Rethinking Islamic Political Thought: A Critical Introduction

The question of “how to read Islamic political thought”, similar to its historical importance, is still a pressing one today. In modern times, the answers given to this question by the orientalist schoolars constitute a major barrier in gaining an insight into this thought. In this essay, two approaches, called as “fallacies”, which pose obstacles in understanding the Islamic political thought, will be critically discussed. The first obstacle is the ‘historical fallacy’, which generalizes the historical experience Europe had in its transition from the Middle Ages to modern times and assumes that Islam also had a similiar exprience. The second one is “the disiplinary fallacy,” produced by the limited perspectives of the fragmented and narrowly specialized social sciences, which selectively analyses only particular aspects of the Islamic political thought and therefore misses its internal coherence as a whole. Consequently, I propose two things: First, Islamic political thought should be read against the background of Islamic political exprience without conflating it to Western historical exprience. Second, the internal coherence of Islamic political thought should be explored from a wholistic perspective.

Hızır Murat KÖSE
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