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Theses Doctoral

(Im)Possible Muslims: Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamic State, and Modern Muslimness

Azad, Hasan

Founded in 1952 by the Palestinian jurist Taqi al-Din al-Nabhani (1909-1977), Hizb ut-Tahrir’s (HT) raison d’être is the re-establishment of the Caliphate. HT currently has a presence in over forty countries, an estimated membership of a million people, and some millions of supporters across the world. My dissertation examines how HT’s formulation of the caliphate—particularly as it expresses itself in Britain—functions as a site of “Muslim modernity.” It is my contention, in other words, that HT’s ideas of the caliphate are inseparable from, and are thought through—consciously and unconsciously—modern western notions of being and thinking which permeate “the unconscious of knowledge” for people around the world, for the crucial reason that colonialism fundamentally reconfigured knowledge systems across the world, not least the Muslim world. I argue, in other words, that contemporary modes of being Muslim—whether religiously, politically, culturally, ethically—are necessarily inflected by modern western notions of being, as they form the backdrop to our global sense of being in the world. As such, HT’s modern Islamic political project—or any Islamic project, for that matter—is not so much an alien mode of thinking about politics—or ethics, or culture, or religion, or what have you—vis-à-vis western modes of being and thinking, but rather is part and parcel of modern western life writ large.

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More Information

Academic Units
Religion
Thesis Advisors
Ewing, Katherine P.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
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