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Lafif Lakhdar

You write that the terrorists, and those who carry out their crimes, fancy that they are acting in imitation of the Prophet

The important thing is not to understand the forms in which terrorism manifests itself – but to understand the mechanisms, that is the tools and the psychologico-religious apparatus that lie behind all the manifestations and tragedies of terrorism.

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Lafif Lakhdar

In your study you propose a road map for changing these psychologically deep-rooted feelings of guilt in the Islamic community into ‘healthy’ feelings of guilt; what is this roadmap and what is a ‘healthy’ feeling of guilt?

A healthy feeling of guilt is one that comes over all of us whenever a real error or sin is committed, and we hasten to seek forgiveness or make reparations for it.

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Lafif Lakhdar

(Editorial note: The following article is a detailed introduction to Lafif Lakhdar’s ground-breaking book: From the Muhammad of Faith to the Muhammad of History and is taken from the text of an interview conducted with him shortly before publication.[1] Due to its length it is presented here in three parts).

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Hashem Saleh

We do not censure Orientalists for applying the historical method to the Arab Islamic heritage. Actually quite the opposite; we thank them for it. We only blame them for stopping halfway, for stopping at the philological, historical or positivist reductionist method which goes back to the 19th century. We say to them that, despite its importance, this is no longer sufficient and that it is necessary to add to this process the methods of modern human and social sciences that emerged in the 20th century such as linguistics, anthropology, comparative religion, psychology, sociology – and in particular historiography as practised by the French École des Annales which has overturned and radically renewed its methodology.

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