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Political Science : Islamic Modernism

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Political science question 2
By the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, a large part of the Muslim world had begun to lose much of its cultural and political sovereignty to Christian occupiers from Europe. This was the result of European trade missions during earlier centuries that had propagated Western technology and modernization. There was a large shift of power due to the declining Ottoman Empire, which led to an essential subordination of Muslims because of Western technology and modernization. This subjugation by Christian empires led Muslims of the Middle East to question their own beliefs as well as their aspirations, making many wonder whether the success of Western occupation was due to the inferiority of their own Islamic
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Afghani argued that “Islam was in harmony with the principles discovered by scientific reason, and was indeed the religion demanded by reason.”5 Thus, he blamed their subjugation not on Islamic inferiority, but on the society’s “intellectual backwardness” caused by the hundreds of years of neglect and suppression of the Islamic umma, or community. Afghani blamed the influence of Sufism, which had emphasized passivity, fatalism, and otherworldliness. He also faulted the ulama, or learned elite, for discouraging Muslims from obtaining scientific knowledge because they themselves lacked the expertise to respond to such modernity. Afghani traveled throughout the Muslim world and outside of it, calling for internal reform and strengthening of the Muslim umma.6 To Abduh and Afghani, the ultimate way of combating Western occupation was to regenerate the “stagnant” Muslim world.7 Essentially, these Muslim reformists tried to respond to Western imperialism rather than react to or against it.
Abduh and Afghani argued that the best way to re-strengthen the Muslim world was through the study of their religion in order to bring out its true meaning; they should model their lives on the religious teachings.8 Afghani
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