State and Religion in the Sudan

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The issues analyzed in this book are top agenda in the Muslim world. This book shows with unprecedented sociological analysis the underlying agreements among several Sudanese thinkers, including the Islamic thinker Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, the socialist leader ‘Abd al-Khaliq Mahgoub, the liberal politician al-Sadiq al Mahdi, the women’s-rights activist Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim, and the fundamentalist writer Hassan al-Turabi, in spite of irreconcilable differences in ideological commitments or political agenda. These explorations should make this work an indispensable volume of thought for politicians and policy makers, students of religion and government, and researchers of contemporary theory and applied sociology.


“The huge Afro-Arab nation of the Sudan has produced an exceptionally large number of creative thinkers, but ironically a comprehensive history of them is lacking. This work will go a long way to fill this gap in the serious study of Sudanese intellectual history. But the work is still more than this since it integrates the works of more than a dozen engaged and significant figures in this neglected field. Especially pleasing is to see the voices of African Sudanese in this critical project of historiography that is focused practically on the deep roots of Sudanese intellectual history. This takes the discourse down to the modern struggles in liberalism, secularism, and Islamic politics that are manifest in law, politics, and gender issues that captivate and orient the prevailing debates in today’s troubled Sudan. So this book is masterful, stimulating, important, and should be on the shelf of not only Sudanists, but of a wide variety of African historians, political scientists, lawyers, and social scientists.” – Dr. Richard A. Lobban, Jr. Executive Director, Sudan Studies Association, Professor of Anthropology and African Studies, Rhode Island College

“…. originally written underground in Khartoum after the Omer al-Bashir coup d’etat that brought the National Islamic Front to power… this work was denied publication by the University of Khartoum Press that had already become fearful of reprisals from the new regime before its first year of rule was completed. The manuscript was later smuggled out of Sudan to Cairo when the author had to seek political refuge from the NIF regime….This work begins a critical treatment of Muslim thought in the Sudan. Its range covers a great landscape, from the ideal of an egalitarian, tolerant Islam in the Sudan, to indigenous ideas about a reformed Islam, to the triumph of an extremist, politicizes Islamic movement dominated by the NIF…. The critical review this work helps to begin is essential to the building of new Sudanese persona, along with the new paradigms of politics.” – Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Visiting Professor of Anthropology, Colgate University

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword; Preface
· Introduction: Sudanese Diversity of Culture and Thought
· Beginnings and Evolution (al-Tabaqat - separation of state and religion; Medieval intellectuals and freedom of thought; Contemporary problems – the Egyptian revivalist; New evolutionary thinkers)
· Thinkers and Philosophers (Rethinking the classical jurisprudence; A critique of modernist models; Old missions, new approaches; The constitutional debate; The movement of intellectual women)
· Sudanese Thought: A Consensual Differential (Inevitability of democratic liberalism; The Sufi sects and Sudanese interaction; Concluding remarks on Sudanese intellectuality and cultural diversity)
· Epilogue (Islam and Human Rights; Notes on Women’s Rights in Islam; On the Program; Notes on the Program)
Bibliography; Appendices

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