Religion, Culture and Social Reality: Islam as a Cultural System, and its Diversity

  • Bassam Tibi


The understanding of religion in the present study is based on a combination of two ways of looking at religion: religion as a source of meaning and as incorporated into reality. I view religion as belief but it also has a function in society.1 The central hypothesis underlying this study is that religion consists of socio-cultural symbols that convey a conception of reality and construe a plan for it. These symbols are related to reality but they are not a reflection of it. In this sense religion is understood here as a ‘cultural system’2 along the lines of the cultural anthropology of Clifford Geertz. In this book I shall, however, go beyond the confines of the Geertzian approach.


Cultural System Moral Experience Religious Pluralism Muslim Society Religious Symbol 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bassam Tibi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of GöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Cornell UniversityUSA

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