Reading Hegel’s Islam

  • M. A. R. Habib
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter considers the limitations and potential of Hegel’s characterizations of Islam. What threatens to unsettle Hegel’s dialectic, and indeed his entire system, is the degree to which Hegel’s “Islam” is a myth, based on second- and third-hand sources and conflicting with the actual ways in which Islam can be seen to have developed in historical terms. In other words, Hegel’s dialectic is sustained by a vision of Europe as developing rationally toward “freedom,” a Europe whose own identity is forged in contrast with, and by superseding or sublating, an otherness whose content is mythical, the product of a Eurocentric imagination—whether in the case of Islam, or the Orient in general, or India, or Africa. This chapter addresses some of the important issues and dilemmas arising from various assessments of Hegel’s treatment of Islam, and concludes by suggesting how we might make use of Hegel’s own methods in abrogating ethnocentrism.

Keywords

Orientalism Islam as myth Europe vs. Islam Potential of Hegel’s dialectic 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. R. Habib
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityCamdenUSA

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