Confronting Decline in Early Modern Arabic Thought

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This article argues that Arabic thinkers of the seventeenth century failed to confront the problem of decline in their societies in the manner that Ottoman and Spanish writers did. Arabic writers, from Alexandria in Egypt to Miknas in Morocco, refused to concede decline and instead declared the nasr (victory) of their deen (religion) of Islam over Europe, or used Ibn Khaldun to determine the fall of the European dunya (world). Only the Moriscos, who had been exposed to the empiricism of European thought, believed that war technology - and manuals about it and about other technologies - was needed to bridge the gap between a modernizing Europe and a stagnant Islamic West.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-78
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Early Modern History
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2005


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