Muslim Modernists, Democratic Politics, and Islamic Theological Exclusivism


„This essay proposes to test Rawls’ hypothesis regarding the tempering effects of democracy on theological exclusivism by considering the arguments of twentieth century Muslim modernist theologians regarding the fate of non-Muslims in the next life. As this paper will show, the teachings of this group of theologians provide an important historical case confirming Rawls’ prediction that a tolerant political regime can very well have a profound impact on a religion’s theology of salvation; and one result of that theological development is that it becomes easier for believers to engage in good-faith political cooperation with nonbelievers. Indeed, the example of twentieth-century Egyptian modernist theologians provides an even stronger case for Rawls’ arguments: their doctrinal revisions were formulated substantially as a reaction to the prospect , and not the actual realization, of either a democratic Egypt, on the one hand, or substantial equality in international relations between Muslim states and their former colonizers, on the other hand.

Instead, I propose to explore the question of theological tolerance and its relationship, if any, to the political terms of legitimate Muslim–non-Muslim political relationships from the perspective of Islamic speculative theology (kalām). „

‚No Salvation Outside Islam‘: Muslim Modernists, Democratic Politics, and Islamic Theological Exclusivism, Mohammad Fadel (pdf)

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