Contemporary Islamic Reformist Trends: A Study of the Structure of Dynamic Thought

14 May 2023

Al Jazeera Centre for Studies published a book on 14 May 2023 entitled Al-Ansaq al-Iṣlaḥiyah al-Islamiyyah al-Muʿasirah: Dirasa fī Bunyat al-ʿAql al-Ḥaraki (“Contemporary Islamic Reformist Trends: A Study of the Structure of Dynamic Thought”) by Bilal Tlidi, a researcher specialised in the study of Islamist movements.

The book begins with the premise that contemporary Sunni Islamic reformist movements in the Arab world suffer from a crisis in their intellectual project, which has led to stagnation in their mobilisation efforts and a blockage in their political vision. The attempts made to deal with this crisis, especially with regard to adapting to reality and its constraints both intellectually and organisationally, have proven the stagnation of their cognitive framework and the need to build a new framework and develop new ideas or strategies that justify their existence and their reformist role.

The book attributes this stagnation to what it calls the "crisis of cognitive frameworks" adopted by these movements, and the fact that each of these frameworks has shown its limitations in dealing with reality and its requirements and changes.

In addition, the book emphasises the need for contemporary Islamic movements to search for a "new reformist cognitive pattern" whose concepts and assumptions align with its foundations; that redefines its identity, role, vision for itself as well as society, state and the national equation; and that and seeks to resume its reformist role according to the terminology of this proposed new pattern, taking into account the limits of the framework of the nation-state and the contradictions of the regional and international environment.

Bilal Tlidi is a researcher specialised in the study of Islamic movements and holds a PhD in Islamic reformist thought from Chouaib Doukkali University in El Jadida, Morocco. He has participated in many conferences and seminars related to Islamic movements, and is a weekly columnist for Al-Quds Al-Arabi. He has also published studies and reviews in Awaser and Islamiyat al-Ma'rifah, and authored a number of books on Islamic movements, including: Al-Islamiyyun wal-Rabi' al-'Arabi (“Islamists and the Arab Spring”), Muraja'at al-Islamiyyin: Dirasa fi Tahawulat al-Nasaq al-Siyasi wal-Ma'arifi (“The Reviews of Islamists: A Study of Political and Intellectual Pattern Transformations"), Al-Islamiyyun wa Marakiz al-Buhuth al-Amrikiyya: Dirasa fi al-Namudhaj al-Ma'arifi (“Islamists and American Research Centres: A Study of the Intellectual Model"), Al-Haraka al-Islaḥiyya al-Thalitha aw ma ba'd ʾAzmat al-Mashruʻ al-Fikri (“The Third Reformist Movement or Post-Crisis of the Intellectual Project"), and Al-Islamiyyun ba'd al-Rabii' al-'Arabi: Nihayet Mashru' am Irhasat Mawja Jadida? (“Islamists after the Arab Spring: The End of a Project or Implications of a New Wave?")