Compare and contrast the positions of modernist and fundamentalist discourses of Islam on two (2) of issues given below. Draw primarily on the texts discussed in class (Modernist and Fundamentalist Debates in Islam). You can choose one representative from each camp and compare their respective positions (i.e. Ahmad Khan’s position on women vs. Mutahhari’s position). You DO NOT have to conclude which side is right or wrong. Rather, focus on the logic of the particular argument and observe the differences. Feel free to use quotations from the texts but make sure that your essay does not end up being a string of quotations.

Choose two (2) from the following topics:

1.Knowledge, Islamic law, science (al-Afghani, Abduh vs. Qutb)
2.Islam and politics: (al-Raziq vs. Khomeini)
3. Islam and the West (Wajdi vs. Shariati, Maududi)
4.Islam and Women (Khan vs. Mutahhari)

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Knowledge, Islamic law, science (al-Afghani, Abduh vs. Qutb)

One of the questions most religions face at a certain point in their development is the issue of relationship between religion and the knowledge based upon sacred texts versus knowledge based upon empirical science. Christianity has been constantly challenged by the rise of science starting from the times of Renaissance, and worked out a wide array of responses, from religious fundamentalism and scientific creationism to theological liberalism. Sciences flourished in Muslim countries in IX to XII centuries, but then most Muslim states entered a period of social and political decline, and became subject to Western colonial powers. When Muslim states entered the period of modernity, the Islamic response to knowledge and scientific progress needed to be reformulated.

Al-Afghani was one of the most prominent Islamic thinkers, philosophers, and authors of the period of rising modernity and anti-colonial struggle. According to different sources al-Afghani was either Afghani or Persian by ethnic origin. Both countries were formally independent at that time, but their politics and economic life were influenced by the British. Also those countries became an area of rivalry and conflict between two major colonial powers, the British Empire and the Russian Empire. This situation shaped the response that Al-Afghani and his disciple and follower Abduh offered the Islamic world. They called for political unity....
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