A System of Life: Mawdudi and the Ideologisation of Islam

Hardcover | March 1, 2014

byJan-peter Hartung

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While much current research on political Islam revolves around militant Islamism, the genesis of this ideology remains little understood. A System of Life is a pioneering examination of the earliest attempt at a systematic outline of Islamist ideology, namely that proposed in the 1930s andearly 1940s by the renowned Indo-Muslim intellectual Sayyid Abu'l-A'la Mawdudi. Hartung reconstructs his thought in the light of the competing ideologies at play at the time, especially his claim to recast Islam as an all-comprehensive, self-contained and inner-worldly system of life. His analysis is embedded in an understanding of the history of ideas that assumed increasinglyglobal dimensions through colonial encounters. By showing how Mawdudi - depicted as a major protagonist of this development - attempted to align elements of Western philosophical thought with selected traditional Islamic ideas and concepts, 'Islamism' is established as an Islamic contribution to auniversalistic notion of modernity.Along with offering a detailed portrayal of Mawdudi's system of thought, Hartung also discusses the reception and modification of his ideas in the Middle East, predominantly among intellectuals of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and among their imitators in postcolonial South Asia.

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While much current research on political Islam revolves around militant Islamism, the genesis of this ideology remains little understood. A System of Life is a pioneering examination of the earliest attempt at a systematic outline of Islamist ideology, namely that proposed in the 1930s andearly 1940s by the renowned Indo-Muslim intelle...

Jan-Peter Hartung is Senior Lecturer in the study of Islam, with special reference to South Asia, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His numerous publications include Viele Wege und ein Ziel: Leben und Wirken von Sayyid Abu 'l-Hasan 'Ali Nadwi (1914-1999) and the coedited Court Culture in the Muslim W...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:8.58 × 5.91 × 1.18 inPublished:March 1, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199361770

ISBN - 13:9780199361779

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"In this carefully crafted investigation, Hartung identifies the multiple sources at the heart of Mawdudi's reconstruction of an elaborate alternative Islamic scientific path, and its political impact on the Muslim, South Asian, and Arab worlds. The author demonstrates how Mawdudi's system wasfashioned by a rereading of religious texts and a critical assessment of Western philosophers, as well as by the early twentieth century European ideologies against which he reacted. Students of Islam and of comparative political thought will find this study exceptionally valuable, not least itsanalysis of the cultural filters through which truth, text, meaning and context renegotiate their interrelationships." --Michael Freeden, Professor of Political Theory, University of Nottingham