chapter  9
18 Pages

The Modernisation of Arabia

In this chapter, we will analyse how a few Arab countries have conducted successful policies of modernisation in order to promote inter alia the arrival of modern capitalism, or the market economy. It is to be strongly emphasised that Islam did not hinder these efforts at catching up in relation to the occidental countries. If there was a major hindrance, then it was the colonialism of the Western powers. The neo-Weberian idea that Islam adopts techniques without the technology, the science without the spirit of rationality, modernity without its culture, is seductive. However, it does not observe the many autonomous subsystems, neglects their diversified development and underestimates the logic that animates them and erases obstacles created by fundamentalist reversals. When Islam is said to be exceptionally rebellious against modernity, it transforms the religion of Islam into a daily and commonplace drama. Understanding modernity in Arabia requires an effort to analyse the roads along which the search for rationality has orientated itself, as well as how it has gone astray within Islam. Weber’s study gives little information about the modernisation of Islam since 1800, as he concentrated upon the original and medieval Islam to the neglect of modern Islam.