Fazlur Rahman

Authored by: Earle H. Waugh

The Islamic World

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415366465
eBook ISBN: 9780203019139
Adobe ISBN: 9781136803437

10.4324/9780203019139.ch35

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Abstract

Muslim interactions with the West, and subsequent internal movements within Islam are major themes in contemporary history. Indeed, so much has been written on these topics that it is quite beyond easy summary. It is helpful, then, to review the life and work of an individual whose intelligence and character is held in high esteem, even by his detractors, for he expresses so many of the directions and traits loosely gathered under the term “Muslim modernist.” Furthermore, because he used his knowledge directly to effect change within the Muslim community, and to shape a new country, he straddles both the academy and the activist government office, something that few academicians in any culture are able to claim. Such an individual was Fazlur Rahman Malik (1919–88). Almost always referred to in the literature as Fazlur Rahman (both names are used in all instances), he was trained to be an academic at Oxford, but early in his career was invited to Pakistan, where he headed a government think-tank on implementing Islamic law (sharī ʿa) in a modern Muslim state. His fate is instructive in understanding the difficult terrain that Islam has had to travel over the past two to three hundred years.

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