This book examines the Middle East in a new light, and in doing so it illumines issues that are generally not touched or understood. Essentially, we learn why things are the way they are in the Middle East and other Islamic countries. In studying issues related to Islam and modernization in the context of three Muslim societies, Pakistan, Egypt, and Turkey, this study shows us the treatment of Islam at the hands of Muslim societies. In the process, the study tells us a good deal about matters related to Islam. The Middle East, indeed, the entire Muslim world, cannot really be analyzed, explained, and understood without knowing what Islam means. Several myths are in circulation in both the West and Muslim countries which form the basis of people's ideas about Islam, the Middle East, and other Muslim countries. The reader will find these myths shattered at several places in the book.
This study is based on years of critical reflective thought. It was undertaken solely in the pursuit of truth and knowledge. It is likely to surprise many in the West and in the Islamic world. In both cases such a reaction would be due essentially to the habituated and often ill-informed ways of thinking and looking at matters pertaining to the Middle East, or the Islamic world, and consequently Islam. How this is so will become apparent as the book unfolds.
Following the political upheaval in Iran in which the cruel and corrupt regime of the Shah was overthrown, developments in that country have greatly reinforced the prevalent ideas in the West about Islam and the Middle East. This has led to a further misunderstanding about Islam, the Middle East, and other Muslim societies. Muslim countries have further contributed to Western ideas about Islam and Islamic societies through the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam Hussein's adventure in Kuwait, and authoritarian regimes of different kinds in many parts of the Islamic world.
In the last several centuries, Muslim societies have themselves been the worst representatives of Islam, thereby contributing enormously to the negative ideas