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Lecture

ISLA 210 Lecture Notes - Taha Hussein, Leila Ahmed, Upper Middle Class


Department
Islamic Studies
Course Code
ISLA 210
Professor
Laila Parsons

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JANUARY 25, 2012: Conference
Abduh readings: Islam is unique in that it is a religion of rationality and deliberation.
In terms of the attributes of God, he discussed how we can imagine God (his form)
or is he unimaginable in human terms, sparking debates in this time period. Can we
talk about god metaphorically such as having will, independent of Himself. How
can we talk about the parts of God if he has this quality of “oneness” that implies he
cannot be separated. Are his attributes separate from his oneness?
The doctrine of unity the idea of the trinity doesn’t exist in Islam, God is a single
being.
Taha Hussein’s Egypt is at the end of the British rule in Egypt, the last soldier pull
out (1952) and the officers who rule Egypt for the next 29 years fundamentally
change Egpyt, creating more socialism programs, and the Muslim Brotherhood
emerges.
Taha Hussein is somewhere between 1910-and 1920 and the Ottomans are ruling
Egypt nominally, the Hadifs are ruling, and the British had control (particularly of
the Suez Canal). The British are ruling trough the cooperating elite (a new
professional class of politicians, lawyers, etc. who are becoming more prominent
and are in parliament, but surrender control to the British.)
New emerging middle class who are very nationalist are clashing with the British
occupying Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood is established in the 1920s and they becoming an
important political alternative from the middle class.
Jibarti’s reading: The Mumluks are the military families and slaves (in military
households that form a single polity) who have a kind of independence because
they’ve become so powerful.
This was when Egypt was still part of the Ottoman Empire, and there is a cling by
Egyptian rulers to the Ottoman power (because they are far from Istanbul), and the
Mumluks represent this.
In Leila Ahmed (1930s-early 1950s): The upper middle class elite where working in
British institutions during this last phase of colonialism. Upper middle class liberal
elite run government and cooperate with British, while holding nationalist
principles. This stays until the nationalist revolution of the military in 1952.
The 1948 War in Palestine (between the Arab and Jewish inhabitant) is what makes
the Egyptians feel betrayed by the colonial state, as the British had control of it and
had promised it to the Arab world as an independent state. This radicalized politics
in the region because the cooperating elites were betrayed.
The economic deprivation in Egypt in this period was also very bad. The vast
majority of the population was suffering, but the upper and middle class elites were
benefitting from the economic system. This helped to bring out the nationalist and
anti-West movement.
Leila Ahmed struggled after the Nasser Revolution, when many people no longer felt
welcome in the “new” Egypt. Nasser was not a despotic leader, he had incredible
popular appeal in Egypt and the Arab world, and he stood up to Israel with
enhanced his popularity, which was an important transition in the region.
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