Sociology and Anthropology

The Rescuing of Muslim Anthropological Thought

 

Both of these scholarly publications may be seen as statements of the need for Islamic anthropology. They contain expressions of the discontent of Muslin anthropologists with the state of the art of contemporary anthropological studies. Many Muslim anthropologists and other social scientists share in the feelings evident in these essays and well stated in the late Dr. Ali Shari'ati's Civilization and modernization:

When I feel my own religion, literature, emotion, needs and pains through my awn culture, I feel my own self, the very social and historical self (not the individual self), the source from which this culture has originated. . . .But certain artificial factors, probably of a dubious nature creep into a society which has well defined social conditions or social relations, developed through a specific historical framework, and acquaint it with pains, sufferings, emotions and sentiments which have an alien spirit and are a product of a different past, a different training and society. . . .Then when I wish to feel my own real self, I find myself conceiving another society’s culture instead of my own and bemoaning troubles not mine at all. I groan about cynicism not pertinent to cultural, philosophical and social realities of my society. I then find myself harboring aspirations, ideals and anguishes legitimately belonging to social, economic, and political conditions of societies other than mine. Nonetheless, I treat these desires, ideals, and anguish as if they were my own.. . .Another culture has alienated me. (From English translation published by Houston, TX: Free Islamic Literatures)

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