Contrary to the traditional modernist theories that development and progress can only be achieved through the western secular modernizing project, many Islamic societies are rejecting modernism and the modernization project, to borrow (Arnason 2003), “as an organic globalizing process” but not “as a globalizing civilization in the plural.” This paper differentiates between Islamic modernity and western modernity, and within this theoretical framework, demonstrates how Muslims in Nigeria differ from Christians on the SharÄ«’ah Application and the relation between religion and state. It also examines how this engagement reflects global Muslim commitment to progress and development without submitting to a uniform, integral and singular modernist theory. The paper, while comparing this engagement with modernity in both Nigeria and Malaysia, submits that the politics of religion playing out in Nigeria where many Muslims and Christians denigrate and resent each other in the “name of God” amidst their rivalry for the control of the country’s resources could be brought to an end if Nigeria adopts the Malaysian model of modernity which has fused religion (Islam) and development, while rejecting some aspects of western modernity like western democracy, comprehensive secularism, liberalism and Greek rationality.
Key words: Politics of religion, modernism, Global Muslim societies, religious foundations and Islamic modernity.
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