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date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Whereas Islamic law and Islamic theology are usually discussed separately, this article examines the relationship between the two in Islamic Studies scholarship. After defining the terms “law” and “theology,” this article offers three historiographical approaches to the subject, namely: “Orientalist,” “Revisionist,” and “Pragmatist”, each reflecting assumptions about the function of Islamic law in Muslim communities. Orientalists are skeptical of Islamic religious texts, and argue that Islamic law and theology are unconnected, static sciences that have little to offer modern Muslims. Revisionists re-read Islamic sources to suggest that Islamic law was once a theological enterprise that devolved into legalism, but that it can be revived by returning to theology. Pragmatists, using subaltern and feminist lenses, argue that Islamic law and theology are interconnected and evolving sciences that perpetually animate Muslim discourse. The article concludes by discussing the political import of this topic, and suggesting avenues for further research.

Keywords: Islamic law, Islamic theology, Islamic Studies, Orientalists, Islamic religious texts, Enlightenment, Revisionists, Pragmatists, Islam, Muslims

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