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What Went Wrong? : The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East download epub

by Bernard Lewis

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From the Middle East they were transmitted to the West, where they are still known as Arabic numerals, honoring not those who invented them but those who first brought them to Europe. To this rich inheritance scholars and scientists in the Islamic world added an immensely important contribution through their own observations, experiments and ideas. Due to Lewis' own background this book was heavily focused on Ottoman Turkey, almost completely ignoring the vast majority of what constituted the Islamicate throughout history.

Lewis, Bernard, 1916-. Middle East - History - 1517-. New York : Perennial. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books. Delaware County District Library (Ohio). Gutierres on September 26, 2011.

Lewis, Bernard In the current United States where the Middle East and Islam are mentioned almost daily in the news media, there is a great need for knowledge and understanding.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Islam: Religion, History, Civilization. In the current United States where the Middle East and Islam are mentioned almost daily in the news media, there is a great need for knowledge and understanding. Seyyed Nasr's book Islam: Religion, History and Civilization, was written for this purpose - to explain Islam. Although very readable, it is rich in detail, describing the whole sweep of Islamic history, doctrines, and diversity.

Lewis provides a fascinating portrait of a culture in turmoil. He shows how the Middle East turned its attention to understanding European weaponry and military tactics, commerce and industry, government and diplomacy, education and culture.

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In this elegantly written volume, Bernard Lewis, a renowned authority an Islamic affairs, examines the anguished reaction of. .

In this elegantly written volume, Bernard Lewis, a renowned authority an Islamic affairs, examines the anguished reaction of the Islamic world as it tried to make sense of how it had been overtaken, overshadowed, and dominated by the West. In a fascinating portrait of a culture in turmoil, Lewis shows how the Middle East turned its attention to understanding European weaponry, industry, government, education, and culture

10 Indispensable Books on the Middle East. Gives us the foundation to the rocky relationship between two very different cultures.

10 Indispensable Books on the Middle East. Liberals appear not to like this guy. A list of 10 of the most useful books on the Middle East's history, society, religion, and economy. Discover ideas about Islamic World.

2 Arab exceptionalism). While one can easily compile tables of data and charts that show the Middle East or more specifically the Arab-Muslim world, as a region, to be less globalized and less democratic than most other regions of the global, this chapter warns of the dangers of thinking about the region in exceptionalist terms

For many centuries, Islam was the world's greatest, most open, most enlightened, most creative, most powerful civilisation. And then everything changed, as the previously despised West won victory after victory, first on the battlefield and in the marketplace, then in almost every aspect of public and even private life. Bernard Lewis examines the anguished reaction of the Islamic world as it tried to understand why things had changed, and he provides a fascinating portrait of a culture in turmoil. Some Middle Easterners asked not `who did this to us?' but `where did we go wrong?'; while others fastened blame on a series of scapegoats, both internal and external - and the results are very much with us today.

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Bernard Lewis's What Went Wrong? begins with the question "Why did Western countries advance in science, technology, trade, and other areas of social and economic life and Middle Eastern countries, especially those considered part of the Muslim world, did not?" Lewis then proceeds, throughout the bulk of the book, to address topics unrelated to the book's central question. The reader is treated to excursuses on warfare in the Muslim world, for example, and issues related to the Muslim world's reluctance to accept Westernization and technology and ideas and attitudes association with modernization, but not much in the way of a connection to pushing some thesis or other answering the question. Then, finally, in the conclusion of the book, Lewis returns to the central question, and feigns an answer. Lewis writes:

To a Western observer, schooled in the theory and practice of Western freedom, it is precisely the lack of freedom--freedom of the mind from constraint and indoctrination, to question and inquire and speak; freedom of the economy from corrupt and pervasive mismanagement; freedom of women from male oppression; freedom of citizens from tyranny--that underlies so many of the troubles of the Muslim world. But the road to democracy, as the Western experience amply demonstrates, is long and hard, full of pitfalls and obstacles.

I don't even necessarily disagree with the conclusion, but what is there in the way of argument that this is the correct position to assume? And is this Lewis's position? If so, why not have established it upfront as the thesis and then made the remainder of the book an argument and provided support for this thesis? Probably because this book was originally a series of lectures he had given that begin with some kind of topic, like Islamic warfare, for instance, and then each meander for 20 or so pages without a thesis.
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Sampling a broad collection of historical accounts, diplomatic cables, journals and official correspondence, Bernard Lewis illustrates the historical development of Middle Eastern political and religious institutions. This work, which is rich in vivid imagery and erudition, demonstrates Lewis’ gifted eloquence and mastery of foreign languages, with a wide range French, Turkish, Arabic, German and Italian sources cited throughout the study.
Like Lewis’s other works, including The Crisis of Islam, widely considered his best work in the field, What Went Wrong? presents the reader with a profuse collection of accounts that describe the internal struggle battling for domination in the modern Muslim world: on the one hand, moderate Islam seeking to embrace the liberties of modern democracies and alignment with the West, and on the other, a fundamentalist strain of Islam that condemns any departure from ancient practice as a deviation from and corruption of true Islam. Lewis enters the minds of the disciples of the latter school and describes not only their struggle against outside influence, but also their struggle against the enemy from within (p. 107):

In the literature of the Muslim radicals and militants the enemy has been variously defined. Sometimes he is the Jew or Zionist, sometimes the Christian or missionary, sometimes the Western imperialist, sometimes—less frequently—the Russia or other communist. But their primary enemies, and the most immediate object of their campaigns and attacks, are the native secularizers—those who have tried to weaken or modify the Islamic basis of the state by introducing secular schools and universities, secular laws and courts, and thus excluding Islam and its professional exponents from the two major areas of educations and justice. The arch-enemy from most of them is Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic and the first great secularizing reformer in the Muslim world. Characters as diverse as King Faruq and Presidents Nasser and Sadat in Egypt, Hafiz al-Asad in Syria and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the Shah of Persia and the kings and princes of Arabia, were denounced as the most dangerous enemies of Islam, the enemies from within.

For Lewis, the struggle between moderate and fundamentalist Islam has increased in the modern age, in part due to the twentieth century rise of autocratic government. Traditionally, justice within the context of Islamic governance meant not only that the ruler was there by right and not by usurpation, but also that “he governed according to God’s law, or at least according to recognizable moral and legal principles” (p. 54). This requirement “was sometimes discussed in terms of a contrast between arbitrary and consultative government” (p. 55). Yet today, consultative government has largely eroded in the Middle East, where capricious rulers who decide and act on their own have replaced “the wise and just ruler who consulted others” (p. 55). As a result, the region has come to be governed by corrupt rulers who, rather than act in accordance with principles of divine justice, oppress their people and subordinate their nations to foreign interests. This has in turn fueled the zeal of Islamic fundamentalists to purge their governments of all secular influence and restore the Shari‘a as their constitution and Islam as the State’s ordering mechanism.
What went wrong in the Middle East was thus not natural disaster, poverty, foreign invasion or armed conflict, but rather, war of a different kind. What went wrong was the erosion of Islamic institutions that traditionally provided for the ordering of Islamic societies, but that gradually wore away when confronted with modernity, leaving a vacuum that was filled by unscrupulous rulers.
The collage of cables, letters, vignettes, clippings and other texts that Lewis draws on serve as supportive materials to bring the reader to the forefront of Middle Eastern history and richly color the book with depictions of Middle Eastern and Ottoman culture and institutions. These materials are surprisingly dominated by Ottoman and Turkish rather than Arabic texts, perhaps because Islam experienced its civilizational apex during the Ottoman Empire, and they are not essential to explaining the causes of the decline of Islam in the modern age. Rather, without reference to these materials, one can extract the central thesis of the book from its concise ten-page conclusion.
Worth reading and re-reading. I purchased this after 9-11 and found the context and information to be very helpful in understanding the differences between Western ideas and Muslim ideas. The author leaves some information out, at times leaving the reading questioning the explanation that are proposed (sections on art and music seem to be unfinished). With this in mind, it was worth picking this up and re-reading it in light of recent world events in 2015. There are serious issues that are proposed as sources of conflict between the West and the followers of Islam, and this book serves as an excellent basis for discussion. There are specific references to historical "turning points" in the relationships between world powers and rising powers that provide insight into the problems between various groups today. This is an excellent companion to other discussions of relationships between the west and the middle east.
What Went Wrong? : The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East download epub
Author: Bernard Lewis
ISBN: 0297829297
Category: Politics & Social Sciences
Subcategory: Sociology
Language: English
Publisher: Orion Pub Co; First Edition edition (March 31, 2002)
Pages: 192 pages