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Typology relative dating

Assess the relative merits of the typologies of Islamic thought suggested by Bennet/Esposito and Shepard.

The first typologies did not concern themselves with the politics or alignment of human beings; rather they were an effort to categorize the natural world of which human beings are but a small part.

Regardless of if you consider the classification of a human phenomena and its inherent capacity for fluidity possible, efforts to create typologies of Islamic thought have become an important part of Islamic studies[1] and serve as a key point of reference for any student wishing to understand how writers organise the faith, culture and identity which they study.

Here we will critically assess elements of the contributions to this effort from Bennet and Esposito[2], and Shepard[3].

To evidence this we will look briefly upon the relationship the audience has with their left/right wing spectrum.

The British experience with the left/right spectrum, Britain with its ‘Mother of all Parliaments’, clearly demarcated party system along left/right lines and despite lying solidly within the boundaries of “Western political thought” has a not so clear relationship with the spectrum many would argue it organises itself around.

A Western audience will naturally hold on to some elements of the spectrum they are familiar with, it is therefore a risky endeavour to assume a left/right spectrum in the Western sense, applied to Islamic thought does not carry with it considerable risks of misunderstanding.

The subject which this writing concerns itself with, that of Islamic thought however defies such straight forward typological organisation and we are far from building a concrete typology.

Shepard renames the left “adaptationist” and the right “rejectionist”[5] but this is arguably purely cosmetic.

Thus the left/right system at first glance conforms to the Western model but as will be demonstrated it later departs.

This writing will compare the works of the authors in question with the differing typological approaches of Saeed and Ramadan in relation to the issues identified above.

I have chosen these authors because they have pursued significantly different approaches and in the intention that the conclusions will be more far ranging that a simple comment upon the works of Esposito and Shepard between whom there are some similarities.

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  1. She was lucky to have the support of her longtime girlfriend, who stayed with her throughout her transition — but not every trans person has a committed partner to give them love and acceptance regardless of gender identity.