Date of Award

Spring 4-2019

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Classics, Philosophy, and Religion

Department Chair or Program Director

Vasey, Craig

First Advisor

Aminrazavi, Mehdi

Major or Concentration



This paper argues that the theological ideologies of Islamic fundamentalist groups frame doctrine and scripture in a way that highlights spiritual and personal transformative powers. These then allow a fascination with such groups to grow and more effectively recruits any individual seeking a similar change in themselves, expecting a renewed and purpose-filled life. Islamic fundamentalism’s position in certain areas affords the opportunity to recruit individuals and offer a so-called “packaged deal.” A focus on the transformative religious identity enhances people’s fascination with the group to the benefit of the group. Muslim fundamentalists, once they join and begin to participate fully in the movement, feel alive with a sense of importance and relevance. Once-neglected individuals in society are able to find for themselves power and value. Theological ideologies of Islamic fundamentalist groups overly emphasize the potential for spiritual and personal transformation and capitalize tremendously on the human desire and need to belong. Islamic fundamentalist groups of varying sizes and locations have risen to global prominence in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, basing their ideas off of twentieth century Islamic thinkers such as Sayyid Quṭb, ʿAlī Sharīaʿtī, Jalal Al-ī Aḥmad, and Abūl A'la Maudūdī. These men’s positions in their respective communities offered the ability to create religious revolutions that preached strict theological aspects grounded in philosophy, sociology, and history. This paper explores the ideologies of these thinkers and how they are used today by groups to attract recruits, what transformations occur, and if the transformations are permanent.

Included in

Religion Commons