Islamist or Islamic? The life and work of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani

Jamal al-Din al-Afghani

If you’re following the post-Arab Spring elections in Tunisia and Egypt, you’ve probably heard a lot about Islamist political parties, in opposition to liberal and secular parties. Simply put, Islamism is Islam, the religion, as political ideology. But what does this mean in practice? What is an Islamist’s worldview? And how is the term “Islamist” different from the term “Islamic”?

This month, Diwaniyya is taking a look at a Muslim thinker who has been highly influential in the development of Islamism. Jamal al-Din al-Afghani. Afghani, who was active in the Middle East in the late 19th century, set the groundwork for the development of both Islamism and Islamic Reformism.

To find out more about the Islamism that al-Afghani would later influence, take a look at the Newsweek article “Is It Islamic or Islamist?” about western confusion over the terms. You can also read the post “Olivier Roy and Islamism” on the Arabist blog, which discusses the term in the post-Arab Spring context.

Stay tuned for the Diwaniyya episode on Al-Afghani coming out later this month.


Diwaniyya Contributor

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