The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam

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The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam is a compilation of lectures delivered by Muhammad Iqbal on Islamic philosophy and published in 1930. These lectures were delivered by Iqbal in Madras, Hyderabad, and Aligarh. The last chapter, "Is Religion Possible", was added to the book from the 1934 Oxford Edition onwards.

Muhammad Iqbal Urdu poet

Sir Muhammad Iqbal, widely known as Allama Iqbal was a poet, philosopher and politician, as well as an academic, barrister and scholar in British India who is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement. He is called the "Spiritual Father of Pakistan." He is considered one of the most important figures in Urdu literature, with literary work in both Urdu and Persian.

Two terms traditionally used in the Islamic world are sometimes translated as philosophy—falsafa, which refers to philosophy as well as logic, mathematics, and physics; and Kalam, which refers to a rationalist form of Islamic theology.

Chennai Megacity in Tamil Nadu, India

Chennai is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is the biggest cultural, economic and educational centre of south India. According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the sixth-most populous city and fourth-most populous urban agglomeration in India. The city together with the adjoining regions constitute the Chennai Metropolitan Area, which is the 36th-largest urban area by population in the world. Chennai is among the most-visited Indian cities by foreign tourists. It was ranked the 43rd-most visited city in the world for the year 2015. The Quality of Living Survey rated Chennai as the safest city in India. Chennai attracts 45 percent of health tourists visiting India, and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. As such, it is termed "India's health capital". As a growing metropolitan city in a developing country, Chennai confronts substantial pollution and other logistical and socio-economic problems.


In Reconstruction, Iqbal called for a re-examination of the intellectual foundations of Islamic philosophy. The book is a major work of modern Islamic thought. It was a major influence on Iranian sociologist Ali Shariati and other contemporary Muslim reformers, including Tariq Ramadan.

Ali Shariati Iranian academic and activist

Ali Shariati Mazinani was an Iranian revolutionary and sociologist who focused on the sociology of religion. He is held as one of the most influential Iranian intellectuals of the 20th century and has been called the "ideologue of the Iranian Revolution", although his ideas ended up not forming the basis of the Islamic Republic.

Tariq Ramadan Swiss muslim scholar

Tariq Ramadan is a Swiss Muslim academic, philosopher, and writer. He is Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at St Antony's College, Oxford and the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford, but as of 2018 is taking an agreed leave of absence. He is a visiting professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, and the Université Mundiapolis in Morocco. He is also a senior research fellow at Doshisha University in Japan. He is the director of the Research Centre of Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE), based in Doha. He is a member of the UK Foreign Office Advisory Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief. He was elected by Time magazine in 2000 as one of the seven religious innovators of the 21st century and in 2004 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world and by Foreign Policy readers as one of the top 100 most influential thinkers in the world and Global Thinkers. Ramadan describes himself as a "Salafi reformist".


Translation: This book was translated into Persian by Mohamad Masud Noruzi in 2011.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

Reviews and Criticism

D.S. Margoliouth, an orientalist and a professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford, wrote "From the Qur'anic law of inheritance which makes the share of the male equal to that of two females the superiority of the male over the female has been inferred; such an assumption would, Sir M.Iqbal observes, be contrary to the spirit of Islam."The Qur'an says: And for women are rights over men similar to those for men over women." [1] William Owen Carver (1898-1943) observed "His [Iqbal's] aim was "to reconstruct Muslim religious philosophy with due regard to the philosophical traditions of Islam and the more recent developments of human knowledge." [2] Edward Hulmes noted "One of the author’s [Iqbal's] motives was to encourage his fellow countrymen to explore their own cultural roots after years of British colonial rule. But his aim was also to transcend the limited boundaries of national identity in order to ‘build bridges’ between peoples of different cultures and religious traditions." [3]

David Samuel Margoliouth British orientalist

David Samuel Margoliouth, FBA was an English orientalist. He was briefly active as a priest in the Church of England. He was Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford from 1889 to 1937.

Syed Abul Hasan Ali al Hasani al Nadwi has written in his book Glory of Iqbal that there are certain ideas of Iqbal that he does not agree with. He is especially critical of these lectures.

In the same book, Syed Abul Hasan a footnote also mentions that his mentor, Syed Sulaiman Nadwi used to wish that it would have been better if these lectures had not been published.



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  1. Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. 161, Oxford University Press, 1934.
  2. Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. v, Oxford University Press, 1934.
  3. in: The Heythrop Journal, Volume 55, Issue 3, (May 2014), p. 516.

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