The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam

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The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam is a compilation of lectures delivered by Muhammad Iqbal on Islamic philosophy and published in 1930. These lectures were delivered by Iqbal in Madras, Hyderabad, and Aligarh. The last chapter, "Is Religion Possible", was added to the book from the 1934 Oxford Edition onwards.

In Reconstruction, Iqbal called for a re-examination of the intellectual foundations of Islamic philosophy. The book is a major work of modern Islamic thought. It was a major influence on Iranian sociologist Ali Shariati and other contemporary Muslim reformers, including Tariq Ramadan.

Quotes from the book[edit]

  • ...To have a succession of identical thoughts and feelings is to have no thoughts and feelings at all. Such is the lot of most Muslim countries today. They are mechanically repeating old values...
  • ...space, time, and matter are interpretations which thought puts on the free creative energy of God.
  • If the aim of religion is the spiritualisation of the heart, then it must penetrate the soul of man, and it can best penetrate the inner man . . . We find that when Muhammad Ibn Tumart—the Mahdi of Muslim Spain—who was Berber by nationality, came to power and established the pontifical rule of the Muwahhidun, he ordered for the sake of the illiterate Berbers that the Quran should be translated and read in the Berber language and that the call to prayer should be given in Berber.
  • Such is the attitude of the modern Turk, inspired as he is by the realities of experience, and not by the scholastic reasoning of jurists who lived and thought under different conditions of life. To my mind these arguments, if rightly appreciated, indicate the birth of an International ideal, which forming the very essence of Islam, has been hitherto overshadowed or rather displaced by Arabian Imperialism of the earlier centuries in Islam.
  • The republican form of government is not only thoroughly consistent with the spirit of Islam, but has also become a necessity in view of the new forces that were set free in the world of Islam.
  • The more genuine schools of Sufism have, no doubt, done good work in shaping and directing the evolution of religious experience in Islam; but their latter-day representatives, owing to their ignorance of the modern mind, have become absolutely incapable of receiving any fresh inspiration from modern thought and experience. They are perpetuating methods which were created for generations possessing a cultural outlook differing, in important respects, from our own
  • Hard his lot and frail his being, like a rose leaf, yet no form of reality is so powerful, so inspiring, and so beautiful as the spirit of man.

Chapters[edit]

  • Knowledge and Religious Experience
  • The Philosophical Test of the Revelations of Religious Experience
  • The Conception of God and the Meaning of Prayer
  • The Human Ego – His Freedom and Immortality
  • The Spirit of Muslim Culture
  • The Principle of Movement in the Structure of Islam
  • Is Religion Possible?

Editions[edit]

  • Iqbal, Muhammad. The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Kitab Bhavan, 2000. ISBN 81-7151-081-7.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

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