Citation for Liberalism

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"Liberalism." In The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Ed. John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. Sep 23, 2020. <>.


"Liberalism." In The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. , edited by John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, (accessed Sep 23, 2020).


An ideology encompassing belief in electoral democracy, civil rights, gender equality, human progress, and/or the abolition of premodern social hierarchies. Introduced to the Islamic world in the nineteenth century by Europeans, then wielded against Europeans by Muslim intellectuals who noted the discrepancy between liberal ideals and colonial (and later postcolonial) practices. Takes several specifically Islamic forms: that divine revelation requires liberalism, that divine revelation allows but does not require liberalism, or that liberalism follows from the fallibility and multiplicity of human interpretations of divine revelation. Remains a controversial position among traditional Muslims, often vilified as inordinately Western or rationalistic.

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