Dr. SherAli Tareen presents a chapter from his forthcoming monograph, The Promise and Peril of Hindu-Muslim Friendship. In this work, Dr. Tareen interrogates the multiplicity of ways in which prominent Indian Muslim scholars, especially the traditionally educated ‘ulama,’ understood Islam’s relationship with Hindu thought, life, and practice in early modern and modern South Asia, from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. It does so through an exploration of six thematically oriented chapters that explore Muslim scholarly expositions on Hindu thought. The chapter presented focuses on Hindu-Muslim doctrinal polemics. The central conceptual question that animates this project is this: how did South Asian ‘ulama’ negotiate the incongruence between the premodern context of Muslim empire that informed foundational normative texts and attitudes towards non-Muslims and the setting of colonial modernity that saw Muslims in South Asia rendered into a numerical as well as a political minority? The main argument proffered is that while the loss of Muslim political sovereignty served as the immediate backdrop of intensified intra-Muslim contest on the boundaries of Hindu-Muslim friendship in the subcontinent, paradoxically, at stake and work in these contestations were precisely the logics and promise of an imperial Muslim political theology.
Dr. Tareen is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. He has also written extensively on the interaction of Islam and secularism. His book, Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020), received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award.
He presents on this above-mentioned chapter, followed by two responses, by Dr. Hafsa Kanjwal (Assistant Professor of History, Lafayette College) and Dr. Sohaira Siddiqui (Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology, Georgetown University, Qatar), followed by open floor discussion.