The Study Of Islam
During the nineteenth century the forms, language, and to some extent even the
structure of public life in the Muslim Countries were given a Western and
therefore a secular appearance. In those countries which were under European
domination, the process was slow, cautious, and incomplete;
In those where Muslim rulers retained political
independence, they were able to impose Westernising reforms with greater
ruthlessness and fewer fear or inhibitions. By nationalizing the waqf revenues
and introducing modern. i.e. Western-style - law and education, they
simultaneously deprived the ulema both of their financial independence and of a
large part of their function and influence, and reduced them in effect to a
branch of the bureaucracy.
The men of the faith now became servant and spokesman of
the state, who successively justified reform, reaction, liberalism, and
socialism, from the same texts and by the same methods of exegesis.
The state itself, struggling for survival in a world dominated by the European
powers, adopted European forms and procedures and drew increasingly, in the
recruitment and promotion of its personnel, on those whose education and
aptitude enabled them to meet the needs of this situation- that is to say, on
the minority who knew a Western Language, had at least a tincture of Western
education and had therefore acquired some Western habits of behaviour and
perhaps of thought. From this time onwards, identity is defined and loyalty
claimed on national rather than communal lines; criticism and aspiration are
formulated in secular not religious terms.