[skip to content]

SOAS South Asia Institute

Muslim Trajectories of Exclusion and Militancy

Dr Faisal Devji / Adeel Hussain

Date: 24 January 2014Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 24 January 2014Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: G51

Type of Event: Seminar

Series: MUSA "Big Star, Rising Star" Speaker Series

Dr Faisal Devji, Adeel Hussain - Muslim Trajectories of Exclusion and Militancy

Faisal Devji


Dr Faisal Devji is Reader in Modern South Asian History at Oxford University. He has held faculty positions at the New School in New York, Yale University and the University of Chicago, from where he also received his PhD in Intellectual History. His latest book is Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a Political Idea (2013). He is interested in Indian political thought as well as that of modern Islam.

Learn more about Dr Faisal Devji

The Proper Name

One of the most important themes in Muslim debate today has to do with the theft of what is proper to Islam. Whether it is the recent controversy over the use of the word “Allah” by Christians in Malaysia, or its precedent in the mass panic over Ahmadis “passing themselves off” as Muslims in Pakistan, the fear of being impersonated by others is characteristic of religious conflict in the name of Islam. My talk will examine the genealogy of this narrative, tracing it to colonial Muslim apologetics, in which it was the very intimacy claimed with Christian Europe that made it possible for the latter to take over the historical role of Islam. How has this apologetic theme of Muslim “modernism” in the nineteenth century come to define “militant” Islam today? What are the implications of imagining Islam to be so easily purloined by others as to seduce Muslims away from themselves? It is the ambiguous nature of this intimacy between Muslims and others that I hope to explore in the talk and a discussion with Adeel Hussain.

Adeel Hussain


Adeel Hussain in a PhD candidate in Intellectual History of Modern South Asia at the University of Cambridge. He holds a degree in German Law from the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Learn more about Adeel Hussain

Origins of Exclusion

This presentation will seek to trace the genealogy of the exclusionist discourse that seemed to have been utilized in South Asia to create a broader ‘Muslim consciousness’ in the late colonial period. It was this language of exclusion that materialized after partition in a legal articulation in the Constitution of Pakistan defining the very nature/unity of the otherwise blurred metaphysical reality of Islam. This paper will analyze and examine Iqbal’s position in this conversation and explore how far the exclusion could be accommodated within a greater narrative of historical developments within Islam thought. Amongst other themes the transformation from an apparently inclusive moment in the later period of colonialism to a strict exclusive formation of the social/intellectual structure after the erection of the nation state, poses different questions that I seek to explore in a conversation with Dr. Faisal Devji.


This is a free and open event to all. To register your interest please visit the MUSA Facebook Page or email MUSA

Organiser: Muslim South Asia Research Forum

Contact email: musa@soas.ac.uk

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4893