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By David Dean Commins

Spiritual neighborhood and country have lengthy been the executive poles of political and cultural identification for peoples of the trendy heart East. This paintings explores how males in turn-of-the-century Damascus dealt, in notice and deed, with the dilemmas of identification that arose from the Ottoman Empire's 19th-century reforms. Muslim spiritual students (ulama) who endorsed a go back to scripture because the foundation of social and political order have been the pivotal workforce. The reformers clashed with their fellow ulama who defended the integrity of triumphing non secular practices and ideology. as well as conflicting interpretations of Islam, Arabism comprised a brand new strand of proposal represented through younger males with secular educations advancing Arab pursuits within the Ottoman Empire. spiritual reformers and Arabists shared a political schedule that shifted concentration from constitutionalism sooner than 1908 to administrative decentralization presently thereafter. utilizing unpublished manuscripts and correspondence, inheritance files, and Ottoman-era periodicals, this paintings weaves jointly social, political, and highbrow elements of an area heritage that represents an example of a basic factor in smooth historical past.

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Both Shaykh Hasan's youngest son, Salim (d. 28 During the anti-Christian outburst in 1860, 'Abd al-Razzaq publicly condemned the rioters in a sermon at the Daqqaq mosque. Only 23 years old at the time, Bitar followed the lead of the May dan's other prominent ulama and notables who protected the Christian residents of the quarter. The Maydani notables may have acted thus because of their involvement in exporting grain to Europe, and Maydani Chris- 40 ISLAMIC REFORM dans may have helped the notables cultivate ties with European importers.

Ahmed Nader, who has written on Algerian Sufi orders for the period 1830-1850, argues 30 ISLAMIC REFORM that political and military imperatives drove 'Abd al-Qadir to base his authority on strict adherence to the Quran, to pose as amir al-mu'minin, commander of the believers, not just head of a local branch of the Qadiriyyah order. As Pessah Shinar has observed, Jaza'iri tried to enforce religious sanctions against alcohol, gambling, and smoking. 38 'Abd al-Qadir wrote that true Sufis neither invalidate the apparent meanings of scripture nor claim to possess the only true understanding of scripture.

Third, Jaza'iri's battles with the French gave him bitter firsthand experience of Europe's superior power. During his 15-year struggle, he, like Muhammad 'Ali and Ottoman rulers, introduced innovations designed to strengthen his country. Jaza'iri based his novel undertakings on what he perceived to be the underpinnings of European power, such as arms factories and a standing organized military force. 23 Sources and Agents of Religious Reform 27 'Abd al-Qadir surrendered to the French in December 1847, and for the next five years they kept him captive in France.

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