Author: Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Size: 24.12 MB
Format: PDF, Docs
Category : Political Science
Languages : en
Pages : 320
The Islamic Republic of Iran came into being in 1979, the result of a radical revolution that overhauled not only the foundations of Iranian society, religion and politics, but also our understanding of the role of religion in modern government. Here Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi takes us on an enlightening journey, showing that contrary to widespread assumptions the Iranian revolution opened up the public sphere to competing interpretations of Islam, with profound consequences for the nature of democratic reform. Ghamari-Tabrizi sheds new light on the contingencies within which the new regime evolved, and traces the steps by which the clerical establishment sought to consolidate power during the immediate postrevolutionary period. Contrary to the received view, he argues that the ruling class failed to institute a theocratic regime, and, more significantly, unintentionally established the grounds for civic challenges to government policies underwritten by official interpretations of Islam. Far from being the exclusive preserve of high-ranking seminarians, interpretations of doctrinal Islam in contemporary Iran now form a contested, varied and negotiated discourse in which lay theologians, intellectuals, lawyers and social activists are active and influential interlocutors. Against the background of this unexpected development, Ghamari-Tabrizi addresses the early and late works of Abdolkarim Soroush, an Iranian philosopher who has become one of the most influential Muslim intellectuals in recent years, a leading force behind Iran's pro-democracy movement and vocal critic of the state. Through a close reading of Soroush's evolving ideas, and of the works of Ali Shari`ati, and by tracing the links between Muslim intellectual critique and the realpolitik of postrevolutionary power struggles, Ghamari-Tabrizi offers nothing less than a pathbreaking reassessment of the Iranian revolution. In so doing, he demonstrates how democratic transformation in Muslim societies has taken place by means of a public engagement with the teachings of Islam and highlights a most significant, if unintended, consequences of the Iranian revolution - namely the secularization of Islam. Drawing on a wealth of sources and with powerful insights, 'Islam and Dissent' is essential for an understanding of the Muslim world today and of the new relationships between religion, culture and political power visible across the globe.