Examining the trajectory of the secularization of Islam in Iran, this book explains how efforts to Islamize society led, self-destructively, to its secularization. The research engages a range of debates across different fields, emphasizing the political and epistemological instability of the basic categories such as Islam, Sharia, and secularism.
The volume is an interdisciplinary study of both the history of Islamic revival and Khomeini’s very specific merger of Islamic law and mysticism. It traces back the process of secularization to the early encounter of Iranian intellectuals with Europeans and adoption of their fundamental framework in an Islamic guise. The process continued until the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, when Khomeini tried to substantively de-secularize Iranian social imaginaries. His attempts were not followed up by his followers, who vigorously reinstated the previous trend, after his death, resulting in a polity that is mostly secular but with Islamic ornaments.
Bringing together area studies (Iran), religious studies (Islam), and political theory (secularism), this interdisciplinary volume places findings in a broader narrative that is both specific to Iran and broad enough to engage a global readership.