Comparative Islamic Studies, Vol 10, No 2 (2014)

Theorizing Muhammad’s Nation: For a New Concept of Muslim in a Changing Global Environment

Wardah Alkatiri
Issued Date: 24 Mar 2017


The global environmental crises requires a global social contract. Islam has the philosophical foundation needed for such a social contract, since Islam has a legacy of political universalism. However, the reality is conflict among Muslims on political and philosophical-ideological grounds, and resentment among some Muslims to cooperate with Westerners to solve global issues. Therefore, I will develop a model for Islamic social contract that addresses these challenges. Berger and Luckmann’s symbolic universe premise serves to explain the essentialization of Islam in which the Qurʾan and the Sunna lie at the center of the “sacred canopy.” In addition, symbolic interactionism premise allows for an explanation of the issues of meaning that prompted the diversity within Islam, as sub-universes constructed under Islamic symbolic universe—either in response to immediate political condition in local contexts, or different interpretations of the Qurʾan and the Sunna were made by the actors. For better sociological understanding of religion, my framework considers as well the sacred purview of “reality” to explain the voluntaristic nature of Muslims religious actions and thoughts. Overall, the model that I developed leads to an incisive discrimination between philosophical and sociological dimensions of religion in all four respects: knowledge, meaning, action, and reality—that will throw light substantially on what have been a very complicated subject of religion-inspired actions.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )



Abdul-Matin, I. 2010. Green Deen. What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet. San-Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Alkatiri, W. 2016a. Muhammad’s Nation is Called: The Potential for Endogenous Relocalization in Muslim Communities in Indonesia. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

———. 2016b. “In Search of Suitable Knowledge. The Need of Ontological and Epistemological Pluralism.” International Journal of the Asian Philosophical Association (9)2.

Bailey, I., R. Hopkins and G. Wilson. 2010. “Some things old, some things new: The spatial representations and politics of change of the peak oil relocalization movement.” Geoforum 41: 595–605.

Barrett, J. L. 2011. Cognitive Science, Religion and Theology: From Human Minds to Divine Minds. Templeton Science and Religion Series. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Press.

Barry, J. 2012. The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability: Human Flourishing in a Climate-Changed, Carbon-Constrained World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bauman, Z. 1988. “Is There a Postmodern Sociology?” Theory, Culture & Society 5(2/3): 217–237.

Becker, H. S. and M. M.Mccall. 2009. Symbolic Interaction and Cultural Studies. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press

Berger, P. 1999. The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Berger, P. L. 1967. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. Garden City NY: Doubleday.

Berger, P.L. and T. Luckmann. 1991 [1966]. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

Blumer, H. 1969. Symbolic Interactionism. Perspective and Method. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Capra, F. 1999. Ecoliteracy: the challenge for education in the next century. Schumacher Lecture, available online: Accessed 6/21/2010.

Chittick, W. C. 1984. The Sufi Path of Love. The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi. State University of New York Press

———. 2005. Ibn ʿArabi. Heir to the Prophets. Oxford: Oneworld.

Clack, B.R. 1999. An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Religion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Creswell, J. W. 1998. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Traditions. California: SAGE Publications.

Davie, G. 2007. The Sociology of Religion. London: Sage.

Ernst, C. W. 1994. “Traditionalism, the Perennial Philosophy, and Islamic Studies” (review article). Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 28(2): 176–181.

Escobar, A. and G. L. Ribeiro. 2003. “World Anthropologies: Disciplinary Transformations within Systems of Power.” Pordenone, Italy: Wenner-Gren International Symposium Report No. 131.

Fukuyama, F. 1989. “The End of History?” The National Interest 16: 3–18.

———. 1992. The End of History and the Last Man. New York: Free Press.

Gilani, A. Q. 1996. Futuh al-Ghaib. Chicago, IL: Kazi.

Haverkort, B. and S. Rist, eds. 2007. “Endogenous development and biocultural diversity: The interplay of worldviews, globalization and locality.” Compas Series on Worldviews and Sciences 6.

Izutsu, T. 1983a. Ishiki to Honshitsu [Consciousness and Essence]. Tokyo: Iwanami-shoten.

———. 1983b. Sufism and Taoism: A Comparative Study of Key Philosophical Concepts.
Tokyo: Iwanami-shoten; Berkeley: University of California.

———. 1988. “Cosmos and anti-cosmos: From the standpoint of oriental philosophy.” In Cosmos-Life-Religion: Beyond Humanism. Tenri International Symposium. Nara, Japan: Tenri University.

———. 2008. The Structure of Oriental Philosophy: Collected Papers of the Eranos Conference. 2 vols. Tokyo: Keio University.

Jovchelovitch, S. 2007. Knowledge in Context: Representations, Community and Culture. London: Routledge

Karpov, V. 2010. “Desecularization: A conceptual framework.” Journal of Church and State 52(2): 232–270.

Kim, D. H. 2005. “Theory and practice in the World Anthropology Network (WAN): An analysis of its goals and future developments.” Journal of the World Anthropologies Network 1(1): 135–145.

Leonard, L. and J. Barry, eds. 2009. The Transition to Sustainable Living and Practice. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.

Manzoor, S.P. 1988. “Contemporary Muslim reformist ideas.” In Today’s Problems Tomorrow’s Solution: The Future Structure of Muslim Societies, edited by A.O. Naseef, 1–16. London: Mansell Publishing.

Maslow, A.H. 1999. Toward a Psychology of Being. New York: Wiley & Sons.

McCutcheon, R. T. 2001. Critics Not Caretaker: Redescribing the Public Study of Religion. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Mutahhari, M. 2004. Divine Justice (ʿAdl e Ilahi). Qom: International Center for Islamic Studies.

Nasr, S. H. 1989. Knowledge and the Sacred. Albany: State University of New York Press.

———. 2001. Islam and the Plight of Modern Man. Chicago, IL: ABC International.

———. 2004. The Need for a Sacred Science. London: Routledge Curzon.

Newberg, A. and M. R. Waldman. 2007. Born to Believe: God, Science, and the Origin of Ordinary and Extraordinary Beliefs. London: Simon and Schuster.

———. 2008. Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. New York: Random House.

Newberg, A, A. Alavi, M. Baime, M. Pourdehnad, J. Santanna, E. d’Aquili. 2001. “The measurement of regional cerebral blood flow during the complex cognitive task of meditation: A preliminary SPECT study.” Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 106(2): 113–122.

Newberg, A. and M. R. Waldman. 2010. How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist. New York: Ballantine Books.

O’Brien, R., A. M. Goetz, J. A. Scholte and M. Williams. 2000. Contesting Global Governance. Multilateral Economic Institutions and Global Social Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oxford Dictionary. 2015.

Parsania, H. (2006) Existence and the Fall. Spiritual Anthropology of Islam. Translated by Shuja Ali Mirza. London: ICAS Press

Rabinow, P. ed. 1991. The Foucault Reader: an Introduction to Foucault’s Thought. London: Penguin.

Rahman, F. 1984. Islam and Modernity: Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Reuter, T. 2010. “Anthropological theory and the alleviation of anthropogenic climate change: Understanding the cultural causes of systemic change resistance.” The Australian Journal of Anthropology 5: 7–32.

Rodinson, M. 2003 [1980]. La fascination de l’islam. Paris: La DécouverteMaspero.

Sachs, J. 2008. Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet. London: Allan Lane.

Smart, B. 2000. “Postmodern Social Theory.” In The Blackwell Companion to Social Theory, edited by B. Turner, 447–480. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Strachan, G. 2009. “Systems thinking.” In The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy: Skills for a Changing World, edited by A. Stibbe, 84–88. Totnes: Green Books.

Sterelny, K. 1990. The Representational Theory of Mind: An Introduction. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Studstill, R. 2005. The Unity of Mystical Traditions: The Transformation of Consciousness in
Tibetan and German Mysticism. Leiden: Brill.

Tibi, B. 1998. The Challenge of Fundamentalism. Political Islam and the New World Disorder. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Timmermans, S. and I. Tavory. 2012. “Theory construction in qualitative research: From grounded theory to abductive analysis.” Sociological Theory 30(3): 167–186.

Turner, B. S 1998. Weber and Islam. Volume 7. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

WRI Report. 2015.

Yazdi, A. M. T. M. 1999. Philosophical Instructions: An Introduction to Contemporary Islamic Philosophy. Binghamton University, NY: Institute of Global Cultural Studies.

Yazdi, M. H. 2002. The Principles of Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy: Knowledge by Presence. Lahore: Suhail Academy.

Zald, M. N. and J. D. McCarthy. 1994. Social Movements in an Organizational Society: Collected Essays. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Book.

Zimmerman, M. E. 1993. “Rethinking the Heidegger-Deep Ecology Relationship.” Environmental Ethics 15(3): 195–224.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email:

Privacy Policy