Islamic reform in the face of European hegemony

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Islamic reform in the face of European hegemony

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In this week’s discussion, we analyzed the gradual and shrewd European domination of Muslim Empires between the 18th and 20th centuries. It was shrewd indeed because unlike in the rest of the non-European World, Muslim rulers were maintaining a semblance of controlling their society’s destiny. As the author puts it succinctly:

“Officially, most Muslims still had their own native monarchs, still had their own government buildings where Muslim officials still stamped documents, and somewhere in every Muslim state was still a capital dating back to ancient days of bygone splendor and in that capital was a palace and in that palace a throne and on that throne usually a shah, sultan, nawab, khan, khedive, or what you will, some native ruler whose wealth and pomp made him all but indistinguishable from the potentates of old… And yet by the end of the eighteenth century, Muslims looked around and saw with dawning horror that they had been conquered…” Ansary 250

In other words, Muslim rulers still had the reigns of symbolic powers and leadership however, behind the curtain Europeans pulled the strings. Economic policies were dictated by European financial consultants, cheap resource concessions were given away by lazy and self-serving Muslim rulers in return for kickbacks, the army was managed by European military advisors, and borders were redrawn as a result of territorial competitions between European imperial powers. How did Muslim World stoop so low?

It must be noted that this is not the first time that the Muslim World found itself in the urgent position to reform. It seemed after the Mongolian invasions and the rise of the three mighty Muslim empires that defeat and submissiveness were things of the past. But this time, something bigger and more complicated than the sheer violence of the Mongols was launched by the Europeans and yet harder to identify, thus requiring a profound retrospect of Islamic identity. This writing assignment is about the fierce intellectual and religious debates raging within the Muslim community about the diagnosis of Muslim weakness and the way ahead.

Based on your reading of chapter thirteen “The Reform Movements”, explore some or all of the following questions. In your final writing submission, you should include at least four out of the seven answers to the questions below. Failure to do so would affect your grade points as explained in details in the rubric.

—-What were the internal and external reasons behind the resurgence of reform movements in the Umma between the 18th and 20th centuries?

—-Why nothing similar to the Protestant Reformation has ever occurred in the Muslim World?

——What is reform movement known as Wahhabism? Its founder? Its tenets? Its enemies…



——What is the definition of secular modernism as a reform movement in Islamic societies? Its founding intellectual? Its conception of the role of religion in society? …

——What is Islamist modernism? Elaborate…

——Compare and evaluate the three approaches to Islamic reform…

——Which reform movement do you identify with? Why?

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