IJCH 2016 Vol.2(1): 54-58 ISSN: 2382-6177
doi: 10.18178/ijch.2016.2.1.037

Should the Culture Be Engaged? Modern Islamic Literature and Its Religious and Political Engagement

M. Kubarek
Abstract—When literature began to develop in the Arab world, the utilitarian and aesthetic functions of a literary work were seen as mutually complementary. It was not until the Arab renaissance (Al-Nahda) in the 19th century that, under the influence of European ideas, some changes occurred in the perception of the role of a literary work even though they were limited to a small group of experimenters. Regardless of their ideological or political affiliation, prose writers, poets and playwrights treated their creative work as a continuation of the traditional mission. The 1980s saw a rise of fundamentalism and development of a new kind of literature, described as “Islamic literature” (al-adab al-islami). Its goal was to oppose the moral degradation promoted by secular literature imitating Western models on the one hand, and on the other, to shape attitudes and moral standards consistent with the principles of Islam. The article describes the cultural and socio-political context of the development of this movement, and analyses how the role and form of a literary work has been perceived and defined by theorists of Islamic literature as well as Arab authors and readers.

Index Terms—Arab world, Arabic literature, Arabic culture, Islamic literature.

The author is with the Nicolas Copernicus University in Torun, Department of Arabic Language and Culture, Poland (e-mail: magdakubarek@poczta.onet.pl).

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Cite: M. Kubarek, "Should the Culture Be Engaged? Modern Islamic Literature and Its Religious and Political Engagement," International Journal of Culture and History vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 54-58, 2016.

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