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The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East

by Timur Kuran

In the year 1000, the economy of the Middle East was at least as advanced as that of Europe. But by 1800, the region had fallen dramatically behind--in living standards, technology, and economic institutions. In short, the Middle East had failed to modernize economically as the West surged ahead. What caused this long divergence? And why does the Middle East remain drastically underdeveloped compared to the West? InThe Long Divergence, one of the world's leading experts on Islamic economic institutions and the economy of the Middle East provides a new answer to these long-debated questions. Timur Kuran argues that what slowed the economic development of the Middle East was not colonialism or geography, still less Muslim attitudes or some incompatibility between Islam and capitalism. Rather, starting around the tenth century, Islamic legal institutions, which had benefitted the Middle Eastern economy in the early centuries of Islam, began to act as a drag on development by slowing or blocking the emergence of central features of modern economic life--including private capital accumulation, corporations, large-scale production, and impersonal exchange. By the nineteenth century, modern economic institutions began to be transplanted to the Middle East, but its economy has not caught up. And there is no quick fix today. Low trust, rampant corruption, and weak civil societies--all characteristic of the region's economies today and all legacies of its economic history--will take generations to overcome. The Long Divergenceopens up a frank and honest debate on a crucial issue that even some of the most ardent secularists in the Muslim world have hesitated to discuss.

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought

by Robert W. Hefner Roxanne L. Euben Timur Kuran David Cook Muhammad Qasim Zaman Patricia Crone Khaled Fahmy Devin J. Stewart Bernard Haykel Frank Griffel Jane Mcauliffe Gerhard Bowering Wadad Kadi Richard Bulliet Ebrahim Moosa Mahan Mirza

The first encyclopedia of Islamic political thought from the birth of Islam to today, this comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible reference provides the context needed for understanding contemporary politics in the Islamic world and beyond. With more than 400 alphabetically arranged entries written by an international team of specialists, the volume focuses on the origins and evolution of Islamic political ideas and related subjects, covering central terms, concepts, personalities, movements, places, and schools of thought across Islamic history. Fifteen major entries provide a synthetic treatment of key topics, such as Muhammad, jihad, authority, gender, culture, minorities, fundamentalism, and pluralism. Incorporating the latest scholarship, this is an indispensable resource for students, researchers, journalists, and anyone else seeking an informed perspective on the complex intersection of Islam and politics. Includes more than 400 concise, alphabetically arranged entries Features 15 in-depth entries on key topics Covers topics such as:Central themes and sources of Islamic political thought: caliph, modernity, knowledge, shari'a, government, revival and reform Modern concepts, institutions, movements, and parties: civil society, Islamization, secularism, veil, Muslim Brotherhood Islamic law and traditional Islamic societies: justice, taxation, fatwa, dissent, governance, piety and asceticism, trade and commerce Sects, schools, regions, and dynasties: Mu'tazilis, Shi'ism, Quraysh, Mecca and Medina, Baghdad, Indonesia, Nigeria, Central Asia, Ottomans Thinkers, personalities, and statesmen: Mawardi, Shafi'I, Saladin, Tamerlane, Akbar, Atatürk, Nasser, KhomeiniContains seven historical and contemporary maps of Muslim empires, postcolonial nation-states, populations, and settlementsGuides readers to further research through bibliographies, cross-references, and an index

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