Power and Authority in Religious Traditions in Islam

Reflections about Issues of Power and Authority in the Traditions and the Present Situation of Muslims in Europe

in European Judaism
Hüseyin InamIndependent scholar

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The article begins with an example of the significant impact of antireligious restrictions in the twentieth century, which led to an intellectual retreat of Muslim authorities and a change of traditional authority structures. It makes clear the negative role that was played, and continues to be played, by the dominant European perspective on Islam. The article tries to describe the systematic misunderstandings about the role of the Islam in the Muslim communities. How can Muslims or non-Muslims give an authoritative response to several questions posed to Islam? It then clarifies how early the caliphate lost its significance so that the schools of religious jurisprudence took on the decisive role for the religious life of Muslims. Theological conceptions and their historic backgrounds show us that Islam contains a lot of positive potential for interpretation, which can be used by Muslim communities to rebuild new, democratic authority structures. How relevant are the new western-christian influences, and what are the essential bases for a Muslim argumentation? In the German context the article deals with the importance of the mosque as a centre for the religious life for the individuals and the community. Finally it discusses the important question, how could a new formation of Muslim authorities within the communities be constructed, and what role might the interfaith experience play in this.

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European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe


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