Eighteenth-Century Renewal and Reform in Islam

Eighteenth-Century Renewal and Reform in Islam

Eighteenth-Century Renewal and Reform in Islam

Eighteenth-Century Renewal and Reform in Islam

Excerpt

The Islamic resurgence of the late twentieth century many periods of dramatic renewal within the Islamic world. Muslim societies have experienced many times of expansion and reconstruction or crisis and renewal. One such period of significant renewal and reform was the eighteenth century (or the twelfth century in the Islamic era). During that century, many individuals and groups undertook the mission of bringing a revived sense of adherence to Islam to their particular communities. By the end of the century, in many areas throughout the Islamic world there were activist movements of renewal and reform.

Despite the great diversity of contexts within which these movements developed, there are remarkable common features and lines of continuity. At the same time, however, even though this special spirit of renewal and reform was widespread, not every Muslim was a revivalist. Revivalism was a criticism of the existing order with opponents as well as adherents. Within particular societies, the mission of renewal might arouse or affect only certain groups.

On a broader scale, not every community or society within the Islamic world of the eighteenth century experienced a militant revivalist movement or an overt effort of Islamic reform. However, even in those societies, there were developments which involved an intensification of Islamic identity, thus creating the potential for later revivalism.

Understanding the great movements of renewal involves an understanding of their limits as well as their accomplishments. They . . .

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