Munich Personal RePEc Archive

What Did Hold Back the Middle East? The Thesis of The Long Divergence Revisited

Islahi, Abdul Azim (2014): What Did Hold Back the Middle East? The Thesis of The Long Divergence Revisited. Published in: Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society , Vol. 62, No. 2 (April 2016): pp. 7-31.

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Abstract

The present paper contends the thesis presented by Timur Kuran in his work The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East which asserts that since certain provisions of the Islamic Law, though egalitarian in nature, caused fragmentation of assets, they were responsible for the fall of the Middle East because they did not allow corporations, banks, and big trading companies to emerge, supposedly behind the rise of the West. It argues that the real factors that caused the rise of the West were different. In the Middle East adverse political, intellectual and economic factors, such as state’s apathy, irrelevant education and unscientific atmosphere, declining agriculture, trade and industry, were responsible for its fall behind the West. There was no question of Islamic law preventing them or causing their annihilation. This is clear from the development of the region during its early history as well as from its recent history.

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