Islam and Dissent in Postrevolutionary Iran: Abdolkarim Soroush, Religious Politics and Democratic Reform

Publication Year



The Iranian revolution of 1979 overhauled not only the foundations of Iranian society, religion and politics, but also our understanding of the role of religion in modern government. Here Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi takes us on an enlightening journey, showing that the revolution unintentionally opened up the public sphere to competing interpretations of Islam. Far from being the exclusive preserve of high-ranking seminarians as before, in contemporary Iran lay theologians, intellectuals, lawyers and social activists are active and influential interlocutors in debates on the meaning of Islam. A key figure is philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush, a leading force behind Iran's pro-democracy movement and vocal critic of the state. Through a close reading of Soroush's writings, and by tracing the links between Muslim intellectual critique and the realpolitik of postrevolutionary power struggles, Ghamari-Tabrizi offers nothing less than a pathbreaking reassessment of the Iranian revolution. With powerful insights, Islam and Dissent is essential for an understanding of the Muslim world today, as of the new relationships between religion, politics and democracy visible across the globe. Islam and politics a very important topic, especially re. Iran. Soroush is a key figure in Iran and in the Middle East generally. This title is recommended by star academics in the field of Islam and politics.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Ideological Certainties, Past and Present

2. The Islamic Roots of Modernity and the Modern Roots of Islamism

3. Legitimizing the Postrevolutionary Regime and the Genesis of the New Constitution

4. Abdolkarim Soroush, the Intellectual Voice of the Islamic Republic

5. From the Reign of Terror to Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom

6. From Liberation Theology to State Ideology: Ali Shari‘ati and the Emergence of New Religious Intellectuals

7. The Silence of the Shari‘ah: Soroush and the Theological Foundations of Political Reform

8. Islam, Democracy and Religious Pluralism

9. Conclusion: Social Change and the Symbolic Universe of Religion



Series Title
International library of Iranian studies
Series Volume
I.B. Tauris; In the United States of America and Canada distributed by Palgrave Macmillan
London and New York
Cloth: 9781845118792; paper: 9781845118808