This chapter argues that the relation between modernity and Islam cannot be reduced to an analysis of deficits to be measured by Islam's alleged insufficient capacity to supersede its rooting in tradition or in a set of combined traditions; by Islam's dependencies on Western hegemonic patterns of modernity; or by alleged Islamic idiosyncrasies reflected by distorted outcomes of a dependent modernization. It discusses how Western observers failed to see the cumulative trend among Muslim reformers consisting of rejecting the view of either “Islam” or “modernity” conceived as comprehensive entities, as Western scholars were used to seeing them. The idea that Islam is internally plural and that modernity is a process not entrenched in a singular culture seemed alien to most Western observers, while it gradually became a main avenue of reasoning for key Muslim thinkers.
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