Our Decline and Its Causes

Amīr Shakīb Arslān

in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195174304
Published online November 2007 |
Our Decline and Its Causes

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A member of a leading Lebanese Druze family, he studied at the American school in Shwayfat, then at al-Hikmah school in Beirut. In 1889 a trip to Egypt brought him into contact with Abduh and his circle. He was elected to the Ottoman parliament in 1913, but after the First World War he spent much of his time in Europe. He was a link between Middle Eastern and North African Islam, and a proponent of Arab causes at the League of Nations. He published a periodical La Nation Arabe. His writings emphasize the Islamic nature of Arab Nationalism.

Here, in an essay that appeared in 1930 at the height of British and French imperialism in the Middle East, Arslan writes that if Islam was the cause of the glory of the Arabs, then their losing touch with the basic message of this faith is the reason for their deplorably unsatisfactory condition in the twentieth century. He writes somewhat elliptically that the Muslims had lost touch with their faith by shun[ning] the field of action. But blind imitation of hackneyed conventions is also to blame.

Chapter.  2250 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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