Islam and the concept of the secular

Article


Brown, Malcolm D.. 2008. "Islam and the concept of the secular." Indian Journal of Politics and International Relations. 1 (1), pp. 43-60.
Article Title

Islam and the concept of the secular

Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorBrown, Malcolm D.
Journal TitleIndian Journal of Politics and International Relations
Journal Citation1 (1), pp. 43-60
Number of Pages18
Year2008
Place of PublicationKottayam, India
Web Address (URL)http://ijpairmguniversity.blogspot.com/2006/08/ijpair-vol1-no1-june-december-2006_25.html
Abstract

For any concept of the secular to exist (including secularisation, secularism, laicism and equivalents in other languages), there must be a distinction between religious and non-religious spheres of life, society, or the world. Durkheim regarded this distinction between the sacred and the profane (as well as religious community) as an essential element in the definition of religion (Durkheim 1995:38,44)but it is also an essential element in the definition of the secular.
If the secular is indistinct from the religious we cannot usefully say that there is such a thing as the secular, nor that there has been a shift from the religious to the secular, nor that there should be such a shift. A further point which may lead us to qualify Durkheim's definition, is that religions do not always separate the sacred and the profane. Consider political theologies, from liberation theology at one end of the spectrum to theocracy at the other, which attempt to subsume the profane under the sacred. It has often been argued that such a subsumption is an essential characteristic of Islam, and the purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which this is the case.

KeywordsDurkheim; religions; Islam; Muslim religion
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020500403. Islamic studies
500316. Philosophy of religion
441005. Social theory
Public Notes

c. Registrar, Mahatma Gandhi University 2008.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Humanities and Communication
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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