Islam: Theology of unity and cultural diversity
Head of Project:
- PD Dr. Abbas Poya
- Farid Suleiman (M.A.)
Generally speaking, theology, and more specifically, Islamic theology, are seen as a science field in which the researcher deals with supratemporal matters of faith. When taking a closer look, however, it can be stated that the genesis of (Islamic) theology has on the one hand been accompanied by the development of further science fields such as philosophy, mysticism, natural science and on the other hand was joined by sociopolitical changes – which is one reason for the divergence of theological perceptions of Islam.
The starting point of this research project was the observation that no matter who and based on which Islamic school one is looking at, the question on who does not belong to Islam, is central. It is tried to clearly define the frame of Islamic belief and to demarcate everybody who cannot produce these features of beliefs as “infidels” (kāfir), apostates (murtadd) or evildoers (fāsiq). Our aim was to frame this question positively and to actively ask “Who belongs to Islam”? This change of perspective is necessary due to historic circumstances and the current reality that a variety of theological perceptions exist, all of whom define themselves as Islamic in their own self perception. The first step of establishing a pluralistic Islamic theology is giving the different Islamic theological perspectives a chance to speak.
This change of narration has been discussed in the research group “Norm, Normativity and Norm changes” and was presented and debated upon in a lecture series and a workshop. The results of the debate have published in the following anthology in 2017:
Abbas Poya & Farid Suleiman (ed.): Unity and Diversity in Contemporary Muslim Thought, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2017.