The definition of Islam as submission, the claim that Islam needs a Luther, and the desire to identify jihād with private and spiritual struggle, all reflect a series of compulsions and elisions. The three idioms are fundamental to how Islam has been constituted in language as a subject and as a problem. They each also have forgotten genealogies. This article outlines these genealogies and their intersection through the politics of translating Islam as submission, peace, or salvation; of narrating its place and temporality in modernity; and of reinterpreting historical texts and exemplars through the prism of liberalism and toleration. These three moves take Islam out of history. The dislocation of Islam winds through three disciplinary moments that track political theory’s investments in philology, teleology, and philosophy. The article concludes by pointing toward critical possibilities and resources that emerge out of alternative discursive formations—formations that dwell alongside or behind the three idioms and that remain suppressed in them.

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