The New Muslim Thinkers: The Sacred, the Secular, and the “In-betweens”

By Souad Halila.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Muslim world is often summarily blamed for its weakness, defeat, failure, radical dictatorships, traditional autocracies, grave economic problems, undemocratic elections, and increasing fundamentalism (Lewis 2002), deep ambivalence (Patai 209), neofundamentalism and re-islamization (Roy 2005), Islamo-fascism (Fallaci 2005), fanaticism and extremism (Freedom House 2005), hatred of the West and hostility toward the United States (Buruma and Margalit 2004), knowledge deficit and low scientific and academic research and development (UNDP 2003). While these critiques emanate from scholars, Islamophobes, and the lay public who sometimes lump all Muslims in one monolithic block, the fact is that experts from both the East and the West are aware that diversity in the Muslim World is not only cultural, ethnic, geographic, spanning all continents, but concerns more than ever the spiritual dimension and mindset.
This study seeks to go beyond Orientalism, Occidentalism, Manichaeism, paradoxes, catch22ism, reductionism, exclusionism, blame games, navel gazing, finger pointing, hubris, condescension and basic aporia, where no one can establish the truth, in order to explore the spiritual dimension and the current Muslim condition, through three categories of Muslim thinkers, namely the religious scholars or the “sacred” Ulemas, the liberal intellectuals or the “secular” analysts, and what I call the “in-between” thinkers, to describe the current media savvy “intellectual entrepreneurs” who hold characteristics from both the sacred and the secular. This study also seeks to open up the likelihood of whether there can be an intercultural dialogue between civilizations and whether we can tap into Islam’s ecological dimension as an urgent common ground of entente for all.

Keywords: Al Mu’tazilah, Al Asha’ira, Ijtihad, Al Fitrah, Reason-based vs. Faith-based, Hermeneutics, Independent Thinking, Civic Literacy and Critical Thinking, ICT-empowered Muslims, Islamic Praxis, UN 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 1, Issue 6, pp.61-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 599.606KB).

Dr. Souad Halila

Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Tunis Al Manar, Tunisia

Souad Halila (Ph.D. in History from the University of Southern California, 1988) is Assistant Professor of History and Cultural Studies at the University of Tunis Al-Manar. Prior to that, she has taught at the University of the Center, in Sousse, Tunisia for eight years and at King Saud University, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for 11 years. Totally dedicated to teaching and research (and gardening too), she makes a point of introducing new subjects in the department’s curriculum every two years, by teaching contemporary issues in Britain, the USA, and the Muslim world, Research Methodology, Multiculturalism, Black Studies, Islamic Issues, Civil Society, and Environmental Issues. A three-time Fulbright scholar to the United States, the last was under the program “Direct Access to the Muslim World”. She is the author of several articles about Black, Islamic, and Environmental Issues. Halila lectured in Saudi Arabia, France, Spain, and the USA, is fluent in Arabic, French, and English and uses primary sources from these languages.


There are currently no reviews of this product.

Write a Review