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Conclusion: New Sects, New Strategies, Old Patterns THIS study has challenged the widespread assumption that Islam in nineteenth-century India stagnated and that significant cultural change took place only through adoption of Western values. Islamic learning and the institutions of the c ulama in fact underwent significant transformations that in many dimensions were shared by the Westernized. No one could deny that cultural change was largely stimulated and constrained by the chain of events stimulated by Western expansion. But the changes themselves were ones long characteristic of the Islamic tradition. Religious change in this period primarily entailed self-conscious reassessment of what was deemed authentic religion—it was not syncretism, not acculturation to Western patterns, not conversion. In part for this reason, the chief actors in this study were men who remained integrated in their society: they were not "alienated" or "marginal."1 The Muslim reformers had a historic explanation for their current situation and an indigenous precedent for action in religious renewal or tajdid.2 New attention must be given to the broad repertoire of religious styles characteristic of traditional cultures like the Islamic, and to the process of change that permits current relevance without loss of continuity. An example from a domain we have not discussed in detail is suggestive, namely, 1. Cf. Kenneth W. Jones, Arya Dharm (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1976). 2. For an analogous change, see Clifford Geertz," 'Internal Conversion' in Contemporary Bali," in The Interpretation of Culture (New York, 1973), pp. 170-89. See also Robin Horton, "African Traditional Thought and Western Science, Part I: From Tradition to Science," Africa, 37 (January 1967), 50-71; "Part II: The Closed and Open 'Predicaments,' " ibid. (April 1967), 155-87; "African Conversion," ibid., 41 (April 1971), 85-108. Horton explains that in conversion members of "primitive religions develop an already existing concept of a supreme being concerned not with the local community but with the whole universe; it is activated when, with a decrease of social isolation, the activities of the gods of the microcosm no longer serve to explain the events of life." 348 Conclusion that of medicine. Medicine remained holistic beyond even a Californian's definition, with the curing of the body and the soul often entrusted to the same specialist. For the same kind of reasons that brought about a revival of the core religious sciences, there was a revival of the classical medical tradition of yunani tibb. As there was a movement away from the ^«r-based mediational religion of the shrines in favor of individual moral responsibility, so too was there a change away from the medicine of midwives, now considered illiterate , as well as from practices now excluded as magic. Yet to find a systematic, generalizable, authoritative system of medicine, as of religion, Muslims did not need to move outside their own tradition. Techniques of Western surgery , considered to be superior, for example, could be readily incorporated, but the principles and system as a whole remained Islamic. Thus one way of measuring change in a continuous selfreplicating tradition—at first blush a contradiction—is to recognize the diversity of religious styles and explanations that not only the culture but single individuals typically know or know of.3 Robin Horton memorably describes latent explanations as a "second string." Among Indian Muslims , as emphasized throughout this study, teachings were presented increasingly on the basis of systematic assessment against an ideal of the original sources. These involved an effort to propagate abstract and generalizable principles. Second, certain fields and disciplines came to be emphasized over others. Thus Qur'an and hadis were given a centrality unknown in the Mughal period or in the later darsi nizami, which had stressed "rational studies." The dissemination of advisory judicial opinions, fatawa, attained new importance as a vehicle for communication of proper teachings . And third, there was a shift in emphasis and meaning of central symbols of the faith. One important example may suggest the implications of this final point. For all Muslims, of course, the Prophet 3. See Dale F. Eickelman, "The Art of Memory: Islamic Education and Its Social Reproduction," Comparative Studies in Society and History, 20 (October 1978),484-516. 349 Conclusion Muhammad's being and actions are centrally important. But the interpretation given to him ani the degree of attention to him varies. There was in this period a new emphasis on the Prophet, one noted by Annemarie Schimmel as a novel phenomenon throughout the Muslim world in the nineteenth century.4 One recalls...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400856107
MARC Record
OCLC
889252131
Pages
387
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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