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Is Islam a "Religion"? Contesting Din-Religion Equivalence in Twentieth Century Islamist Discourse

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1. Title Title of document Is Islam a "Religion"? Contesting Din-Religion Equivalence in Twentieth Century Islamist Discourse - Words of Experience
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Brannon Ingram; Northwestern University;
3. Subject Discipline(s) Religious Studies
4. Subject Keyword(s) Carl W. Ernst; Islamic studies; translating Islamic texts; Qur'an; Sufism
5. Subject Subject classification Islamic Studies
6. Description Abstract This chapter examines how and why the prominent Islamist thinker Abul A`la Mawdudi theorized din so as to distinguish it explicitly from ‘religion’. Drawing on Carl W. Ernst’s discussions of din and ‘religion’, the chapter begins by suggesting that the academic study of Islam has given insufficient attention to the relationship between din and religion. It then shows why Mawdudi believed ‘religion’ was the opposite of din; religion, for him, was a politically vacuous category that colonizers imposed on Muslims as a means of control. I argue that his denial of din-religion equivalence was a critique of the category of religion directed at recuperating the political valence of din under colonial rule. If Mawdudi construed ‘religion’ as inherently private and apolitical, din was its purported opposite: inherently public, political, totalizing, and all-encompassing. A second way that Mawdudi differentiated din from religion was in explicitly arguing that din was, unlike religion, not a comparative category: there is only one din. The chapter will also suggest some provisional possibilities as to the pathways by which Mawdudi came to understand ‘religion’ in the form in which he did.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 24-Mar-2021
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.38420
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Words of Experience
16. Language English=en en
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.)
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd