This essay analyzes the role of politics and power in Shahab Ahmed's What Is Islam? It is framed around three questions: (1) What kind of question is “What is Islam?”—or rather, for whom is this a question, and from which spaces and out of which times does it arise? (2) Who is the Muslim subject foregrounded in this book, and what are this Muslim's political and theological commitments? (3) What relations of power are embedded in the elevation of the “Balkans-to-Bengal complex” as the normative temporal-geographic entity?

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