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Theoretical aporia of Islamic liberalism: the case of lockean liberalism

Canbegi, Halil İbrahim
Even though the historical background of discussions on “Islamic liberalism” dates back to colonisation of Muslim-majority countries between 19th and 20th centuries, these debates have become much more visible both in academia and media in the post-Arab spring period. In this period, proponents of “Islamic liberalism” have predominantly taken Lockean liberalism as a model and they have even equated former with the latter. This thesis thereby critically evaluates the theoretical and conceptual framework of “Islamic liberalism” through analyzing Locke’s political theory and political theology. From the comparative political theory and comparative political theology perspectives, Locke’s natural law theory and his understanding of liberal rights are compared with the premises of “Islamic liberalism” in order to assess whether it is a consistent term or not and whether it is a form of Lockean liberalism or not. This study therefore aims to contribute the endeavours for comprehending the liberalism’s relation to religions in a broad sense and to Islam in a narrow sense.