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January 25 Conference Notes.docx

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Islamic Studies
ISLA 210
Laila Parsons

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.  People like Taha Hussein (more radical end of Islamic politics who associated with Europe) were considered to be part of a pro-Europe movement which was controversial because of the devastation European colonialism brought to the region.  Jibarti is impressed by the French’ military prowess, especially in comparison to the Mamluks. The French follow orders, are institutionalized and organized, and Jibarti is struck by their military grandeur. He was very critical of and appalled by French morals (promiscuity, etc.) and sees them as an uncivilized culture. He uses these words and criticisms that he is so appalled by, which is not at all puritanical. The contradiction is that Jibarti sees the behaviour and has no problem describing it, but in France at the time this isn’t something that would be talked about. He had the opportunity to observe the French because Napoleon’s scientist brought their wives, and did the merchants.  Jibarti’s attitude towards the Mamluks is one of distaste. He finds them disorganized, corrupt, and “weak, self-delusional, an
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