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Islam in PakistanA History$
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Muhammed Qasim Zaman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149226

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149226.001.0001

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Modernism and Its Ethical Commitments

Modernism and Its Ethical Commitments

(p.54) Chapter Two Modernism and Its Ethical Commitments
Islam in Pakistan

Muhammad Qasim Zaman

Princeton University Press

This chapter provides an overview of modernism in Pakistan, from the country's inception to the present. It draws attention to the salience of ethical commitments in modernist conceptions of Islam—commitments that were often meant as a counterweight to traditionalist understandings of Islamic law and as justifications for its reform, but which also stood in some tension with the authoritarianism that has often characterized Islamic modernism. Much of this authoritarianism came from the fact that it was the modernists who populated the ranks of the governing elite, that this elite has remained in power for long periods of time without much accountability to the people, and that the best chance that many modernist intellectuals have had of seeing their ideas implemented has been through unsavory alliances with unrepresentative rulers. But some of the authoritarianism has been endemic to modernist conceptions of Islam itself, a fact far more apparent to those at their receiving end than to the modernists themselves.

Keywords:   modernism, Pakistan, Islam, Islamic law, authoritarianism

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