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

By Timur Kuran | Go to book overview

2
Analyzing the Economic
Role of Islam

For Middle Eastern intellectuals the mid-nineteenth century was a time of humiliation and anxiety. Once considered backward, Europeans were now living more prosperously and subjugating Muslims. Although none developed a coherent explanation for this shift in fortunes, many sensed that it had something to do with religion.1 There are several reasons to think that their intuition had a basis in fact.

One has already been given: certain key economic institutions of the Islamic Middle East were intertwined with Islam’s holy law. These institutions emerged in the early centuries of Islam, when temporal and spiritual matters were not sharply divided. The laws of the time did not distinguish, as they now effectively do, between the secular and religious realms of life. Rules and regulations could gain identification with Islam even if their origins lay in the pursuit of power and wealth. Thereafter, to attempt institutional reform would be to risk a confrontation with religion. The risk could vary across contexts. The Islamic inheritance system was based on the Quran, and it differed palpably from some of its alternatives. By contrast, the rights and duties of shoemakers, even where rationalized through scripture, carried little spiritual significance. The rules of footwear production did not differentiate Muslims from Christians in any meaningful way. Nevertheless, certain institutions of great significance for investment, productivity, and exchange were grounded in Islamic teachings.

A second reason to investigate Islam’s economic role is that from the seventh century onward, religion constituted an overarching

-25-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 405

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.