Beyond 'us' and 'them': Islamic liturgy and the challenge of religious pluralism

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This article addresses the discourse of religious exclusivism in Islam, focusing on the Friday Prayer. The first part unpacks the research problem. I examine how 'Islam', 'Muslims', and 'the Umma' (commonly understood as the global Muslim community) are privileged within the various liturgical formulae. I then explore how Muslims have mythologized the day of Friday itself, elevating that day over other days and, in turn, the faith communities associated with those days. In light of this problem, I raise the following question: How exactly are the Arabic terms islam, muslim, and umma used in the Qur’an? Using critical textual analysis, I demonstrate that these terms are not used to denote the community of Muhammad alone. On the contrary, their scriptural usages are complex, wide-ranging, and often made in reference to earlier monotheistic communities. This fluid usage has lasting implications in terms of the place of the religious Other in Islam.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-68
JournalStudies in Interreligious Dialogue
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2018


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