Post-Islamism is a neologism in political science, the definition and applicability of which has led to an intellectual debate. Asef Bayat and Olivier Roy are among the main architects of the idea.[1]

The term has been used by Bayat to refer to "a tendency" towards resecularizing of Islam after the "exhaustion" of political Islam;[2] by Olivier Carré to refer to a premodern era of Islamic history where the political-military and religious realms were separated;[1] by Olivier Roy to a recognition that after repeated efforts Islamists had failed to establish a "concrete and viable blueprint for society".[3]

Terminology and definition

The term was coined by Iranian political sociologist Asef Bayat, then associate professor of sociology at The American University in Cairo in a 1996 essay published in the journal Middle East Critique.[4][5]

Bayat explained it as "a condition where, following a phase of experimentation, the appeal, energy, symbols and sources of legitimacy of Islamism get exhausted, even among its once-ardent supporters. As such, post-Islamism is not anti-Islamic, but rather reflects a tendency to resecularize religion." It originally pertained only to Iran, where "post-Islamism is expressed in the idea of fusion between Islam (as a personalized faith) and individual freedom and choice; and post-Islamism is associated with the values of democracy and aspects of modernity".[2] In this context, the prefix post- does not have historic connotation, but refers to the critical departure from Islamist discourse.[6] Bayat later pointed in 2007 that post-Islamism is both a "condition" and a "project".[1]

French politician Olivier Carré used the term in 1991 from a different perspective, to describe the period between the 10th and the 19th centuries, when both Shiite and Sunni Islam "separated the political-military from the religious realm, both theoretically and in practice".[1]

"Postmodern Islamism" and "New Age Islamism" are other terms interchangeably used.[7]

Olivier Roy argued in Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah in 2004 that "Islamists around the world" had been unable "to translate their ideology into a concrete and viable blueprint for society", leading "Muslim discourse" to enter "a new phase of post-Islamism".[3]


In Iran, the Reformists[8][9] and the group known as the Melli-Mazhabi (who are ideologically close to the Freedom Movement)[10] are described as post-Islamists.

The advent of moderate parties Al-Wasat Party in Egypt, as well as Justice and Development Party in Morocco appeared to resemble emergence of post-Islamism, however scholars rejected that they qualify as such.[11][12] A similar characterization applies to the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).[13]

A 2008 Lowy Institute for International Policy paper suggests that Prosperous Justice Party of Indonesia and Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey are post-Islamist.[14] According to Ahmet T. Kuru and Alfred Stepan (2012), many analysts consider Turkish AKP an example of post-Islamism, similar to Christian democratic parties, but Islamic.[15] However, some scholars such as Bassam Tibi dispute this.[16] İhsan Yılmaz argues that the party's ideology after 2011 is different from that of between 2001 and 2011.[17]

The idea has been used to describe the "ideological evolution" within the Ennahda of Tunisia.[18]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d Gómez García 2012.
  2. ^ a b Bayat 1996, p. 45.
  3. ^ a b Sinanovic, Ermin (2005). "[Book review] Post-Islamism: The Failure of Islamic Activism?". International Studies Review. 7: 433–436. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2486.2005.00508.x. JSTOR 3699758. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  4. ^ Mojahedi 2016, p. 52.
  5. ^ Badamchi 2017, p. 1.
  6. ^ Badamchi 2017, p. 4.
  7. ^ Ismail 2008, p. 626.
  8. ^ Fazeli 2006, p. 169.
  9. ^ Badamchi 2017, p. 3.
  10. ^ Shahibzadeh 2016, p. 103.
  11. ^ Stacher 2002, p. 432.
  12. ^ Lauzi`ere 2005, p. 242.
  13. ^ Muller 2013.
  14. ^ Bubalo, Fealy & Mason 2002, p. 51, 76.
  15. ^ Kuru & Stepan 2012, p. 172.
  16. ^ Hale & Ozbudun 2009, p. 148.
  17. ^ Yılmaz 2016, p. 115.
  18. ^ Cavatorta & Merone 2015.