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Title: The Tradition in the Age of Modernity (A Critical Study of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi's Approach to Religion and Modernism)
Authors: Islam, Muhammad
Keywords: Religious Studies
Islamic Studies
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: University of the Punjab , Lahore
Abstract: The present work studies traditional Muslim responses to the challenges of modernism in the colonial India during the first half of the twentieth century with special reference to the writings of maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānavī (1863-1943), a traditional Muslim scholar, theologian, and Sufi master. It begins with a historical survey of the concepts of religion, tradition, and modernism in Western and Islamic thought. The study reveals that the concept of religion in the West was informed by various religious, philosophical, and social trends. Different denominations of Christianity differ over the authority and value of tradition. Modernism represents cultural attitudes, which support what is perceived modern. Democracy, capitalism, industrialization, and urbanization are major phenomena of modernism in the West. As for the religion in Islam, it is a divine institution, which leads humanity to the truth in beliefs and excellence in conduct and mutual relations. Prophetic traditions are the very symbol of the Islamic tradition and form the basis for the wider concept of Islamic tradition. Muslim responses to modernism widely vary. Not only modernists and traditionalists differed with each other, rather within each camp, there existed many shades. Second chapter is a brief intellectual biography of maulānā Thānavī. He served Muslim community in many ways, including as a teacher, preacher, jurist, Sufi master, and theologian. He was a prolific writer and left a legacy of huge religious literature, which continues to inform the ideas of a large segment of contemporary traditional Muslim society. Third chapter deals with maulānā Thānavī’s approach to some modern metaphysical and theological issues, such as attributes of God, prophethood, miracles, predestination, levels of existence, eschatological issues, reason and revelation, and Islam and science. For him, principles of classical Muslim theology are sufficient to address all modern issues. In his iii response to modernism, he systematically applied principles scattered implicitly or explicitly within the writings of medieval Muslim theologians. Fourth and fifth chapters study maulānā Thānavī’s approach to certain modern sociopolitical and legal issues respectively. These include politics, civilization, inter-cultural borrowing, knowledge, education, progress, sources of Islamic law, relations of Muslims with non-Muslims, rationales of the sharī‘ah commandments, and gender issues. This study helps in understanding his overall approach to these sociopolitical and legal debates. It is important to analyze maulānā Thānavī’s views within the sociopolitical and historical context of his period. He lived in colonial India where Muslims were a religious and political minority. The influence of social and historical forces on maulānā Thānavī’s thought is more evident from his understanding of democracy and his approach to the education of modern sciences. He does not deny that revealed commandments have rationales. However, he does not appreciate seeking rationales of revealed commandments. For him, this would eventually lead to the complete abandonment of many of Islamic injunctions. The study concludes that maulānā Thānavī aimed at clearing away doubts and errors about Islamic teachings and leading the reader to a more religious and spiritual existence. In his critique of modernism, he resorted to the traditional sources of Islamic thought and applied principles of classical Muslim theology. He frequently referred to modern-day realities in order to elaborate his views and strengthen his arguments. This made him a forceful critic of modernism. The study recommends further research on deeper and wider levels in order to enrich ongoing debate on tradition and modernity
Gov't Doc #: 20720
Appears in Collections:PhD Thesis of All Public / Private Sector Universities / DAIs.

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