. Azhar University, wrote a seriesof articlesin the Egyptianleft-wing journal, al-Ahali 4o relentlesslyattacking the papersof the Islamic orientationconference.Muharram arguedthat the conferencewas held with the aim of buying off intellectuals.His startingpoint was thefatwa(legal advice)of the Presidentof Scientific Research,of the da'wa andfatwain SaudiArabia who issuedafatwa, in 1982, refuting the rotation of the Earth. His bitter critique was directedagainst 196


a paperpresentedextractingfrom the versesof the Qur'ana universal speedof 299792,5KIm. per second- preciselycoinciding with the speedof light. The metaphorsof the Qur'anhave beenusedto locatein divinity, in space. Most interestingwere the proceedingsof the Forum of Human Rights in Cairo, which condemnedthe Islamizationof knowledge project. M. Rida Muharramarguedthat a new trend in charlatanry has been transmittedfrom the individual to the group. There has also been an abuseof religion in the scientific field, such as using Qur'an readingto treat mental illness and clinical cases.41 He also opposedthe proponentsof Islamic banking, who want to privatize the public sectorwith a vagueIslamic ideology.42 Sayyid Yasin, on the other hand, mentions that although the Islamizationof knowledgeresearchis abundant(and indeedone can view this abundanceas a form of Islamic massculture on the level of book production), yet we find nothing dealing with epistemology. Thesewritings lack the scientific outlook. The Islamizersretrieveand selectfrom the sciencesaccordingto their whim. He understandsthis debateas a meretool in an ideologicalconflict. Yasin tracesthe evolution of the various sociological trends in the Middle East. According to him, during the fifties the impact of American functionalism, was challengedby Marxism, but functionalismoffered no answers.He refers to the Tunisian sociologist 'Abd aI-Qadir Zaghl, who earliercomparedMarxism and Weberiansociologyto pleadfor a renovationof the sociologyof Ibn Khaldoun. Later, the claim for an Arab sociologywas voiced. However,the word 'Arab' turned out to be ideological.He proposesthe term 'critical sociology'insteadof Arab Sociology. Yasin argues of the Islamization of knowledge researchersthe Iraqi academicTahaJabir al-'Ilwani is lazy since he reducesIslamizationto a futile and cheapsummaryof Westernsociology, coupledwith an empty Islamicjargon. NasrHamid Abu Zayd,43the Cairo University professor,warnsus that Islamizationleadsto torture. It clearly leadsto the supremacy of religious thoughtwhich is at any rate subjectto alterationaccording to spaceand time. Early Muslims had alreadyunderstoodthat religious texts could not offer answersto natural and human phenomena.Islamizationis nothing but the monopoly of men of religion over scientific production, ending in inquisitions. Abu Zayd gives the example of an 'Islamization of Knowledge' conference which was organizedby Jami'yyat al-shubbanai-muslimin in Cairo, in which several government officials participated. It urged: 'to Islamizeliteratureso that the young generationsbe kept away from 197


the dangersof communism,Marxism and secularism.'44 In fact all the responsespoint to the ahistoricalvision of religion. AI-'Azmah views the Islamization of knowledge debate as representinga trend of irrationalism existing in both Westernand non-Western culture. This trend understandshistory, society and political action as unchangingentities which are in 'essence' harmonious.History is understoodas natural, exempt from conscious human will. Humans are treated as if they were a silent, animal species.45 Again, al-:Azmah46 sees that the texts of the Islamization of knowledge (Imad aI-din Khalil's introduction to Islamizationof knowledge)Amezian'sand al-Faruqi'swritings are simplistic. The Islamizersoften start with the old questionof cultural imperialism which datesback to the time of the Prophetto end up with contemporaryissuesin an a-historicalmanner.They seemto equatethe political spherewith the civilizational in orderto 47 They are simplistic in their pretenda civilizational independence. selectivity. The Islamizers seem to overlook societal, cultural, ideologicaland complexhistorical evolutions,and insist on the simplistic binary opposition between the authentic (asH) and the (dakhil).48 Their argumentationis circular in that they view society as completeand closed from its start. Society is read, understood and replicatedaccordingto the imaginedideals of the early golden age.49 AI-'Azmah sharplycriticizes the Islamizationtrend as appropriating and misinterpretingthe languagethroughal-Faruqi'swork towardsIslamic English languageand thus distorting the language in the samemannerthe political Islam would carry out. AI-Faruqi devisesArabic words which he writes in Latin and interpretsthem accordingto the Islamic principles, which are nothing but his own interpretation.They use the Qur'an as a historical sourcewithout respectingor taking into considerationthe historical events.Third, they attemptto derive from the Qur'ansociologicallaws, principles of physics,which burdenthe sacredtext and passmoralisticjudgementsas if they were naturallaws.50 This is why the Islamizationof knowledgehasno epistemologicalfunction, and is a constantrepetition of the attributes(sifat) of Islam. Al-'Azmah thus seesit as a narcissist transcendentalismthat lends itself to fundamentalist manipulations.51 The Islamizers might appearas critical of Westernsciences.In reality, they only perpetuatea hastyevaluationof Westernrationalism without giving due referenceto Westerncritical thinking. Well before the Islamizers,the far more sophisticated,Frankfurt school made us aware of the impasseof enlightenmentand the limits of 198


rationalism.The questionof Fascismand massculture becamethe concernof TheodorAdorno for many years.While this work stands with the critiques against the Islamizers, it acknowledgeswith MohammedArkoun the gravity of taking seriouslythe importance of 'religious reasoning'. Last but not least,it seemsto me that the establishedresearchof the history of sciencein the Arab and Islamic world constitutesan entirely different track. One could here mention the solid work of FuatSezgin52 andlikewise RoshdiRashedon Arabic sciences.Sezgin revealsthe historical continuity in scienceand constructsthe chain of transmissionof knowledgefrom the Greek, Iranian and Indian influences.He providesa comprehensiveliterature about the major contribution of orientalists on the matter. It is a fascinating encyclopaedicwork. Rashed'scompilation is of great use and very revealing.David King's article in Rashed'seditedvolume highlights the practicalside of how the Muslims' searchfor the qiblat led to the developmentof astronomy.He demonstrateshow a spiritual act of faith like prayer and thereforethe searchfor the orientationof the qiblat was one main factor that triggered sophisticatedscientific mathematicalsolutions and world maps centredon Mecca. David King proposes that early Muslims offered universal solutions 53 It is no through the instrumentsand mathematicalprocedures. coincidencethat David King is a harsh critic of Seyyed Hossein Nasr. King arguedthat Nasr'swork on mathematicsand astronomy is 'full of distortionsand exaggerations'. 54 Rashed'smerit wasthat he arguedthat Arabic scienceswere 'international'. This is thanksto the intensivemovementof translation. Different traditions and languageswere integratedunder one civilization. Arabic becamethe scientific languageused.He saidthat the majority of the sourceswere Hellenistic, but they also included works written in Syriac, Sanskrit and Persian.55 Arabic language from the ninth century onwardshad gaineda universaldimension, since it becamethe languageof different people, as well as the languageof learning. By acknowledgingHebrewand Latin sources Rashedreminds us of the universal aspect of sciencewhich the Islamizersseemto deny. Following this line of thought AI-Hassan and Hill provide anotherrich illustration of early technologyin the Muslim world.56 They researched the techniquesandgavea vivid descriptionof material culturein Islam rangingfrom irrigation, fortifications, weapons, to alchemy,perfumes,rose-water,essentialoils, petroleum,glassand pottery. 199


However, all theseworks remain unnotedby the Islamizers,with the exception of SeyyedHosseinNasr. The work of Rashedand King proceedsthe other way around. In other words, the authors quoted here are interestedin how 'faith' dictated practical, instrumental solutions that led to scientific discoveries. This was the superiority of early Muslims, who were unhindered by, say, an oppressiveclerical machinery. Pierre Bourdieu's 'Ie sens pratique' constitutesa universaltrait. Precisely,practical senseis most likely droppedfrom the agendaof the biologistsand mathematicianswho are protagonistsof the Islamizationof sciences.However, once we are dealing with Islamizing social sciences,the issue is entirely a different one. For it is politics, and modern 'etatized'institutional constructionswhich cometo the forefront. I haveattemptedto provide a summaryof variouscritical stances towardsthe Islamizationproject. The attacksmight look like a mere ideological struggle, but in reality they are decisive in shaping researchfunding and generalgovernmentpolicies towardsthe orientation of science.Importantis the fact that the meansof argumentation and aims of an academiclike Abdel Wahabal-Messiri arenot very different from the Azhari preacherShaykhal-Ghazali.That the whole endeavourrevealsthat the fraud of scienceandthe mediocrity in academiccirclescould be understoodas the otherside of fighting for a voice. Here certainly Western institutions and managersof scienceare also not innocentin the gameof acknowledgement.




Gender and Islamization We have seenin the chapteron faith and sciencethat the protagonists of the Islamizationdebatedid tackle the issueof genderand biological reproductionfrom an Islamic perspective.In connection with this topic, it would be interestingto highlight someof the reactions of Muslim feministsin Malaysiatowardsthe generalpolicy of Islamizationof the stateand the opposition. My argumentis that the group mentionedin this chapterusesalternativereferencesto the Middle East in comparisonto the islamizers that are worth being studied. Certainly, re-orderingpublic spacetouchesdirectly the changing,tensegenderrelations. The revival of an application of a new form of Islamic attire and women'srole in public participation has beenwidely discussedby feminists and social scientists. Some social scientistsbrought up argumentssuch as that we are today witnessinga novel form of 'Islamic feminism'. Womenwearing the Islamic attire are perceivedas actively participatingin public life and the workforce. They have redirectedthe Islamist discourseand haveaccommodatedit to their own interest.1 While opposingsuchviews, Arab feministslike Nawal al-Sa'adawi and Fatema Mernissi debunked and questionedthe position of womenand Islam and genderroles on the level of the remuneration of womens'work as well as male fantasiesand imagery. Similar to many womenArab writers, they transformedthe issueof veil into a symbolicact, meaningthat the real negativeveil is keepingsilent and hindering women from expressingtheir views. The recenteventsof Afghanistanand Algeria providedhorrific picturesof violence that confirmed thefear of womenin the variouscountriesof the Muslim world. Increasingly, publications by women have been perceiving fundamentalismas a direct threatto their existence.2 201


This chapterattemptsto draw some analogiesand affinities in genderdiscoursesof someArab feminists and a women'sgroup in Malaysia. Interesting to observe is the fact that the common denominatorbetween Fatema Mernissi, Nawal al Sa'adawi, the various Algerian women's associationsand the Kuala Lumpur women'sgroup, is the attemptto link women'sissueswith democracy. FatemaMernissi speaksof the many fears which Arabs suffer from, like the fear of democracyas an ambivalentform of cultural amputation.3 Nawal al-Sa'adawi'sactivism hasbeenequally closely linked with issuesof democracy.Shemaintainsaffinities with leftist circles which resultedin her being jailed during the Sadatregime and later on, her organizationbeing bannedby the regime. The Kuala Lumpur group, the Sistersin Islam, attemptsto questionand resist the application of hudud and shari'a criminal law in the rapidly modernizingMalaysiansociety.They emphasizethe importance of democratization,citizenship and the expandingrole of civil society.The changingstatusof family laws seemsto be a common concernby protestingwomen be they Algerian,4 Egyptian or Malaysian. I will here mention some of the writings of a women'sprofessional group, the Sisters in Islam of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, formed in the early nineties,and draw the affinities and differences in the claims of this group in relationshipto genderdiscoursesin the Middle East. I will also attemptto elaborateon the location of the Middle Middle Eastin termsof borrowingsandcultural apporpriations of discoursesin Malaysia. Traditionally, religious knowledgeimported from the Middle East to the Malayo-Muslim world owes a great deal to the establishednetworks from the centresof learninglike Cairo and Meccawhere the SoutheastAsian students residedfor long years. Thesestudents/scholars brought influences to the Malayo-Muslim world that rangedfrom Islamic reformism, Nasserism,and most important the Egyptian Muslim Brothers ideology. Once they returned, the carriers of such a religious culture, became'ulama and teachersof Arabic and religious subjects. The argument I propose, is that this women's group in Malaysiais attemptingto borrow alternativeintellectualstreamsof thought from the Middle East. They are rather interestedin borrowing the ideasof intellectuals(muthaqafun)who diverge in their view from the traditionally trained 'ulama. For example,the works of both Mernissi and Sa'adawiare translatedinto Indonesianand their writings are available in the bookshopsof Singapore,Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta in Arabic, English and Indonesian. AI-



Sa'adawi'swritings5 have become a beloved theme for Master's thesesat the Departmentof Arabic, the lAIN (Institute Agama Islam Negeri) the Islamic Institute(s) in Indonesia. The Kuala Lumpur group is well informed about the most recentwritings on genderin the Middle East. Onecould view someof the writings of the Sistersin Islam group of Kuala Lumpur as an endeavor towards an 'inner' Islamic reformism that attemptsto establisha critical standtowards some measuresimposedby the oppositionalIslamic party in Malaysia.It will focus upon someof the writings and demandsof sucha group as a responseto the growing Islamization in Malaysia. The group consistsof eight professional,middle classwomenwho fill positions as university lecturers,lawyers andjournalists.This women'smovement emergedout of a growing consciousnessof the difficulties faced by women in shari'ah courts, particularly with regard to polygamy and the rights of women to obtain divorce when they advocateit. It raises the issue of domestic violence and gender inequality which women seemto experiencein many Muslim countries. A phenomenonwhich incited the Sisters to write about the exerciseof coercionby husbands.Seefor instancethe writings of the Sistersin Islam: Are Womenand Men Equal before Allah? (United SelangorPress,Malaysia, 1991). Are Muslims Allowed to Beat their Wives? (United SelangorPress,Malaysia, 1991). They also raised recommendationsfor reform in the shari'ah court systemand the wives claiming for alimony when the husbandpractisespolygamy. In recentyears,the PAS(Parti Islam SeMalaysia)Islamic party in Kelantanwhich is possiblystronglyinfluencedby the ideology of the EgyptianMuslim Brothers,advocatedthe banningof womenfactory workers from night shifts. It attemptedto imposethe Islamic attire upon them. But most important the PAS-ledKelantangovernment managedto passthe HududBill throughthe Statelegislaturein 1993, which certainly addressesthe issueof genderand domination.6 The Sistersperceivethat the growing Islamization of Malaysian society limits women'srole in public spheres.They similarly seethe dangers of someconfigurationsof Middle Easternforms of 'cultural influence' being imbibed by returning Middle Easterngraduates(and proponents of the Islamic state). The understandingof how Islamizationand the 'right' and pure Islam ought to be exercised,is often imposedat the expenseof the local Malay perceptionof Islam. Although the Sistersmaintainin their writings a frame of reference to the Middle East- aswill be discussed in this chapter- they attempt to offer an alternativeand independentvision. 203


One major initiative which the Sistersin Islam have attemptedto undertake,is to offer an alternativeresponsethrough the text, i.e. through the interpretationof the Qur'an in a new light, a trend which could be equatedwith similar undertakingsin other partsof the Muslim world. In Egypt, the attempt to open the door to a modeminterpretationof the Qur'an was launchedby the Egyptian reformer Mohammed'Abduh and ever since then various attempts at exegesishave been undertakenby many contemporaryMuslim thinkers.7 In Egypt, for instance, the battle between the Islamists and Muslim intellectuals who advocatethe 'opening' of the text for hermeneuticsand historical contextualisationhas beenincreasingly escalating.Not only the establishment'ulama, but also a sectionof university staff who are products of the secular system seem to manifest a strong resistanceto the critical understandingof the religious discourse.A recentexamplein Egypt was the attemptto interpret the Qur'an and historical texts by the Cairo University philosopherNasr Hamid Abu Zayd. The writings of Mohammed Said al-'Ashamawi,8 advocatethe contextualizationand the critical reading of the historical conditions related to the religious texts.9 One could also mention the works of the Pakistanifemale scholar Rifa'at Hassan,who is basedin the United States,as yet another important modem attempt of Qur'an interpretation. Hassanwas invited to Malaysiaandher writings seemto havemet with a positive reception. Although the Sisters in Islam writings might appearfor say, a Middle Easterner,to be simplistic in comparisonto someEgyptian writings on the matter,1O(in particular, the way the Sistersrespond with the sameargumentativetools of the Islamistsin order to rebut their views), they are, however, a good exampleof contemporary women'sresponsein Malaysiato religious revivalism. Someview that thereis todaya severepowerstruggletaking place on the level of genderin many Muslim countries.This is bestexemplified in feminist reactionsall over the Muslim world. They view the Iranian model and the growing influence of the Mullahs in many Muslim countriesas a direct threatto women.II For Pakistan, ShanazRouse,for example,equatesthe rise of Islamic fundamentalism of the Jammiat-e-Islamiwith Fascism.She explicitly states that Islamizationin Pakistanrepresentsa direct declineof women's rights andtheir statusis reducedto half that of men.12 It is no coincidencethat the topic of the increasinginfluenceof madrasahsand religious 'mediatized'mullahs has been picked up by feminists. 204


Mernissi mentionsthe new phenomenonof the media-Imam,who appears on television and has become extremely popular and powerful.13 Nawal al-Sa'adawiuses the Imam in her novel as a 14 The growing significanceof 'topos' and symbol of suppression. religious preachersis observed similarly in the Pakistani and Algerian societies. But also voices of women pointing to this phenomenonhave been heard. In Malaysia, Zahara Alatas expressedstrong critiques againstthe writings of the reactionary Egyptian preacherand ShaykhMohammedMetwalli al-Sha'rawi, who condemnswomen's participation in the work force. Zahara Alatas's article is inspiring in view of the commentary of a Malaysian, NGO, female activist written against an Egyptian 'mediatic' popular preacherwhose views and oral preaching15 are taken seriouslyin Malaysia.16ZaharaAlatas wrote this article after realizing the growing impact of Sheikh al-Sha'arawiamong the Islamic scene.The hard 'Realpolitik' of the PAS, in Malaysiaseem to be interpretingthe Qur'an to consolidatemale dominationand the further discouragementof women from entering public spheres.17

Genderin the Middle East Oneof the mostimpressiveimagesof the Iranian revolutionwasthe media broadcastof women rioting in the streetsof Tehran. They marchedwith the 'chador',protestingagainstthe despotismof the 'secular'regimeof the Shah.Someobserversarguedthat the Iranian Revolution after the Shah'soverthrow did not hinder women from conqueringpublic spaceandparticipatingactively in the stateapparatus. The 'chador'was seenas a national symbol of anti-western culture ratherthan as a symbol of the suppressionof the freedomof women. Thesepictureschallengedthe argumentslong advancedby Western feminists about women's oppressionin the Orient. The phenomenonof Muslim womenconqueringpublic spacein Islamic attire was now seenas a form of 'veiled activism'.IS Nevertheless, this argumentdoes not give due importanceto the social control exercisedthroughthe processof 'purification' of the dresscode,and the purification of the ideal 'Muslim sister'19that servemainly the 2o It is precisely the populist ideology of new Islamic nation-state. Khomeini, so well demonstratedby Ervand Abrahamian,21that could provideus an answerabouthow artefactsandsymbolssuchas veiling take a modernmeaning. 205


Whether the veil is a progressiveor a reactionaryphenomenon andwhetherit is hinderingwomenfrom further conqueringthe public space,areviews which I do not wish to debatein this essay.I have previously argued that the return to the so-called 'authentic'and 'original' Islam, manifestedin the dresscodeandreshapingof public space, although apparently anti-Western, representsindeed the reverseside of the samediscoursewhich has alreadybeenreshaped. andformulatedby the West.22 It might be importantto notethat the issueof Islamic attire in Franceand Germanytakesa morecomplex dimension of identity construction related to issues of foreign migration (in Germanythe Turkish guestworkers, growing racism and Muslims being treatedas secondclasscitizens).Any monolithic understandingof contemporarypolitical Islam leads to simplistic conclusions:indeed the Saudi Arabian Petro-Islamversion varies greatly from the early Iranian revolution which did aim at overthrowing a corrupt regime.Religioussymbols,in the majority of the Muslim countries,have been the subject of manipulationby both 'secular'statesand their opposition,in sucha way that one and the samesymbol might entail multiple readingsand meanings.The veil for examplemight be used as meansof survival for poor students who cannot afford upper class expensive imported attire; as a measureof social control and social conformity; as a demandfor a different life-style by youth; as a form of middle classsocial ascendance and bourgeoisaspirations(expensiveveils for instance); as womenaspiringto feel at easein moving aboutin public spacesand asmanifestationsof public official uniforms and 'populist'demands and purified imageryof women.23 With regardto local and socio-politicalspecificities(the eventsin Algeria, Pakistan,Egypt, or Malaysia),the manipulationof Islamic symbolsindicatesthat a strong effort is being directedtowardsthe questionof how to 'control women'.24Control here is mental and physical,entailing the most punitive means.Furthermore,observers of the Malaysian scene argue that with Islamic revivalism, the peripheral status of women has been reinforced even more strongly.25The Algerian caseis quite revealing;women and due to violent islamists attacks, have recently become the most active groupsandassociationsthat militate for democracyand the demand for civil society.26 In fact, be it in the Middle Eastor in SoutheastAsia, the question of the segregationof women, the re-orderingof public space,the Islamic attire, adherenceto the dresscode and the increasinginterferencein women'slives in both private and public spheres,seemto



occupyan amazingdimension.The 'body' and form ratherthan the 'essenceof religion', as secular intellectuals would counter-argue becomethe forefront of gender struggle. But is not 'body transformation' and body politics oneof the major issuesof massculture in the West?This is wherethe Islamistswould bearsimilarities with otheryouth groupsin Europein termsof fighting to enterthe era of modernity. Arab Feministsarguedthat Islamists' politics focus on women, and particularly women'sattire, in the most obsessivemanner.The Muslim dress code becomesthe issue upon which wars can be launchedand chastity of women is measured.Equally, one should also point to the 'modem'ambiguity of the Islamic attire, which was at an earlier period a sign of protest.But with the 'gentrification'of the ascending'Muslim middle classes'in many Middle Eastern societies,it is likely a meansof integration, social ascendenceand acceptanceinto the world of state functions, for the expanding middle classesin the Middle East and Malaysia as well. In other words, for many women in Egypt wearing the Islamic attire as state employees guaranteesthem a certain protection against being molestedor sexuallyharassedby men in public places. Thereis today a severepower struggletaking placeon the level of genderin many Muslim countries.This is bestexemplifiedin feminist reactionsall over the Muslim world.27 It is indeed FatemaMernissi who remindsus how the Prophetguaranteedan activerole for women; he gave them the right to go to mosquesand participatein the religious activities. Shefurthermorerevealedto us that womenin various periods of Islamic history ruled empires.28 One can view Mernissi's attemptto re-assess womenin early Islam as a responseto the 'ulama and the Islamists' views. Nevertheless,Mernissi seems to remain within the confinesof counter-arguingby usinghistoricalmaterialfor the improvementof the contemporaryposition of women. In contrast to Mernissi's understandingof women in Islam is Seyyed Hossein Nasr. It is interesting to highlight Nasr's views concerning the position of the Muslim woman. Nasr wrote the following: ... a womandoesnot haveto find a husbandfor herself Shedoesnot haveto display her charm and makethe thousandand one plans through which she hopesto attract a future mate. The terrible anxiety of having to find a husbandand the missingof opportunity if one doesnot try hard enoughat the right momentis sparedthe Muslim woman.29 ... the questionof equality of menand womenis meaningless... In the homethe womanrules as queenand a Muslim man is in a sensethe guestof his wife at home.30



The argumentspromotedby S. H. Nasr - which are not incorrect in theory31 - seem to be used today by the Islamists to further control women. However,the gap betweenthe idealsand reality in the Muslim world is so enormousthat we need not here argue whetherthe Qur'an hasor hasnot guaranteedan excellentposition for women,32 but rather that everyday reality for many Muslim women is distressing.Polygamy,the right to divorce, physical and mentalviolenceand sexualassault- all theseissuesraisedby feminism - are indeeduniversa1.33 That it is an advantagefor Muslim women not to be botheredby the struggleof searchingfor a husband as S.H. Nasr proposes,still leavesthe questionof women's choice and decision-makingopen. Here again, when ideals are taken for reality, despotismfinds a wide audience.Let us look to the specific case of Malaysia and locate the specificity of the debateson genderand public space.Let us try and find the interconnectionsand borrowingswhich someMalaysianstake from the Middle East.

The gender issuein Malaysia Malaysiahas a relatively high percentageof working womenand a large female populationworking in factories.We are also reminded of the high involvementof women in higher educationand in the professionalsector, as well as the presenceof two female senior cabinet Ministers.34 As said earlier the booming economy(before the last Asian crashin 1997) hasbeencoupledwith further institutionalization of Islam in order to counteractthe growing oppositional Islam. Karim pointed to the dangerof encouraging'illegitimate' and oppositionalreligious groups. She refers to the caseof A. Ghani Ismail who draws the connectionbetweenon the one hand, the 'ulamas' legitimacy in banningsomereligious texts, while on the other, granting the religious groupsthe freedom to pervert interpretationsof the hadith. It hasbeensuggestedthat this leadsto the growing difficulties of governingIslam in Malaysia.35 Yet, economic progress(beforethe last 1997monetarydevaluation)coupled with further Islamization seemsto go hand in hand with further social control; more specifically, moral and sexualdominationand punishment for political opponents, and the socially deprived strata. In relation to this topic, SusanAckermanhas analyzedthe moral statediscoursein MalaysiaaboutIslam in attemptingto control the working classand in particularthe female factory workers' culture. She pointed to the cultural debatewhich centredaround 208


portraying working class women in the workplace as sexually 36 unrestrained. Along with a growing concernaboutcontrolling unbridledsexual wants, we witness, on the one hand, the phenomenonof the total coveringup of female bodiesin public spaces(as practisedby members of the Darul Arqam for example) while, on the other hand, sexual-politicalscandalsseemto fill a large spacein the pressandin the life of the Malaysians. One could interpret such scandalsas nothing but press manipulation and not something peculiar to Malaysia. Nevertheless,they reveal the transitional countenance which facessocietyregardingthe questionof modernityand gender. Under the headingof scandals,one can mention, as an example, the bizarre crime committed by Mona Fandey. Togetherwith her husbandshebeheadedand dismembereda Datuk (a title grantedby the royalty), after making him believethat shewas curing him with magic (Ramah).37Although Malaysia has beenfacing rapid industrialization, and increasing consumerism,in recent years. Such modernizationseemsto expand without affecting Ramah culture, which, now tentatively, is flourishing more than ever. There is also the story of an important politician in his mid-forties, who had an affair with a fifteen-year-oldgirl who confessedhaving had a series of partners(elevenlovers),38which shookoff the nation'snotionsof the moral conductin the higher political circles.39 Equally, the publicity engenderedby the 'hunting' and banning, by the government,of the Darul Arqam group (which was getting increasinglypowerful economicallyand threateningthe authority of the state)revealedto the public the privileged position of its leader in having an 'ampleaccess'to women.40 Ashaari Muhammed,who enjoys the privilege of four wives, advocatestotal obediencefrom women, polygamy, and that women 'be kept in their place'.41 He confessed,after detention,that he had deviatedfrom the true teachings of Islam.42 Another interesting event was the story of a preacherin Johor who justified his marriageto ten wives (interestingly, the majority of themare university graduates),on the grounds that he had becomea shi'ite.43 The Singaporeanpreacherargued that he had contracteda shi'ite marriage, nikah muta'ah, (which allows accessto an unlimited numberof womenwithin a limited-bytime contract). In order to find a solution, the court applied for advice from Iranian mullahs. The court prosecutor, Haji Abdul Karim Yusof, argued that the women were actually followers of sunni Islam but had decidedto adopt the shi'ite view of temporary marriage to justify their union with the preacher.They were also



accusedunder10hor'sIslamic administrationenactmentof cohabiting with the man and of havingillicit sexwith him. Then thereis the recentstory of a memberof the PAS,who, in orderto be discredited politically with the adventof the elections,was accusedof khalwat (oppositesexesfound in close proximity,44 and thus subjectto punishment) - an irony of fate, since the PAS has been most keen in implementing punitive laws. In fact, in recent years, the various statesin Malaysiahaveimposedthe khalwat or closeproximity punishment.Sincekhalwat is not defined in the Qur'an, Muslim jurists were given a free handin decidingupon punishment. As examplesof increasingconcernsabout control and punishment, we can mentionthe following examples. Since the return to power of the Islamic party (PAS) in 1990, proposalsfor the legislative enforcementof the hududpunishments have been articulated. 'The Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code was unanimously adopted by the Kelantan State Assemblyon November25,1993.The Bill seeksto give effect to a certainunderstandingof syariah (shari'a) criminal law, including the hudud, qisas(law of retaliation)and ta'azir (discretionof judges in meting out punishment)offences and their punishments.Thosefound guilty of certainoffences(suchas adultery, armed robbery and apostasy),are subjectedto public punishments including flogging, mutilation of limbs by amputation, stoningto death,and crucifixion'.45 46 This 2 A proposalby the Mufti to segregatecinemaaudiences. was followed by the Stategovernment'sdecisionto ban popular forms of art such as 'makyong','menora' and wayangkulit performances. 3 Fifty Muslim womenworking in various shopshavebeenfined by the Kota Baru Municipal Council for failing to observethe dresscoderuling imposedby the PAS-ledKelantangovernment. The dresscoderequiredMuslim womenworkersboth in the private and public sectorsto cover all their bodiesexceptfor their handsand face. Non-Muslim female employeeswere forbidden to wear mini-skirts.47 4 Sinceunmarriedwomenareconsideredto be a hindranceto the 'healthy family life', the director of Pedis state's Islamic ReligiousDepartment,urgedwomento allow their husbandsto take second,third or fourth wives as a way of preventingextramarital affairs. His statementthus encouragespolygamy.48All theseeventswerereasonsto provokethe Sistersto takemeasures 210


in sending a memorandumof protest to the Prime Minister, pointing out their discriminatingeffects.49 The Sistersalso sent a memorandumon the Hudud bill to the Prime Minister pointing out variousdiscrepancies. Moreover, the Sistersorganizeda conferenceon Shari'a Law, The Modern Nation-Stateand Islam; the paperswere compiled into a book.50 The articles of this volume are put togethercoherentlyand are clearly written. The interestingobservationaboutthis collection of papersis how diversereferences(from the traditional 'ulama) to the Middle East, in terms of expertise,scholarshipand texts are being usedin argumentationto challengethe claims of the Islamic party (PAS). A paper of Chandra Muzaffar, the human rights activist, critic and founder of the Aliran group in Penang,also appearsin this volume. He stressesthat the conservatismof the 'ulama hindered any developmentof reconstructingan evaluative attitudetowardsthe shari'a. Onecan tracea commonthreadamong all thesepapersin that they plead variously for recognition of the complexityandintricacy of Islamic history, aswell ascontemporary Muslim reality, which revealstremendousdiversity. They remind us of the history of the making of shari'a, that is as a man-made phenomenonand warn us of the dangersof a-historical visions. of They arguefor the contextualizationand the reconceptualization texts and their relationsto the reader.A new understandingof the conceptof idjtihad (interpretationof religioustexts), andthe demystification of a constructedpast are also on the agenda.The main questionsraisedare 'How shouldan Islamic statebe run? How can we, today as modem people, be committed both to our religious heritageand to a vision of progressfor its inheritors, and interpret the essentialsof the Medinal model?How arewe now to understand and realize the Qur'anic ideals of equality, justice and the political sovereigntyof the umma?'.51The introduction makes the sincere point that 'Muslims themselvesmust also take responsibilityfor the negativeimage Islam evokesamongmany people'.52 In fact, such claims are neither different from what Arab secular intellectuals advocatenor do they bearan originality. They gain a significancein the way they are borrowed to counteractthe Islamistswho extensively use the writings of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers and alMawdudi. None the less,the Middle Eastis not seenas merely a reservoirof Islamistcultural influences;it is also the centrewherereformismand innovative ideas take shape. The fact that the Sisters invited



Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, a Sudanesescholaractive in human rights groupsand translatorof MahmoudMohammedTaha'sThe SecondMessageof Islam, revealsthat they expressmoreuniversalistic tendenciesthan other political groups in Malaysia. Abdullahi AhmedAn Na'im pleadsfor a wider understandingof the definition citizenship which is today practisedin a sectarianmannerin the Islamic state.He considerschargesof apostasyto be untenablein a multi-religious and multi-ethnic system like the modern nationthat An Na'im's discoursefulfills a state.53 It is thus understandable function in the current Malaysian politics. The oppositionalPAS party has for many years attackedthe governmentof kufr (disbelief). The Sistersaim to createa forum for broaderissuessuchas civil society, democracyand citizenship. Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, was also invited in 1996 by the Sisters. The Islamists in Kuala Lumpur, who were strongly againsthis invitation, let him attendthe conference,but after putting pressureon Mahathir and the Sisters, they imposedthe condition of forbidding him to utter any word in public. SadeqJalal al-'Azm was also invited, but he did not attend the conference. Genderissueshave beenoften appropriatedby the establishment (in the Middle East,the Indian subcontinentand SoutheastAsia), to counteractits oppositionand providea so-called'progressive'image of the state.Mernissiis todaysolicitedby the King andworks closely with internationalorganizations.This is part andparcelof her fame. AI-Sa'adawi'sexperiencein jail andthe governmentcurtailing of her asssociationhas indirectly contributedto her growing popularity in the West. Shebecamesomehowthe token Arab feminist. This coincides often with the West embracinga simplistic and paternalistic standtowardsthe 'oppressedwomenin the Orient'. Without denying the reality that oppressionexists, what are perhapsworth attention in cross-culturalfeminist discoursesare the nuancesand subtelties that ariseout of the 'starssystem'when onespeakson behalfof the 'people','women'or the 'masses'.Theseare paradoxeswhich should be takeninto consideration. One could therefore draw analogies with the Malaysian case. Whether the Sisters will succeedin attracting a wide audiencein Malaysia, whether their claims can seriously challenge the PAS's policies in practical terms, whetherthey are not - in order to counteractthe oppositionof PAS - aligning themselveswith, and seeking the backing and support of the Mahathir governmentand consequently end up becomingpart of the establishment,are all issues which merit further discussion- beyond this work. Furthermore, 212


Mernissi, togetherwith other literary female Arab writers like Sahar Khalifa and Asia Djebar, Latifa al-Zayyat,HananaI-Sheikh,Ahdaf Soueif and many other Arab writers, enjoy an audiencein the Arab world. They are prolific and inspiring intellectually and artisitically, while the young group of the Sistershas beencriticized for being a small and isolated organization,suffering perhapsfrom a limited impact in Malaysia. Also, in relation to this topic, one often hears grievancesaboutthe rangeof originality of SoutheastAsian Muslim intellectuals'productionin proportionto the Middle East.Southeast Asia hasbeenquite often perceivedas a 'recipient'of ideasfrom the Middle East rather than being innovative. Thesecommentswould requiretheir own research.Both Mernissiandal-Sa'adawi'sfame owe to someextent to the Westernworld where their writings have been popularized.They are themselvesquite awareof suchcritiques. The Sistersmight be criticized on the samegrounds.They areperhapsbetter known in internationalconferencesthan in the local context. It would be interestingto raise questionmarks on the interactivelevel betweenfeminism, the imageof Islam and the Westernworld. In contrast to the Arab feminists, the Sisters in Islam, while acknowledgingthe universalityof Islam, insist uponthe Malaysian specificity. They arguethat there are historical and cultural differencesbetweenthe Middle East and SoutheastAsia and therefore divergencesin the way Islam was practisedin the Malay world. Noraini Othman refers to orientalists to support the idea that Islam was originally an 'Arab religion for Arabs' to defenda 'different' Malay and IndonesianMuslim culture.54 Othman like the Pakistani scholar Rifa'at Hassan, uses the works of Fazlur Rahman,who defied the idea that Islam is a national religion, in order to 'protect' the local context. One could read this political manoeuvreas a reaction to the growing usageof Arabic by the Islamistsas a form of 'elevation'and as a card for political credibility. To confirm this idea, for instance, the Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia, whosespeechappearsin one of the publicationsof the Sistersin Islam, points to the fact that to understand the Qur'an and the Prophet's saying requires interpretations. Mahathir stressedthat: The possibility of errors occurring when a non-Arab conveysIslamic teachings in a languageother than Arabic is the sameas whenan Arab who is fluent in a languageother than Arabic tries to conveyIslamic teachingsthrough lecturesor booksin that language.Thereforenobodycan claim that his teachings are more accuratejust becausehe understandsArabic.55



In recentyears,Mahathir has strongly attackedthe Middle Eastern

trained 'ulama in Malaysiafor their bargainingover higher knowledgeof Arabic language.He often calledinto questiontheir training and attackedthem for being antiquatedand spreadingfundamentalist teachings. This is again an indication that the Muslims of SoutheastAsia would like to fight for a spacefor recognitionand to havea 'voice' to the 'right to difference'vis-a.-vis the Middle East,56 after having for so long being taxed with belonging to the 'periphera1'Islam.



Today, when 'Westernization'has becomea perjorative word, there have reappearedon the stagesubtlerandmoresophisticatedmeansof acculturation. Theyproducenot merely modelsof conformity but also modelsof 'official dissent'.It is possibletoday to be anti-colonialin a way which is specifiedand promotedby the modern world view as proper', 'sane' and 'rational'. Even when in opposition, that dissentremainspredictableand controlled. It is also possible today to opt for a non-West which itself is a construction of the West. One can then choosebetweenbeingthe Orientalist'sdespot,to combine Karl Wittfogel with Edward Said, and the revolutionary'sloving subject, to combineCamuswith GeorgeOrwell. Andfor thosewho do not like the choice, there is of course, Cecil Rhodes'and RudyardKipling's noble, half-savage half-child, comparedto whom the much hated Brown Sahib seemsmore brown than Sahib.'"

The paradoxof globalization,asRolandRobertsonargued,is that the presumablegrowth of technologyand the narrowingof communication around the globe certainly correlates witha new form of miscommunicationand the consolidationof tribal sentiments.It seems that the 'right to difference'is pairing with the fragmentationin life styles that this phenomenonmay also be observedin the sphereof academic production and job markets. No doubt that Samuel Huntington'sClash of Civilizations is a good casein point where ill intentionsfrom the North perpetuatean aggressivehegemonicideology.l This is not a novel idea, but what is striking here is the reverse effect of sucha thesison thesetwo 'local' intellectualsettingsand the competingpolitical powerstrugglesthat appropriatea discourse. The debate on 'public religion'2 has attractedthe attention of socialscientistsinterestedin the revival of the religiousphenomenon

"'Ashis Nandy, The Intimate Enemy, Loss and Recoveryof Self Under Colonialism, Delhi, Oxford University Press,1983, xii.



under modem conditions in the last decade.This is perhapsone of the rise of fundamentalismandthe worldwide direct consequence effect of the Iranian revolution. The majority of the Muslim countries witnesseda growing Islamizationwhich drew the attentionto debatesrelatedto the 'ordering'of the public sphereunder entirely new circumstances.Much discussioncentred about the impact of Islamizationfrom the 'top' andequallyfrom the religiousopposition to conquerand reshapethe public space.Religious revivalism was thus interpretedon the one hand as fulfilling the role of the 'resistanceof the poor' and as a social movementthat has replacedthe vanishingfunctions of the state.The Iranian revolution effect led to re-thinking the location of religion as a political force, in other words, as constituting an ideology of liberation theology. Ervand Abrahamianpointed out the populistic and modernisticaspectsof Khomeini's politics and his borrowingsfrom Marxism and secular thought.3 The paradox of the discourseof 'radicalist resistance' correlating with the growing racism in the Occident has further blurred Westernperceptionsof Islam. The discourseof a theology of liberation and the extension of the Marxist ideology into Islamism and Islamic politics led to the situation where some Westernsocialscientists,for instance,interpretedveiling as a form of political activism, and identity construction vis-a-vis Western culture, and thus a positive act. While this interpretationwas not incorrect at the start of Iranian revolution, it becameproblematic once the religious clergy became an established authority. Exaggeratedappraisalof so called 'authentic'and indigenoustraits were anotheraspectof sucha stand. Onecan only agreewith EdwardSaid'scondemnationof the negative portrayal of Muslims and Arabs in the American press,even when his thesis entails simplistic East-West assumptionsand dichotomies.The demonizingof Islam, Islamic fundamentalismand Islamic militancy in the Western media is self-evident.4 However, America'spolicies towardsIslam are far from being monolithic and consequential.We have to remind ourselvesthat the post colonial Pax-Americanaideology aims at counteractingcommunist,secular and nationalist forces by encouragingprimordial ethnic and religious sentiments.Many Arab intellectualsbelieve that, in the first analysis,the Islamist agendadoesnot representa seriousthreat to Americaninterestsin the region. They seethat 'political Islam' has beenless threateningin the region than the nationalistregimeslike Nasser and Mossadeqfor example. However, since the Iranian revolution, there has been much disagreementamong observers. 216


First, on whetherthe Iranian revolution constituteda real threat to the Americans and second, concerning the magnitude of CIA intervention and involvement in financing the Islamic groups in Afghanistan (and Saudi Arabia's encouragementof Islamization policies that would enhanceSaudi image in the Muslim world). In fact, it has been pointed out that America's 'instrumentalism'in foreign policy in dealingwith Islamists5 might explain their acceptance and inclusion as partners in dialogue. Interestingly, some Western observers,in trying to give a counter image to Western media, have taken an apologetic stand vis-a.-vis Islamism. These observersreverse the prevalent argument that the Islamists are harmoniouswith democracy.This is done through depicting the 'modem'dimensionof the Islamists:that they arecapableof coping with technology,computersand modemmeansof communication. It is true that in the caseof Egypt the Islamic movementhas been replacing the vanishing state by offering alternativesocial services which role has beeninstrumentalin its gaining masssupport.This, however,raisesanotherquestion:whetherusingmodemtechnology and the appearanceof the phenomenonof 'gentrified' Muslim middle classeswould clash with populistic massmovementmobilization? I see no conflict between Islamist totalitarianism and of the middle Islamist technologizationand the 'embourgeoisement' classeswho would adopt an Islamic life style. Whether Leonard Binder's'Islamic liberalism'would provide a new 'civilizing' alternative to the Westernmodel is yet an unresolvedquestion.Whether political Islam is to be analysedas a 'petro-Islam'phenomenonor as a revolutionary, progressivesocial movementis anotherhighly debatableissue that was first raised by the Egyptian philosopher Fu'ad Zakariyya and other Egyptian secularintellectualslike the late FaragFodaand HusaynAhmad Amin. This questionbecomes even more difficult to answerwhen the only concreteoppositionto corrupt regimesare the Islamists. As argued earlier, secular Arab intellectuals see the entire 'Islamization of knowledge' project as a petro-Islam Washington import. This is not an erroneousstatement.Still, the local variations tell us that Mahathir, while referring at earlier stagesto the language of Islamization,has in recentyearsincreasinglyadoptedan ambivalent attitudetowardsMiddle Easterninfluencesin SoutheastAsia. He certainlyis very muchawareof how diverseMalaysianIslamwould be from the Middle East.His constantattackuponthe religiousclergy is a warning that his 'Islam' is of a rather modernistnature. Mahathir of borrowingArabic language often warnedof the over-exaggeration 217


as a form of gaining symbolicpower and the 'ulama'sclaim of higher knowledge.6 In manyinstances,he expresseda strongwish to distance himself from SaudiArabianIslam andovertly spokeof the dangerof importedIslamic fundamentalism.From that perspective,Mahathir's appropriationof the languageof 'Islamization'as a 'secular'medical doctor and a social Darwinist needsto be contextualizedwithin the major Asian Pacific economic changes,and the challengeshe has facedfrom both Singaporeandthe West. His appropriationof thejargon of 'Islamization'is to be paired with Mahathir'sfuturistic 2020 vision wherebyMalaysiawill be fully industrializedandthe attempt at reshapinga so-called'postmodem'landscapein the tropics. However, whetherMahathir's modernistIslam would not be altered after the recentAsian crisis is yet anotherquestion.The InternationalIslamic University has beenviewed by many in Kuala Lumpur as ~nwar's baby' in enhancinghis image and ISTAC could have never existed without the particular Anwar-al-Attas, teacher/studentrelationship. One wondersif all thesecastlesbuilt on sandare doomedto collapse after Anwar's fall? This book has beenconcernedwith drawing associationsbetween portraits of intellectuals,scholarsand religious preachersand relating them to a modemdiscourseof Islam. As said earlier, one could view S. HusseinAlatas as a secularintellectual who believesin the separationbetweenstateand religion andwho, sincehis studentdays, has been concernedwith Islam, socialism and social justice. His endeavourhas beento promotesocial sciencesand scientific investigation of social phenomenain SoutheastAsia. Alatas would hardly emphasizehis Hadrami (Arab) origin or his genealogicalancestors. One could view his brother as a counter figure, one who strongly attackedsocial sciencesas corrupting Islam. Syed Naquib AI-Attas has createdan institution closely linked with an 'etatized'vision of Islam that conformedat a certain·period with Anwar's policies. We haveseenhow S. N. al-Attas firmly believesin 'hierarchy'and order.

The location of intellectuals; paradoxes In Egypt, Muslim liberal intellectualsat the tum of the centurylike Taha Husayn, although they were criticized as naive liberals, constructeda positivedialoguewith the West. They wereinnovativeand universalistic.7 Today we are witnessing an alarming stream of global parochialismin academicmilieus that is coinciding with a blind and simplistic attack on orientalism. But why are Egyptian, Pakistanior Malaysian'Islamizersof knowledge'to be blamedfor 218


parochialism,whenWesternuniversities,in particularin Europe,are equallyfacing financial structuralcrisesthat foster tribal sentiments. As arguedearlier, academicnationalism,the continuing parochialism in social sciencesand in the strategiesof the job markets are decisive.The function of thesenew Islamic institutionsis to provide marketoutletsandhardcurrencyfor the increasingnumberof Third World Ph.D. holdersfrom Westernuniversities.The 'languageof difference'and the debasingof Westernvaluesbecomesthe ticket to acceptanceas the 'Other' voice. They are left with few alternatives, but to be invertedculturaliststhemselves. Pnina Webner borrowed from Vlf Hannerz the distinction between cosmopolitansand transnationals.Cosmopolitans'are multilingual gourmet tasters who travel among global cultures, savouring cultural differences as they flit with consummateease between socialworlds'.8 While transnationals,on the other hand, constitutethe majority of the migrant communitiesin the Western world and they encounterproblemsof adaptingeconomicallyand culturally. Webner'sobservationsarevery useful for our case.Would not the majority of our modemmigrantThird World academics- be they Turkish, Pakistanior Egyptian,who are stationedin Malaysia, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait be pigeonholedas transnationals?Would not we all like to be cosmopolitans?I would like here to correlate Webner'scommentswith ChandraMuzaffar'slinking of the Islamic resurgencein Malaysia to what he calls 'secondgenerationacademics', who are returneesfrom abroadand occupy postionsin local universitiesand colleges.He argues: In contrast to thefirst generation(thosewho are in their mid-40sand older), the secondgenerationacademics,are by and large, lessaccomplishedboth as researchersand teachers.Theyare the oneswho condemnWesterncivilization in toto, who denouncesecularism and all other religions with the aim of glorifying the greatnessof Islam.9

Leavingasidethe big academicshotsand 'jet setters',I think that the concoctionof belongingeither to a 'secondgeneration'or experiencing socially the status of a 'transnational' academic might provideus someexplanationsaboutboth the fabricationand texture of a discourseand the feeling of deprivationand marginality that might be felt in thesemilieux. Besidesthat the marketof mediaand writing for the Arab pressfor Egyptian intellectualsis lucrative in terms of providing hard currency.It createda paradox,on the one hand, this second market has become an important means of survival for many intellectuals, but also has created a double 219


languageout of the phenomenonof the doublesalary.For instance, the intellectualproductionin English languageof someArab intellectualsdiffers from Arabic production,in fact, it aims at different marketsand ideologicalorientations. This leadsus back to Aijaz Ahmad'sbrilliant reflectionsconcerning the receptionof Said's Orientalism in the metropolitanWest in relation to the tensionsthat arise concerningthe location of nonEuropeanintellectuals in the metropolis. Ahmad is an admirable critic who disagreedwith Said fundamentallyon issuesof theory and history even while maintainingan appreciationof Said'swritings in addition to his courageouspositions. Ahmad statesthat he solidarizeswith him as a cultural critic and as a Palestinianwho is fighting for a standin the metropolis.However,Ahmed arguesthat it is no coincidencethat the book first appearedand earneda great successin the Westernworld. It was appealingto the secondgeneration intelligentsiafrom ethnic minorities.1O Said'sambiguousposition towards Marxism as Ahmad argues was comforting these middle classnon-Marxistintellectuals.It was pointedout that there occurredthroughglobalization,increasinghomogenizingeffectsdue to mobility, travel and migration. As said earlier notions of 'timespace compression'became crucial in rethinking the notion of Heimat.11 Is it any longer worth it to stressone'slocation?Cairo or New York are two well connectedmetropolises.Would the notion of space-timecompressionbe a consolationto the feeling of suffocation and leavetaking from the South from which some Third World intellectualssuffer after long experiencesof their seasonsof migration to the north? And how to associatethe feeling of leavetaking with the fluctuating academicjob market? Thereis mutual blamefrom both the West and the Eastconcerning misunderstandings about strategiesof research.Both sideshave their own narratives.Third World studentssent to the West experience rising right wing ideologiesand conservative,stifling Western academics whoare struggling for self-interest;they return to their respective countries as vehement anti-Western pro-government academicswho would abhorthe ideaof East-Westco-operation,and obstruct sending more studentsto the West. On the other hand, Westernresearchers complainaboutwastedforeign researchfunds in the Third World that land in the wrong handsandin fake educational researchinstitutions. This coincideswith the gradualdisappearance of 'genuineand real' Third World intellectualswho are replacedby the entrepreneursof culture. The fact is that researchersin Third World countriesare forced into a phenomenonof double salaries,



local versushard currencyfunding due to the wretchedlylow academic salaries,and thus a double discourseas an end result. I think nobody is innocent in the game, the Orientalists and Orientalized Orientals,and Orientalistsin reverse.Also to be takeninto consideration is the role of Americanfunding and researchcentresin setting the agendaof research,debatesand discourses,in regulating or deregulatingthe marketof scholarshipand sharpeningthe competition betweenlocal andinternationalscholarshipandknowledge.This seemsto be a global trend, for instancein the Philippines,American and Japanesefunding institutions have played a significant role in propelling debatesaboutthe role of the state,functional democracy, civil societyand the function of NGO's.12The eithernegativeor positive effect of such foreign institutions is equally highly debated among intellectuals in Egypt. The same applies to Malaysia. According to ShamsulAmri Baharuddinafter the 1969 racial riots, Malaysia witnesseda growing American interferencethrough the Ford Foundationthat encouragedthe expansionof further research in social sciences.As a result of the Ford Foundationreport, which was producedafter the riots, departmentsin the disciplinesof social scienceswere founded. Also Americans seem to have encouraged further non-universityresearchin Malaysiasincethe sixties.13 That there are no longer any genuine intellectuals in Egypt, Pakistanor Malaysia,as someWesternobserversmight argue,brings us to the next question;whethersalariedWesternacademicswould still belongto the classof intellectuals,if anywayintellectualsare by definition a classof traitors?In fact the miscommunicationbetween Eastand West and the 'Islamization'as a casestudy exemplifiesthe of fake Westernization,wherethe real critique of conconsequences sumerculture seemsto be non-existent.This has coincidedwith the decline of Marxist thinking and the public debateabout the social questionand the role of the welfare stateon the global level. By now it hasbecomeclearthat the local differencesin the way the 'Islamizationof knowledge'waspolitically directed,dictatedentirely different social realities with one and the samelanguageand discourse.In Malaysia the discoursehas beenclosely woven with the policies of the regime and institutional building; in Egypt, the discourseof Islamizationof knowledgetakesa subtle tum in the old andrenewedpolarizationbetweensecularintellectualsandIslamists. The confrontation is certainly more violent in Egypt than in Malaysia. This is due to the broad economicdifferencesbetween these two countries and the escalating political violence in the nineties in Egypt, although the recent charges against Anwar 221


Ibrahim reveal that much violence from the top exists in Malaysia too. The paradoxis that the ordered,well-to-do 'new Malay' middle classconstructionand the corporateclassideologycoincidewith the relative absenceof a public intellectual culture. Egypt is just the opposite- the chaotic 'absence'of the stateparadoxicallyallows a marginalizedintellectual culture. However, for Egypt, it could be noticed,that the discourseof Islamizationof knowledgeamongthe circles of political sciencein Cairo University has shifted in the late ninetiesinto ratherproposingan 'Islamic perspective'.The political scientistfrom Cairo University 'Abdel FattahIsma'il is quite critical of. the policies of the International Islamic University of Kuala Lumpur where he taught there for three months. Severaladvocates of the Islamization project in Cairo expresseda strong sensitivity that they havebeentaxedas followers of a 'Washingtonexport'ideology. Certainly here, Egyptiansinsist that what their intellectual productionhaslittle to do with Malaysia,althoughmanyhavemaintained a great admiration towards Anwar's Islamic policies before his detention. The enthusiastssee the creation of the International Islamic University of Kuala Lumpur as an alternativeinstitutional channel. They perpetuatefragmentsof a Third-Worldist languageto justify the creation of such Islamic universities. Apart from wearing the female Islamic attire, men having beards,addressingeachother with polite idioms like 'brother'and 'sister',and openingand closing the sessionswith the Qur'an,theserituals do not necessarilydiffer from any ceremonialperformancesat any WesternUniversity exceptthat they are'Islamic'in form. For instance,on graduationday femalestudentswear gownsand hatsidentical to Oxford Dons, with the slight exceptionthat underneaththey wear the Islamic attire to cover their hair. Otherwise,the InternationalIslamic University offers secular subjectssuch as management,businessadministration,economics, marketing,computersciencesand mathematics.The questionto be raisedis whetherthe graduatesreceiveequalopportunitiesin the job market to those from the University of Malaya and the National University of Malaysia.I havenot investigatedthis. The departmentsof sociologyand anthropologyat the IIU, after attemptsat Islamizing 'humanknowledgethat hasdevelopedout of the secularparadigmand world-view',14 offer coursesand reading lists that hardly differ from any Westernuniversity. The curriculum looks like an amalgamationof generalcourseson anthropologyand sociology in addition to courseson Islamic dogmaand ethics. The Faculty of RevealedKnowledgecould be equatedwith any faculty



of theology. The following coursesare taught: the sciencesof the Qur'an, sciencesof hadith, Islamic da'wah, Islamic aqidah, Islamic ethics, introduction to fiqh, contemporaryIslamic thought, biography of the Prophet,manin the Qur'anandsunnah,the early ummah, tawhid and the methodologyof the humansciences.The critics perceive this university and the one of Islamabadas pocketsfor nurturing fundamentalistand conservativeIslamic ideology. They argue that the university fulfils the function of attractingeither drop-outs andfailuresfrom the secularsystem,or Muslims seekingrefugefrom troubledwar areaslike Bosnia.Malaysiathenbecomesonereceiving country amongothers. Both Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim, regardlessof any political discord (Anwar Ibrahim being Islamic oriented while Mahathir is more secularized),interactedwith the project of this institution as part and parcel of a fragmented,post colonial Third-Worldist discourse.They neededsuchan institution asa dialoguingcardwith the Middle Easterncountriesand equally with the Westernworld. ISTAC hasa different statusandal-Attasmakesit a point that his imagined'oasis'will surpassin excellencyany Middle Easterninstitution. For many, the ivory tower effect raisesquestionmarksabout the real impactof suchan institution.15 Again the critics in Malaysia seethat suchinstitutions are castlesbuilt on sandthat will fall with the recession. They view the Indian subcontinent and Middle Easternimported academicstaff with suspiciouseyes. Since this exportedexpertiseis often askedfor its opinionsby the media,some seeit as a form of a new Middle Easterninterferencein Malay culture and politics. S. 1. al_~16 arguedthat one of the major peculiaritiesof the of an anti-rationalcrisis of the Arab World today is the ascendance ist movement that stands against progress,science17 and reason. simplistic and positivistic While one might take issuewith al-~'s understandingof 'progress'and science.None the less, his Marxist standwarrantsconsideration.This anti-rationalisttrend appearsto oppose any objective sociological analysis, and perhapshere the 'Islamizationof knowledgeproject' seemsto reflect suchtendencies, wherethe battleover rationality becomesa decisiveissue.Despitedifferencesin local politics, what the advocatesseemto maintainis the endresult: a commonlanguageanda commonmodeof selectingand retrievingevidencefrom the Islamic heritageandWesternphilosophy. The Islamizersunite in their aversionto secularismas an imported 'Western'notion. If knowledge,accordingto al-Attas shouldbe 'dewesternized',in Egypt Abdel WahabEI-Messiri'sliterary analysisof 223


GeoffreyChaucer's'The Frankeleyn'sTale' andBertold Brecht's'The Exceptionand the Rule' equally underpinthe strongfeelings against secularism.IS The samestancecan be gleanedfrom the writings of 'Adil Husayn.It is true that EI-Messiri might be sophisticatedenough in his evaluationof the ritualistic understandingof religion.19 But he seemsto reproducethe samekey words aboutthe materialismof the West and the unlimited Western application of reason (as if an uncritical approachto reasonis only restricted to the West). ElMessiri, like al-Attas, remains silent about the long history of spirituality and metaphysicsin Westernphilosophy, which includes HeideggerandHenry Corbin'simportantcontributionto the Iranian of spiritual Shi'ism. EI-Messiri wishesto sparethe self-consciousness Green party as the only movement that recognizesthe limits of rationalism.He thusdeniesthe historicalcontextandcomparisonsof the Green movementwith the pre-Fascistideologies in Germany. Both EI-Messiri and al-Attas use the Nietzscheanmetaphor the 'death of God', to naively denounce the West as materialistic. Sophisticatedas he might appear,EI-Messiri lumps togethervulgar social Darwinism with a simplified understandingof Nietzsche's Superhuman,and sloganslike, the survival of the fittest, to designate the crisis of Westerncivilization.2o Suchstatementsfind resonancein the Islamist literature. AI-Attas is himself very critical of the PAS's politics and would define them as fundamentalistsand fanatics. However,his discourseis quite often appropriatedby them. The strengtheningof faith in scienceand the attemptto return to intuition and instinct is universalto all religions. The Islamizersas modemfaqihs - as new Muslim intellectuals- wish to replacethe antiquatedAzharites, Deoband-sand Qom-trained Mullahs. But through their evaluationand censorshipof the writings of political opponents,they seemto fall into the trap of apostatizingthe enemy. WhereNasr Hamid Abu Zayd might be right, and wherehis case is very revealing,is whenhe deniesany political differencein the discourse betweenthe moderateEgyptian Islamists - the recognized Islamic figures who areexpressingtheir views in the official channels of religion (on television and in newspapers)21- and the banned undergroundextremists.22 In fact, he puts their ideologicalreligious discourseinto a single basket. He identifies the tactic uniting all Islamistsas that of accusingpolitical opponentsof unbelief(takfir). Abu Zayd also notes the Islamists' reductionistunderstandingof Marxism as limited to atheismand materialismand Darwinism is debasedasthe 'animalizationof the Human'.23 He stronglycriticizes the work of the former leaderof the Muslim Brothers,SayyidQutb, 224


as reductionist,as spreadingfalse consciousness and asignoring any 24 Abu Zayd arguesthat the notion of dialectics in argumentation. reader of Qutb's works Capitalism and Islam (1950) and Social Justice in Islam would realize to what extent the writer is indeed concernedabout the burning social issues,and his attemptsto find solutionsin Islam. Nevertheless,one can find the generalprinciples that prevailed Qutb's discourse.Namely, he juxtaposesthe Islamic systemin a relationshipof total oppositionto Westernculture and mournsthe separationbetweenthe churchand sciencein the West. Qutb also launchesan attackagainstliberal intellectualslike Salama Mussa and Taha Husayn. More importantly, he rejects the rationalist heritageof Islamic civilization, basinghimself on the idea that original Islamic philosophy is mainly inherent in the Qur'an, the Hadith (the Prophet's sayings), and the Prophet's life, while Avicenna'sandIbn Rushd'swritings areseenasnothingbut shadows of Greekphilosophywhich haslittle to do with the reality of Islamic philosophy.25 Abu Zayd also warnsus that the Islamistsconsciouslyusea selective, interestorientedunderstandingof the 'lurath', i.e. the Islamic heritagetexts.26 Abu Zayd seesthat the Islamists'angeragainsthim stemsfrom his revealinghow corrupt the whole religious discourse hasbecome.It is no coincidencethat he issuedbiting critiquesof the Islamic investmentcompanies,27as well of againstthe advocatesof Islamization of knowledge.This might explain why the Abu Zayd casehastakenthe shapeof a personalvendetta.It also explainswhy the fight in the field of social sciencesis a faithful mirror of the generalpolitical mood in the Islamic World. However, Abu Zayd's thesisis polemical, and, by producingthe politicised agendaof the Islamiststo a Fascisttendency,overlooks the subtle tactical variations between opposition and establishmentIslam. PerhapsAbu Zayd'stragic personalfate is the good reasonwhy he disregardedthe game of inclusion-exclusionof the various competingintellectual forces. This is an issue which this work attemptedto highlight by looking into the tension between an apparent homogeneity of languagethat producedvariegatedlocal modernIslams.



SOME FACTS AND FIGURES ABOUT MALAYSIA This information is mainly derived from internet: httpllwww.odcLgov/ ciapublications/factbooklmy.html.,1998. I have also quoted Chandra Muzaffar, Islamic Resurgencein Malaysia (Selangor, Darul Ehsan: PenerbitFajar Bakti, 1987). 2 Seeentry 'Malaysia',Encyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World, Editor in Chief JohnEsposito(New York: Oxford University Press,1995). ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Editions Gallimard, 1967. 1 SCIENCE ISLAMIZED

2 3 4 5 6 7


Pervez Hoodbhoy, Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battlefor Rationality (London: Zed Publications,1991). Ashis Nandy, Alternative Sciences,Creativity and Authenticity in Two Indian Scientists(Delhi: Oxford University Press,1995). Ibid., xi Ibid., p. 89. Ibid., p. 15. Ibid., p. 2. For a stimulatingdiscussionon hybridity, hyphenatedidentitiesand the positioning of Third World intellectualsin the internationalacademic division of labour see the article of Pnina Webner, 'Introduction: the Dialectics of Cultural Hybridity', in Multi-Cultural Identities and the Politics of Anti-Racism,ed: Tariq Modood and PninaWebner(London and New York: Zed books, 1997), p. 12. One can draw a parallelismwith the idea of Europe'sconstructionof a counter-pictureof a non-Europeto survive.An ideadevelopedby Edward of Eurocentrismamonghistorians Said leading to a critical assessment and social scientists.PeterGran'scritique of Eurocentrismwhereby he reconstructsalternativeregional roads to demonstratethe intertwining, linkages and mergings betweenfor instancethe Russianpath and the Middle Eastor the Italian roadin Latin AmericaandAsia, might provide



9 10



l3 14

15 16

a distinct perspectiveto mainstreamhistory writing. See Peter Gran, BeyondEurocentrism,(Syracuse:SyracuseUniversity Press,1996). Aijaz Ahmad, In Theory, Classes,Nations, Literatures (London, New York: Verso, 1992), p. 2. I would like to draw the attention upon the difference betweenthe 'Islamizers'of knowledgewho are the protagonistsof the debateI am analysingin this book and the Islamists. I use the term Islamists and Islamic fundamentalists,interchangeablyand in a broadsense.I understand Islamists as advocatesof a political Islam basedupon a 'fixed' understandingof the religious texts. Thereare however,differencesand variationsin the interpretations.I am awarethat the conceptof Islamic fundamentalistwas subjectto many criticisms. It revealsshortcomings in the understandingof the phenomenonitsel( Termssucha 'militant' and 'radical' have also been used. Limiting the phenomenonto Islam ignorescomparisonswith otherreligiousmovements.The term Islamists was thus proposedas an alternative. The French used integristes to demonstratethe close link betweenreligion and politics. This said, the Islamizersof knowledgeand the Islamistsdo sharesomecommonideas and political aims. If I may useglobalizationin negativeterms in the sensethat it hasdictated tribalism and parochialismeverywhereunderdifferent conditions but with similar fragmentedtransmutationsto be observedin Cairo, Kuala Lumpur or New York. S. Husin Ali, Two Faces (Detention without Trial) (Kuala Lumpur: Insan, 1996). For a most recent interesting analysis of the Malaysian scene see Chandra Muzaffar, 'Power Struggle in Malaysia The Anwar Crisis', ISIM Newsletter,2/99, p. l3. For a muchrevealingcriticism aboutthe declineof Germanuniversities seeBassamTibi, 'Nicht tiber Bagdad,sonderndirekt! Die Schwierigkeit, an der deutschenUniversitatheimischzu sein',in Fremdin einemkalten Land, ed. Namo Aziz (Freiburg, Basel,Wien: Herder, 1992). Samir Amin, Eurocentrism(New York: Monthly Review Press,1989). Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi,'Islamizationof Knowledge.Problems,Principles andProspective',in Islam: SourcesandPurposeofKnowledge(Herndon:

lIlT, 1988). 17 See the witty commentsover the verbal skirmishesbetweenNasr and

18 19 20 21

Sardarin Leif Stenberg,'SeyyedHosseinNasr and Ziauddin Sardaron Islam and Science: Marginalization or Modernization of a Religious Tradition', SocialEpistemology,1996,Vol. 10. Nos 3/4, (273-87).p. 276. Abdou Filali-Ansari, 'The Debate on Secularismin Contemporary Societiesof Muslims', ISIM Newsletter2/99, p. 6. Roland Robertson and Habib Haque Khondker, 'Discourses of Globalization: Preliminary Considerations',International Sociology, March (1998), vol, l3, no. 1, pp. 25-40, p. 28. Clifford Geertz,Islam Observed(Chicagoand London: The University of ChicagoPress,1968). For an interesting critique of Geertz's Islam Observedsee Leonard Binder, Islamic Liberalism, A Critique of DevelopmentIdeologies (Chicago,London: The University of ChicagoPress,1988).



22 Ozay Mehmet, Islamic Identity and Development;Studiesof the Islamic Periphery(London and New York: Routledge,1990). 23 Fredvon der Mehden,Two Worlds of Islam, InteractionbetweenSoutheast Asia and the Middle East (Florida: University Pressof Florida, 1993). 24 Anne Sofie Roald, Tarbiya: Educationand Politics in Islamic Movements in Jordan and Malaysia (Lund: Lund Studiesin History of Religions, Volume 3, 1994). 25 Anthony Reid, 'Nineteenth Century Pan-Islam in Indonesia and Malaysia', The Journal of Asian Studies,Vol. XXVI, no. 2, (February, 1967), pp. 267-83. From the same author, The Contest For North Sumatra,Atjeh, the Netherlandsand Britain 1858-1898(Kuala Lumpur, Singapore:Oxford University Press,1969). 26 See the excellent compilation of Ahmad Ibrahim, Sharon Siddique, Yasmin Hussain,eds. Readingson Islam in SoutheastAsia (Singapore: Institute of SoutheastAsian Studies, 1985), especiallythe section on early Islamization. See G.w.J. Drewes, 'New Light on the Coming of Islam in Indonesia?', and M.e. Ricklefs, 'Islamization in Java: Fourteenthto EighteenthCenturies'. 27 S.Q. Fatimi, Islam Comes to Malaysia (Singapore: The Malaysian SociologicalBranch, 1963). 28 Notice here the differing spellingsof Malakka = Malaka = Melaka = Malacca. 29 See my 'Perceptionsof Middle EasternIslam in SoutheastAsia and Islamic Revivalism',Der Orient (Maerz, 1994), pp. 107-24. 30 Martin van Bruinessen,'Studies on Sufism and the Sufi Orders in Indonesia,'Die Welt desIslams,vol. 38, nr. 2, (1998), (192-219),p. 20l. 31 SeeA.H. Johns,'Islam in SoutheastAsia: Problemsand Perspective',in Readingson Islam in SoutheastAsia, Compiled by Ahmad Ibrahim, Sharon Siddique, Yasmin Hussain (Singapore:Institute of Southeast Asian Studies,1985),pp. 20-4. 32 Mekka in the Latter Part of the 19th Century. Daily Life, Customsand Learning. The Moslems of the East-Indian-Archipelago(Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1970). 33 Concerningthe currentsituationof the Indonesianworkersto the Arab countriesand the contemporaryinteractionsof the Jawahcommunityin SaudiArabia with Indonesia,seethe recentstudyof MathiasDiederich, IndonesischeArbeitsmigration nach Saudi-Arabien, Hintergruende und Darstellungin der indonesischenPresse(Bonn, Holos Verlag, 1995). 34 William Roff, 'Indonesianand Malay Studentsin Cairo in the 1920s', Indonesia,no. 9 (1970), pp. 73-87, Cornell University. 35 See my Islamic Education: Perceptions and Exchanges: Indonesian Studentsin Cairo, Cahier d'Archipel, 23. (Paris: EHESS, 1994); ~ PreliminaryNote on the Impactof ExternalIslamic Trendsin Malaysia', InternationalesAsienForum, Vol. 25, 1994,no. 1-2, pp. 149-65. 36 e. SnouckHurgronje, Mekka ..., p. 276. 37 Martin Van Bruinessen,'The Origins and Developmentof the NaqshbandiOrderin Indonesia',Der Islam, Band67, Heft 1, (1990),pp. 150--79. 38 James Piscatori (ed.), Islam and the Political Process (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983). Reinhard Schulze, Islamischer Internationalismusim 20. Jahrhundert(Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1990).



39 Denys Lombard, Le Carrefour Javanais(Paris, Editions de l'Ecole des HautesEtudesen SciencesSociales,1990),3Volumes. 40 For an interestingattemptto apply a Braudelianperspectivein linking the Mediterranean world with Southeast Asia see From The Mediterranean To The China Sea edited by Claude Guillot, Denys Lombard and Roderich Ptak, (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1998). 41 Femand Braudel, Das Mittelmeer und die mediterrane Welt in der Epoche Philipps II (Frankfurt: Erster Band SuhrkampVerlag 1979. First appeared1949), La Mediterranee et Ie monde mediterraneena !'epoquede Philippe II 42 O.w. Walters, History, Culture, and Region in Southeast Asian Perspectives(Singapore,Institute of SoutheastAsian Studies:1982). 43 Anthony Reid, SoutheastAsia in the Ageof Commerce,1450-1680:The Land below the Winds (New Haven: Yale University Press,1988). For a perceptive and critical survey regarding the uncertainty of the Braudelianview in SoutheastAsia see Sanjay Subrahmanyam,'Notes on the Circulation and Asymmetry in Two Mediterraneans,c. 1400-1800',in From The MediterraneanTo The China Sea, pp. 21-44. 44 SadiqJalal al-'Azm, 'Orientalismand Orientalismin Reverse,'Khamsin, no. 8, (1988), pp. 5-26. 45 Aziz AI-Azmeh, Islamsand Modernities(London: Verso, 1993). 46 Mohamed Arkoun, Pour une critique de la raison islamique (Paris: Maisonneuveet Larose,1984), p. 26. 47 Darul Aqsha, Dick van der Meij, JohanHendrik Meuleman,Islam in Indonesia: A Survey of Events and Developmentsfrom 1988 to 1993 (Jakarta:INIS Materials 1995),26,p. 140. 48 Leif Stenberg, The Islamization of Science. Four Muslim Positions Developingan Islamic Modernity (Lund: Lund Studies in History of Religions, 1996), volume 6. See also the article of Syed Farid Alatas, 'The Sacralizationof the Social Sciences:a critique of an Emerging Theme in Academic Discourse', Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions,Juillet-Septembre(1995), 91, pp. 89-111. 49 'SomeReflectionson the Questionof Islam and Social Sciencesin the ContemporaryMuslim World', in Social Compass,Vol. 40, no. 2, 1993, June,pp. 301-21. 50 SyedFarid Alatas, 'The Sacralizationof the Social Sciences:A Critique of an EmergingTheme in Academic Discourse',Archives de Sciences Socialesdes Religions,Juillet-septembre(1995), 91, pp. 89-111. 51 SocialEpistemology,a Journal of Knowledge,Culture andPolicy, Volume 10, number3/4 July-December(1996). 52 ChristopherA. Furlow, 'The Islamization of Knowledge: Philosophy, Legitimation and Politics', in SocialEpistemology(1996), pp. 259-73. 53 Toby E. Huff, 'Can Scientific Knowledge be Islamized', Social Epistemology(1996), pp. 305-16.

2 THE ISSUES AT STAKE The discourseof Islamizationwasborn out of a reactionto Orientalism and yet hardly transcendsthe problemsrelatedto Eurocentrism.



2 For an investigationof 'Adil Husayn's writings see Mona Abaza and Georg Stauth, 'Occidental Reason, Orientalism, Islamic Fundamentalism',InternationalSociology3, no. 4, (1988), pp. 343--64.Seealso Sami Zubaida,'Islam, Cultural Nationalismand the Left', in Reviewof The Middle East, (1988), no. 4, pp. 1-32. 3 For an intriguing portrait of 'Adil Husayn, see Francois Burgat, 'Communisme,nationalisme,islamisme,itineraire d'un intellectuelegyptien, Adil Husayn',Egypte, Monde Arabe, no. 5, (1991), pp. 169-79. 4 It is important to mention that the brother of 'Adil Husayn, Ahmad Husayn, was the founder the national socialist party Misr al-fatat (Young Egypt) which was basicallya fascistparty. 5 HasanHanafi, The Islamic Republic,Cairo, 1979. (in Arabic). 6 Turath hasbecomea very popularword in so manydifferent intellectual, artistic as well asmediacirclesthat it haslost its content.Turath became synonymousto authenticculture(Asala, Asil) versusimportedelements. 7 HusaynAhmad Amin is the son of the famous scholarAhmad Amin. His writings insist on a separationbetweenstateandreligion. It costhim deaththreatsfrom the Islamists.As a consequence, he was appointedby the governmentas Ambassadorof Egypt to Brazil. 8 Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd is the Cairo University Professorof philosophy who was found guilty of apostasyfor arguingfor a revisedhermeneutics of the Qur'an. In Mafhum an-nass(the Conceptof the Text), Abu Zayd pleadsfor contextualizingthe text as well as for the possibility of giving differing interpretationsof the text historically. Abu Zayd's apostasycaserevealsthe fight betweenintellectualsand the clergy over the monopoly of the text by the theologiansof the government.See Navid Kermani, 'Die Affare Abu Zayd, Eine Kritik am religiosen Diskurs und ihre Folgen', Orient, 35, no. I, Maerz, March (1994), pp. 25-51. For a similar intellectualposition seealso the works of M. Said al-'Ashamawi,an Egyptianjudgewho wasalso taxedof disbeliefby the Islamists. 9 For a discussion of the asala trend among Arab intellectuals see Leonard Binder, Islamic Liberalism, A Critique 'of Development Ideologies(Chicago:The University of ChicagoPress,1988). For a critique of Binder's perspectiveconcerning the asala trend see Georg Stauth,'LeonardBinder and the Hermeneuticof Authenticity-Critical Note', Arabica, (1992). Robert Lee, Overcoming Tradition and Modernity, The Searchfor Islamic Authenticity(Westview Press,1997), Chaptersone and two and Armando SalvatoreIslam and the Political Discourseof Modernity (London: IthacaPress,1997). 10 Sadiqlalal al-'Azm, Critique of the ReligiousDiscourse(Beirut: Dar alTali'a, 1994), p. 16-17 (in Arabic). 11 RobertLee, p. 145. 12 Fu'adZakariyya, haspointed to the fact that someof the conservative forces utilise the languageof Islamic revivalism with a revolutionary rhetoricso as to blur the appallingclassdifferencesin the Muslim countries. See Fu'ad Zakariyya, Islamic Revivalismin the Light of Reason (Cairo: Dar al-Fikr al-Mu'asir, 1987) (in Arabic). 13 SeeSeyyedHosseinNasr, 'On the Teachingof Philosophyin the Muslim World', Hamdard Islamicus, Vol. IV, no. 2, (1981), pp. 53-72. Paper



presentedin connection with the first International Conferenceon Muslim Education,held at Meccain 1977. 14 Syed MuhammadNaquib al-Attas, The Conceptof Educationin Islam, A Framework For an Islamic Philosophy of Education, International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, 1991). 15 It should be noted that S. Hossein Nasr's abundantwritings about

Islamic philosophy and scienceand his amalgamationof scienceand esotericthinking, datesfrom well beforethe conference. 16 Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Traditional Islam (London, Kuala Lumpur: Foundation For Traditional Studies, 1988, First Publishedin 1987),

p.205. 17 The InternationalIslamicuniversityat Islamabadacquireda full fledged statusin 1985. The university hasclose links with Egyptian,Saudiand

Malaysiangovernmentsand universities.

18 Ziauddin Sardar,Islamic Futures: The Shapeof Ideas to Come(Kuala Lumpur: PelandukPublications,1988), p. 98. 19 Accordingto the The OxfordEncyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World,


21 22

23 24 25 26 27

The Muslim StudentsAssociation of the United Statesand Canada (MSA) wasestablishedon the campusof Illinois in 1963.The MSA created global links through its membersand alumni. It also included American converts. The creation of a world federation of Muslim studentsorganizations,called I1FSO,wasrelatedto it. The IIFSO maintains close ties with other international organizations. See entry: 'International Islamic Federation of Students Organizations', The Oxford Encyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World, editor in chief, John Esposito (New York: Oxford University Press 1995). Further details about the founding and activities of the lIlT is provided by Leif StenbergThe Islamizationof Science,... pp. 157-65. Akbar Ahmed, 'The Islamization of Knowledge', The Oxford Encyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World, p. 426. Parallelto that, much debate took place concerning the 'Islamization of economics' and Islamic banking. Isma'il Raji AI-Faruqi, 'Islamizing The Social Sciences', Islamika (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya, 1981), p. 5. For instanceMax Weber'svaluableessayson the theory of scienceand objectivity in politics and social sciencesand the questionshe raised about truth, practical problemsof social life, and the criteria of what valuejudgementshouldbe, seemsto be questionsaredisregardedby the Islamizersof knowledge.ConcerningMax Weberandsciencesee,Essais sur la theorie de la science,(Paris: PIon, 1965). Ziauddin Sardar,Islamic Futures: The Shapeof Ideas to Come (Kuala Lumpur: PelandukPublications1988), p. 103. ReynoldA. Nicholson, The Idea of Personalityin Sufism(Delhi: Idarah Adabiyat-I Delli, First Edition 1923, Reprint, 1976), p. 13. Ibid. Seethe entry of 'Tawhid', by TamaraSonn The Oxford Encyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World, Volume 4, pp. 190-8. Mohamed Arkoun, Pour une critique de la raison islamique (Paris: Maisonneuveet Larose,1984), p. 110.



28 29 30 31

32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

45 46 47 48 49


Ibid., p. 106. Ibid., p. 107. Ibid., p. 109. 'Adil Husayn, 'The Heritage and the Future of Development', in Technologyof Developmentof the Arab Society(Cairo: al-Marqaz alIqlimi al-'Arabi li-l-Bihuth wal Tawthiq fi-l-'ulum al-Igtimayah al'Arabiyya li-l-Dirasat wal Nashr, 1985, November9-10). (in Arabic). Sami Zubaida,'Islam Cultural Nationalismand the Left', in Reviewof The Middle East Studies,No.4, (1988), pp. 1-33. SoheirMorsy, Cynthia Nelson,et aI., 1991. BassamTibi, IslamischerFundamentalismus,moderneWissenschaftund Technologie (Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft,1992), pp. 36-7, 143. Muhammadal-Sayyid Sa'id, 'Scienceand the Problemof Authenticity of Thoughtin the Arab World', al-Manar, first issue,January,kanunalthani, (1985), pp. 122-41 (in Arabic). Al-Sayyid Sa'id, p. 128. Robert D. Lee, Overcoming Tradition and Modernity, The Searchfor Islamic Authenticity(USA: WestviewPress,1997),p. 168. For a detailed analysisof MohamedArkoun's thought,seeChapter6. Ibid. Akbar S. Ahmed, Toward Islamic Anthropology:Definition, Dogmaand Direction (Ann Arbor: New Era Publications,1986), p. 31. Richard Tapper, Book review of Akbar S. Ahmed, Toward Islamic Anthropology: Definition, Dogma and Direction (Ann Arbor: New Era Publications,1986) in MAN, Vol. 23, no. 3, Sep.,(1988), p. 567. Akbar S. Ahmed, 1986, p. 54. Ibid., pp. 53-4. RichardTapper,p. 568. Tomas Gerholm, 'Two Muslim Intellectualsin the PostmodernWest, Akbar Ahmed and Ziauddin Sardar',Akbar Ahmed, Donan Hastings, (eds.), in Islam, Globalization and Postmodernity(London: Routledge, 1994), p. 191. Darul Aqsha, Dick van der Meij, Johan Hendrik Meuleman, (eds.) Islam in Indonesia: A Surveyof Eventsand Developments from 1988 to 1993 (Jakarta:INIS, 1995), INIS Materials26, p. 120. Leif Stenberg,'SeyyedHosseinNasrandZiauddinSardaron Islam and Science:marginalizationor Modernization of a Religious Tradition', SocialEpistemology,1996,Vol. 10, Nos 3/4, pp. 273-87. Leif Stenberg,The Islamizationof Science,1996,p. 46. Akbar Ahmed, 'The Islamizationof Knowledge',The OxfordEncyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, editor in Chief JohnL. Esposito(New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press,1995),Vol. l. pp. 425-8. Soheir Morsy, Cynthia Nelson, Reem Saad, Hania Sholkamy, 'Anthropology and the Call for Indigenizationof Social Sciencein the Arab World', in The Contemporary Study of the Arab World, E.L. Sullivan, J.S. Ismael,(eds.)(University of Alberta Press,1991). See Globalization, Knowledgeand Society, (eds.) Martin Albrow and ElizabethKing (London: SagePublications,1990), Roland Robertson, Globalization, Social Theory and Global Culture (London: Sage



Publications 1992), see also volume 7, Theory Culture and Society

(1990). 51 Roland Robertson, Globalization, Social Theory and Global Culture (London: SagePublications,1992), p. 166. 52 Mike Featherstone'Global Culture: An Introduction', Theory, Culture and Society,Vol. 7, (1990), pp. 1-14. 53 Arjun Appadurai, 'Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy',Theory, Culture and Society,Vol. 7, (1990), pp. 295-310. 54 JonathanFriedman, 'Being in the World: Globalization and Localization', Theory, Culture and Society,Vol. 7, (1990), (311-329)p. 311. 55 EdwardW. Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books. 1978), p. 325. 56 S.1. al-'Azm, 'Orientalismand Orientalismin Reverse',Khamsin,(1981), no. 8, pp. 5-26. 57 Aziz al-Azmeh,Islamsand Modernities(London, New York: Verso, second Edition, 1993), p. 19. 58 Tzvetan Todorov, 'Le croisementdes cultures', Communications,43/ 5-26. (1986), p. 16. 59 Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions(Chicago: The University of ChicagoPress,1962). Kunh's work is usedand frequently 60 61 62 63

64 65

66 67 68 69 70 71

72 73


quoted by the Islamizers to promote a so-called Islamic sociology, Islamic medicineand Islamic economics. Paul Feyerabend,AgainstMethod(London: Verso, 1975). New Straits Times(June2, 1989). For this point seeAnwar Ibrahim, 'Development,Valuesand Changing Political Ideas',Sojourn,Vol. 1, no. 1, (February,1986), p. 7. David Turnbull, 'Local Knowledge and Comparative Scientific Traditions', Knowledge and Policy, The International Journal of Knowledge Transfer, (FalllWinter, 1993-1994),Volume 6, Numbers 3 and 4, pp. 29-54. Karin Knorr-Cetina,Die Fabrikation von Erkenntnis,Zur Anthropologie der Naturwissenschaft(Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp,1991). For an extensive review of literature about constructivism and its critique, see Raymond Murphy, 'The Sociological Constructionof of Sciencewithout Nature', Sociology, The Journal of the British Sociological Association,Vol. 28, no. 4, (November1994). Murphy, p. 960. Ibid., p. 966. Ibid., p. 969. Yehuda Elkana, Anthropologie der Erkenntnis. Die Entwicklung des Wissensals epischesTheatereiner listigen Vernunft(Frankfurt am Main: SuhrkampVerlag, 1986), p. 16. Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality (New York: Doubleday,1966). Clifford Geertz, Local Knowledge, Further Essays in Interpretative Anthropology(New York: Basic Books Publishers,1993). lIlT standsfor International Institute of Islamic Thought. Importantto note, Arabic languagepublicationsare to be found equally in Malaysiaat the InternationalIslamic University. The lIlT publishesmany M.A. and Doctoral thesesof young Egyptian, Tunisianand Pakistaniacademics.



75 This is, accordingto Ibrahim Sulaiman,quotedfrom Ziauddin Sardar 'Introduction: A preface to al-Ghazali', How We Know. 11m and the Revival of Knowledge, ed. by Ziauddin Sardar (London: Grey Seal Books, 1991). p. 5. 76 This is Leif Stenberg'sdesignationof Nasr which is worth attention here. SeeLeif Stenberg,The Islamizationof Science,1996, p. 302. 77 Leif Stenberg,'SeyyedHosseinNasrandZiauddinSardar... pp. 273-87. 78 Teun A. Van Dijk, 'Academic Nationalism', Discourse and Society, Volume 5, no. 3, (1994). 79 Leif Stenberg,1996, p. 37. 80 See Taha Jabir al-'Alwani, Entwurf Eines Alternativen Kulturplanes (Herndon, Virginia: lIlT, 1992), and Das Einbringen des Islam in das Wissen(Herndon:Virginia 1988). 81 The International Islamic University is more precisely located in PetalingJaya,a satellitetown of Kuala Lumpur. 82 Sadiq 1. al-'Azm, 'Islamic FundamentalismReconsidered:A Critical Outline of Problems, Ideas and Approaches', South Asia Bulletin, ComparativeStudiesof SouthAsia, Africa and the Middle East, part I, Vol. XII, no. 1 and 2, (1993), pp. 93-121;Part II, Vol. XIV, no. 1 (1994), pp.73-98. 83 Tariq al-Bishri's ideas about cultural authenticity have been recently analyzedin detail by Leonard Binder, Islam Liberalism: A Critique of Development Ideologies (Chicago and London: The University of ChicagoPress,1988), pp. 243-93. 84 SeeTariq Al-Bishri, Two Problemsand a Readingof them, Presentedby Taha Jabir al-'Ilwani (Cairo: lIlT, 1413H/1992),(in Arabic). Al-Bishri arguesthat the Muslim world is facing a greatdependencyon the West and promotedthe idea that thereis a fierce intellectualwar betweenthe forcesof al-fiqr al-wafid (the introduced)againstthe forcesof al-Fikr almawruth(the inherited,indigenousthought),p. 18. 85 SyedIbrahim B, 'Islamizationof Attitude and Practicein Embryology', ed. by M.A.K. Lodhi, in Islamization of Attitudes and Practices in Science and Technology (Herndon, Virginia: lIlT, 1409AH1l989) Islamizationof KnowledgeSeries,no. 9. 86 MuhammadIshaq Zahid, 'Use of Islamic Beliefs in Mathematicsand Computer ScienceEducation',ed. Lodhi, M.A.K., in Islamization of Attitudes and Practices in Scienceand Technology,pp. 91-101. For a more recentrefutation of such interpretationssee Kamel Hussein,'Le commentaire'scientifique'du coran: une innovation absurde',(Cairo: MIDEO, MelangesInstitut Dominicain d'Etudes Orientales du Caire), 16, 1983,p~293-300. 87 (Herndon,Virginia: The InternationalInstituteof IslamicThought,1993). 88 Ibid., p. 10. 89 Rashid Ghanushi, The Rights of Citizenship; The Rights of the NonMuslims in the Muslim Society(Cairo: lIlT, 1993) (in Arabic). 90 Yussuf al-Qaradawi, Islamic Awakening between Rejection and Extremism(Cairo: lIlT, 1987, 1991). 91 Entitled 'Languages of Class, Ideologies of Immigration', in Aijaz Ahmed, In Theory, Classes,Nations, Literatures (London, New York: Verso, 1992.



92 Ibid. p. 84. 93 JoginderSingh Jessy,History of South-EastAsia (1824-1965)(Kuala Lumpur: PenerbitanDarulaman,DewanBahasa,1985), p. 511. 94 See M. Kamal Hassan, entry: 'International Islamic University at Kuala Lumpur', The OxfordEncyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World, editor in chief, John Esposito (New York: Oxford University Press 1995), Vol. 2. 95 MohammmadZaki Kirmani, 'Islamic Science',ed. by Ziauddin Sardar in An Early Crescent,The Future of KnowledgeandEnvironmentin Islam (London and New York: Mansell, 1989),p. 145. 96 He is in fact the husbandof the political scientistMona Abul Fadl who is the major director of the lIlT Cairo office. 97 SeeChapter5 on Isma'il Raji al Faruqi. 98 Personal communication with Professor al-Messiri, Cairo, (May 1996). 3 LANDSCAPES, VARIATIONS AND PERCEPTIONS Harvey 1989, quoted from Martin Albrow, 'Travelling Beyond Local Cultures,Socioscapes in a Global City', in Living The Global City, edited by JohnEade(London and New York: Routledge1997), p. 44. 2 Janet L. Abu-Lughod, Cairo, 1001 Years of the City Victorious (Princeton,New Jersey:PrincetonUniversity Press,1971),p. 182. 3 Saad-EddinIbrahim, 'Cairo: A SociologicalProfile', in The Expanding Metropolis Coping With the Urban Growth of Cairo, The Agha Khan Award for Architecture, Proceedingsof Seminar Nine in the Series, Architectural Transformation in the Islamic World, Held in Cairo, Egypt, November11-15 (Singapore:1984), (25-33), p. 32. 4 Kampongs,or in BahasaIndonesiaKampungs. 5 Saad-EddinIbrahim, p. 25. 6 JanetL. Abu-Lughod,p. 14. 7 Ibid., p. 6. 8 Ibid., p. 40. 9 1M. Gullick, Old Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Singapore:Oxford University Press,1994), p. 4. 10 Ibid., p. 14. 11 Ibid., p. 19. 12 ChandraMuzaffar is the founderof the Aliran groupin Penangandthe studentof S. H. Alatas. 13 Chandra Muzaffar, Islamic Resurgencein Malaysia (Petaling Jaya: PenerbitFajar Bakti, 1987), p. 15. 141M. Gullick, Malaysia (New York, Washington:FrederickA. Praeger, Publishers,1969),p. 22. 15 Christopher Lingle, Singapore's Authoritarian Capitalism (Spain: EdicionsSirocco, 1996),p. 38. 161M. Gullick, Malaysia (New York, Washington:FrederickA. Praeger, Publishers,1969), p. 26. 17 Arjun Appadurai, 'Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy', Theory, Culture and Society, Vol. 7, (1990), pp. 295-310.



18 This point was raisedin relation to speculationsaboutMalaysia'spossi-


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bility of overcoming the crisis. See Mark Landler, 'Has Malaysia's Leader Won His Risky Gamble?', International Herald Tribune, Saturdayand Sunday,September4-5, 1999. In the last few yearsMalaysiahaswitnesseda 9 per centrate of growth. Already before the 1987 crisis, observersexpressedfears about where this growth would lead. SeeEdward A. Gargan,'Malaysia'sEconomy: Will Boom Tum to Bust?', International Herald Tribune (SaturdaySunday,Feb. 3-4, 1996). In Kuala Lumpur the expressionthat the Malaysian governmentis 'deliveringthe goods'and thereforecrediblehasbecomequite popular. In recentyears,with the growing numberof Third World intellectuals living in the metropolisesand in particular after the SalmanRushdie affair, there has beena growing debateabout hybridity in culture. See EdwardSaid, Culture and Imperialism (London: Vintage, 1994). Clive Kessler, 'Archaism and Modernity: ContemporaryMalay Political Culture', in Fragmented Vision, Culture and Politics in Contemporary Malaysia. Ed. Joel Kahn and Francis Loh Koh Wah (Melbourne: Monash,Asian StudiesAssociationof Australia, 1992), (133-58),p. 146. Zygmunt Bauman, 'From Pilgrim to Tourist-or a Short History of Identity', in Questionsof Cultural Identity. Ed. StuartHall and Paul Du Gay (London: SagePublications1996), pp. 18-36. (27). Ibid. The same phenomenonof youth and consumer culture could be observedin Indonesia.With the difference however, that social unrest seems to be more likely in Indonesia than Malaysia. Indonesia's markedly higher levels of social unresthave beeninterpretedby some social scientistsas in part causedby deprived urban youth living in a market- oriented consumer society.For this point seeChuaBeng-Huat, 'Consuming Asians: Ideas and Issues', Editor's Introduction: Consuming Asians: Material Life of Asia's New Rich (London: Routledge,Forthcoming),p. 11. I.borrow this term from Sami Zabaida,Islam, The Peopleand the State (London and New York: Routledge,1989), p. 117. PninaWebner,'Introduction: The Dialectics of Cultural Hybridity', in Debating Cultural Hybridity Multi-Cultural Identitiesand the Politics of Anti-Racism, (ed.) Tariq Modood and Pnina Webner (Zed Books London and New York 1997), pp. 1-28. Ayse S. Caglar, 'HyphenatedIdentities and the Limits of 'Culture", in Debating Cultural Hybridity Multi-Cultural Identitiesand the Politics of Anti-Racism,(pp. 169-86),p. 173. Ibid., p. 5. This is the argument of Friedman. Quoted from Ayse S. Caglar, 'HyphenatedIdentitiesand the Limits of 'Culture', p. 173. EdwardSaid, Culture and Imperialism, p. 15. Aziz al-Azmeh,Islamsand Modernities,p. 36. Ayse S. Caglar,p. 182. ChuaBeng Huat andAnandaRajah, 'Hybridity, Ethnicity and Food in Singapore',Working Paper no. 133, Departmentof Sociology,National University of Singapore(Singapore:1996).



35 Ibid., p. 4. 36 Sardar was paradoxically a great admirer of Feyerabend'sAgainst Method. He referredto his works at an earlier stageto further enhance the ideology of Islamizationof knowledge. 37 ZiauddinSardar,'UnderstandingPostmodernism',Pemikir, (Membangung Minda Berwawasan), Oktober-Disember(1995), (pp. 131-158), p.153. 38 Ziauddin Sardar,'Do not adjustyour Mind. Post-Modernism,Reality and the Other', Futures, Vol. 25. No.8, October (1993), (877-890), p.883. 39 Ibid. 40 Ibid., p. 890. 41 Concerningthe term 'glocalism'see, Roland Robertson,Globalization, Social Theoryand Global Culture (London: SagePublications,1992). 4 IMAGES OF INTELLECTUALS IN TWO DISTINCT CULTURES

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

11 12 13 14 15

Jean Paul Sartre, Plaidoyer pour les intellectuels (Paris: Gallimard, 1972). Edward W. Said, Representationsof the Intellectual, The 1993 Reith Lectures(London: Vintage, 1994),p. 68. Pierre Bourdieu, Die Intellektuellenund die Macht, herausgegeben von Irene Dolling (editor) (Hamburg:VSA Verlag, 1991),p. 17-19. Armando Salvatore, Islam and the Political Discourse of Modernity (London: IthacaPress,1997),p. 135. The Communist party was founded in 1930 by mainly Chinesewith links to Indonesiaand Vietnam and later its dissolution. As a counter, but parallel image to the managerand 'think tank' in Malaysiaone could proposethe Communist'cadre'which saw the light in CommunistVietnam. EdwardW. Said, Representations of the Intellectual, p. 9. GeorgeKonradand Ivan Szelenyi,The Intellectualson the Roadto Class Power(New York: The HarvesterPress,1979), p. 14. Ibid., p. 23. Asma Larif-Beatrix, 'StateFormationand Transformationin Malaysia: The Public Meaning of an AcademicDebate',in Civic Education, The and Robert Hass, Role of Religion, (eds.) Murugesu Pathamanathan (Kuala Lumpur: Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Centre for Policy Sciences,1994),p. 52. Anouar Abdel-Malek, A·gypten: Militargesellschaft Das Armeeregime, die Linke und der Soziale Wandel unter Nasser(Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1971). Ibid., p. 247. Ibid., p. 248. Ibid., p. 242. Alain Roussillon, 'Intellectuelsen crise dans I'Egypte contemporaine', in Intellectuelset militants de ['islam contemporain,sousla direction de Gilles Kepel et Yann Richard(Paris: Seuil, 1990), p. 217.



16 MohammmadZaki Kirmani, Islamic Science,in An Early Crescent,The Future of Knowledgeand Environmentin Islam, ed. by Ziauddin Sardar (London and New York Mansell, 1989), pp. 140-63,p. 145. 17 ArmandoSalvatore,p. 199. 18 Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi', Intellectual Origins of Islamic Resurgencein the Modern Arab World (USA: StateUniversity of New York Press,1996), p.5. 19 Khalid Ziyadeh, The Scribe of the Sultan (London: Riad el-Rayyed, 1991) (in Arabic). 20 SeeTahaHusayn, Weltbiirger ZwischenKairo und Paris (Berlin: Edition Orient, 1989). 21 Albert Hourani, 1962, pp. 109-40. 22 HishamSharabi,Arab Intellectualsand The West; The Formation Years 1875-1914(Baltimore and London: JohnHopkins Press,1970), p. 93. 23 For an analysisof the term muthaqafand statein Egyptian culture see Iman Farag, 'Intellectuellmuthaqafchamp semantique,champ conceptuei et champ historique', (Cairo: Dossier du CEDEJ, 1991), (pp. 151-62). 24 Ibid., p. 158. 25 Personalcommunicationwith Amin Rais, Yogayakarta,(August, 1997). 26 For a critique of HassanHanafi'smythological,ahistoricalandinvented notion of the faqih as a revolutionary figure see Fu'ad Zaqariyya, Reality and Fiction in ContemporaryIslamic Movement(Cairo: Dar alFikr li-l-Dirasat wal-Nashrwa-l-Tawzi', 1986), (in Arabic). 27 Ibrahim Abu-Rabi', pp. 11,91, 121-2. 28 Ibid., p. 95-6. 29 Ibid., p. 90. 30 While for instancein Indonesiathe discourseof Islamizationof knowledgehas not gainedmuch popularity and is not neededpolitically. For examplethe liveliness of ideas of AbdurrahmanWahid, the leaderof NahdatulUlamaand presidentof the republicandwhat he incoporates, in termsof a uniquefusion of modernideaswith the baraka of belonging to a long line of religious scholarsis specific to IndonesianIslam. Wahid expressesmany ideas,in relation to the separationbetweenthe stateand religion, that would be maintainedby secularintellectualsin the Middle East. Wahid's phenomenonis non-existentin Malaysia, I would evensay, also in Egypt. 31 M.L. Lyon, 'The Dakwah Movementin Malaysia',AssyahidJournal of the Muslim Youth Assembly,I, no. l., (1983), pp. 112-30. 32 Hussin Mutalib, Islam and Ethnicity in Malay Politics (Singapore: Oxford University Press,1990), pp. 142-3. 33 ChandraMuzaffar, Islamic Resurgencein Malaysia (Selangor,Darul Ehsan:PenerbitFajar Bakti, 1987), p. 5. 34 Hussin Mutalib, 1990, p. 134. 35 Clive Kessler, 'Archaism and Modernity: Contemporary Malay Political culture', in Fragmented Vision, Culture and Politics in ContemporaryMalaysia, editors. Joel S. Kahn and Francis Loh Kok Wah (Melbourne: Asian StudiesAssociationof Australia, 1992), (pp. 133-58),p. 139. 36 Far EasternEconomicReview(12.12.1996).



37 Dr Feelgood,Far EasternEconomicReview(24.10.1996). 38 Khoo Boo Teik, Paradoxesof Mahathirism, an IntellectualBiographyof Mahathir Mohamad (Kuala Lumpur, Singapore,New York, Oxford University Press,1995). 38 Far EasternEconomicReview(24.10.1996). 40 Asiaweek,(19.9.1997). 41 ZainuddinMaidin, The Other Sideof Mahathir (Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publicationsand Distributors, 1994),pp. 113. 42 Clive Kessler,p. 149. 43 Khoo Boo Teik, Paradoxesof Mahathirism, p. 176. 44 Ibid. 45 Sunday Star (Malaysia) (10.11.1991) and The New Sunday Times (Malaysia)(10,11.1991). 46 Concerningthis point seemy 'Perceptionsof Middle EasternIslam in SoutheastAsia and Islamic Revivalism', Der Orient, Maerz (1994), pp.107-24. 47 Mahathir Muhammad,'Islamizationof Knowledgeand the Future of the Ummah', (Herndon: lIlT Islamizationof Knowledgeseries,1989), no. 6., pp. 19-24. 48 See1. M. Gullick, Malaysia andits Neighbours(London: Routledgeand KeganPaul, 1967), p. 18. 49 Although the Egyptiancaseis utterly moredramatic,becausefour bloody wars were fought in addition to the unresolvedPalestinianquestion. 50 Concerningthe idea that Egypt is at the verge of collapsingbecauseof relative deprivation and politcal discontent, see Casandra 'The Impending Crisis in Egypt', The Middle East Journal, no. 49, Vol, l. (1995), pp. 9-27. 51 Although NorthernMalaysiais consideredto be amongthe poorestand least developedregions. Kelantan is the only state in Malaysia where more than limited attemptshavebeenmadeto apply Islamic law (which hasregularly electedPAS to stategovernment). 52 Fahmi Huwaydi advocatesthe Islamic path. He seemsrecently to have directed strong attacks against the secularintellectuals and artists in Egypt. 53 Concerning this point, See the recent articles in al-Muslimun (1.11.1993),(26.11.1993)and (3.12.1993),which providesa panorama and equally praisesthe contemporaryMalaysian Islamic institutions. The author, a journalist argues for the merits of Islamic revivalism which is coupledwith economicstability and welfare. 54 Victor 1. Morais, Anwar Ibrahim: Resolute in Leadership (Kuala Lumpur: Arenabuku,1984). 55 Ibid., p. 5. 56 Anwar Ibrahim, The Asian Renaissance(Singapore,Kuala Lumpur, Times Books International,1996),p. 18. 57 Ibid., p. 19. 58 Ibid., p. 28 59 Ibid. 60 Ibid., p.121. 61 Concerningthis point, Anwar, then Minister of Culture wrote the preface to Ziauddin Sardar's An Early Crescent ... See, Anwar



62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70

71 72 73 74

75 76

Ibrahim, 'Overview: From things Change to Change Things', Ziauddin Sardar (ed.), in An Early Crescent, The Future of Knowledge and Environment in Islam (London and New York: Mansell, 1990). See entry 'Malaysia', Encyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World, ed. JohnEsposito(New York: Oxford University Press1995),p. 38. For example, Rosa al-Yussef, al-Mussawar, al-Sha'ab, al-Ahali, alQahira, QadayaFikriyyah andal- Wafd, al-Ahram Weekly,andal-Ahram Hebdo and many other popularmagazines. For an accountof the debateon civil societyin Egypt seeMustaphaK. Al-Sayyid, 'A Civil Societyin Egypt?,'The Middle EastJournal, Volume, 47, no, 2, (Spring, 1993),pp. 226-34. SeeKarim EI-Gowhari, 'Wohltatigkeit als Politik. Die Sozialarbeitvon Islamisten',Der Ueberblick,4, (1996), pp. 23-25. Rushdi Sa'id, Reality and Illusion in Egyptian Reality (Cairo: Dar alHilal, 1996),p. 16, (in Arabic), Ibid., p. 17. Ibid., pp. 25-6. Ibid., p. 28-9. S. Husin Ali's experienceof six years'detentionwithout trial, is a lively and fascinating narrative, that depicts the state of human rights in Malaysia. S. Husin Ali was detainedin 1974--1980.In November1974 thousandsof farmers rioted againstthe rise of prices of basic goods which led to the detention of students and intellectuals. At the Kammunting detentionCamp, where Ali was detainedthere was also with him Anwar Ibrahim. SeeS. Husin Ali, Two Faces(Detentionwithout Trial) (Kuala Lumpur: Insan, 1996). See ShahataSiyam, Violence and the Religious Discourse in Egypt (Cairo: Sina li-I-Nashr, 1994),p. 8, (in Arabic). Seefor instancethe trial of the Jihad group, in which 42 were arrested. Al-Ahram (22.5.1995). After attemptedassassination of PresidentMubarakin Ethiopia during June 1995, the governmentcarried out massivearrestsof the Islamists and membersof the Muslim Brothers. The assassinationof the secularwriter FaragFodain 1992 in Cairo by fundamentalistsconnectedwith the jihad group indicatesthe escalation of the polarizationin which FaragFoda'skilling wasutilized by the government.This incident instigatedharshrepressivemeasuresagainstthe extremists,such as the applicationof the deathsentenceand the detention of prisonersfor periods of six months before trial which led to protestsfrom the Egyptian Human Rights Associationconcerningthe deplorable conditions in Egyptian prisons. See Alain Roussillon, 'Changerla societepar Ie jihad; seditionconfessionnelleet attentatscontre Ie tourisme: rhetoriques de la violence qualifiee d'islamique en Egypte', in Dossiersdu CEDE], Ie phenomenede la violencepolitique: perspectivescomparativeset paradigmeegyptien(Ie Caire: CEDEJ,1994), pp.295-319. MustaphaKamil AI-Sayyid ... p. 227. See Alain Roussillon, 'Intellectuelsen crise dans I'Egypte contemporaine', p. 217.



77 Nabil 'Abd al-Fattah,Report on the Stateof ReligiousAffairs in Egypt (Cairo: Marquazal-Dirasatal-Siyasiyyahwal-Istratijiyyah, 1995), p. 12 (in Arabic). 78 For instanceduring the population Conferencein Cairo in 1994, The shaykhof al-Azhar expressedharshand negativeviews about the conferencewhich were antagonisticto and conflicted with the opinions of the mufti of Egypt. The sameviews were expressedconcerningthe 1995 Women'sconferencein Peking.This revealsthat the religiousbody is not homogeneousin its opinions. 79 Nevertheless,observerspointedto the consentof someal-Azhar 'ulama to the Islamistsundergroundideology. 80 Concerningthe genealogyof the ambiguity of the intellectualsvis avis the stateand the various positionsdescribingthe 'crisis' ranging from Anouar Abdel Malek to the Egyptian sociologistSaaded din Ibrahim, see Alain Roussillon, 'Intellectuelsen crise dans l'Egypte contemporaine', in Intellectuels et militants de ['Islam contemporain, sous la Direction de Gilles Kepel et Yann Richard(Paris: Seuil, 1990). 81 MustaphaK. Al-Sayyid, p. 232. 82 I am quite awarethat many will disagreeon the magnitudeand the concreteimpact of the secularintellectualsin Egypt today. 83 Not forgetting the specificity of the Malaysian ethnic composition, with a large Chinesepopulation.In recentyearsobserverspointed to the rising 'New Malay' businessclassthat was born out of Mahathir's economic policies and which collaborates closely with Chinese capitalists. 84 Although ShamsulA.B. arguesthat one of the major consequences of the Islamization in Malaysia has been the sharpeningof the 'secular' versusthe 'religious' spheresin the communityas a whole. SeeShamsul A.B., 'Religion and Ethnic Politics in Malaysia,The Significanceof the Islamic ResurgencePhenomenon',in Asian Visions of Authority, Religion and the Modern Statesof East and SoutheastAsia, eds.Charles F. Keyes, Laurel Kendall, Helen Hardcare (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press,1994). 85 At least in the form of the constructionof huge, lavish and modern buildings and architecturalcomplexes. 5 ISMA'IL RAJI AL-FARUQI See entry Faruqi, Isma'il Raji Al-, by John Esposito, The Oxford Encyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World, Vol. 2 (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press,1995). 2 Accordingto MuhammadShafiq,he waslabelledassuchby somemembers of the School of Divinity at Chicago. See Growth of Islamic Thought in North America, Focus on Isma'i/ Raji al Faruqi (Brentwood Maryland: AmanaPublications,141411994),p. 9. 3 Sadiq 1. al-'Azm, 'Islamic FundamentalismReconsidered:A Critical Outline of Problems, Ideas and Approaches', South Asia Bulletin, ComparativeStudiesof SouthAsia, Africa and the Middle East, Part I, in Vol. XII, nos. 1 and 2, (1993), pp. 93-121; Part II in Vol. XIV, no. 1 (1994), pp. 73-98,



4 This is according to Ilyas Ba-Yunus and Muhammad Shafiq. John Esposito'sentry revealsthat al-Faruqiwas born in 192I. 5 John Esposito,'Faruqi, Isma'il Raji Al-' 6 MuhammadShafiq, Growth of Islamic Thoughtin North America,Focus on Isma'il Raji al Faruqi, p. 20. 7 Ilyas Ba-Yunus, 'Al-faruqi and Beyond: Future Directions in Islamization of Knowledge', The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences,Vol. 5., no. 1, (1988), pp. 13-14. 8 Ibid. pp. 14--15. 9 M. Shafiq, p. 4. 10 M. Shafiq,. p. 9. 11 Isma'il al-Faruqi, 'Islam as Culture and Civilization', in Islam and ContemporarySociety,(Longmanin Associationwith the Islamic council of Europe,1982). 12 Accordingto Lois Lamyaal-Faruqi,the Muslims in the United Statesof America numberaroundthree million. Lois Lamya al-Faruqi, 'Artistic Accumulation and diffusion among Muslims in the United States',in Essays in Islamic and Comparative Studies, Paperspresentedto the Islamic StudiesGroup of American Academyof Religion, ed. Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi, (International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1982). According to the al-Ahram Weekly,the Muslims in America are today estimatedto be five million. Ashraf Khalil, 'Making a Statement',alAhram Weekly,22-23 January,1998. 13 Yvonne YazbeckHaddadand Adair T. Lummis, Islamic Values in the United States, A Comparative Study (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press,1987),p. 3. 14 Ibid. 15 Ibid., p. 5 16 Espositoarguesthat al-Faruqi'sArabism was intertwined with Islam. He divides al-Faruqi'sevolution of thinking into two phases.In the first phase,Arabismwasdominant,while Islam dominatedthe secondphase. John Esposito,entry, 'Faruqi, Isma'il Raji al-'. 17 Shafiq., p. 9. 18 Ibid., p. 9. 19 Ibid., p. 10. 20 Ibid., p. 10. 21 Jomo Kawme Sundaramand Ahmed ShaberyCheek, 'The Politics of Malaysia'sIslamic resurgence',Third World Quarterly, Vol. 10, No.2, April (1988), p. 858. 22 Ziauddin Sardar,Islamic Futures: The Shapeof Ideas to Come (Kuala Lumpur: PelandukPublications,1988),p. 104. 23 Ibid., p. lOI. 24 Isma'il Raji AI-Faruqi, 'Islamizing The Social Sciences',Islamika (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya, 1981),p. 5. 25 AI-Faruqi., p. 4. 26 Ibid. 27 See Ziauddin Sardar, 'Islamization of Knowledge A State-of-the-Art Report',Ziauddin Sardar(ed.) An Early Crescent,The Future of Knowledgeand Environmentin Islam (London and New York: Mansell, 1990), pp.25-7.



28 AI-Faruqi. p. 18 29 AI-Faruqi stressedda'wah and linked it with the Islamic state, 'Islam also holds missionaryzeal to be a duty incumbentupon every Muslim. This missionaryspirit, or da'wah (literally 'calling' peopleto Islam), is not contradictory to the Islamic state. Indeed mission is its ultimate objective',in Islam (Maryland: Amanapublications,1984,third edition, 1995), p. 64. 30 Shafiq,. p. 48. 31 Ibid., p. 47. 32 Ibid., p. 48. 33 Ibid., p. 48. 34 In fact the modernityandinteractiveaspectwith Westernthoughtof the Islamist ideologyhasbeenpreviouslyanalyzedby Choueriand Haddad and Zubaida. 35 This immediatelyremindsone of the charter,mithaq, of Gamal Abdel Nasser. 36 Shafiq, p. 56. 37 Ibid., p. 100. 38 I haveelsewhere,togetherwith Stauth,discussedthe extentionto which the Egyptian Muslim Brothersborrowedin their organizationalframework and ideology from other contemporaryFascistmovements.See Mona Abaza and Georg Stauth, 'Occidental Reason, Orientalism, Islamic Fundamentalism:A Critique', International Sociology. Vol. 3 Dec., (1988), No.4, pp. 343-64. 39 Isma'il R. al-Faruqi and Lois Lamya al-Faruqi, The Cultural Atlas of Islam (New York: Macmillan PublishingCompany,1986). 40 The Cultural Atlas of Islam, xiii. 41 I am referring hereto Islam, Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi,(Maryland: Amana Publications,1995). 42 The Cultural Atlas of Islam, pp. 227-9. 43 Native SoutheastAsian scholarscriticized SoutheastAsian orientalists for the celebrationof Hindu and Buddhist cultures at the expenseof Islam. For that point, see Syed Muhammad aI-Naguib al-Attas, Preliminary Statementon a General Theory of the Islamization of the Malay-IndonesianArchipelago (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan BahasaDan Pustaka,1969). AI-Attas's critique is certainly more sophisticatedthan al-Faruqi'sAtlas which is a typical exampleof an inverted argument. The impact of Islam is simplistically boastedof at the expenseof the pre-Islamicperiod. 44 The Cultural Atlas of Islam, p. 227. 45 Koentjaraningrat, Javanese Culture (Institute of SoutheastAsian Studies,Singapore1985),pp. 37--42. 46 The Cultural Atlas of Islam, p. 227. 47 Ibid. 48 AI-Faruqi, Islam, p. 62. 49 Ibid., p. 61. 50 Ibid., p. 65.




2 3

4 5 6 7

8 9 10 11 12

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

BassamTibi, IslamischerFundamentalismus,moderneWissenschaftund Technologie (Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp TaschenbuchWissenschaft, 1992),pp. 35, 113. Zainah Anwar, Islamic Revivalism in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur: PelandukPublications,1987), pp. 12-13. Prof Dr. Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, An Introduction by AssociateProf. Dr. Wan Moh Nor Wan Daud,InternationalInstituteof Islamic Thoughtand Civilization (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, no date). Personal communication, S.N. al-Attas (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, December1995). Martin van Bruinessen,'Studies of Sufism and the Sufi orders in Indonesia',1998, Die Welt desIslams, (1998), (192-219)p. 196. Martin van Bruinessen,p. 193. A. Teeuw, 'In Memoriam G.w.J. Drewes 28 November 1899-7 June 1992', Hijdragen Tot de Taal-, land-en Volkenkunde,dee1150,(1994),(pp. 27-49), p. 37.; see also G.w.J. Drewes and L.F. Brakel, The Poemsof Hamzah Fansuri (Dordrecht-Holland/Cinnaminson-U.S.A.:Foris Publications,1986). Ibid., Preface,VIII. Ibid., p. 5. Ibid., p. 37. Amin Sweeney, 'Malay Sufi Poetics and European Norms', Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 1121 Number 1, JanuaryMarch, (1992), p. 97. Abdollah Vakily, 'Sufism, Power Politics, and Reform: AI-Raniri's Opposition to Harnzah al-Fansuri'sTeachingsReconsidered',Studia Islamika, IndonesianJournalFor Islamic Studies,Volume 4, Number 1, (1997), p. 120. In fact the secondpart of Vakily's article highlights differencesin the views on al-Raniri betweenal-Attas and Drewes. Syed MuhammadNaquib al-Attas, A Commentaryon the Hujjat AISiddiq of Nur aI-din AI-Raniri (Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Culture, 1986) p. 9. Ibid., p. 48. Syed Muhammad ai-Naguib AI-Attas, Preliminary Statementon A GeneralTheoryof the Islamizationof the Malay-IndonesianArchipelago (Kuala Lumpur: DewanBahasaDan Pustaka,1969),p. 25. The International Islamic University includes a faculty of Revealed Knowledge. AI-Attas clearly distanciateshimself from the activities of the lIlT. Anne Sofie Roald, Tarbiya: EducationandPolitics in Islamic Movements in Jordan and Malaysia (Lund: Lund Studiesin History of Religions 1994), Volume 3, pp. 246. The sharif(plur. ashraf), saiyid (sadah) are titles for the Hasanibranch of the Prophet'soffspring see,Robert BertramSerjeant,The Saiyidsof Hadramawt(London: Luzac, 1957). AI-Attas dressesmost of the time in Westernclothes. In some public lectureshe wear Malay sarongs. Prof Dr. Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, An Introduction by AssociateProf. Dr. Wan Moh Nor Wan Daud, InternationalInstitute



21 22 23 24

25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32

33 34

35 36 37 38 39 40

41 42 43

of Islamic Thought and Civilization (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, no date). p. 3 Naquib al-ashrafis the headof the descendants of the Prophet.This is probablywhy al-Attas optedfor the nameNaquib. Prof Dr. Syed Muhammad Naquib ai-Atlas, An Introduction by AssociateProf. Dr. Wan Moh Nor Wan Daud, no date,pp. I, 2. S.N. AI-Attas, The Concept of Education in Islam (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, 1991), p. 21. Haji Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the Head of Parti Islam (Parti Islam SeMalaysia),ThePAS in Malaysia,was born in 1931 in Pulau Melaka, Kelantan.In 1952-1962,he studiedat DeobandUniversity (India) and AI-Azhar University in Cairo, obtaining his BA and MA degrees.In 1967, he becameMP of Parti Islam by electionin Kelantan.In 1968, he was electedheadof the Ulamak ('Ulama) or religious scholarswing of the PAS National Party, Parti Islam SeMalaysia. In 1990 he was appointedMentri Besar. Edited by Shirle Gordon (Singapore:MalaysianSociologicalResearch Institute, 1963). (Kuala Lumpur: Departmentof PublicationsUniversity of Malaya,1988). (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press,1970). (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press,1986). SeeSyed Muhammadai-Naguib AI-Attas, Preliminary Statementon A General Theoryof the Islamizationof the Malay-IndonesianArchipelago (Kuala Lumpur: DewanBahasaDan Pustaka,1969). University of Malaya Press,1970. AI-Attas, SomeAspectsof Sufism,p. 25. Seethe chapteron 'SomeProminentMystics', in SyedNaguib al-Attas, SomeAspectsof SufismAs UnderstoodandPractisedAmongthe Malays (Singapore:MalaysianSociologicalResearchInstitute, 1963). The Mysticism of Hamzah Fansuri (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press,1970), pp. 21, 22. The Mysticism,p. 25. Ibid., p. 180. Ibid., p. 181. Ibid., p. 147-8. Ibid., p. 5. It is commonin Malaysiathat stateofficials undertakecoursesfor their formation. We aretold that in Islamic theoriesof rule in SoutheastAsia the ruler is himself khalifah (caliph) or insanal-kamil. Seeentry 'Islamin Southeast Asia and the Pacific', Encyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World, ed. JohnEsposito(New York: Oxford University Press,1995), p. 287. SeeS.N. al-Attas, Islam and Secularism,pp. 149, 150, 151, 152. Seefor instance,Ibn ~rabi, La productiondescercles,traduit et presente par Paul et Maurice Gloton (Paris: Edition de L'Ec1at, 1996). AI-Attas, Preliminary Statementon a GeneralTheoryof the Islamization of the Malay-IndonesianArchipelago,(Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa, 1969), p. 5.

44 Ibid., p. 21. 45 Ibid., p. 28.



46 AI-Attas, A Commentaryon the Hujjat al-Siddiqof Nur AI-Din Al-Raniri (Kuala Lumpur, Ministry of Culture: 1986), p. 48. 47 PreliminaryStatement,p. 29. 48 The Conceptof Educationin Islam (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, 1991),p. 11. 49 A phenomenonwhich appliesto all the Muslim World. 50 AI-Attas, Islam and Secularism ... 1985, p. 38. There are however,

51 52

53 54 55 56

Middle Easternscholarswho argue that the idea that Islam did not bring secularizationis an Orientalistcreationof the despoticEast. For a critique of such a position see the entire issue of the Reviewof the Middle East, no. 4, (1988). AI-Attas, 1989, p. 10. Syed Muhammad Naquib AI-Attas, Islam and Secularism and the Philosophy of Future, London, New York, Mansell, 1985, Boekbesprekingen- Bibliotheca Orientalis, XLIII N. 1/2, (JanuariMaart, 1986), pp. 226-228.Reviewedby C.A.O. van Niewenhuijze. S.N. al-Attas, Faces of Islam, Conversation of Contemporary Issues (Kuala Lumpur: Berita Publishing,1989), p. lO. Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam Secularsim and The Philosophy of The Future (London, New York: Mansell Publishing Limited, 1985), p. 1. Ibid., p. 16. Concerningthe way al-Attas views the West as deprivedof spirituality, he writes the following: ,... To say that there is no spiritual significanceto anything, to deprive from the world of natureall spiritual meaningso that the natureis left naturalas a thing, merething and ultimately of course,this also implies that in the entireuniversethat thereis no God, thereis nothing spiritual aboutit thereis nothing spiritual behindit'.

57 58

59 60 61 62



Facesof Islam: Conversationof ContemporaryIssues,(Kuala Lumpur: Berita Publishing1989), p. 8. For this point, see Laroui's comparison of Ibn Khaldun with Machiavelli in Islam et Modernite (Paris: edition la decouverte,1987). See Abaza and Stauth 1988; see also my article 'The Discourseover Islamic FundamentalismBetween the Middle East and Southeast Asia', Sojourn, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, (1991), September. S.N. al-Attas, Islam, Secularism and the Philosophy of the Future (London, New York: Mansell PublishingLimited, 1985), p. 43. AI-Attas, 1985, p. 129. SeyyedHosseinNasr, Knowledgeand the Sacred(New York: Crossroad, 1981), p. 2. Wilfred Cantwell Smith, 'Islamic Studiesand the History of Religions', in Essaysin Islamic and ComparativeStudies,Paperspresentedto the Islamic Studiesgroup of American Academy of Religion. ed. Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi(InternationalInstitute of Islamic Thought, 1982), p. 1. S.N. al-Attas, The Concept of Education in Islam (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, 1991), p. 11. AI-Attas expressedseveraltimes during personalcommunicationshis aversiontowardssocial sciences.



65 Hairudin Harun and Moh. Hazim Shah Murad, 'Islamic Science:A Theoretical Reassessment',Paper presented at The International Conferenceon Islamic Civilization, (Kuala Lumpur: 1990),June.pp. 24-9. 66 Ibid. 67 S. N. al-Attas 1985, p. 219. 68 S. N. al-Attas, The Intuition of Existence, A FundamentalBasis of Islamic Metaphysics(Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, 1990), p. 1. 69 Concerning this point, see Georg Stauth, 'Critical Theory and PreFascistSocialThought',History of Modern Ideas, (1994), pp. 711-27. 70 Henry Corbin, 'Post-Scriptumbiographiqueaun entretienphilosophique', in Henry Corbin, editeurChristianJambet(paris: L'Herne,1981),pp. 48-9. 71 Hussin Mutalib, Islam and Ethnicity in Malay Politics (Singapore: Oxford University Press,1990), p. 12. 72 Ibid., p. 12. 73 Martin van Bruinessen,'Muslims of the Dutch EastIndies and the CaliphateQuestion',StudiaIslamika, Vol. 2, no.3, (1995), (pp. 115-40),p.121. 74 Denys Lombard, 'De la vertu des aires culturelleset de celIe des aires

culturellesasiatiquesen particulier',Lecturedeliveredas the first annual lecture of the International institutefor Asian Studiesat Amsterdamon 27 May, (1994). 75 I still agree,in general,with EdwardSaid'scry againstthe management of scienceand the strategiesof researchin the Westernworld. 7 HENRY CORBIN, THE ABSENT CENTRE


3 4

5 6


8 9 10

H. Nasr, 'Henry Corbin: The Life and Works of the OccidentalExile in Questof the Orient of Light', in Traditional Islam in The Modern World (Kuala Lumpur: Foundationfor TraditionalStudies,1987), pp. 273-91. SeeAdnan Asian's thesis Ultimate Reality and its Manifestationsin the Writings of John Hick and SeyyedHossein Nasr, Thesis Submittedin Candidacyfor the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Departmentof Religious Studies(UK: University of Lancaster,September,1995). See in particular,pp. 20-42. Ibid., p. 20. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality (London: Zed Publications, 1991), p. 69. Hoodbhoylumps Nasr in one chaptertogetherwith Maurice Bucaille and Ziauddin Sardar. SeeYann Richard, L'islam chi'ite (paris: Fayard,1991), p. 91. The Essential Writings of Fritjhof Schuon,edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr (New York: Amith House,Amity, 1986). Mark Sedgwick,'How Traditional are the Traditionalists?The Caseof the GuenonianSufis', Forthcomingin Mikael Rothsteinand Reender Kranenborg(eds.), Proceedingsof the 11th International Congressof CESNUR(Arhus: Arhus University Press,1999). Ibid,. p. 10. Ibid,. p. II. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, 'The Spreadof The Illuminationist School of Suhrawardi', The Islamic Quarterly, Volume XIV, Number 3, July September(1970).



11 Yann Richard,p. 92. 12 Adnan AsIan, p. 25.

13 Hamid Dabashi,Theologyof Discontent, The Ideological Foundationof the Islamic Revolution in Iran (New York and London: New York University Press,1993), p. 316. 14 NasrdiscussesGuenon'slife andideasin detail. SeeSeyyedHosseinNasr, Knowledgeand the Sacred(New York: Crossroad,1981), pp. 100-05. 15 Mark Sedgwick,p. 4. 16 Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Traditional Islam in the Modern World (Kuala Lumpur: FoundationFor Traditional Studies,1987), p. 209. 17 Leif Stenberg,The Islamizationof Science,1996, p. 29 18 Adnan AsIan'sthesisrevealsthat Nasr hasan audiencein Turkey. 19 SeyyedHosseinNasr, Knowledgeand the Sacred(New York: Crossroad, 1981), p. 2.

20 Traditional Islam, p. 219. 21 Ibid., p. 224 22 Ibid., p. 18 23 Ibid., p. 17. 24 Adnan AsIan, p. 24. 25 Besides,he was attackedby the MalaysiansociologistS. HusseinAlatas for his ambiguousposition in backingthe former Shahof Iran and for someof usageof Islamic history, in particular the notion of prophecy for political ends. 26 Seyyed Hossein Nasr, An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines: Conceptionsof Nature and Methodsusedfor its Studyby the Ikhwan al-Safa, al-Biruni, and Ibn-Sina (Thamesand Hudson, revised edition, 1978), p. 1. 27 Ziauddin Sardar,Islamic Futures: The Shapeof Ideas to Come(Kuala Lumpur: PelandukPublications,1988), p. 174. 28 Adnan AsIan, p. 21. 29 Mark Sedgwick,p. 12. 30 Ibid., p. 22. 31 I remain with the word imaginal; Corbin in fact, distinguishesit from the Frenchword imaginaire. 32 Nancy Pearson translates it as mundus archetypus. Henry Corbin Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth From MazdeanIran to Shi'ite Iran, translatedby Nancy Pearson,(London: I.B. Tauris, 1976). 33 Henry Corbin, editeurChristianJambet(Paris: L'Herne, 1981), p. 49. 34 Henry Corbin, 'Mundusimaginalisou l'imaginaireet l'imaginal', Cahiers Internationauxdu Symbolisme,Bruxelles,Vol. 6., (1964), pp. 3-26. 35 Ibid., p. 10. 36 Ibid., p. 13. 37 Roger Caillois and G.E. Von Grunebaum, Le reve et les societes humaines(Paris: Gallimard, 1967). 38 FazlurRahman,on the otherhand,looks at the term of "alam al-mithaf, the World of Images'. He analyzesthe notion of imagination among Muslim philosopherslike Avicenna and al-Suhrawardi.For this latter philosopher, the pure individual souls have the power to create new objectsin the 'alam al-mithal and to equally project imagesin the physical reality. Fazlur Rahman... Le reve et les societeshumaines,p. 410.



39 Ibid., p. 402. 40 Ibid., p. 403. 41 Henry Corbin, En islam iranien, aspectsspirituels et philosophiques, Tome IV (Paris: Gallimard, 1972),p. 93. 42 Guy Lardreau,'L'histoire commenuit de Walpurgis',in Henry Corbin (Paris: L'Herne, 1981), footnote 1, p. 118. 43 Jean-LouisVeillard-Baron,'Imago Magia', in Henry Corbin, p. 88. 44 Henry Corbin, p. 25. 45 Henry Corbin, p. 42. 46 SeeHenry Corbin, 'Le tempsd'Eranos',pp. 256-60. 47 In: Henry Corbin, p. 49. 48 Henry Corbin, p. 25. 49 Alparslan Acikgenc, Being and Existencein Sadra and Heidegger, A Comparative Ontology (Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic Thoughtand Civilization, 1993). 50 SeeChapterII, 'Molla SadraShirazi (1050/1640)" in En islam iranien, aspectsspirituels et philosophiques,Tome IV (Paris: Gallimard, 1972). 51 Ibid., p. 9. 52 Ibid., p.12. 53 Seethe contributionof SayyedJalaloddinAshtiyani, who wasin 1978 a professorat the Faculty of Theology at the University of Mashhad,as a homageto Henry Corbin'suniquework. SayyedJalaloddinAshtiyani, 'Au nom de dieu Ie tres haut', in Henry Corbin, ed. Christian Jambet (Paris: Editions de l'Herne, 1981), pp. 107-9. 54 NasserAssar, 'Une Lampe brulant avec l'huile d'un olivier', in Henry Corbin, pp. 80--3. 55 ChristianJambet,'Avant-Propos',in Henry Corbin, p. 12. 56 S. H. Nasr, 'Henry Corbin: The Life and Works of the OccidentalExile in Quest of the Orient of Light', in Traditional Islam in the Modern World (London: Routledgeand KeganPaul, 1987), pp. 266, 276. 57 Henry Corbin, p. 24. 58 It appearedin Mesures,as 'Hoe1derlinet l'essencede la poesie',3, 15 July, (1937), p. 120--43. 59 S. H. Nasr, 'Henry Corbin: The Life andWorks of the OccidentalExile in Quest of the Orient of Light', in Traditional Islam in the Modern World, p. 266. 60 Ibid. 61 Henry Corbin, p. 24. 62 Accordingto OsmanBakar,al-Faruqi'sfirst visit to Malaysiatook place in 1975. He returnedin 1981 in Malaysiato participatein a conference on Avicenna. Interview with Osman Bakar. Departmentof Science, University of Malaya, 15 October1991. 63 OsmanBakar, TawhidandScience,Essayson the History andPhilosophy of Islamic Science (Kuala Lumpur, Penang: Secretariatfor Islamic Philosophyand Science,1991), p. 4. 64 Ibid., p. 11. 65 Ibid., p. 5. 66 Judith Nagata,The Refloweringof Malaysian Islam: Modern Religious Radicalsand Their Roots(Vancouver:University of British Columbia Press,1984),p. 95 249


67 Henry Corbin, Le Paradoxedu Monotheisme(Paris:Editionsde l'Herne, 1981), pp. 20, 21, 26. 68 Seyyed Hossein Nasr, 'On Teaching of Philosophy in the Muslim World', Islamika II, 1985. 69 FazlurRahman,Islam (London: WeidenfeldandNicolson, 1966),p. 225. 70 Ibid., p. 224. 71 Ibid., p. 226. 72 Seyyed Hossein Nasr, 'Reflections on Islam and Modern Thought', Islamika, II, (1982), p. 1. 73 Ibid., p. 3. 74 Ibid., p. 8. 75 Roberts Avens, 'Corbin's interpretation of Imamology and Sufism', HamdardIslamicus,Vol. XI., No.2., Summer1988, pp. 67. 76 Ibid., p. 68. 77 JeanPaul Charnay,'Le sufi et Ie faqih', in Henry Corbin, p. 275. 78 Henry Corbin, En islam iranien, aspectsspirituels et philosophiques, Tome IV (Paris: Gallimard, 1972), p. 98. 79 Henry Corbin, 'Mundusimaginalisou L'imaginaireet l'imaginal', Cahiers Internationauxdu Symbolisme,Bruxelles,Vol. 6, (1964), (pp. 3-26), p. 14. 80 Muhammad'Abid al-Jabiri, The Structure of The Arab Mind, (Beirut: MarkazDirasatal-Wahdaal-~rabiyyah, first edition 1984,third edition 1988), (in Arabic), p. 197. 81 Muhammad ~bid a1-Jabiri, We and The Turath, (Casablanca:al[fhe Arabic Institute of Culture], the fifth Markaz al-Thaqafi al-~rabi edition. 1986), (in Arabic), p. 111. 82 HasanHanafi also highlighted the significanceof a modernreadingof Averroes(1982). 83 Muhammad~bid al-Jabiri, We and The Turath, p. 52. 84 Ibid., p. 165. 85 Ibid., p.52. 86 Bakar likewise wrote an article on Avicenna's Oriental philosophy. Bakar, parallel to Nasr, seemsto stressthe importanceof the 'illuminative' philosophyof Avicenna,a point which indeedal-Jabiri attemptsto deconstruct. Osman Bakar, 'Ibn Sina's Methodological Approach TowardsThe Study of Nature in His "Oriental Philosophy",Hamdard Islamicus,Vol. VII, no. 2, (1984) pp. 33-49. 87 Muhammad~bid al-Jabiri, We and The Turath, p. 165. 88 Henry Corbin, p. 17. 8 SYED HUSSEIN ALATAS AND SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA 1 DenysLombard,Le Carrefour Javanais,Vol. II, p. 298. 2 The Straits Times,Singaporedaily, (10 March 1990). 3 A different interpretationto this incident could be a questionof personality clashsinceAlatas seemsto havecreatedmany enemiesalready beforeappointingacademicianson merit bases. 4 Alatas foundedthe Departmentof Malay Studiesin 1968. 5 SeeYogeshAtal, 'Indigenization:The Caseof Indian Sociology',Paper presentedat The International Workshopon AlternativeDiscoursesin the






9 10 11 12 13

14 15 16 17 18 19

20 21 22 23 24

Social Sciencesand Humanities: BeyondOrientalismand Occidentalism, Singapore,(30 May-l June1998). 'Social Aspectsof EndogenousIntellectual Creativity: The Problemof Obstacles- Guidelines for Research',in Intellectual Creativity in EndogenousCulture, (ed.) Anouar Abdel-Malek (Tokyo: The United NationsUniversity, 1981), (pp. 462-70),p. 462. See Syed Hussein Alatas, 'India and the Intellectual Awakening of Asia', in India and SoutheastAsia, (ed.) B. Sarkar(New Delhi: Indian Council for Cultural Relations,1968). Alatas'sinterestextendedto 19th centuryRussianintellectuals. See Syed Hussein Alatas, 'Social Aspects of EndogenousIntellectual Creativity: The Problem of Obstacles- Guidelines for Research',in Intellectual Creativity in EndogenousCulture, (ed.) Anouar AbdelMalek, Co-editedby Amar Nath Pandeya(Tokyo: The United Nations University, 1981). Anouar Abdel-Malek, 'l'islam dans la penseenationale progressiste', Revue Tiers Monde, t, XXIII, no. 92, Octobre-Decembre,(1982), pp.845-9. Anouar Abdel Malek's stand, his exaggerationof Easternspirituality, 'Easternspecificity' and magical spirituality was criticized by S.1. alAzm in his celebratedarticle on Orientalismin reverse. This is accordingto Nazih Ayubi, Political Islam, Religion and Politics in the Arab World (London: Routledge,1991), p. 237. AnouarAbdel-Malek, 'l'Islam DansLa PenseeNationaleProgressiste', RevueTiers Monde, t, XXIII, no. 92, Octobre-Decembre, (1982),p. 849. S. Hussein Alatas, 'Social Aspects of Endogenous Intellectual Creativity: The Problem of Obstacles-GuidelinesFor Research',in Intellectual Creativity in EndogenousCulture, Edited by Anouar AbdelMalek, Co-editedby Amar Nath Pandeya(Tokyo: The United Nations University, 1981). Ibid., 3. Ibid., p. 26. Ibid., p. 5. Syed Hussein Alatas, The Myth of the Lazy Native (London: Frank Cass,1977),p. 7. 'The Weber Thesisand South East Asia', in: Modernizationand Social Change(Sydney:Angus and Robertson,1972), p. 13. First appearedin Extrait desArchivesde Sociologiedes Religions,no. 15., (1963). Ibid., p. 17. Concerningthe contextualizationof Alatas' work on the Weber thesis in Asia see Andreas Buss 'Max Weber's Heritage and Modern SoutheastAsian Thinking on Development',Religion, Values and Developmentin SoutheastAsia, (eds.) Bruce Matthewsand Judith Nagata (Singapore: Institute of SoutheastAsian Studies, 1986), pp.4-22. SyedHusseinAlatas, 'The WeberThesisand SouthEastAsia'. Ibid., p. 13. Ibid., p. 20. Intellectualsin DevelopingSocieties(London: Frank Cass,1977). Syed Hussein Alatas, Thomas Stanford RafJles Schemeror Reformer 1781-1826(Syndey:Angus and Robertson,1971)p. 42.



25 Syed Hussein Alatas, 'Islam e Socialismo', Ulisse, Vol. XIV, Fasc. LXXXIII -Giugno 1977, p. 103-113.In this article Alatas refers to the works of Maxime Rodinson, Sayyed Qutb and Mustafa al-Seba'i's Socialismof Islam. 26 The Problem of Corruption (Singapore: Times Books International, 1986). 27 Syed HusseinAlatas, 'The Grading of OccupationalPrestigeAmongst the Malays in Malaysia', JMBRAS,Vol.41, Part I, No. 213, (1968), (pp. 146-56),p. 154. 28 SyedHusseinAlatas, Modernizationand Social Change(Sydney:Angus and Robertson,1972), p. 111. 29 Ibid., pp. 45-48. 30 Modernization and National Consciousnessin Singapore in Modernizationand Social Change, ... 1972, pp. 65-119. 31 Anouar Abdel-Malek, 'L'orientalismeen Crise', Diogenes,44, (1963), pp. 109-42. Nevertheless,Alatas publishedat a much later time than Abdel-Malek's'SomeProblemsof Asian Studies',in Modernizationand Social Change. 32 See Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism (London: Chatto and Windus 1993), pp. 296-307. 33 like Ranajit Guha'swork A Ruleof Propertyfor Bengal: An Essayon the Idea ofPermanentSettlement(1963),who is a Bengalipolitical economist. 34 Said., p. 296. 35 See The Myth of the Lazy Native, Chapter10, 'Mental Revolution and Indolenceof the Malays'. 36 Khoo Boo Teik, Paradoxesof Mahathirism, an IntellectualBiographyof Mahathir Mohamad(Oxford University Press,1995),p. 11. 37 Khoo Boo Teik also discussesthe significanceof Alatas'swritings in the Malaysiancontext. SeeParadoxesof Mahathirism .... 38 The Myth of the Lazy Native, p. 150. 39 'Modernization and National Consciousnessin Singapore', in Modernization and Social Change (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1972), p. 182. 40 PersonalcommunicationProfessorAlatas December1995. 41 Personalcommunicationwith Prof. S.H. Alatas during the conference on 'Globality, Modernity, Non-WesternCivilizations', ZIF, Bielefeld, (May 1993). 42 SyedHusseinAlatas, 'The CaptiveMind and CreativeDevelopment',in Asian Values and Modernization, ed. Seah Chee-Meow (Singapore: SingaporeUniversity Press,1977),p. 77. 43 'Cultural Impedients to Scientific thinking', in Culture and Industrialization an Asian Dilemma. (eds.) Rolf E Vente and Peter. S.1. Chen. Verbund Stiftung DeutschesUbersee Institut (Foundation German OverseasInstitute) (Singapore: McGraw Hill International Book company,1980),p. 17. 44 ProgressiveIslam appearedwhile Alatas was completing his Ph.D. in Holland. In 1957,Alatas went to Bandung.He returnedto Malaysiato work in Dewan Bahasain 1958. In 1961, he returnedto Amsterdamto complete his dissertation, and in 1963 he joined the University of Malaya. In Indonesia,Alatasmet Natsir who wasvery keento help him.



45 46 47



50 51 52 53 54

Alatas completedhis thesis in 1963; it was titled 'Reflectionson the Theoriesof Religion', Drukkerij Pasmans,1963. The thesiswas written Muslim who is a studentof Western from the perspectiveof an ~sian science'(p. 10); it attemptsto analysethe theoriesof religion of the following thinkers: Tylor, Frazer,Marret, James,Durkheim, Freud, Jung, Soderblom,Otto, Malinowski, and Radcliffe-Brown. Among Alatas's supervisorswere Prof G.P. Pijper, and Prof w.P. Wertheim. G.E. Von Grunebaum,'Rueckblick auf Drei internationaleislamische Tagungen',Der Islam, 34, (1959), pp. 134--49. Syed Hussein Alatas 'Islam e Socialismo', Ulisse, Vol. XIV Fasc. LXXXIII-Giugno (1977), p. 105. MohammadNatsir (1908-1993)was a Muslim intellectual during the Sukarnoperiod. In 1940,he becamethe headof the Bandungbranchof Partai Islam Indonesia(PII - the IndonesianIslamic Party). Natsir is perhapsbest known for his affiliation with the IndonesianMasjumi party. He was also Prime Minister of Indonesiafor a short period of sevenmonths in 1950-1951.In contrastto Sukarno,M. Natsir advocatedthe unity of religion and the state.Nevertheless,he differed from the Pakistani,Mawdudi, in that he did not proposea fixed model of an Islamic state. He strongly distancedhimself from communism.While maintainingfriendship with somecommunists,he faced strongantagonism from the Indonesiancommunistparty. Natsir criticized the activities of the Christianmissionariesin Indonesia.For further detailsabout his life and thought, see Yusril Ihza 'Combining Activism and Intellectualism: The Biography of Mohammad Natsir (1908-1993)', StudiaIslamika, Vol. 2, no. 1, (1995), pp. 111-47.It is interestingto note the financing of ProgressiveIslam by Natsir in the early fifties coincides with Natsir's growing interest in Islamic internationalism and in supportingMuslims in different parts of the world. We are told that he travelledto the Middle East,Pakistan,Turkey and Burmain 1952. There is a tendencyto draw analogiesand resemblancesbetweenthe IndonesianMasjurni party and the Egyptian Muslim Brothersorganization. For example the Indonesian intellectual and leader of the Mohammadiyyahorganization,Amin Rais wrote a doctoral dissertation on the comparisonbetweenthesetwo movements. Kamil Ayad, Die Geschichtslund GesellschaftslehreIbn Halduns, Diss. (Berlin 1930); FranzRosenthal,Ibn KhaldunsGedankenueberden Staat (Muenchen und Berlin: 1932), and H.A.R. Gibb, 'The Islamic Back~round of Ibn Khaldoun'sPolitical Theory', Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies,VII, (1933), pp. 23-31. Alatas was born in Bogor, Java,Indonesia.He spentmost of his childhood and went to schoolin Johor,Malaysia. It is importantto note herethat Taha Husaynwrote his doctoralthesis on Ibn Khaldun. SeeTaha Husayn,Etudesanalytiqueet critique de la philosophiesocialed'Ibn Khaldoun, Doctoral Thesis,(Paris: 1917). The article on the BolshevikRevolutionby Rozemonddescribesthe social circumstancesanddescriptionsof landscapes that preparedthe revolution. SeeMohd. Roem, Religion and Politics, Vol. 1, no. 12, (July 1955, Dhul Qa'dah). SeeVol. I, no. 1, (Dhui Hidjah 1373, August 1954 AD).



55 Vol. I, no. 3, (Safar 1374A.H., October1954AD). 56 OsmanAmin (1905-1978)was a distinguishedphilosopherteachingat Cairo University. He held the position of Dean at the Faculty of Literature, Cairo University. OsmanAmin studiedin France.He contributed significantly in the Academyof Arabic language.Amin wrote (seeMuhammad~bduh, Essaisur extensivelyon Muhammed~bduh ses idees philosophiques et religieuses, Ministere de l'instruction Publique,Ie Caire[Imprimerie Misr], 1944),Islamic philosophy, thephilosophyof Arabic language,HeideggerandJaspers,andeditedworks of Averroesand al-Farabi.For a generalbibliographyof Amin's works see, 'In MemoriamOsmaneAmine', MIDEO, MelangesInstitut Dominicain d'EtudesOrientalesdu Caire, 14, (1980), pp. 398-404. 57 Albert H. Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1798-1939 (London: Oxford University Press,1962). 58 Jamal M. Ahmed, The Intellectual Origins of Egyptian Nationalism (Oxford University Press,1960). 59 Editorial; The Islamic State, Vol. I, No. 3 (Safar 1374 A.H. October 1954A.D.). 60 Ibid. 61 Hussein Alatas, The Democracyof Islam: A Concise Exposition with ComparativeReferenceto Western Political Thought (The Hague and Bandung:W Van Hoeve,EasternUniversitiesPress,1956). 62 SeeSyedHusseinAlatas, 'Uber Vermittlung und Vermittler, Erfolg und Misserfolg Wissenschaftlicher Modernisierung eine asiatische Perspektive',Zwischenden Kulturen? Die Sozialwissenschaften vor dem Problem des Kulturvergleichs. in: Soziale Welt, editor JoachimMatthes, Sonderband8, 1992,pp. 198-219. 63 Syed HusseinAlatas, 'Social Sciences',in The Oxford Encyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World, Editor in Chief JohnL. Esposito(New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press,1995),Vol. 4, pp. 89. 64 Ibid. Although in ProgressiveIslam, Alatas's'Islamic State'implied the union betweenreligion and state. This shift in political orientation is neverthelessinterestingto note. 65 For this point see ChandraMuzaffar, Islamic Resurgencein Malaysia (Selangor,Darul Ehsan:PenerbitFajar Bakti, 1987),pp. 73-4. 9 THE ISLAMIZATION OF KNOWLEDGE DEBATE IN EGYPT It is beyondthis study to analyse,in detail, the Egyptian sociological

field and the relationshipof Arab versusIslamic sociology. For a comprehensive overview of the Egyptian sociological field, see Alain Roussillon, 'Sociologiesegyptienne,arabe,islamique l'approfondissement du paradigme reformiste', Peuples mediterraneens,no. 54--5, (Janvier-Juin1991),pp. Ill-50. Nevertheless,Roussillonarguesthat in Egypt the two discourses (Arab versus Islamic) are structurally homologous.In fact, he refusesto see any inconsistencybetweenthe two stands. 2 ~wad Muhammad~wad, 'On the Nature of the Hisba', (Cairo: lIlT, 1990), (in Arabic).



3 I borrow this term from Nazih Ayubi, quotedfrom ArmandoSalvatore, Islam and the Political Discourseof Modernity (London: Ithaca Press, 1997), p. 23l. 4 I am referring to LeonardBinder'sIslamic Liberalism who discussedat length the ideasof Tareqal-Bishri and Muhammad'Immara. 5 Nasr Muhammad'Arif, On The Sourcesof Political Islamic Heritage (Cairo: lIlT, 1994), (in Arabic). The book consistsof an extensivecompilation of Islamic manuscriptsdealingwith politics in Islam. Through undertakingsuchan endeavor'Arif aims to discreditthe writings of 'Ali 'Abd al-Raziq,Khalid MuhammadKhalid and other early liberal intellectualsclaiming that they did not investigateproperly the 'turath'. His undertakingis in order to 'authenticate'Muslim political thought. 6 SeeSayyidYasin, 'The StrategicDiscourseandthe Political Movement', in Globalization, Fundamentalismand Post-Modernity (Cairo: alMaktabaal-Akadimiyyah, 1996), pp. 256--65,(in Arabic). 7 In political science the works of 'Abd al-Fatah Isma'il from Cairo University areof significantimportance.'Abd al-FattahIsma'il seesthat conceptssuchascivil societyanddemocracyare alien to Islamic culture. Isma'il usesthe term of the ummato found rights accordingto shari'a and concludethat the 'ulama are the institutional power of the umma. Saif addin 'Abd al-Fattah Isma'il, Political Renovation and ContemporaryReality in the Arab World (Cairo: Maktabatal-NahdaalMisriyyah, 1989), p. 297 (in Arabic). 8 Towards a Contemporary Islamic Philosophy (Cairo: lIlT, 1994), (in Arabic) 9 Seethe chapteron cultural invasion. 10 Muhammad'Atif al-'Iraqi was born in 1935. He becameprofessorof Islamic philosophyat Cairo University andtaughtat variousotherArab universities. He is a student of Ahmad Fu'ad al-Ahwani, Georges Anawati and Zaki Nagib Mahmud. We are told that he developedthe secularistnotion of the 'revolution of reason'that stemsfrom an inner revolution of the heritage.Al-'Iraqi publishedextensivelyaboutIslamic philosophy, in particular about Averroes. See Anke von Kiigelgen, Averroesund die arabischeModerne. Ansaetzezu einer Neubegruendung des Rationalismusim Islam (Leiden, New York, Koln: E.J. Brill, 1994), pp.300--l. 11 Towardsa ContemporaryIslamic Philosophy,p. 549. 12 In 1997, therewere sevenEgyptianAcademicssentfrom Cairo to teach at the IIU of Kuala Lumpur. Personalcommunicationwith Mohga Mashur,lIlT, Cairo, March 1996. 13 Seefor instance,AbubakerA. Bagader'Islamizationof SocialSciences', in Islam and SociologicalPerspectives(Kuala Lumpur: Muslim Youth Movementin Malaysia 1983), p. 23. 14 Mohammad 'Abid al-Jabiri, We and The Heritage (Casablanca:alMarkaz al-Thaqafial-'Arabi, fifth Edition, 1986),p. 318. (in Arabic). A. Laroui has demonstratedthe limits of applying Ibn Khaldun'sthought in contemporarytimes. For a critique of Laroui's position and the attempt for a modem reconceptualizationof Ibn Khaldun in the Tunisian context see Asma larif-Beatrix, 'Edification etatiqueet environnementculturel en Tunisie', Arabica, Vol. XXXIII, (1986), p. 300--6.



15 AI-Jabiri, attempts to contextualizeIbn Khaldun's work within the







22 23 24 25 26

27 28 29

political-sociological and episthemologicalmould of his century. AlJabiri also reveals the hindrancesand weaknessesof Ibn Khaldun' s methodolgy.Muhammad'Abid al-Jabiri, The Formationof The Arab Mind, (Beirut: Markaz Dirasat al-Wahda al-'Arabiyyah, 1988, first Edition 1984, third Edition) (in Arabic). Alain Roussillon, 'Durkheimismeet reformisme: fondation identitaire de la sociologie en Egypte', Unpublishedpaper, (Cairo: CEDEJ, no date). Important is to note here what Alain Roussilloncalls 'Ie detour khaldounien'.He arguesthat Ibn Khaldun becomesa mediumof exchange betweenthe Frenchand Egyptianintellectuals.Roussillonseesthat as a sort of an 'inauguralact' many Egyptian sociologistslike 'Abd al-'Aziz 'Izzat, andin our caseherededicatedtheir writings to Ibn Khaldun. See Roussillon,p. 5. Seefor exampleSomeAspectsof the SocialImplicationsof Technological Change(Cairo: Ain ShamsUniversity Press,1976),Industrial Sociology, (Cairo: Dar al-Ma'arif, no date), (in Arabic), A SociologicalSurveyof the Bab al-Sha'riyyah Quarter (Cairo: Ain ShamsUniversity, 1961) (in Arabic). For a comprehensiveoverview of the impact of Ibn Khaldoun on contemporary scholarship see, Aziz al-Azmeh Ibn Khaldun in Modern Scholarship: A Study in Orientalism (London: Third World Centrefor Researchand Publishing,1981). See Alain Roussillon, 'La representationde l'identite par les discours fondateursde la sociologie turque et egyptienne:Ziya Gokalp et 'Ali 'Abd al-Wahid Wafi', Modernisationet mobilisation socialeII EgypteTurqiue, (Cairo: Dossierdu CEDEJ, 1992), p. 56. MohammedAbdullah Enan,Ibn Khaldun, his Life and Work (Lahore, ShaikhMuhammadAshraf, Kashmiri Bazar,third print, 1946). Hasan al-Sa'ati, 'Interview with Hasan EI-Sa'ati, the Faisal Award Recipient in Islamic Studies', al-Sharq al-Awsat (15/4/1993), (in Arabic). HasanEI-Sa'ati, Studieson the Islamization of the Family, Crime and Society(Cairo: MaktabatSa'id Ra'fat, Jami'at 'Ain Shams,1992), pp. 59-68 (in Arabic). EI-Sa'ati,p. 63. Ibid., p. 66. For the SoutheastAsian context Chua Beng Huat debunkedthe ideological premisesbehind the curseof Westernizationand consumerculture which entailedstronggenerationaldiffering worldviews and a bias towards youth. See Chua, Beng Huat 'ConsumingAsians: Ideas and Issues', Editor's Introduction: Consumption in Asia: life style and Identities(London: Routledge,2000). See Georg Stauth, 'Revolution in Spiritless Times: An Essay on the Enquiriesof Michel Foucaultand the IranianRevolution',International Sociology(1991) September. 'Aziz al-'Azmah,Secularismfrom a Different Perspective(Beirut: Markaz al-Dirasatli-l Wahdaal-'Arabiyyah, 1992), p. 236 (in Arabic). Albert Hourani, pp. 328-9.



30 Taha Husayn, The Future of Culture in Egypt (Cairo: Dar al-Ma'aref, first appeared1938, 1993) (in Arabic). 31 Ibid., p. 53. 32 Partha Chatterjee, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World - A Derivative Discourse(London: Zed Books Ltd. For the United Nations University, 1986), p. 66. 33 ShahnazRouseappliesChatterjee'sdiscourseinto women'sissues,where the 'spiritual' becomea higher degreeof resistance.Womenwould thus be locatedin the sphereof the inner and spiritual. Rousepoints to the fact that Chatterjee'smateriaUspiritualdichotomystretchto the materialist outer, contaminatedpublic world versus the spiritual authentic, pure home. See ShahnazRouse,'Gender,Nationalism(s)and Cultural Identity', in EmbodiedViolence, CommunalisingWomen'sSexuality in SouthAsia, eds.Kumari Jayawardenaand Malathi de Alwis (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1996). 34 Abdel Wahhab Al-Messiri, 'The Secularizationof Social Sciences: Perspectivesfrom the Islamizationof Knowledge',ProceedingsTwenty First Annual Conference,The Associationof Muslim Social Scientists, EastLancingMichigan October30-November1,1992,Editedby Mona Abul-Fadl, Jointly publishedby the InternationalInstitute of Islamic Thought and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists(Herndon, Virginia: lIlT, 1414 AHl1993), p. 8. 35 Seemy 'Reflections.. .' 36 Whetherthis is becauseAmericansare biasedagainstArabs, or because publishersanywayrefuselarge numbersof manuscriptsand in particular Ph.D.'sregardlessof 'the bias',is a point ignoredby el-Messiri. 37 Ibid., p. 9. 38 Abd al-Wahhabal-Missiri, 'Thefiqh of Bias', in The Problematicof Bias (Publishedby the lIlT in Cairo with the Syndicateof Engineers,1995), (in Arabic) p. 9. 39 Ibid., p. 10. 40 Ibid., p. 14. 41 Ibid., p. 45. 42 Ibid., p. 22. 43 Ibid., p. 24. 44 Ibid., p. 25. 45 Ibid., p. 41. 46 Ibid., p. 34. 47 Ibid., p. 55. 48 NasrMuhammad'Arif, ContemporaryTheoriesof Political Development (Cairo: lIlT, 1992), p. 86, (in Arabic). 49 Someobserverslike JohnEntelis definedthis tensionin North Africa as a crisis of authoritarianism.He points to the fact that the recentdecade was characterizedby the growing curtail of democracyand liberalization. SeeJohnEntelis, 'Introduction'in 'Islam, Democracyand the State in North Africa', edited by John Entelis, (Indiana University Press, 1997). 50 Concerningthis point see HassanHanafi, The Arabs and the French Revolution', in Dialogue betweenthe Mashreq and Maghreb, (Cairo: MaktabatMadbuli, 1990), p. 92-3 (in Arabic). 257


51 M. 'Immara, 'Rifa'a a1-Tahtawi, Pioneerof Modern Enlightenment', (Cairo: Dar a1-Mustaqba1a1-'Arabi, 1984) (in Arabic). 52 SadiqJ. al-~m, 'Enlightenment,Secularismand Sa1afism',in Dialogue without Boundaries,(,Amman: a1-Mu'assassa a1-'Arabiyya li-I-Dirasat wa1-Nashr,1998). 53 For a summary of this debatesee Hani Labib, ~rabic Thought and Enlightenment',in : Civil Societyand DemocraticTransformationin the Arab World, The Annual Report, 1998, (Cairo: Ibn Khaldun Centre, 1998), pp. 333-58.(in Arabic). 54 Dialogue betweenthe Mashreqand Maghreb, p. 97. 55 Walter Armbrust, Mass Culture and Modernism in Egypt (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press,1996),p. 190. 56 Ibid., p. 194. 57 Ibid. 58 Saad ad-din Ibrahim', From Tantawi to Tahtatwi', Al-tanwir, Cairo, fourth Year, (July, 1998) (in Arabic). 59 'Tantawi's Opponents Go to Court', Al-Ahram Weekly, Cairo (25 February,1999). 60 Extensiveinformationaboutlast year'seventsaredriven from the exceptional reportof Ibn Kha1dunCentreon the Civil SocietyAnnual Report of 1998. 61 Perhapsthe mostinterestingwork portrayingthe problemis Laila 'Inan, 'The FrenchExpeditionEnlightenmentor Falsification'(Cairo: Dar a1Hila1, 1998) (in Arabic). 62 For a good summaryof the issueof the commemorationof Napoleon's invasion in Cairo and the controversiesit stirred, seeSu1aimanShafiq, 'The FrenchCampaign,Pros and Cons',al-Tanwir (July 1998), Fourth year, number15, pp. 7-12 (in Arabic). 63 Ibid. 64 Muhammad 'Immara, Fundamentalismbetween the West and Islam (Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq,1998), (in Arabic). 65 Muhammad 'Immara, Islam and Revolution (Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq, 1988, third edition) (in Arabic). 66 Fritz Steppat, 'Saku1aristen und Is1amisten: ein Kategorisierungsversuchin Agypten',Asien,Afrika, Lateinamerika,Band 19, Heft 4 (1991), pp. 699-704,p. 700. 67 Anke von Kiige1gen, Averroesund die arabische Moderne. Ansiitze zu einer NeubegrOndungdes Rationalismusim Islam (Leiden, New York, K61n: E.J. Brill, 1994). p. 181. 68 Seefor instance,M. 'Immara,Islamic Methodolgy(Herndon,USA.: The International Institute of Islamic Thought 1991), (in Arabic), M. 'Immara, Signspots of the Islamic Methodology, AI-Azhar aI-Sharif jointly with The InternationalInstitute of Islamic Thought,(Cairo: Dar a1-Shuruq, 1991), (in Arabic), M. 'Immara, The Islamization of Knowledge(Cairo: Dar al-Sharq a1-Awssat, Madinat Nasr, 1991), (in Arabic). 69 See M. 'Immara, 'Islamization of Knowledge, the Alternative for Materialist Knowledge',al- Wafd (17.3.1991),(18.3.1991), (19.3.1991), (20.3/.991), (21.3.1991), (22.3.1991), (23.3.1991), (24.3.1991) (in Arabic).



70 M. 'Immara,'Enlightenmentbetweenthe Islamistsand the Secularists', (Cairo: lIlT, 16/5/1993), (in Arabic). 71 The government'sattempt to launch an 'enlightenment'movement could be interpretedas the other facet of the monstrousflowering of religioussymbols,languageandalsoof a charlatanrythat wasironically, instigatedin earlier times by the government.The uncontrollableeffects of the decayingsystemof educationon the nationallevel andthe expansion of 'informal' religiousinstitutions,the controversyoverwearingthe Islamic attire in schools,which wasfirst met with the consentof the government but later when the phenomenonbecame intractable, was harshlyandabruptlyresisted.All theseshapedthe dialecticsof the game of 'enlightenment'versus'obscurantism'betweenthe governmentand the Islamists. 72 Messiri like 'Immaraand many others,directsstrongattackson secular liberals to the effect that they copiedfrom the West everythingnegative and positive. Ahmed Lutfi el Sayyid, SalamaMusa are againlabelledas extremistsandWesternized.Marxists and socialistsareequallywesternized becausethey acceptWesternpatternsof knowledge.SeeMessiri, p. 27. 73 Notice here the paradoxof the governmentcounteractingIslamistsby claiming a secularstandand 'Immara'soppositionto the governmentby insisting on Islamismas the alternative. 74 Rifa'a Badawi al-Tahtawi was among the first Azharis to be sent to study in Franceduring the reign of M. 'Ali Pasha.He publishedhis observationand descriptionof his stay in Parisin a book called takhlis al-ibriz ila talkhis bariz. 75 Aziz al-Azmeharguesexactly the contraryto 'Immarain that the early reformistslike al-Tahtawi recognizedtheir borrowingsfrom Westernliberal thought. AI-Tahtawi read Rousseau,Voltaire, Montesquieuand Condillac extensively.Aziz AI-Azmeh 'Modernist Muslim Reformism and the Text', paper presentedat a conferenceon 'Islam and the Challengeof Modernity, Historical and ContemporaryContexts',The International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC: Kuala Lumpur, 1-5 August, 1994). 76 It is unfair to label Luis 'Awad as merely promotinga religious 'Coptic' worldview. Indeed'Awad advocateda secularworld view. He pleadedfor a nationalstate.For him the Coptic andPharaonicelementsconstituted partsand parcelof the Egyptianidentity. 77 Shaykh 'Ali 'Abd al-Raziq published in the twenties Islam and the Principle of Authority. 'Ali 'Abd al-Raziqarguedthat 'the Caliphatewas neithera basicprinciple nor a necessaryinstitution'. His book cost him the loss of the statusof 'Alim and was strongly attackedby the institution of al-Azhar See P.I Vatikiotis, The Modern History of Egypt (London: Weidenfeldand Nicolson, first print 1969, 1976), p. 301. 78 Islam and the Principle of Authority, edited and commentedon by Muhammad'Immara (Beirut: al-Mu'assassaal-'Arabiyya li-l-Dirasat wal-Nashr), (in Arabic). 'Immara undertook a detailed and rich researchon the contextandthe eventsaroundthe scandalthat this book produced. 79 LeonardBinder, p. 148.



80 See'Immara'sintroduction, 1972, p. 6. 81 Ali Abderraziq, L'islam et les fondementsdu pouvoir, nouvelle tra-

82 83

84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98

99 100

duction et introduction de Abdou Filali-Ansary (Paris: Edition de la decouverte!CEDEJ Textes a l'appui!serieislam et societe, 1992), p.29. 'Immara,(Cairo: lIlT, 1993) p. 20, (in Arabic). TahaHusaynhasbeen subjectof many attacksfrom the Islamistsand also from someadvocatesof the Islamizationdebate. Concerningthis point see Albert Hourani'sessentialanalysis of the thinkers of the Liberal age. Hourani arguedthat for Taha Husayn,it wasthe spiritual geographyandnot the physicalonewhich wasimportant. Egypt belonged to Western civilization rather than to India. Albert H. Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1798-1939 (Oxford University Press,1962, secondedition, CambridgeUniversity Press,1983), p. 330. Muhammad'Immara(Cairo: lIlT, 1993), p. 22. This is becauseSalamaMusadefendedat the beginningof this century modernscientific ideasandwasinterestedin Darwin'stheoriesof evolution. M. 'Immara(Cairo: lIlT, 1993), p. 28. M. 'Immara,al-Sha'ab(29 July, 1994). M. 'Immara(Cairo: lIlT, 1993), p. 30. Ibid., p. 3l. Abdallah Laroui, l'ideologie arabe contemporaine,(Paris: Fran90is Maspero,1977), p. 27. Seefor instancethe analysisof TahaHusayn'swritings by Louay Safi, The Challengeof Modernity; The Questfor Authenticity in the Arab World (University Pressof America, 1994). Laroui,. p. 25. Binder, 1988, p. 16l. Hourani, 1962, p. 337. Ibid., p. 325. 'Aziz al-'Azmah, Secularism from a Different Perspective (Beirut: Marquaz al-Dirasat Ii-l- Wahda al-'Arabiyyah, 1992), p. 235 (in Arabic). Tariq al-Bishri, The Muslim-SecularDialogue (Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq, 1996), pp. 9-11 (in Arabic). The Germantext is asfollows: 'Die nationalenSakularistensind demnach nicht nur als Dialogpartner akzeptabel,weil sie trotz ihrer Staatsauffassung den Bodendes Islam nicht verlassenhaben,sie werden geradeals SakularistenfUr den Dialog und die Zusammenarbeit an dem kulturellen Projekt der ummagebraucht.Das scheinttatsachIich ein igtihad zu sein, der den Dialog zwischen Islamisten und Sakularisten auf Konstruktive Weise erleichtert', Fritz Steppat, 'Sakularisten und Islamisten: ein Kategorisierungsversuchin Egypten', Asien, Afrika, Lateinamerika,Band 19 (1991), Heft 4. pp. 699-704.p. 703. (Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq,1995). M. 'Immara, Islam, betweenEnlightenmentand Falsification (Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq,1995), p. 216 (in Arabic).



101 The attack on Taha Husaynand SalamaMusa is also to be tracedin SayyidQutb the martyr andleaderof the Muslim Brotherswritings. It becamea standardargumentamong the Islamists. See Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, The ReligiousDiscourse,a Critical Perspective(Beirut: Dar al-Muntakhabal-'Arahi, 1992-1412)(in Arabic), p. 48. 102 M. 'Immara, 1995, pp. 211. 103 Ibid., pp. 188-97. 104 The Marxist Interpretation of Islam (Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq,1996) (in Arabic). 105 Ibid., p. 34. 106 Tariq al-Bishri, The Muslim SecularDialogue, p. 9-11. 107 Ibid, p. 55. 108 See Jacques Droz, Histoire de I'Allemagne (Paris: Presses Universitairesde France,1991). 109 Jean-PierreLe Dantec'Presencede Heinrich Heine'in Heinrich Heine, de L'Allemagne,(Paris: l'Arbre double, Les pressesd'Aujourd'hui, 1979). 110 Abu l-Walid Muhammad B. Ahmad B. MuhammadB. Rushd, alHafid (the grandson),famousin the MedievalWestunderthe nameof Averroeswas a scholarof Qur'anic sciencesand the natural sciences (physics, medicine, biology, astronomy),theologianand philosopher. Averroes was born at Cordova in 52011198. EI, entry Ibn Rushd, (pp. 909-20),p. 909. III Dominique Urvoy, Ibn Rushd (Averroes) (London, New York: Routledge,1991), p. 36. 112 Ibid., p. 1. 113 Anke von Kiigelgen, Averroesunddie arabischeModerne ... 114 Ibid., p. 183. 115 Ibid., p. 190. 116 Muhammad'Immara, 'Ibn Rushd and the RationalistPhilosophyin Islam', al-tali'a, (November,1968), pp. 135-145.Within the progressive line of the late sixties see also 'Immara's 'On the Rationalist Heritageof Ibn Rushd',al-Katib, 1973, pp. 80-101,(in Arabic). Anke von Kiigelgen hasequally analyzed'Immara'sstandin this article. See. p.192. 117 The finest and initial critique of 'Immmara'sastoundingswitch and rejection of his previous'secular'political standis well elaboratedin GeorgeTarabishi,The Massacreof the Heritage in ContemporaryArab Culture, (London: Dar al-Saqi, 1989),pp. 24--49, (in Arabic). 118 The materialistinterpretationof Islamic history and the terminology of the strugglebetweenforces of the left and right has beenequally developedby the Egyptian historian Ahmad Abbas Salih in the various articleshe wrote in the sixties in al-Kateb. 119 al-Tali'a (November,1968), p. 137. 120 'Immara, 1968,p. 143. 121 Ibid., p. 145. 122 Ibid., p. 147. 123 Ironically 'Immara launcheda staunchattack in one of his recent works (1995) againstthe Marxist interpretationof Islam that 'moulds religion in atheististforms and buries the spirit in the tomb of the





126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136

matter'('Immara 1995, p. 199). He condemnsthe works of al-Tayyib Tizini, Husayn Muruwa, and Mahmud Isma'il's sociological studies on the 'revolutionaly'aspectsof Islam as raw and negativeattemptsto Marxisize Islam. See Muhammad 'Immara 'The Marxisization of Islam', in Islam, betweenEnlightenmentand Falsification (Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq,1995), pp. 198-204,(in Arabic). The cursing of the secularintellectualsbecomesclear in the recent publication of M. 'Immara Islam, Between Enlightenment and Falsification (Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq,1995).Theseare compiledarticles which appearedearlier in either the Egyptian newspapersor as seminarsat the lIlT in Cairo. Muhammad'Immara, 'The Intellectual Location of Averroes in the West and the Muslim World', in islammiyat al-ma'rifah, A refereed Arabic Quarterly Published by the lIlT, International Institute of Islamic Thought,(1995), p. 81, (in Arabic). Ibid., p. 81. Ibid., p. 82. Ibid., p. 92. Ibid., p. 83. Seethe entry 'Philosophy'by SeyyedHosseinNasr, in Encyclopediaoj the Modern Islamic World (New York: Oxford University Press,1995), ed. JohnEsposito,p. 330. Concerningthis point seeHourani, p. 143-4. 'Immara, 1995, p. 83. Ibid., p. 84. Ibid., p. 85. Murad Wahba,'Introductionto Enlightenment',(Cairo, Dar al-'Alam al-Thalith, 1994), p. 159, (in Arabic). This idea was developed by McCannell quoted from Roland Robertson,Globalization, (London: SagePublications,1992) p. 173. 10 CULTURAL INVASION

For the most recentdiscussionaboutthe discourseof cultural invasion and cultural independence,see Muhammad 'Abid al-Jabiri, 'Arabic Culture and the Questionof Cultural Independence',al-Mustaqbalal'Arabi, August, (1993), pp. 4--14, (in Arabic). 2 See,al-Ahram, (9/2/1995). 3 Arkoun warnedagainstthe ideologicalattacksagainstthe erudition of orientalism and the tendencyamong Muslims who merely acknowledgeorthodox Islam and claim the intellectual aggression'l'agression intellectuelle' (al-ghazw al-Jikrz), of the West. He pointed out that they expressno interestin analysingthe phenomenonfrom a historical and social psychologicalperspective.MohamedArkoun, Pour une critique de la raison islamique (Paris: Maisonneuveet Larose, 1984), p.104. ,4 GeorgesAnawati was born in 1905 in Alexandria. He was an eminent Dominicanscholarwho wrote extensivelyon Islam and Islamic philosophy. Anawati expandeda rich library andcreated theL'IDEO, I'Institut desDominicainsdu Caire. He was a personalfriend of TahaHusaynand



5 6 7 8 9 10 11

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Massignon.He was appreciatedby Westernand Muslim scholarsfor his erudition,hospitality and intellectualexchangewith many scholarswho visited him. For a detailedbibliographyof his works and a moving portrait see,'GeorgesChehataAnawati (Alexandrie,6 Juin 1905-LeCaire, 28 Janvier1994)" par la redactiondu MIDEO. (Cairo: MIDEO, 1995), 22, pp. 1-56. See'Atif al-'Iraqi, 'FatherGeorgesAnawati, a Year after his Death',alAhram, (22.1.1995),(in Arabic). Sadiq Jalal al-'Azm, 'Cultural Invasion Repeatedly',in The Mental Taboo (London: Riad El RayyesBooks, 1992), (in Arabic). GeorgesTarabishi,Arab Intellectualsand their Heritage (London: Riad el-RayyesBooks, 1991),p. 43. (in Arabic) Ibid., p. 47. Ibid., p. 51. Ibid., p. 48. I am well awarethat al-Jabiri, Galal Amin and HasanHanafi are quite different from those who advocatethe 'Islamization of Knowledge'. Nevertheless,they beara certainsimilarity in their attitudesto the question of authenticity,purification andthe interest-orientedattitudein the selectionof Islamic heritage. GeorgesTarabishi,p. 51. Ibid., pp. 105-27. Ibid., p. 105, Tarabishi assemblesthe contradictory quotations of Hanafi wherehe arguesfor an ideato bring up further quotationswhere Hanafi endsup supportingexactlythe oppositeview. Seepages,109 and 111. Ibid., p. 109. Ibid., p. 112. Ibid., p. 51. 'Atif al-'Iraqi, Reason and Enlightenment in Contemporary Arabic Thought (Cairo: al-Mu'assasaal-Jamiyya li-l-Dirasat wal Nashr wal Tawzi', 1995), (in Arabic). Ibid., p. 93. Ibid., p. 97. Khalil 'Abd aI-Karim, 'Negative Aspects of ContemporaryArabicIslamic Thought,a ConcreteExample:A ComprehensiveCritical Study of Yussuf al-Qaradawi'sBook, The Islamic Solution is a Duty and a Must', in QadayaFikriyya, July (1995), pp. 259-68,(in Arabic). Which involved several figures dealing with the Islamic investments companiesin Egypt that endedup with a scandal. Khalil 'Abd ai-Karim, p. 260. Ibid., p. 260. Ibid., p. 259. 11 FAITH AND SCIENCE

Hala Mustafa, The State and the Islamic Oppositional Movements (Cairo: Kitab al-Mahrusa,1995),p. 257, (in Arabic). 2 Sucha trend often quotesextensivelythe writings of Maurice Bucaille, who is popularamongthe Islamist circles.



3 In this context, aI-Afghani at first attackedDarwin with conventional argumentsand accordingto BezirganaI-Afghani probably had no first hand sources.The shift and appropriationof Darwin by al-Mghani is mostinterestingin that if Bezirganis right, it wasa cardfor later on tinting Qur'an interpretationwith a scientific ring. Najm A. Bezirgan,'The Islamic World', in The Comparative Reception of Darwinism, ed. ThomasF. Glick (Chicago,London: The University of ChicagoPress, 1974), pp. 375-87. 4 Aziz al-~ah, Secularismfroma Different Perspective(Beirut: Markaz al-Dirasatli-l-Wahda al-:.\rabiyyah,1992), (in Arabic). 5 Concerningthis point seeGeorgStauth,'Modern Imagesof Islam and Entwickthe Orient', Bielefeld Working Papers, Forschungsschwerpunkt lungssoziologie,1996.

6 The prominent French philologist and Orientalist Ernest Renan (d.l892), who organiseda conferenceon 'Islamism and Science',argued that Islam was the main factor that led to the blockage of oriental thought and of scientific progressin the Orient. See,ErnestRenanDer Islam und der Wissenschaft,Vortrag gehaltenin der Sorbonneam 29. Miirz, (Basel: Verlagvon m. Bernheim).Renanbelievedthat the Arab race was antipatheticto Greek philosophy and rational activity. The only sciencewhich Arabs developedwas languageand poetry. In fact so long as Islam was underthe reign of the Arabs (i.e. the Caliphsand the Ummayads)no spiritual movementof a profaneshapecould havetaken place. Only when the Abbassidsintroduceda Persian,Indo-european element, philosophy flourished. Hichem Djait, L'Europe et L'islam. Such statementsof courseprovokeddebatesand aI-Afghani, the panIslamist and founder of the reformist movement,rejectedRenan'sideas in the French periodical, Le Moniteur (Paris: Collection EspritlSeuil, 1974). 7 N.R. Keddie, An Islamic Responseto Imperialism. Political andReligious Writings of SayyidJamal ad-Din aI-Afghani (University of California Press,1983). 8 EdwardSaid, Culture and Imperialism (London: Vintage, 1993),p. 317. 9 Albert H. Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1798-1939 (Oxford University Press,1962,SecondEdition, Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,1983), p. 120. 10 H. Djait, p. 49. 11 Hourani, p. 121. 12 Ibid., p. 129. 13 MahmoudDhaouadi,'Reflectionsinto the Spirit of The Islamic Corpus of Knowledgeand the Rise of the New Science',American Journal of Islamic Social Sicences(1993), 10,2, pp. 153-64. 14 Concerningthis topic, seethe recentConferences held in Cairo aboutal'ijaz al-'ilmi lil Qur'an, which debatedthe questionwhetherall contemporary scientific discoveries should be found in the Qur'an. Some researchersarguedthat such an attitude would lead to overloadingthe Qur'an while another trend argued that not referring to the Qur'an would harm Islamic teachings.Voices againstmounting fraud and the twisting of the Qur'anto offer simplistic solutions,as well as the claim for setting the proper qualifications for religious exegesiswere raised.



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23 24 25

See'The Conferenceon the Scientific Wonderof the Qur'an',al-Ahram (10.2.1995)and (11.2.1995),(in Arabic). See for instance,Ahmed Fu'ad Basha'The Islamic Authenticationof Algebra',Majallat al-Azhar,(1412/1992),Vol. 10, No. 64, pp. 1234/1238. See for instance, Bint al-Shati', 'Mathematics and Meteorology in Arabic Civilization', al-Ahram, (7,2, 1995); Bint al-Shati', 'Geographic Astronomy and the Moon in Arabic Literature before Early Classification',al-Ahram, (4/211995),(in Arabic). Concerningthis point Jansensays:'Amin al-Khuli definesscientific exegesisas the kind of exegesisthat readsscientific technicalterminology into the expressionsof the Koran and that strivesto deduceall sciences and philosophical views from it. This definition almost implies the impossibility of the theoreticalsoundnessof scientific exegesis'.J.J.G. Jansen,The Interpretation of the Koran in Modern Egypt (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1980), p. 54. Kamel Hussein,'Le commentaire'scientifique'du coran: une innovation absurde',16, (Cairo: MIDEO, 1983), pp. 293-300. Mustafa Mahmud, an ex-communistwho shifted to Islam, founded in the late seventies an association, a mosque and hospital in Mohandessin,in the district of Cairo. Volker Stollorz, 'Mit Der Bibel gegenDarwin', (With the Bible against Darwin), Die Zeit, 29 Januar,(1993). Geertz,in Stollorz, 1993. In Egypt, recentanti-Darwinismwaspromotedby MustafaMahmud;a former Marxist turned into a fierce anti-Marxist Islamist. During Sadat'stime and due to the regime'sgrowing manipulationof religion for self legitimacy, Mahmud was accordeda television programme where he commented upon Western scientific documentary films. Mahmud'sprogrammeswereextremelyinterestingin that the comments upon animal life and flora producedby Westernscientific programmes, wererephrasedto energeticallycriticize Darwinismandstressthe ideaof faith and God's creation.His reductionistand crude understandingof Marxism and also of Islam attractedbitter criticism of many Egyptian intellectualswho viewed him as a charlatanand an anti-rationalist.See FuM Zakariyyah, 1987, pp. 211-22. M. Mahmud writings are to be found in someIslamic bookshopsin Jakarta.For a historical survey of the receptionof Darwinism in the Arab World at the beginningof this centuryand the first translationof Darwin's Origins of Speciesin 1918 by the EgyptianIsmail Mazhar.SeeAdel A. Ziadat, WesternSciencein the Arab World, The Impact of Darwinism, 1860-1930(London: The Macmillan Press,1986), pp. 38-48, 114-20. Ahmed 'Abd al-Mu'ti Higazi, al-Ahram, international edition, (4 November1992). PervezHoodbhoy mentionsthe caseof a Sudanesescientist who was persecutedin Sudanfor teachingDarwin's evolutionarytheory. Pervez Hoodbhoy,Islam and Science,p. 25. PervezHoodbhoy, preface.Seealso Hoodbhoy'sentry 'Science'in the OxfDrd Encyclopediaof the Modern Islamic World, Editor in Chief John Esposito(New York: 1995), Vol. 4. Hoodbhoymaintainsa harshstance towardsthe movementto Islamizesciences.



26 BernhardDietrich Haage,Alchemieim Miltelalter (Zurich, Dusseldorf: Artemis and Winkler, 1996), p. II. 27 Ibid. 28 It was jointly organized by the International Islamic University of Islamabadand the Organizationof Scientific Miracles in Mecca. 29 PervezHoodbhoy1991,Appendix, p. 141. 30 Ibid., 1991,p. 48. 31 Ibrahim B. Syed, 'Islamization of Attitude and Practice in Embryology', in M.A.K. Lodhi ed., Islamization of Attitudes and Practices in Scienceand Technology(Herndon: lIT, The International Institute of Islamic Thought, Islamizationof knowledgeSeriesNo.9. 1409AH/1989), pp. 119-29. 32 Maurice Bucaille was the Chairman of the First International Conference of Scientific Miracles of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Hoodbhoyagainharshlycriticized Bucaille'sstand. 33 'A Blueprint for the Islamization of Attitude and Practice in Earth Sciences with Special Emphasis on Groundwater Hydrology', in Islamization of Attitudesand Practices in Scienceand Technology,ed. M.A.K. Lodhi (Herndon, Virginia: lIlT, 1409AHIl989), The InternationalInstitute of Islamic Thought,Islamizationof Knowledge SeriesNo. (9), pp. 91-101. 34 MuhammadIshaq Zahid, 'Use of Islamic Beliefs in Mathematicsand ComputerScienceEducation',in Islamizationof Attitudesand Practices in Scienceand Technology,... pp. 91-101. 35 Ibid., p. 91. 36 Ibid., p. 96. 37 Ibid., p. 95-96. 38 Munawar Ahmed Anees, Islam and Biological Futures, Ehtics, Gender and Technology(London, and New York: Mansell, 1989). 39 Ibid., p. 14. 40 Ibid., p. 15. 41 Ibid., p. 56. 42 Ibid., p. 59 43 Abdelwahab Bouhdiba, Sexuality in Islam (London: Routledge and KeganPaul, 1985). 12 COUNTERIMAGES: SECULAR RESPONSES Tibi proposesthat the whole Islamization of knowledge debateis an import from Washington.The proliferation of their publicationsis dueto massivefinancing with the Saudi petro-dollars.SeeBassamTibi, Islamischer Fundamentalismus, moderne Wissenschaft und Technologie (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp TaschenbuchWissenschaft, 1992), p.I13. 2 'Aziz al-'Azmah, 'The Islamizationof Knowledge and the Obstinacy of Irrationality', Qadaya Fikriyya, no. 12 (1993), pp. 407-14 (in Arabic). 3 BurhanGhaliun, 'Islam and Social SocialSciences:QuestionMarks on the Islamization of Knowledge', Qira'at Siyasiyya, 3, 2 (1993), pp. 119-38(in Arabic).



4 Gad, Mahmud 'The Return to the Religious Heritage and the Islamization of Knowledge', al-Yasar, no. 52 (1994), pp. 52-9 (in Arabic). 5 Dr. Rida Muharram, 'Reply to an Answer, The Fabrication of Concepts',al-Ahali (20 July 1994) (in Arabic), Dr. MuhammadRida Muharram,'The Islamizationof Knowledge,an Absurdity for Religion and Modern Science',al-Ahali (29 July 1994) (in Arabic). 6 Muhammadal-Sayyid Sa'id, 'Scienceand the Problemof Authenticity of Thought in the Arab World', al-Manar (1985) first issue January, Kanun al-Thani. pp. 122-41,(in Arabic). 7 Zaki Nagib Mahmud, 'May God RescueHuman Sciences!',in The Modernizationof Arabic Culture (Beirut: Dar al-Shuruq,Cairo, 1987) (in Arabic). 8 SayyidYasin, 'The Mirage of IslamizingSciences',al-Ahramal-Iqtissadi (20 January 1990), (in Arabic), 'Sociological Knowledge betweenthe Arab and Islamic Paradigm',al-Dustur (17/8/1992)(in Arabic). 9 Akbar S. Ahmed, Toward Islamic Anthropology:Definition, Dogmaand Direction (Ann Arbor: New Era Publications,1986), pp. 53-4. 10 Sayyid Yasin, 'The StrategicDiscourseand the Political Movement',in Globalization, Fundamentalismand Post-Modernity(Cairo: al-Maktaba al-Akadimiyyah, 1996), p. 264 (in Arabic). 11 Zaki Nagib Mahmud'sideas, in particular his notion of turath, have been discussedby Leonard Binder's Islamic Liberalism (Chicago: ChicagoUniversity Press,1988), pp. 299-314. 12 Mona Abu Zayd, Religious Thinking in the Thought of Zaki Naguib Mahmud(Cairo: Dar al-Hidaya, 1993), (in Arabic), p. 126. 13 Ibid., p. 86. 14 Ibid., p. 122. 15 Ibid., p. 133. 16 Zaki Nagib Mahmud, 'May God RescueHuman Sciences',in The Modernizationof Arabic Culture (Beirut, Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq, 1987), p.217. 17 Ibid., p. 220. 18 Ibid., p. 222. 19 Zaki Nagib Mahmud, 'I am the Mosque and the Prostating',in An Islamic Perspective(Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq, 1987), pp. 17-27, 24, (in Arabic) 20 Ibid., p. 21. For a further elaborationof Mahmud's critique of the Islamizationof Knowledgedebatesee,in Mona Abu Zayd, p. 246-62'. 21 Mona Abu Zayd, p. 261. 22 Ibid., p. 262. 23 Aziz AI-Azmeh, Islams and Modernities (London: Verso, 1993), p. 55. AI-Azmeh hasjudgedMahmud'sattemptas crudeand awkward. 24 Mona Abu Zayd ... p. 262. 25 See Aziz al-'Azmah, Heritage betweenAuthority and History (Beirut: Dar al-Tali'a, 1987, reprinted 1990),p. 16. (in Arabic). 26 'Aziz AI-'Azmeh, Islamsand Modernities,p. 56 27 LeonardBinder, p. 301. 28 Seefor instanceRoshdi Rashed,'L'analyseet la syntheseselon ibn alHaytham', in Mathematiqueset philosophie de ['antiquite a ['age



29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38


40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52

c/assique (Paris: Editions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 15 quai Anatole France, 1991), Roshdi Rashed, 'La philosophiedes mathematiquesd'Ibn al-Haytham:L'analyseet la synthese',(Cairo: MIDEO, 1991), 20, pp. 31-233. and 'La philosophiedes mathematiques d'Ibn al-Haytham:Les connus',(Cairo: MIDEO, 1993), 21, pp. 87-275. RoshdiRashed,'RenovationandHeritage',al-Katib, September,(1972), (in Arabic). Rashedalsonotedthat he could not understandwhat Mahmudmeantby yunani; did MahmudmeanGreek(ighriq/) or Hellenisticthought?p. 37. Rashed,1972,p. 37. Ibid., p. 37. Ibid., pp. 35-47. Ibid. Ibid., p. 39. Ibid., p. 44. SeeGeorgesTarabishi'scritique of Zaki N. Mahmud in The Massacre of Heritage, pp. 54-72 (in Arabic). Concerning the results of the conference, in 'orientating' sciences towardsIslam, and in drawing the attentionupon first Islamic economics and secondthe introductionof religious subjectsin scientific faculties seeal-Zurqani,al-' Alam al- Yaum(30.10.1992). Dr MuhammadRida Muharram,al-Ahali (6 July 1994). Dr Rida Muharram, 'Reply to an Answer, The Fabrication of Concepts',al-Ahali (20.7.1994}, (in Arabic), Dr. Muhammad Rida Muharram,'The Islamizationof Knowledge,an Absurdity for Religion and Modern Science',al-Ahali (29.7.1994)(in Arabic). (29.6.1994),(6.7.1994)(20.7.1994). It is a popular customin many Muslim countriesto seek reading the Qur'an for healing purposes.Obviously, what is targeted here were Shaykhswho becameprofessionalhealers. al-Zurqani,al-Nur (29.6.1994}. Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, 'The Islamization of Knowledge leads to Inquisition', al-Yasar(1.3.1990} (in Arabic). Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, The ReligiousDiscourse,a Critical Perspective (Beirut: Dar al-Muntakhabal-'Arabi, 1992-1412),pp. 133 (in Arabic). 'Aziz al-'Azmah, The World of Religion in Presentof Arabs (Beirut: Dar al-Tali'a, 1996), p. 50 (in Arabic). 'Aziz al-'Azmah,'The Islamizationof Knowledgeand the Obstinacyof Irrationality', QadayaFikriyya (1993), no. 12 (in Arabic). 'Aziz al-'Azmah, The World of Religion Today amongthe Arabs, p. 54. Ibid., p. 54. Ibid., p. 54. Al-'Azmah 'The Islamization... p.412. Ibid., p. 59. Fuat Sezgin, Geschichtedes ArabischenSchrifttums,Alchimie-ChemieBotanik-Agrikultur (Leiden: E.J. Brill 1971); Geschichtedes Arabischen Schrifttums, Mathematik Bis ca. 430 H., Band V. (Leiden: E.J. Brill 1974), Geschichtedes Arabischen Schrifttums, Band IV. Astronomie (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1978); Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums,



53 54 55


Astrologie-Meteorologieund 430 Verwandtes.H. Band VII. (Leiden: E.I Brill, 1979). David King, Astronomyin the Serviceof Islam (Aldershot, Variorum 1993). Quotedfrom Leif Stenberg,The Islamization of Science.Four Muslim Positions Developing an Islamic Modernity (Lund: Lund Studies in History of Religions, 1996), p. 30. Encyclopediaof the History of Arabic Science,editors,RoshdiRashedin collaborationwith Regis Morelon (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), 3 Volumes,(x). Ahmad AI-Hassan and Donald R. Hill, Islamic Technology, An IllustratedHistory (Cambridge,New York: CambridgeUniversity Press; Paris: UNESCO, 1986).


2 3 4 5 6


8 9 10

See Mervat Hatem, 'Diskurse iiber Gender und Politische Liberalisierungin Agypten', INAMO, no. 9, Fruehjahr,(1997), pp. 4--9. Seefor instancethe publication of Jutta Szostakand SulemanTaufiq, Der Wahre Schleierist das Schweigen,ArabischeAutorinnenmeldensich zu Wort (Frankfurt: Fischer1995). FatemaMernissi, Die Angstvor der Moderne,Frauen and MaennerzwisVerlag: chenIslam undDemokratie(Muenchen:DeutscherTaschenbuch 1992),p. 61. SeeBettina Ruehl, Wir Haben Nur Die Wahl Zwischen WahnsinnOder Widerstand,Frauen in Algerien(Unkel/ Rhein Horlemann,1997),p. 104. For examplea large list of al-Sa'adawi'sworks in Arabic languageare availableat the library of the Islamic University of Yogyakarta. According to the New Straits Times, offencespunishableunder Hudud include: theft, the punishmentis amputationof the right hand.Robbery, includes death, crucifixion and amputationof the limbs. Zina (adultery), the punishmentis 100 lashesfor unmarriedand stoning to death for the marriedones.Drinking liquor and other intoxicating drinks, the offender could be punishedwith not more than 80 lashesof the whip and not less than 40. See'Nik Aziz Tables Bill on Hudud Laws', New Straits Times(daily, Malaysia)(8 Thursday,November,25, 1995). Jansenpointedto the fact that M. 'Abduh was the first 'Alim in modern Egypt to write a popular commentaryof the Qur'an to be understood by a wider public. SeeIJ.G. Jansen.The Interpretation of the Koran in Modern Egypt (Leiden: E.I Brill, 1980),p. 19. For a contemporayinnovative attempt to interpret the Qur'an, see M. Arkoun, Lectures du Qoran (Paris: AIif, Les Editions de la Mediterranee,1990). See the writings of Mohammed Said AI-'Ashmawi, Political Islam, (Cairo: Sina IiI Nashr, first edition, 1987, second edition 1989) (in Arabic); The Islamic Caliphate(Cairo: Sina Iii Nashr, 1990) (in Arabic). It is no wonderthat thesetwo intellectualshavebeenstigmatizedby the Islamistsfor disbelief and receivedthreatsof assassination. Seefor instancethe book review of 'Amina Wadud-Muhsin,Quran and Woman, Fajar Bakti Sdn Bhd, Revelationsfor the Muslim Woman,



II 12 13 14 15 16



19 20 21 22

23 24

25 26

Quran and Woman, Reviewer by ZaharaAlatas', The Star (Malaysia) (17.3.1993). Amina Wadud attempts to interpret the Qur'an from a women'sposition and arguesthat previous interpretationshave been biasedbecausethey wereundertakenby men. Her interpretationis however too simplistic. At least theseare fears expressedby both FatemaMernissi and Nawal al-Sa'dawi. ShahnazRouse,'Women'sMovementin Pakistan:State,Class,Gender', SouthAsia Bulletin, Vol. IV, no. 1, Spring(1986). Mernissi, 1996,p. 36. Nawal EI Saadawi,Der Sturzdes Imam (Muenchen:DTV 1994). His cassettesare sold in Malaysia. ZaharaAlatas, 'In Defenceof Women'sCapabilities',New Straits Times (Malaysia) (Monday, May 11 1992). Although very popular in Egypt, SheikhMohammedMetwali al-Sha'rawiis viewed by somesegmentsof the Egyptianintelligentsiaas a charlatanand a tool of the government's official versionof Islam. Seethe Sistersin Islam writings, Sistersin Islam: 'Polygamynot a Right Enshrinedin the Qur'an',(Malaysia)Sept.!Oct. (1990). Nur NisaiyaA. Karim, 'Where Compulsion is Obsessionwith Control', New Straits Times, Monday, (25.11.1991),'Sistersin Islam, of Dress and Muslim Women', New Straits Times, (1.11.1991).See also 'Nik Aziz's Putting Down WomenWrong', New Straits Times(12.1.91). The ideaof the restrainedMuslim sisteris broughtup SeeF. EI-Guindi, 'Veiled Activism: Egyptian Women in the Contemporary Islamic Movement', Peuples Mediterraneans, Janvier-Juin, (1983), no. 22-3, pp.78-9. Ibid. Concerningthis point seemy The ChangingImage of Womenin Rural Egypt, Monograph, Cairo Papers in Social Science (Cairo: The American University in Cairo 1987. ErvandAbrahamian,Khomeinism(London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 1993). Concerninga critique of Islamicists'attacksagainstArab feminism as beingWesternseeLeila Ahmed, Womenand Genderin Islam, Historical Rootsof a Modern Debate (New Haven and London: Yale University Press1992). In the particularArab-Israeliconflict andthe intifada, femaleIslamic attire hasbecomea symbol of resistance.This is without denyingthe paradoxical contradictionsbetweenthe demandsof genderand nationalism. I borrow this expressionfrom GeorgStauth,'How to Control Women, Socio-EconomicProcessesand Shifts of Power betweenSexesin Rural Egypt; The Explanationof a Case',in HannoverscheStudienueberden Mitteren Osten, ed. Ahmad Marhad, Vol. 5 (Edition Aasad, 1988), pp.51-72. This point of view has beenexpressedby Wazir JahanKarim, Women and Culture BetweenMalay Adat and Islam (San Francisco,Oxford: WestviewPress,1992). SeeBettina Ruehl, Wir Haben Nur Die Wahl ZwischenWahnsinnOder Widerstand,Frauen in Algerien (UnkeU Rhein Horlemann,1997).



27 One could herementionthe interestingworks of the MoroccanFatema Mernissi and the EgyptianNawal al-Sa'dawias ripostesagainstmounting fundamentalism. 28 SeeFatemaMernissi, The Forgotten Queensin Islam. 29 SeyyedHosseinNasr, Ideals and Realities in Islam (GeorgeAllen and Unwin: 1966), p. 112. 30 Ibid. p. 113. 31 One can quote endlesslyMuslim scholarswho, wheneverthe issue is brought up, would praise the glorious ideal position of early Muslim women in order to escapethe current condition of women in Muslim society.They equallyarguethat Westernfeminism is corruptingoriental 'authentic'values. 32 As A. Laroui puts it, it would be unthinkablefor Westernfeminists to comparewomen'scontemporarypositionswith the sayingsof the Bible. Why thus undertake it with the Qur'an? See A. Laroui, Islam et Modernite (Paris: Editions de la Decouverte,1987). 33 With the adventof nationalistmovementsin many Third World countries, women were offered educationand public functions opportunities. Although one shouldherepoint out the limits of the post-colonial governements.They nevertheless,gave birth to the middle class,educated,professionalwomen. A large female populationfilled positions in state functions, and scientific fields. Perhaps,becauseit is the women'srole is so obviousthat the clasheswith Islamists'ideologyis so obvious. 34 ludith Nagata, 'How to be Islamic without being an Islamic State, ContestedModels of Developmentin Malaysia',in Islam, Globalization and Postmodernity,ed. Akbar Ahmed and Hasting Donnan(London: Routledge,1994),p. 78. 35 Wazir lahanKarim Womenand Culture BetweenMalay Adat andIslam, p.170. 36 SusanE. Ackerman,'Dakwahand Minah Karan: classFormationand Ideological Conflict in Malay Society', Voor Taal-, Land- En Volkenkunde, dee1147,(1991), 2 en 3 aflevering,pp. 193-215. 37 'luraimi: I beheadedMazlanon Bomoh'sOrder', The Star (24.11.1994). 38 Asiaweek(10.26.1994). 39 Another recentscandalwas the discoveryof a Kuala Lumpur network of call girls working for clients consisting mostly of Tan Sri's and Datuks(Malay titles). The girls, agedbetween18 and 25 years,met their clients in five starshotels and chargedfees of 5000 MalaysianRinggits per sexualintercourse.'Call Girl Client Mystery Grips Kuala Lumpur', The Australian (7. 10.1995). 40 The sameoccurredto the Islamic groupsin Egypt whoseEmirs (leader of the cell) were revealedto have quite promiscuousconductin having accessto the womenin their group. 41 The Economist(10.9.1994). 42 The Star (2 1.l0.1994). 43 Salim Osman,The Straits Times(9.3.1995). 44 Nevertheless,the definition of what closeproximity could be is very elastic andvague.Therefore,any man andwomanfound in a closedroom or in an isolatedareacould be subjectto the punishmentof khalwat.



45 'Hudud Law: Views and Understanding', New Straits Times (29.1.1994). 46 New Straits Times(29.12.1993).

47 'Dress Code: 50 Muslim Women Fined', New Straits Times

(28.11.1992). 48 Suhaimi Aznam, 'Malaysia, StatesDiffer on Approach to Polygamy, Spousesand Suitors',Far EasternEconomicReview(21. 7. 1991). 49 'Hudud Bill not Fair to Women',New Straits Times(1O.1.1994).

50 Shari'a Law and The Modern Nation-State.A MalaysianSymposium,ed. Norarani Othman, Sisters in Islam SIS Forum (Malaysia) Berhad (Kuala Lumpur: Publishedwith the supportof the Friedrich-NaumannStiftung [Germany], 1994). 51 Ibid., (it). 52 Ibid., p. 1. 53 Shari'a Law and The Modern Nation-State... p. 73. 54 Norani Othman, 'Shari'a Criminal Law in Modern Society: Some Sociological Question', in Hudud in Malaysia, The Issues at Stake, edited by Rose Ismail (Kuala Lumpur: Berhad, Sisters in Islam SIS Forum, 1995), p. 35. 55 Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad,'Islam GuaranteesJusticefor All Citizens',in Hududin Malaysia, The Issuesat Stake,p. 65. 56 Which is still viewed as a sourceof importing fundamentalism.

CONCLUDING REMARKS SamuelP. Huntington,'The Clashof Civilizations', Foreign A//airs, Vol. 72, no. 3, Summer,(1993), pp. 22-49. 2 Jose Casanova,Public Religions in the Modern World (Chicago: The University of ChicagoPress,1994). 3 ErvandAbrahamian,Khomeinism(London and New York: LB. Tauris, 1993).

4 This explains the significance of the works of John Esposito who attemptsto portrayan objectiveimageof Islam in the United States.See for instance,John Esposito,The Islamic Threat, Myth or Reality (New York, Oxford: Oxford Paperbacks,1992). 5 Concerningthis point see Joel Beinin, 'On the Modernity, Historical Specificity, and International Context of Political Islam', in Political Islam: Essays/romMiddle East Report,Joel Beinin and JoeStark(eds), (California: University of California Press,1996). 6 Ibid. 7 See Jean-PhilippeLachese,'Les 'souvenirs'de madameSuzanneTaha Husayn' (Cairo: MIDEO,1982), no. 15, pp. 9-22. SuzanneHusayn's memoirs,'Avec toi', is a moving work. It highlightsthe cosmopolitanism and opennessof Taha Husayn'shouse in receiving Western scholars artists and scientists.It equally depicts the relationshipbetweenTaha Husaynand Andre Gide in Cairo. 8 PninaWebner,p. 10. 9 ChandraMuzaffar, Islamic Resurgencein Malaysia, p. 31. 10 Aijaz Ahmad, pp. 195-196. 11 It meanshomein German.



12 Raul Pertierra,'The Nation-Stateand Social Science- The particular



15 16 17 18


20 21



and the Universal: A Philippine Example',Paperpresentedat a conference on 'Alternative Discourses:Beyond Orientalism and Occidentalism', The National University of Singapore,(28 May, 1 June, 1998), p.13. Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, 'Malaysia: the Kratonization of Social Science',in Social Sciencein SoutheastAsia, ed. Nico SchulteNordholt and Leontine Visser, (Amsterdam, VU University Press, 1995), pp. 104--5. Papersto be Presentedin the Workhop on Islamizationof Curriculum, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University, Malaysia,(Friday 22 December1995). Nevertheless,respectiveof all critiques,the fact that sucha rich library existsin Kuala Lumpur deservesattention. Sadiq Jalal al-'Azm',In Defenseof Progress',in Theory and Practice in the Thoughtof Mahdi 'Ami!, (Beirut: Dar al-Farabi, 1989), pp. 453-67, (in Arabic). Al- 'Azm acknowledgesthat sciencewasnevervaluefree andthat politics were alwaysdecisivein scientific research. Abdelwahhab EI-Messiri, 'Parablesof Freedom and Necessity: The Rising Levels of Secularizationas Manifestedin Two Literary Works', The AmericanJournal of Islamic Social Sciences,Vol. 13, (Spring 1996), Number 1, (pp. 42-58). 'Abd al-WahhabAl-Missiri, The Bias Problematic (Cairo: lIlT jointly publishedwith the Syndicateof Engineers,1995). p. 28 (in Arabic). Ibid, p. 45. Abu Zayd strongly criticizes the position of various Muslim figures. Theseinclude ShaykhMuhammadal-Ghazali,one of the foundersof the Muslim Brothers, the political attitude of al-Sha'b newpaper (Labour party with Islamist tendencies),ShaykhMuhammadMetwali al-Sha'arawi, the television star preacher, Fahmi Huwaydi the alAhram columnist and Yussef al-Qaradawi, an Azhari and former Muslim Brother. Nevertheless,it is important to stress that the social actors in the Islamic movementin Egypt are far from beingmonolithic. The Muslim Brothers for instanceare today an establishedforce which plays the rules of the gameset by the government(before Mubarak'sattempted assasination).The Islamic movementalso won a large audienceamong the middle classthroughthe tradeunionssuchas the medical,the engineers'and lawyers' trade unions. Thesetrade unions have beenactive socially and have accessto institutional legal channels. For further details see Amani Qandil 'l'evaluationdu role des islamistesdans les syndicats professionnels egyptiens' in Dossiers du CEDE], Le phenomenede la violencepolitique: perspectivescomparativeset paradigme egyptien,(Cairo: CEDEJ, 1994) pp. 281-94. The Religious Discourse, a Critical Perspective, (Beirut: Dar alMuntakhabal-'Arabi, 1992-1412)(in Arabic). Abu Zayd drawsa broad critique of SayyidQutb'sworks andhis generalprinciples.Qutb namely places the Islamic system in a relationship of total opposition to



24 25 26 27

Westernculture and mourns the separationbetweenthe church and sciencein the West, p. 48. Ibid., p. 27. Ibid., p. 48. Ibid., p. 31. Which endedup with the a scandalon a national scaleand nearly one million Egyptian investorslost their savingsin thesedubious Islamic companies.



Journals: SoutheastAsia Straits Times( Singapore) New Straits Times(Malaysia) The Star (Malaysia) Far EasternEconomicReview Asiaweek

Arabic journals and periodicals al-'Alam al-Ahali al-Ahram al-Ahram (international edition) al-Akhbar al-Ahram al-iqtisadi al-Dustur al-Faysal Islamiyat al-ma'rifa, lIlT. al-Katib al-Manar (1988) ai-Muslim al-mu'assir ai-Muslimun al-Mustaqbalal-'arabi al-Nur al-Sharqal-Awsat al-Tali'ah Al-Tanwir al-Yasar Majallat al-Azhar al-Wafd



Works in Arabic 'Abd al-FattahIsmail, Saif aI-Din. al-Tajdid al-siyasiwa al-waqi' al- 'arabi almu'asir (Political Renovationand ContemporaryArab Reality), Cairo: Maktabatal-Nahdahal-Misriyyah, 1989. 'Abd al-Fattah, Nabil. Taqrir al-hala al-diniyya fi misr (Report on the ReligiousSituation in Egypt), Cairo: Markaz al-Dirasatal-Siyasiyyahwa aI-Isratijiyyah, 1995. 'Abd aI-Karim, Khalil. 'Min aafat al-fikr al-'arabi al-islami al-mu'asir: mithal tatbiqi: dirasah naqdiyya mujmala li-kitab 'ai-Hall al-islami: farida wadarura 'li-fadilat al-shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi' (Negative Aspectsof Contemporary Arabic-Islamic Thought, a Concrete Example: A ComprehensiveCritical study of Youssefal-Qaradawi's book, ai-hall alislamifaridah wa darura). QadayaFikriyya, July 1995,pp. 259-68. Abu Sulayman,'Abd aI-Hamid. Qadiyat al-manhajiyyafi al-fiqr al-islami (The Issue of Methodology in Islamic Thought). The International Institute of Islamic Thought,No.4. 1989. Abu Sulayman, 'Abd aI-Hamid. Azmat al-'aql ai-muslim (The Crisis of Muslim Thought), Silsilat al-Manhajiyah al-Islamiyyah, The InternationalInstitute of Islamic Thought, 1991. Abu Zayd, Nasr Hamid. (editor) al-Qaul al-mufid fi qadiyyat Abu Zayd (Useful Discourseon the Caseof Abu Zayd), Cairo: MaktabatMadbuli, 1996. Abu Zayd, Nasr Hamid. al-Khitab al-dini, ru'yah naqdiyya(The Religious Discourse, A Critical Perspective),Beirut: Dar al-Muntakhabal-'Arabi, 1992-1412. Abu Zayd, Nasr Hamid. Mafhum al-nass, dirasah fi 'ulum ul-qur'an (The Meaningof the Text, a Studyin the Sciencesof Qur'an), Beirut: al-Markaz al-Thaqafi al-'Arabi, 1990. 'Arif, Nasr Muhammad. Fi masadir al-turath al-siyasi al-islami (On the Sourcesof the Islamic Political Heritage), Cairo: lIlT, 1994. 'Arif, Nasr Muhammad.Nazariyyat al-tanmiyah al-siyasiyya al-mu'asirah (ContemporaryPolitical DevelopmentTheories),Cairo: lIlT, 1992. al-'Azm, Sadiq Jalal. 'al-ghazw al-thaqafi mujaddadan'(Cultural Invasion Anew), in: dhihniyyat al-tahrim (The Mentality of Taboo), London, Cyprus: Riad El RayyesBooks, 1992. al-'Azm, SadiqJalal. 'Difa'an 'an al-taqaddum'(In Defenseof Progress),in: al-Nazariyyahwa al- mumarasahfifikrMahdi 'Amel (Theory and Practice in the Thoughtof Mahdi 'Amil), Beirut: Dar al-Farabi,1989, pp. 453-67. al-Azm, Sadeq1. 'al-tanwir al-'ilmaniyya wal salafiyya' (Enlightenment, Secularismand Salafism)hiwar bila difaf, (Dialoguewithout Boundaries) ('Amman: al-mu'assassa al-'arabiyyaIiI dirasatwal nashr, 1998). al-'Azmah, 'Aziz. al-'Ilmaniyyah min manzur mukhtalif(Secularismfrom a Different Perspective), Beirut: Markaz al-Dirasat li-al-Wahdah al'Arabiyyah, 1992. al-'Azmah, 'Aziz. al-Turath bayn aI-sultan wa al-tarikh (Heritage between Authority and History), Beirut: Dar al-Tali'ah, 1987, reprinted1990.



al-'Azmah,'Aziz. Dunyaal-dinfi hadir al-'arab (The World of Religion in the Arab Present),Beirut: Dar al-Tali'ah, 1996. al-Bishri, Tariq. al-Hiwar al-islami al-'ilmani (The Secular Islamist Dialogue), Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq,1996. al-Bishri, Tariq. Mushkilatanwa qira'afi hima (Two Problemsanda Reading of them), Presentedby TahaJabir al-'Ilwani, lIlT, 1413HIl992. al-'Ilwani, Taha Jabir. 'Islamiyyat al-ma'rifa' (The Islamization of Knowledge),ITTT paperpresentedat Strasbourg,(21.7.1988). al-'Iraqi, 'Ati£ al-'Aql wa al tanwir fi al- fikr al-'arabi al-mu'asir (Reasonand Enlightenmentin ContemporaryArabic Thought), Cairo: al-Mu'assasah al-Jamiyahli-al-Dirasat wa al-Nashrwa al-Tawzi', 1995. al-Jabiri, Muhammad'Abid. 'al-Thaqafaal-'arabiyyahwa mas'alatal-istiqlal al-thaqaji' (Arabic Culture and the Questionof Cultural Independence), in: al-Mustaqbalal-'Arabi (August, 1993), pp. 4--14. - Takwin al-'aql al-'arabi (The formation of The Arab Mind), Beirut: Markaz Dirasatal-Wahdaal-'Arabiyyah,first edition 1984,third edition, 1988. - Nahnu wa al-turath (We and The Heritage), Casablanca,:al-Markaz alThaqafi al-'Arabi (The Arabic Institute of Culture). fifth edition, 1986. al-ma'hadal-'alami lil-fikr al-islami (lIlT), Cairo. MarkazIbn Khaldun. al-Taqrir al-sanawi1998, al-mujtama'al-madaniwa-ltahawwul al-dimuqrati fi al-'alam al-'arabi Annual Report, 1998, (Civil Societyand Democratic Transformationin the Arab World), Cairo: Ibn Khaldun Centre,1998. al-Misiri, 'Abd al- Wahhab. 'Ishkalliyat al-tahayyuz'(The Problematic of Bias), Cairo: lIlT publishedwith the Syndicateof Engineers,1995. al-Sa'ati,Hasan.(1976) '11m al-ijtama' al-sina'i (Industrial Sociology),Cairo: Dar al-Ma'arif Bimisr, 1976. al-Safi, Lu'ay. 'Nahw manhajiyyausuliyyah Ii al-dirassat al-ijtimaiyyah', in Islamiyat al-Ma'rifah, The International Institute of Islamic Thought. I.(June 1995),pp. 31-55. 'Amil, Mahdi. Naqdal-fikr al-yawmi(Critique of EverydayThinking) Beirut: Dar al-Farabi,first impression,1988, secondedition, 1989. Hanafi, Hasan'al-'arabwal thawraal-frinsiyya' (The Arabs and the French Revolution)in hiwar al-mashreqwal maghreb,Cairo: MaktabatMadbuli, 1990. Huwaydi, Fahmi. al-Muftarun, khitab al-tataruf al-'ilmani fil-mizan (The Fabricators, The Extremist SecularistDiscourse),Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq, 1996. Ibrahim, Sonallah.'That', Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbalal-'Arabi, 1992. 'Immara, bayn al-tanwir wa al-tazwir (Islam, between Enlightenmentand Falsification), Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq,1995. - al-Madiyyah wa al-mithaliyya fi falsafat Ibn Rushd(Materialism and Idealism in the Philosophyof Averroes),Cairo: Dar al-Maaref, 1971. - Fikr al-tanwir bayn al-'ilmaniyyin wal-islamiyyin (Enlightenmentbetween Secularistsand Islamists),Cairo: lIlT, (16.5.1993).



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Ramadan,Sa'id, 136 Ramanujan,Srivivasa,4 Raniri, Nuruddin, 90, 91, 96, 99 Rashed,Roshdi, 194, 195, 199,267 Ra'uf, Heba, 153 Reid, Anthony, 12, 228 Renan,E., 182, 183,264 Richard,Yann, 241, 247, 248 Ricklefs, M.e., 12, 14, 228 Roald, Anne Sofie, 12,228 Robertson,Roland,21, 30, 227, 233 Roem,Moh., 134, 277 Roff, William R., 13,228 Rouse,Shahnaz,204,270 Roussillon,Alain, 196,237,240 Ruehl, Bettina, 269, 270 Rushdie,Salman,50 Saad,Reem,255 Sadra,Mullah, 112 Said, E.W., 51, 55, 58, 129,220, 236,237,252 Sa'id, Rushdi,71, 72, 240 Salvatore,Armando, 57, 238 Sardar,Ziauddin, 9, 19,29-30, 52-4,231,237,242 Sartre,JeanPaul, 55, 56, 237 Schimmel,Annemarie,147 Schulze,Reinhard,14 Schuon,Fritjhof, 107 Sedgvrick,Mark,107,247 Sezgin,Fuat, 268, 269 ShaberyCheek,Ahmed, 242 Shafiq, Muh., 78, 80, 242 Shahin,Yussif, 179 Shahin,EmadEldin, 37 ShamsulA.B., 221, 241 Sharabi,H., 57, 238 Sholkamy,H., 232 Shari'ati,Ali, 116 Siddique,Sharon,228 Siyam, Shahata,240 Smith, w.e., 101,246 SnouckHurgronje,Christiaan,13, 91,96, 132,228 Sonn,Tamara,231 Spuler,B., 88, 95 Stauth,Georg,230, 247,256 Stenberg,Leif, 19,34,35,108,227, 229,232,234,248



Steppat,Fritz, 164,258 Stollorz, Volker, 265 Sukarno,11, 122, 131, 138 Sundaram,Jomo Kawme, 242 Sweeney,Amin, 91, 244 Syed, Ibrahim, B., 187,234,266 Sze1enyi,Ivan, 55, 58, 59, 77, 237

Zahid, MuhammadIshaq, 187, 234,266 Zakariyya, Fu'ad,22, 23, 74, 159, 217,230 Ziadat, A., 265 Ziyadeh,Khalid, 61, 238 Zubaida,Sami, 27, 232, 236

Tapper,Richard,28-9, 232 Tarabishi,Georges,21, 22, 156, 164, 178, 179,263 Teeuw,A., 244 Teik, Khoo Boo, 66, 239, 252 Tjokroaminoto,Haji Omar, 122, 131 Tibi, Bassam,89, 227, 244, 266,289 Todorov, Tzvetan,31 Troelsch,Ernst, 182 Toynbee,A., 133 Turnbull, David, 233 'Urabi (Arabi) Pasha,Ahmad, 134 Urvoy, Dominique,261 Vaki1y, Abdullah, 228, 244 van Bruinessen,Martin, 14,244, 247 van der Meij, Dick, 229, 232 van Dijk, Teun A., 257 van Nieuwenhuijze,C.A.O., 100, 269 von Grunebaum,G.E., 111,248, 253 von Kiige1gen,Anke, 169,258,261 Wadud-Muhsin,Amina, 292, 293 Wahba,Murad,171,262 Wahid, Abdurrahman,261 Wan Daud, Wan Moh. Nor, 90, 267 Weber, Max, xii, 50, 101, 127, 128, 231,251 Webne~Pnina, 50,219,226,236 Weisweiler,M., 95 Wheeler,Sir Mortimer, 90 Winstedt,Sir Richard,90 Wolters, O.W, 14,229 Yasin, Sayyed,36, 74, 144, 164, 191, 196, 197,267

II. Key Words ABIM, vii, 33, 67, 69, 70, 82, 95, 96,115,116 al-Azhar, xi, 10, 13, 15,33,37,38, 39,43,63,64,70,73,74,79,85, 135,143,155,158,160,172, 174,176,180,184,197,200, 224,226 al-ghajw al-thaqafi (cultural invasion), 16, chapter10 al-Manar, 37, 132 al-tawjih al-islami li/- 'ulum (Islamic orientationof sciences),196 al-yasar al-islami (left Islam), 22, 63,138,178 'alim, 'ulama, xi, 10, 12,25,33, 61-4,66,67,79,96,98,135,202, 208,211,217 Arab sociology, 196 asala, authenticity,22, 23, 27, 57, 60,90, 114,124,138, 143, 159, 167-8,176,177,182,191,192, 194 Bebal, Bebalisma,128 Bomoh,86,128,209 Bogor, 93, 94, 184 Bumiputra,xi, 58, 65, 66

Cafe Riche, 56 Cairo, 6,13,15,17,24,42-50, 133 Chinese,ix, 10,43,47,48,51, 66, 68, 104, 126, 128 Clashof civilisations, 215 ConfucianValues,Confucianism, ix, 10, 68, 69, 89, Consumerism,7, 47-50, 174 Crisis, and crisis (of intellectuals), xvi, 7, 8, 10, 17,20,45,46, 57--60, 196



dakwah(Arabic: da'wah), 65, 84, 184,223 dar al-ifta', 73 Darul Arqam, xi, 33,47,209 Deoband,33,224 De-westernization(of knowledge), 89,99,100

Islamists,fundamentalists,6, 36, 60,61,89,137,201,216 Islamizationof Knowledge,3, 4, 9, 15, 16,23,30,34,37,77, 114, 122, 137, 144, 198,218-21,222, 218,221,222 ISTAC, 8, 88, 92-95,113,218,223 The InternationalIslamic University in Kuala Lumpur, 4, 36,67,105,278,222,223

Easternspirituality, 113-5, 147-9 Endogenous,125-7 Eranos,103, 113 Eurocentrism,8, 176, 226

Jami'yyatal-shubbanai-muslimun Japan,Japanese,16,32,44,58,59, 125, 126, 128,221 Jawah, xi, 251 Job market, 5--6, 33-40, 215, 219

faqih, 61, 261, 79, 224 fatwa, xii, 73 jlqh,24, 79,80,150,223 Folklorization (of culture), 47-48 Frankfurt school,27

Globalization,8, 11, 21, 30, 36, 42, 46,48,53,54,216 habitus,xii,S, 56, 90, 93, 121 halqua, (study circle), xii, 121 Hadrami(Arabs), 93-5, 104, 121, 133, 218, 267 Holland, Dutch, 15, 17,90,104, 133, 134, 244 Hudud, 202, 210 Humanrights (Violation), 7, 72, 73, 139, 154 Hybridity, hybrid,S, 14,34,40,47, 50--2 'Ibadah (worship), 25 lIlT, 24, 33, 35, 37, 188 lIlT, Cairo Office, 18, 143-5, 149, 160, 164, 170, 172 i'jaz al-Qur'an (the wondrous natureof the Qur'an), 184 'Um, xii, 25, 150, 184, IKIM,46 Indians,ix, 4, 47, 48,51, 126, 128 infitah (opendoor policy), 71 Islamic sociology, 196 Inclusion / exclusion(of intellectuals),11, 59, 172, 173, 218 Indigenization,11, 30, 33, 125

Kampon&kampung,43,235 Khalwat, xii, 210, 294 Kuala Lumpur,S, 17,24,42-50,53, 202,203, Kufr,24, 158, 162,212,224 madrasah,43 Mahathirism,66, 139 Maryamamiyyatariqa, 107 Masjumi (party), 134 Malays, Malayness,ix, 43, 47, 48, 65, 66, 68, 99, 104, 103, 128-9 Mecca, 13, 14, 15, 199,202 MeccaConference,9, 23-8 mufti, 73, 210 Muhammadiyyah,62, 63 The Muslim Brothers,73, 125, 133, 136, 160 Muslim StudentsAssociation,39, 80,133,276 muthaqaf,(intellectual),5, chapter four, 202, 261 Naqshbandiyyahtariqa, 13-14 (The) New Malay, 7,10,58,241 New Muslim intellectual,60-4 NGO's, 35, 122, 139, 205, 221

Orientalism,15,33,89-92,104, 105, 107, 124, 126, 129, 145, 162, 179, 180,218,220,221 Orientalismin reverse,15, 18, 31, 126,127,274



PAS, xii, 69, 105, 190,203,205, 262,210,212,224 pesantren,xii, 62 Petro-Islam,18,23,217 ProgressiveIslam, 11, 17, 122, 124, 131-9,252

Sufi, Sufism, 13, 14, 17,90-92, 95-100, 103, 104, 108-115,118, 143 Sukarno,11, 122, 131, 138 Syed,92-4,267

Qadirite tariqa, 13 SarekatIslam party, 127, 131, 134 Secular-secularism, 3, 5,10,11,15, 16, 18, 19,22,26,33, 34, 36, 39, 61-7, 72-4,77, 78, 81, 100-103, 118, 119, 137, 147-9, 161-8, 172, 216 shari'a, xiii, 25, 69,137,170,171, 202,211 Shoppingmalls, 47-50 South-South(connections),11-16 Spirituality of the East, 118, 147-9 Shi'a, shi'ite, 112, 120,209 Singapore,44, 51, 68, 202 (the) Sistersin Islam, 18, chapter thirteen

tanwir, enlightenment,11, 154-159 taqlid, 10, 96, tawhid, 25, 83, 115, 116,254 Theoriesof the Islamizationof the Archipelago,9, 11-15,91,98, 104 Think tank (s), 7, 10, 58, 60, 70 Traditionalization,47-8 turath, 22, 253, 278

UMNO, vii, x, 7, 65, 66, 67,129 Universiti KebangsaanMalaysia (The nationalUniversity of Malaysia), 38, 94 University of Malaya, 33, 38, 94, 124 Vision 2020, 47, 66, 95, 218