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Liberalism

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Liberalism

    An ideology encompassing belief in electoral democracy, civil rights, gender equality, human progress, and/or the abolition of premodern social hierarchies. Introduced to the Islamic world in the nineteenth century by Europeans, then wielded against Europeans by Muslim intellectuals who noted the discrepancy between liberal ideals and colonial (and later postcolonial) practices. Takes several specifically Islamic forms: that divine revelation requires liberalism, that divine revelation allows but does not require liberalism, or that liberalism follows from the fallibility and multiplicity of human interpretations of divine revelation. Remains a controversial position among traditional Muslims, often vilified as inordinately Western or rationalistic.

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