chapter  3
Blindness and insight
Pages 44

While studying in Paris in the 1960s Ali Shari’ati (1933-1977) carried the

Islam within him into a fateful conversation with radical revolutionaries and revolutions around the globe – with those in Cuba and Algeria in

particular. Just like his contemporary Malcolm X (1925-1965), Shari’ati

was shedding one skin after another in exposing his faith to ever wider

revolutionary circles, mobilizing his Islam to face potent insurrectionary

uprisings – a global reconfiguration of power in which Islam had to play

an integral, but never a definitive, role. It is in that role that Islam could

have, and yet has not, discovered its renewed cosmopolitan worldliness.

Shari’ati moving from Iran to Paris, just like Malcolm X moving from America to Mecca, connected two colonially divergent worlds to make

room for a far wider domain of revolutionary engagements – one that

would make no distinction between a center and its peripheries, between

a Christian who had become a Muslim, and a Muslim who had gone global.