Redeeming Islam: Constructing the Good Muslim Subject in the Contemporary Study of Religion

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Faird Esack


This paper provides a perspective and analysis of the notion of ‘redeeming
Islam’ - Islam as the subject of attempts by others to save it. The paper
challenges the contemporary scholarship undertaken in the academy in
respect of the Study of Islam whereby such scholarship operates within a
context that endorses the agenda of Empire, particularly in regard to the
construction of the ‘good Muslim’ who is consistent with contemporary
notions of human rights, pluralism, non-violence and Western modes of
thought and being. The ‘bad Muslim’ is one who does not endorse or support
this project. The consequence of this type of scholarship is that it is uncritical
and unaware of the context in which it operates as well as the historicopolitical
legacy of Muslim societies in relation to colonialism and Western
violence. In addition, it ignores the pertinent questions of poverty,
sustainable development, and the voices of the marginalised – important
questions for much of the Muslim and Two Third World – while
concentrating on questions that are framed by a Northern context.


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Esack, F. (2013). Redeeming Islam: Constructing the Good Muslim Subject in the Contemporary Study of Religion. Alternation Journal, (11), 36-60. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Faird Esack, University of Johannesburg

Farid Esack Head of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg


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