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NMC103H1 Lecture Notes - Wahhabism, Eastern Question, Hanafi

Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Course Code
Maria Subtelny

of 2
The Arab World
Terms Arab, Arabic (terms you should differentiate b/w)
Arabic—linguistic, cultural term
An individual—Arab—speaker, also ethnic term
Arab League definition: “A person whose language is Arabic...lives
in an Arabic-speaking country...citizen of an Arab country... father is
an sympathy with the aspirations of the Arabic-speaking
- Arab nations: Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Morocco, Yemen,
Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Levanon, Bahran,...
- most Arabs are Sunni of various schools—most predominant is
Malachi school
- Saudi—own particular brand Wahabi (Islam interpretation)
- Turks – adhere to Hanafi interpretation
- little rep. of art in Arab world, unlike (pictorial) Iranians
oemphasis calligraphy, decoration, floral motifs e.g.,
Mosque of Sultan Hasan, Cairo
Creation of the modern Arab world
result of disintegration of the Ottoman empire
Role of imperial powers, Britain, France, (Russia
osecret agreements to divide Ottoman territories—imperial
powers want in on resources and pieces of empire—the 3
P’s: pride, prestige, _______
going bankrupt and institutions not holding up well –
going to be called ‘sick man of Europe’
what to do with empire becomes the Eastern
oThey set up Mandate system (1920) with implication that
region will ultimately rule itself (though it doesn’t work up
that way)
odraw up (often artificial1) borders
Creation of modern Arab states:
Transformative idea: nationalism + nation state
modern Arab states grow out of Mandate system (Egypt...2)
Sidenote: nationalism was a secular ideology
it was believed that religion could play a role, but not a primary one
ditto Zionism (took this belief further)
1 this artificiality still with us today
2 check handout (?)
The Question of Palestine
Palestine (began as) British mandate 1920-47
Balfour Declaration (1917) written in to mandate
osecret agreement—called for establishment of national
home for Jewish people
Zionist movement vs. British, British abandon mandate
opre-Holocaust activity
oZionists didn’t want to take over Palestinians, but were
against the British
blew up King David hotel (similar to 9/11 event)
1948—British abandon the mandate
1948—proclamation of state of Israel
oResult: dispersal of Palestinians, creation of refugee
population, Palestinian Diaspora
into all parts of world, esp. neighbouring Arab states3
omarked an important change in character of the Middle
As result of the disintegration of Ottoman empire—
The only regions left are: Anatolia (very first nation state of Mid. E.—
and Iran
3 E.g. completely changed social make-up of Jordan