The experiences of Islamism in the 20th and the early 21st centuries are associated with a variety of images: from fundamentalists’ radical Islam (like ISIS) to moderate Islamists` democratism (like the Ennahda Movement). As we have witnessed in the aftermath of Arab Spring, this variety is continuing to affect any speculation on the future hegemonies of Islamism. Which formations can one imagine about the future of Islamism, and what variables would be of great importance? The present research hypothesizes that there might still be two potential alternatives or, in the sense of Weber, Ideal types: civil Islamic state vs. religious one. The actualization of both ties with the way of interaction of intellectual variables and social conditions. At the intellectual level, the ‘approach to religion’ is the matter. It means while rational interpretation of the Sharia (Ijtihad) would pave the way for democracy promotion under a civil conception of an Islamic state, the mythical (Fundamentalist) one, especially in combination with instrumental rationality, will lead to Islamic totalitarianism under a religious conception of an Islamic state. However, the actualization of any imagined alternatives is determinately intertwined with the quality of some social variables such as economic development, national sovereignty, cultural atmosphere, and political opportunity structure. The paper maintains that the experience of various Islamist movements, from the early 20th century, provides facts to justify the hypothesis. To do so, it will articulate the collected data within a ‘comparative analysis’ framework concentrating on ‘the role of interaction between intellectual framework and the social condition’ in the practice of the main typical trends in Islamism: the moderates and the radicals. Ultimately, the paper seeks to highlight ‘the past’ for speculating the possible ‘future’.
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