Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.
I have just returned from two weeks in Granada, Spain where I attended the Critical Muslim Studies summer school 2014.
Overall, it was a highly constructive gathering, both in terms of the content delivered by the instructors and the after-class discussions and interactions among students and faculty, and I strongly recommend (attempted) Muslims and non-Muslims to consider attending the 2015 school despite the cost.
The last event in the programme was an evening panel discussion at the Fundacion Euro-Arabe entitled “Imagining Muslims’ Future: Politics, Power and the State” featuring Salman Sayyid, Tariq Ramadan, Ahmet Alibasic and Ibrahim Ezzayat which also included Ramon Grosfoguel.
IMHO, Salman Sayyid was the only speaker* who addressed himself to the theme of the panel in a coherent manner offering the following three suggestions vis-a-vis any future polity:
1. Commitment to a post-Madhhabi (i.e. non-sectarian) Islamicate world order
2. Commitment to the Islamicate as Ummatic (i.e. post-national / post-statist)
3. Commitment to diversity as structurally-characteristic of the polity
I also found myself in agreement with Sayyid’s assertion that The Qur’an [=Final Proclamation of God/Allah to Humanity] is, somewhat paradoxically, both constitutiveof “the Muslim” (as an identity formation) and yet non-constitutional. By the latter, Sayyid means that any Islamicate polity (I would refrain from using the problematic term ‘state’) must not be allowed to claim that it is founded on The Qur’an since this would collapse the horizon of “the political” (i.e. the space of contestation) and preclude the possibility of holding the polity to account / mounting a critique of it; in short, Qur’anic-constitutionalism has the tendency to engender a form of authoritarianism. For this reason, Sayyid (and I) maintains that The Qur’an – and Islam – must ever remain above the Islamicate reading of it, a transcendent ideal that can inspire rather than an immanentized idol that leads to stagnation and decay.
* Tariq Ramadan was incoherent and Ahmet Alibasic had literally nothing to say. Ramon Grosfoguel made an interesting intervention in challenging Ramadan’s prioritization of ‘deep’ freedom (sic) over a commitment to justice by arguing that freedom and justice must be understood as relationally co-constitutive and having both internal (‘inner’) and external (‘outer’) aspects.