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Home Page > Research > Publications > Journal of Contemporary Islamic Thought Studies > No. 2 Fall and Winter 2016 
No. 2 Fall and Winter 2016


The Orientalists and the Islamic Revolution of Iran


Sadegh Golestani[1]


The Islamic Revolution of Iran-arguably the biggest socio-political even of the twentieth century-took place in spite of the predictions of social scientists to the contrary and in a time when the ideology of secularism had permeated both Western and non-Western societies. Hence it was truly remarkable and became the focus of attention and subject of analysis of all types of pundits, including those hailing from the West. The study at hand aims to investigate the views and analyses of orientalists with regards to the Islamic revolution-its identity, its roots and its consequences. This research uses the analytical method and draws upon the method of content analysis to investigate their point of view.

The paper concludes that in general, the orientalists can be divided into two groups: realists who interpreted the Islamic revolution to be a consequence of the crisis of secularism (in theory and practice) and a type of populism; contrarians who interpreted the Islamic revolution in an “inverse” fashion, for instance seeing it to be the result of charismatic leadership and reducing the role that religion played in it.

Keywords: Orientalists, Islamic Revolution, secularism, religion, Shiism.



The Methodology of the Free Thinking of Iqbal Lahori


Mahdī Rajabī[2]


Muammad Iqbāl Lāhūrī (aka Iqbal Lahori) was a Muslim reformer whose reformist thoughts were known the world over. He is counted as a peer to such thinkers as Sayyid Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī. This article focuses on the thought of Iqbal and the context of that thought. It attempts to reconstruct the philosophical groundings which were the framework for his theorizing and shows how they affected his thought overall. The work at hand attempts to show that Iqbal’s novel contributions were influenced by the Westernized thought of Sayyid Amad Khān on the one hand, and the anticolonial struggles and the efforts to unify [the Muslims] by Sayyid Jamāl al-Dīn on the other. Moreover, Iqbal’s epistemology was much affected by the sensationalist and materialist leanings of the period in which he lived, and was also coloured by his superficial grasp of the philosophical heritage of the Islamic world, whereby he attempted to connect the perspectives of Muslim and Western philosophers. The result of this approach of Iqbal was the reconstruction and reform of religion predicated on a sensational-empirical knowledge base and the introduction of an open-minded “religion” reminiscent of the Enlightenment.

Keywords: Iqbal, reformism, Islamic awakening, free thinking, ijtihad, theory of khūdī (“self”).




The Methodology of the Cognitive Framework of Hassan Hanafi


Nasroallah aghajani[3] and Mahdī Sulṭānī[4]


Hassan Hanafi is an Egyptian thinker who writes on philosophy, religion, modernity, culture and politics. His thought has had far reaching repercussions in the Muslim world and hence must be carefully considered. With a view to evaluate his cognitive framework, the present study makes use of the basic or fundamental method of research. The fundamental method looks at theories and ideas from a new perspective so as to be able to judge them logically. Hence first the non-cognitive factors of theory formation are looked at, and then the cognitive factors, such as the epistemological, ontological, and anthropological bases, are scrutinized. Hanafi was influenced by figures such as Sayyid Qutb and the German philosopher Edmund Husserl. As such, he tries to amalgamate utilitarianism and pragmatism under phenomenalism so as to reinterpret and reconstruct the Islamic heritage. With regards to non-intellectual factors, Hanafi is greatly inspired by the Egyptian milieu and some of the central themes of his discourse revolve around concepts such as “heritage” and “modernity.” To overcome the present crisis of Arab society, he employs Husserl’s strategy and first rejects the thought of fundamentalists and free-thinkers, he then reconstructs the status quo according to phenomenalism.

Keywords: Methodology, heritage, awareness, social thought, phenomenalism, Hassan Hanafi.




Interaction and Opposition between the Clergy and the Intellectuals during the Constitutional Revolution of Iran (1905-1940)


Majīd Nijātpūr[5] and ʿAlīriā Kalāntar Mihrjirdī[6]


A full understanding of the nature and substance of movements and revolutions depends to a great extent on the determination of the role of the various social groups and forces that play an influential part in the execution of the same. The clergy and the intellectuals, due to the role that they play in most societies, are certainly counted as amongst the forces that have influence in social structures. The ideas that predominated during the constitutional movement led to an initial loose coalition between the clergy and the intelligentsia but eventually and inevitably ended in these two social forces being set off in opposition against one another. This was the first experience in the history of contemporary Iran in which two competing political groups worked together, in this case to bring the constitutional revolution to a victorious end. In the intellectual battles that took place between the two, the clergy was not able to put forth an appropriate religious alternative and sufficed itself with propagating the political system of the free thinkers. So for two decades after the constitutional revolution it was the free thinking intellectuals who held the reins of power in the country. During this time they slowly but surely pushed forward their agenda, removing any opponents from their path and establishing a new political system based on the institutions forged during the revolution-a system that they had already envisioned before the victory of the revolution. The main purpose of this article is to investigate the interaction and opposition between the clergy and the intellectuals during the constitutional revolution of Iran (1905-1940).

Keywords: Intellectuals, free thinkers, Constitutional Revolution of Iran, clergy, constitution of the revolution, ideology.




Postmodern Orientalism: Grounds and Consequences


 Hamid parsania[7] and Hadi Beygi[8]


In this article, both the cognitive and social grounds as well as the consequences of postmodern orientalism is investigated using the archival-analytic method. The discussion at hand is centred upon a cognitive approach to the different stages and periods of orientalism and proceeds by following the developments in ‘science’ and knowledge. While it is true that changes in the notion of ‘science’ during the last few centuries has affected the conceptualization and epistemological approach of orientalism, leading to a new humility and to the use of a more conciliatory language, it nevertheless appears to be the case that the West is striving to quietly revive the classical spirit of orientalism-one that looks at and marginalizes the East in a colonialist way-in this present period labelled as postmodern. The paper in hand applies itself to these themes and in the process alludes to some of the new approaches to orientalism as enunciated by figures such as Edward Said, Ziauddin Sardar, Leila Ghandi, Hisham Djait, … 

Keywords: Orientalism, post-colonialism, modernity, Edward Said, postmodernity, dialogue.




Critique of the Theory of the Critique of the Arab Mind


Sayyid Musin Mīrī[9] and Qāsim Ibrāhīmīpūr[10]


The theory of the Critique of the Arab Mind emerges from an epistemological approach to the issue of the backwardness of the Muslim world. Mohammed Abed al-Jabri in his two works, The Formation of Arab Reason, and The Structure of Arab Reason (vols. 1 and 2 of Critique de la Raison Arabe) discusses the genesis and the presence, the approach and the method, the political and geographical proliferation of cognitive systems-in particular literalist, mystical, and philosophical/logical. In explaining how these systems interact with one another, he reaches the conclusion that the innate incompatibility of the aforementioned systems and the eventual defeat of the philosophical system has led to the formation of Arab reason-an uncreative reason that is utterly unable to produce original thought. Al-Jabri holds that the way out of this situation is to reconstruct the philosophy of Averroes, the Fundamentals of Abu Isḥāq al-Shāibī, a teleological system of Law, and the history of Ibn Khaldun. Some of the most important criticisms of Al-Jabri’s thought are: taking a secular approach, believing that religion is silent on worldly affairs, ignoring mystical intuition as one of the sources of knowledge, holding to the innate incompatibility of cognitive systems, not observing intellectual unbiasedness, having a biased method, taking an epistemological conclusion from historical evidence, holding Islamic mysticism to be a non-Islamic import and a form of escapism, and calling philosophy an ‘ideology’.

Keywords: Islamic world, Arab reason, backwardness, Mohammed Abed al-Jabri, tradition, modernity.





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[1]. Faculty member of Sociology; Imam Khomeini Educational Research Institute.

[2]. Ph.D. Student of Philosophy of Social Sciences; Seminary Graduate Institute of Imam Reza.

[3]. Assistant Professor of Social Sciences; Baqir-al- Ulum University.

[4].  Graduated from Seminary, Ph.D. Student of Philosophy of Social Sciences; Baqir-al- Ulum University (Chief Author).

[5].  Ph.D. Student of Political Sciences; Allameh Tabatabaee University (Chief Author).

[6]. Graduated in Political Sociology; Allameh Tabatabaee University. Faculty member of Jahad Daneshgahi.

[7]. Associate Professor of Social Sciences Department of University of Tehran.

[8]. Ph.D. Student of Contemporary Muslim Thought; Al-Mustafa International University (Chief Author)

[9].  Associate Professor of Philosophy; Al-Mustafa International University

[10]. Assistant Professor in Imam Khomeini Educational Research Institute (chief author).





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