Islamic Reform and Colonial Discourse on Modernity in India: by Jose Abraham

By Jose Abraham

In Kerala, Vakkom Moulavi stimulated Muslims to include modernity, in particular sleek schooling, so that it will achieve greatest gain. during this strategy, he initiated various spiritual reforms. in spite of the fact that, he held quite ambivalent attitudes in the direction of individualism, materialism and secularization, protecting Islam opposed to the assaults of Christian missionaries.

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R ationale for Islamic Reform The “stagnation” and “decline” of the Orient was a major theme in Orientalist discourse of the nineteenth century. This was the premise upon which colonial rule was legitimized in the East. Ironically, the “stagnation” and “decline” of Muslims was prominently discussed by Muslim modernists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as Rashid Rida, Hali (1837–1914), and Fazlur Rahman. Their interpretations of Muslim history did not, of course, legitimize the British domination of the Muslim world; rather, their desire was to initiate religious reform among the Muslims to motivate them to embrace various aspects of modernity.

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79 Vakkom Moulavi’s commitment for public welfare, his modern worldview, sincerity, and wisdom persuaded Ramakrishna Pillai to work with him. His ideals were in total agreement with Vakkom Moulavi’s vision for Swadeshabhimani. It seemed that both of them had finally run into the kind of person with whom they wanted to work. At the end of their meeting, Ramakrishna Pillai accepted the invitation and assumed the editorship of Swadeshabhimani. He moved to Vakkom and occupied a house newly built by Vakkom Moulavi’s brother, Muhammad Ismail.

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