Islam And Western Imperialism In Islam

998 Words4 Pages
Although the Islamic world has faced many challenges throughout history, Islam’s encounter with Western imperialism during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has had the greatest impact on contemporary Islam. These encounters with Western powers influenced and shaped the Muslim world by introducing Islam to modernity. The Islamic world’s varied reaction to these challenges of modernity affects a wide range of issues in Islam today. To understand how the Muslim world reacted to Western influence, we must understand what they were reacting to. With the fall of the Ottoman Empire, European political ideas permeated the Middle East. Muslims were forced to respond to ideas of nationhood, nationalism, democracy, and sovereignty.…show more content…
Modernists claimed these institutions were not foreign to Islam and could coexist within an Islamic state. Rashid al Rida argued Islam was democratic and representative because Islamic leadership is determined through consensus of the community. According to Rida, an Islamic state requires Islamic legal systems, where the uluma are representatives of the people. Other Islamic modernists such as Muhammad Abduh and Muhammad Iqbal also attempted to balance Western ideologies with the Islamic faith. According to Abduh, reason and science were complementary to Islam. Iqbal also believed some Western ideas were compatible with Islam. Iqbal applied reasoning to help understand Islamic female inheritance laws. One interpretation of these laws is that a woman is worth half a man. Iqbal argued the share of female inheritance is not based on a woman’s value, but rather on social context specific to a certain period. He claimed these laws applied to a time when women had less financial responsibility than men. This type of logic and reasoning still exists in contemporary Pakistani law. Both Abduh and Iqbal believed certain aspects of Western influence could be applied to Islamic society, as long as those ideas did not contradict Islam. Other movements within Islam have directly challenged the Islamic modernists’ ideas on Western influence. Unlike Islamic

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