Original Research - Special Collection: Religion in dialogue

Extremism: A cover for ignorance

Zeinab Barkhordari
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 3 | a5138 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i3.5138 | © 2018 Zeinab Barkhordari | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 June 2018 | Published: 26 November 2018

About the author(s)

Zeinab Barkhordari, Department of Islamic Philosophy and Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of Tehran, Iran; and, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The explanation of the relation between religiousness (being religious; doing according to one’s religion’s recommendations) and extremism depends on the different types of religiousness. Religiousness in terms of its religious theme can be divided into four types: (1) religiousness with an epistemological theme, (2) religiousness with a moral theme (virtue-oriented behaviours and habits), (3) identical religiousness with a religious-identification theme and (4) ritual religiousness, with the theme of religious rituals. Islamic religiousness is a combination of all four types. This religiousness is based on episteme. These elements, as mentioned sequentially, are based on each other, and the layer beneath is epistemological religiousness. Lack of one of the three types makes a person tend towards reductionist religiousness, but lack of episteme makes an individual tend towards extremism. Epistemological religiousness is based on self-knowledge. Religiousness that is based on self-knowledge is the main reason for internal and external moderation; religiousness of extremism is the result of self-ignorance and covering up one’s ignorance.


extremism; ignorance; moderation; self-knowledge


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