Date of Award

Spring 1974

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dupuis, Adrian

Second Advisor

Bernert, Roman

Third Advisor

Sperry, Leonard


Less than a century ago Muslim society was, still firmly tied to its medieval past; today it is still struggling to find its way to the modern world. The Muslim awakening, the term Muslim intellectuals have used to describe the process of modernization, was the product not of sudden spontaneous awareness, but of the challenge posed by the West on all levels of existence--educational, social, economical, political and psychological--which began in the nineteenth century. The Muslim awakening involved a new sort of awareness. It brought about both new perceptions of the traditional heritage and attempts at adaptation to new conditions. In many ways it was a rending experience. On the social level it led to transformation and change involving loss of social cohesion; psychologically it reflected both widening self consciousness and alienation. A general summons to the Muslim Community to raise their intellectual and moral standards in order to meet the dangers of Western expansionism was issued by Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (i839-1897) and Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905), the first genuine Muslim modernists. They made a powerful appeal for the cultivation of philosophical and scientific disciplines by expanding the curricula of the educational institutions and for general education reforms. Their ultimate purpose undoubtedly was to strengthen the world of Islam politically against the West, but this does not detract from their position as powerful and effective reformists in general. While affirming in their fiery speeches and articles that there was nothing in the basic principles of Islam that was incompatible with reason or science, they aroused the Muslims to develop the medieval content of Islam to meet the needs of a modern society, Afghani and Abduh saw as their task the presentation of the basic tenets of Islam in terms that would be acceptable to a modern mind and would allow further reformation of it on the one hand, and the pursuit of modern knowledge on the other. It was their vision and their determination that Islamic history once again march forward in full truth and full splendour.



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