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Mohammed Arkoun was one of the most prominent and influential Arab intellectuals of his day. During a career spanning more than thirty years, he was revered as an outstanding research scholar, a bold critic of the theoretical tensions embedded within Islamic studies and an outspoken public figure, upholding political, social and cultural modernism.

This festschrift honours Mohammed Arkoun’s scholarship, bringing together the contributions of eleven distinguished scholars of history, religious studies and philosophy. It offers a comprehensive selection of critical engagements with Arkoun’s work, reflecting on his considerable influence on contemporary thinking about Islam and its ideological, philosophical and theological dimensions.

The authoritative reference study on the work of Mohammed Arkoun, the volume is essential reading for students and scholars of Islam, Muslim societies and cultures, modernity, religious studies, philosophy and semantics.

Table of Contents

  • Preface: Situating Arkoun / by Abdou Filali-Ansary
  • Mohammed Arkoun: A Personal Tribute and an Intellectual Assessment / by Aziz Esmail
  • The Authenticity of Sacred Texts / by R. Stephen Humphreys
  • Constructing Islam in the “Classical” Period: Maqalat Literature and the Seventy-Two Sects / by Josef van Ess
  • Modern Discourses of Superiority: Muslims and Christians in Contact / by Stefan Wild
  • The Political, Social and Technological Construction of Understanding: An Essay in Analysis of the Disruptive / by Mark Sedgwick
  • Believing and Belonging: The Impact of Religion for “Muslim” Adolescents in a Pluralistic Society – Empirical Findings from Hamburg, Germany / by Ursula Günther
  • Veiling and Unveiling Muslim Women: State Coercion, Islam, and the “Disciplines of the Heart” / by Malika Zeghal
  • Coming to Believe: The (Elusive) Time of Conversion / by Souleymane Bachir Diagne
  • The Shadow of Terror on Distant Muslims / by Akeel Bilgrami
  • Citational Exegesis of the Qur’an: Towards a Theoretical Framework for the Construction of Meaning in Classical Islamic Thought. The Case of the Epistles of the Pure Brethren (Rasā’il Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’) / by Omar Alí-de-Unzaga
  • Afterword
  • Mohammed Arkoun: A Passionate Critic
  • About the Contributors
  • Index

Publication Information

Aga Khan University-ISMC; Saqi, 2012



The Construction of Belief : Reflections on the Thought of Mohammed Arkoun