The Islamic Secular: Comments

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Mohammad Fadel



Professor Sherman Jackson’s essay “The Islamic Secular” challenges the popular
conception within the Muslim community that norms are either “Islamic”
or “un-Islamic.” Insofar as popular Muslim consciousness accords legitimacy
only to the “Islamic” and grants only grudging, if any, legitimacy to the “non-
Islamic,” this intervention is welcome and profoundly needed. But his ambition
here goes beyond correcting misconceptions within the community itself:
It is also an intervention in debates about the secular, secularization, and religion
in western academic discourses. In the brief space allotted to me to respond
to this very rich and important essay, I will limit myself to the arguments
he directs toward the terms mentioned above and his argument that the “Islamic”
secular presents a different phenomenon ...

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