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Islamic Political ThoughtAn Introduction$
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Gerhard Bowering

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164823

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164823.001.0001

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(p.105) Knowledge
Islamic Political Thought

Paul L. Heck

Princeton University Press

This chapter analyzes the concept of religious knowledge. Knowledge informs us about the reality of existence, providing guidance for decision making. In Islam, such knowledge, based in scripture (Qur'an and sunna), exists to generate a moral order pleasing to God. Loss of such knowledge is a sign of the end times, ignorance being the cause of moral disarray. Knowledge is thus not simply a source of prestige for scholars but truth from God to guide society to prosperity in both this world and the next. Embodied in a corpus of laws known as shari'a, this knowledge is overseen by religious scholars with jurisprudential expertise to apply God's will with wisdom to life's situations. The chapter discusses the scope of religious knowledge, the religious value of secular reality, the political demands of religious knowledge, politics of religious diversity, religious knowledge and the modern state, and religious knowledge as guidance for society.

Keywords:   religious knowledge, Islam, Islamic political thought, moral guidance, secular reality

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