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Original scientific paper

Islamic Wittgensteinian Fideism?

Edward Ryan Moad orcid id ; Qatar University

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This paper examines recent deployments of Wittgenstein’s thought, by Mustafa (2018) and Asad (2020), in defense of the Islamic “traditionalism” of Ibn Taymiyyah and the Hanbali school. I will briefly summarize the key features of Wittgenstein’s thought crucial to this, and then examine their ramifications. I argue that Wittgenstein’s position actually undermines any claim to interpretive authority, whether of the “rationalist” or salafi “traditionalist” sort. Secondly, the approach to religious language most commonly associated with Wittgenstein—so-called “Wittgensteinian Fideism” may pose bigger problems for traditionalists than the influence of classical philosophy or “rationalist” theological responses to modern skeptical challenges.


Wittgenstein, Ibn Taymiyyah, Fideism, Hanbali, Salafi

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