What Is Liberal Islam?: The Sources of Enlightened Muslim Thought

Issue Date April 2003
Volume 14
Issue 2
Page Numbers 19-33
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Does the term liberal Islam make sense? What precisely does it mean? Does the Muslim world need a reformation? What would Islamic reform look like? Where does Islamic liberalism fit among the various currents of religious thought—including fundamentalist strains such as Wahhabism or Salafism—that are contending in the Islamic world today? Who are liberalism’s leading figures? Does the work of Ibn Rushd (Averroës)—a medieval Islamic philosopher from Spain who deeply influenced Christian Europe—represent a permanent “liberal option” that may have been rejected during a certain period of the history of the Muslim umma (community) but which nonetheless remains alive and available today?