The school of Talal Asad has identified virtue ethics as the primary model constituting the continuity of premodern Muslim thought with movements of the modern period. But is this model really the most characteristic common denominator of premodern Islamic thought?
First, I want to take social practices and norms as foundational. They do not come from anywhere else, not from people or institutions or God. It is practices and norms all the way down, as it were. Second, I want to present practices and norms as always in conflict. Norms are derived from practices, but they always misrepresent practices; practices are pulled towards norms.