Pluralism in Muslim Societies

Filali-Ansary Abdou

in The Challenge of Pluralism

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780748639694
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653195 | DOI:
Pluralism in Muslim Societies

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This chapter discusses pluralism in Muslim societies. While it is generally believed that Muslim societies inherently possess the characteristics of a generic unity and internal coherence, it is argued in this chapter that there exists a “Muslim position” on pluralism. In this chapter, the historical experience of Muslim societies of pluralism is considered and examined. Overall, the classical Muslim historical experience presents sets of precedents of plurality and pluralism which would not be recognizable to modern notions of pluralism, or which would provide “sources of inspiration” for them. And, in any case, classical pluralism in Muslim societies extended beyond the formal arrangements provided for by law, for these were societies of a highly composite nature. They were differentiated by language, dialect, locality, ethnic origin, clan relations and genealogies, social group, cultural baggage, and much else. Except for the revivalist discourses of Muslim traditionalism, there is no reason to maintain that these differences were subject to the logic and institutes of Muslim jurisprudence, or that it was these institutes that governed social life.

Keywords: pluralism; Muslim societies; historical experience; plurality; classical pluralism

Chapter.  3409 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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