Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Questioning the decline theories...

Upto the 17th century, the Ottoman Caliphate had an uninterrupted chain of great leaders, a growing prosperous economy and increasing territories. European traders depended on Ottoman Sultans for trade privileges and routes through the empire for their economic growth.
The eighteenth century became a period of transition; the Ottomans witnessed major changes in their internal and external relations, whilst the European nations witnessed political reforms, technological and industrial innovation and global expansion.
By 1914, Ottoman and Western economies were intertwined to an unprecedented degree and the Ottomans were no longer seen with previous importance.[1]
It has long been argued by nationalists and revisionists that the Ottoman Empire struggled to respond to the rapid changes and challenges it faced leading to its demise and division in the early twentieth century. The theories of decline are reviewed and it is argued that whilst the Caliphate existed, there was no absolute economic or political decline. In fact, the Ottoman Caliphate was witnessing a process of growth and expansion, brought to an abrupt and unnatural end by the machinations of Britain and France after the First World War.
Muslim countries were flung into an absolute and relative decline that commenced in 1924 in the post-Ottoman world. The article will argue that efforts by groups calling for revival of the unified Islamic Caliphate system across the Muslim world appears to be the most credible political call for the future prosperity and success of the Muslim world and those who enter its ambit of influence.

The emergence of Islam in the sixth century coincided the collapse of the Roman Empire and the consequent decline of Europe into civilisational chaos.[2] The centuries of Islamic power in the Middle East corresponded to the Middle/Dark Ages period of European disarray and weakness.[3]

However, the Islamic expansion came to an abrupt halt in the late seventeenth century, when Ottoman armies were routed at Vienna leading to discussions amongst Ottoman intellectual circles of a decline. In 1603, the English historian Richard Knolles described the Ottomans as “the present terror of the world” and by the mid-nineteenth century, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia described it as “the sick man of Europe”, a term by which it was to become stigmatised.[4] The financial problems of the Ottoman Empire were perceived to be at the heart of the growing disparity with the European powers, visible in territory, technology and warfare.[5] Expanding into the Muslim world through occupations and intervention, they carved up the Ottoman Empire at the start of the twentieth century, leaving the Muslim world dumbfounded.[6]

Subsequent nationalist movements, writers and politicians wrote about the Ottoman presence in very hostile and negative terms,[7] with many works being vacuous, based on suspect sources and heavily biased.[8] Quataert states:

Given the nationalist logic of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century history writing, the Ottoman legacy has been difficult to assess and appreciate. The biases come from many sides. West and central European... old fears have persisted to the present day and arguably have been transformed into cultural prejudices... now being directed against the full membership of an Ottoman successor state, Turkey, into the European Union. Moreover, nationalist histories have dismissed the place of the multi-ethnic, multi-religious formation in historical evolution... In the more than thirty countries that now exist in territories once occupied by the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman past until recently has been largely ignored and/or considered in extremely negative terms.

Arabs and Turks in seeking a new identity and foundation for their states exhibited similar hostility, preferring to go back to the Pharaohs, Kings of Babylon and the Hittites of pre-Ottoman Anatolia. This hostility and often vilification,[10] appears less to actual Ottoman policies and more to their state building processes.[11] Doumani’s study of the Arab region of Ottoman Palestine notes, “...most Arab nationalists view the entire Ottoman era as a period of oppressive Turkish rule which stifled Arab culture and socioeconomic development and paved the way for European colonial control and the Zionist takeover of Palestine... The intellectual foundation for this shared image can be traced to the extensive literature published during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by Westerners bent on “discovering,” hence reclaiming, the Holy Land from what they believed was a stagnant and declining Ottoman Empire.”[12]

European economic history concentrated on trade around the Mediterranean, the Americas, India and South East Asia, ignoring the empire in between that was the centre of the known world throughout this period.[13]

Many writers have advocated theories arguing why the Muslim world in general (and the Ottoman Empire in particular) underwent a decline.[14] However, the problem is much larger and more complex than this, with Ottoman history having being rewritten for political and cultural advantage and speculative theories rife with inconsistent research, ahistorical assumptions and embedded biases.[15] The complexity and multi-faceted nature of the Ottoman economy[16] does not lend itself to the analyses that have been provided to date. Faroqhi cites earlier scholars[17] who realised with the commencement of archival studies, details as well as major generalisations would need to be modified or even totally discarded.[18] She cites errors present in secondary literature passed over by generations,[19] “Some errors may be just amusing, such as the story that the heads of the Ottoman religious-cum-legal hierarchy, the seyhulislams, if executed, were ground to death in a gigantic mortar and pestle... Others are more serious and have much hampered research, such as the inclination to explain anything and everything by Ottoman decline”.[20]

The problem needs deconstructing, its constituent components investigating so that an accurate historical picture can be built in order to answer the original question.

This article will focus on the socio-economic aspect, arguing the Ottoman Empire did not undergo an economic decline prior to its demise.[21] Unlike its contemporaries, the Safavid and Moghul Empires, “...despite wars and internal conflict from the 1770s through the 1830s, the Ottomans managed to regroup and survive into the modern era with a strong central state and many of their central institutions intact, while many of their contemporaries in both Europe and Asia collapsed.”[22] The Moghul leadership undertook little significant reforms involving the adoption of new European technologies,[23] whilst the Ottomans showed ingenuity and creativity in their responses to the challenges they faced,[24] were seen as the legitimate leaders of the Muslim world since taking Constantinople and were historically the most important of the three.[25] Furthermore, the Ottomans have not had a fair trial in academic works due to the bias and negative history writing of the nationalists and Orientalists post-demise making a rebalance long overdue.[26] Doumani states, “Considering that the historiography of Palestine is dominated by nationalist discourses on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli divide, and that these discourses are built on the premise of a sharp discontinuity from the past caused by outside intervention, there is no shortage of assumptions to be revised and new issues to introduce.”

“Traditionally, the argument states that the Ottoman Empire reached its peak in the sixteenth century under Suleiman the Magnificent, and thereafter began an inexorable stagnation and decline lasting until the twentieth century.” (Jonathan Grant) [28]

The nineteenth and twentieth century’s produced a number of revivalists and thinkers who attempted to revive the Islamic world, with some discussing the decline thesis explicitly and others assuming it in their works.[29] Modern scholars on the subject have primarily comprised historians, with contributions from others.[30] Western scholars have generally focused more on theoretical constructs whereas Turkish scholars being closer to the original sources have avoided theorising. With the introduction of archival studies, leading Ottomanists[31] have produced research allowing a more detailed picture of the Ottoman era to be reconstructed, especially the socio-economic dimensions.

To evaluate an absolute Ottoman economic decline, a review of the broader context of these discussions is important, as historically writers did not write about economics as a distinct discipline, viewing it inseparable from a socio-econo-political landscape. Moreover, general decline theses litter discourse with a number of intellectual debris that is worth reviewing and marginalising.

Confusingly, the authors of decline theories considered both internal and external factors and a number of potential starting periods across a millennium of Islamic history.[32] This section will review the historic and contemporary decline theses.

Historic Theories

The earliest writer on the subject, Ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328),[33] believed internal causes had led to the decline of the Muslims, namely heretical Sufi practices, Shiite eschatology, and rigidity of law (mazahib).[34] His explanations assumed a dilution or corruption of Islamic thought; a relativist position[35] whilst having an element of truth against some extreme positions, unfortunately lacks substance against its mainstream opponents.[36] One would expect historical evidence and explanations correlating these conclusions with a decline, however this is lacking. Many of his causes appeared during and before the rise and peak of the Umayyad and Abbasid civilisations, and are contradicted by the golden Ottoman period 1300-1600, with the rise of Ottoman civilisation.[37] In relation to ceasing ijtihad and rigidity of law, the Shiites of Iran have maintained this tradition throughout however their Safavid and Fatimid Empires collapsed.[38]

Ibn Khaldun[39] (1332-1406) dealt this argument a stronger blow with a more cogent and sophisticated explanation charting the rise and fall of civilisations in general and the Muslim world in particular. He produced a circular causation model that encompassed socio-econo-political elements[40] along with trigger mechanisms that would initiate the cycle. He attributed the original cause to the emergence of dynastical Umayyad rule,[41] triggering a long decline, comprising a gradual and complex sequence of inseparable events.[42] Although his model helps to explain elements of Muslim political history well, it fails in the move to modernity with balance of power shifting from the countryside to the cities aided by gunpowder and slaves, no matter how disliked, defended and maintained the Islamic civilizations very successfully.[43] Despite Umayyad harsh practices, their era clearly charts a civilisational rise.[44] Following devastation and destruction in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,[45] order was restored with Ottoman rule,[46] signifying the rise of a new civilisation.[47] With hindsight, it is possible to discern there was no general and consistent decline up to the sixteenth century but a number of socio-econo-political disruptions caused by invasions and political mismanagement. As such, a more detailed explanation is necessary to such reductionist models to explain the contours of historical events and processes.

The Ottomans were aware of dislocations and problems in their traditional system.[48] Mustafa Ali[49] (1541-1600) a vocal critic believed the system that did not promote men of his ability must have deep-seated flaws. The inability to enforce good governance, particularly at the frontier provinces, was seen as a reflection of the weakness of government, personified in the role of the incumbent Sultan who had absolute power. His views were used uncritically to bolster the paradigm of decline, measured from the golden age of Suleiman, enjoying popular support until relatively recently.[50] Ali’s views relate to observations of state problems in a given period, and with an absence of correlating trends and their effects beyond this period, his generalised conclusions are empirically questionable and need to be taken with care. Furthermore, it is no longer historically fashionable to attempt to attribute historical causation to individual personalities.[51]

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw the advice literature genre focus on military tax assignments and the timar system[52] amongst others.[53] The system that had worked well since the Abbasid period was seen as no longer working and a symptom of decline. However, its gradual replacement by a cash-based tax-farming mechanism (malikane) in the eighteenth century, arguably serving the financial needs of central government more appropriately, provided a reformation of this institution to cope with prevailing realities.[54]

Mustafa Naima Effendi[55] (1655-1716) revived Ibn Khaldun’s circular causation model[56] in his “Cycle of Equity” theory,[57] when it was felt the state was facing challenges that were not being dealt with adequately. With a number of writers focusing on a decline during this period, each successively utilising a similar model, some commentators have wondered whether Ibn Khaldun’s theory had a stifling effect on Ottoman intellectual life.[58] In contrast, Ahmed Resmi (1700-1783), an active political figure who had travelled beyond the borders in an official capacity, refers to events in his own lifetime. His advice, more specific and concrete in nature, was embedded in later literature. His views included the futility of rulers attempting to conquer more lands than resources and natural forces allow, as it will exhaust the subjects and have nothing to show for it.[59]

The eighteenth century saw concern and advice move to the avoidance of wars for which the state was ill-prepared, in particular the disastrous six year war with Russia, 1768-1774, and the adoption of Western technology.[60] This shift in discussion to address contemporary problems facing the Ottomans following centuries of growth and expansion was a shift from the decline thesis.

The nineteenth century saw Ahmed Cevdet[61] produce his history of the Ottoman Empire from 1774 to 1826. He did not consider a long-term decline, but the specific problems and challenges that required solutions, primarily the diplomatic crises of the period. His discussions of the political constellations and military campaigns in the historical context were one of a number of formal innovations in the literature genre to which he contributed.[62]

In surveying these debates, advice by writers was often informed by their position in relation to the Ottoman bureaucracy,[63] often utilised by politicians to outmanoeuvre their rivals. As such, “corruption” and “decline” have not only been used by modern Turkish and European-American historiography but by earlier writers too.[64]


The late nineteenth and twentieth century brought a host of new theories returning to emphasize a decline, generally falling in one of three categories: intellectual, political and cultural.


A number of scholars, particularly Muslim, argue the Muslim world went through an intellectual decline, commencing around the twelfth century with the ceasure of ijtihad (research).[65] To support this view, twelfth century official pronouncements prohibiting ijtihad[66] are cited. The existence of jurists undertaking this activity,[67] especially in the Shiite world, would indicate these pronouncements did not have the intended effect. However, it has not been shown how these pronouncements contributed to stagnation or decline in social institutions or processes.

Believing the causes to be more fundamental, Afghani and Abduh believed the intellectual decline of the Muslim world stemmed from its deficient educational system,[68] which discouraged rational reasoning and suppressed intellectual curiosity, something incompatible with Islamic teachings.[69] Factors like economic instability, loss of territories and weakening of central government may have had more of a negative impact on scholarly activities.[70] The Ottomans deemed education important, instituting madrasas in the fourteenth century, which rapidly grew in numbers and evolved in content over the centuries.[71] The Ottomans focused on military schools, rational subjects and sciences revived from the seventeenth century onwards[72] and increased under the tanzimat reforms of the nineteenth century.[73]

Western scholars like Sarton, Sachau and Wiet argued moderate views were hijacked by “pious bigots” thus enslaving thought. The eleventh century was seen as a turning point in the spirit of Islam and “had it not been for Ashari and Ghazali, the Arabs might have been a nation of Galileos, Keplers and Newtons”.[74] Muslims were seen as encouraging the tradition of esoteric theology and discouraging works of secular human affairs.[75] Revivalists like Alatas argued the ullema focused on theology at the expense of problem solving and socially useful knowledge; as custodians of Islamic civilisation, they abdicated their responsibility as a functioning intellectual group to guide public policy.[76] These explanations do not explain why the Ottomans increasingly adopted the latest scientific and technological innovations, generally encouraged by the scholars,[77] who had a well-diversified education including math, medicine and philosophy along with religious books.[78] Recent research into Ottoman history indicates a large number of thinkers existed throughout the Ottoman periods, however further research and analysis of their works is required.[79]


Lapidus’s theory innovatively argues the evolution and transformation of the cultural institutions of state during the Seljuq and later Mongol periods resulted in a new societal identity. An identity that comprised a fusion of Arab-Persian-Turkish traditions, the Islamic caliphate legacy and heritage of Persian concepts of imperial monarchy blended with Turkish concepts of political chieftaincy, law and world conquest.[80] The Arabs had originally brought a linguistic/religious identity to the Middle East, a predominant identity of later Middle Eastern civilization. When the Turks accepted Islam, they maintained their Turkic language as part of their identity. They became patrons of an Arabo-Persian Islamic civilization resulting in a new lingua-religio cultural identity that fused Turkic-Islamic, termed Ottoman. Thus, tensions and schisms in the societal body politic were formed that were exploited in the nineteenth century by autonomous regions and centrifugal forces of nationalism. Quataert disputes Arab, Turk, Armenian and Kurdish nationalist tendencies causing the state’s demise, claiming few called for or breaking away from the empire with the overwhelming majority expecting and opting to remain within an Ottoman system. He believes that the nationalist sentiments and stereotypes were found, invented and magnified by those involved in post-Ottoman nation building.[81]

Itzkowitz[82] argued Ottoman conservatism prevented a response to modernity - retaining old ways and inflexible clergy, politicians and military[83] resulted in a decline. Complacency and a superior attitude meant they could learn nothing from the West.[84] However, these views do not appear to be supported by detailed Ottoman history, appearing to be based on stereotypical images generalised from instances.

Bernard Lewis’s consideration of the change of relationship between Europe and Middle East produced a Western Upsurge theory – the Ottoman state may not have declined, the West relatively overtook it, obviating the need for explaining a decline however raising new questions.


Toland claimed Islam itself was the problem, that Mohammed ordered his followers to be ignorant “because he saw the spirit of inquiry would not favour him. This is how Islam maintained itself.” Diderot continued with the argument that Mohammed was the enemy of reason; that he could not read or write, and so he encouraged Muslims to hate and have contempt for knowledge that in turn secured the survival of Islam.[85] These views have little credibility given the detailed exposition of Mohammed’s life and the progress of Islamic civilisation.[86] Lewis argues cultural barriers prevented the Islamic world from entering modernity,[87] including the place of women, absence of political secularism and resistance to the “systematic” quality of modernity.[88] Alam provides a detailed refutation of Lewis’s views, starting with an analysis of his prejudicial “Orientalist” approach that Edward Said critiqued in the 60s, the lack of a global context to his narrative, an ahistorical incongruence and contradictions and a lack of objectivity in his writings.[89]

Recent scholarship however, criticises the all-encompassing nature of decline theories. Toledano argues the increased scope and sophistication of Ottoman studies makes a uniform view difficult to justify, “...that the processes that unravelled during the period of so-called decline as manifestations of remarkable adaptation to changing realities, which reflect the resourcefulness, pragmatism, and flexibility of the Ottoman imperial system, rather than its ineptitude”. Overemphasis on local and Arab historiography, “has managed to submerge imperial history and pronounce the virtual disintegration of Ottoman central authority, its projected power, economic significance, and sociocultural influence”.[90] Similarly, Hourani states, “Rather than speaking of [Ottoman] decline, it might be more correct to say that what had occurred was an adjustment of Ottoman methods of rule and the balance of power within the empire to changing circumstances. By the end of the eighteenth century the Ottoman dynasty had existed for 500 years and had been ruling most of the Arab countries for almost 300; it was only to be expected that its ways of government and the extent of its control would change from one place and time to another.”[91]

In summary, Western Scholars pinned the roots of decline in the eleventh century with the rise of the Seljuk Turks and a visible decline around the late sixteenth century.[92] Turkish historians generally pinned it around the late seventeenth century.[93] Classical Muslim thinkers placed roots of a decline in the eleventh and twelfth centuries with the closing of the Gates of Ijtihad (research).[94] Moreover, Grant poignantly states, “In its broadest application, Ottoman "decline" has served as a negative judgment on the Islamic world.”[95]


“Decline, though, does not just happen because a major power loses a regional war. It also occurs when other actors either begin to play by a different set of rules... or play by the same set more effectively.” (Michael Cox)[96]

Berkes was one of the first writers in the 1960s to summarise the works on Ottoman socio-economic history.[97] He suggested one of the reasons for Ottoman economic decline was the inability of the ruling class to make a clear choice between war and the more conventional types of capital formation.[98] Furthermore, he stressed the relative distance of state from social forces, which also contributed to this decline, a familiar theme with later scholars.[99] Berke’s work however focused on the confrontation of the Ottomans and the Europeans,[100] though important however had little detail on the commercial activities of the state.

Itzkowitz and Inalcik state Ottoman writers attributed the empire’s troubles to the dissolution of the circle of equity, erosion of the sultan’s authority, disruption of the timur system and the demise of the devshirme, “describing symptoms rather than causes”.[101] They argue causes comprised geographical and logistical limitations, population growth after the sixteenth century, inflation due to influx of Peruvian silver and the end of profitable conquests.[102] Itzkowitz states, “the state could find no remedy” to these problems, and Inalcik, “As a result of these upheavals, the Ottoman Empire of the seventeenth century was no longer the vital empire it had been in the sixteenth”[103] – however neither show the issues remained a long-term problem. Cook tries to prove a tremendous increase in population in the sixteenth century Anatolia, though he admits recorded figures to be small, and the areas under study were not densely populated – he tries to prove his hypothesis by one single case study.[104]

Islamoglu in her work on the peasants of Corum and Sivas takes an alternative view[105] arguing an increase in population increased economic growth, cultivating more market-oriented crops as their numbers increased, rather than stunting it.[106] McCloskey argued that an increase in population should increase the volume of transactions and economic activity and lead to a decline in prices.[107] (Comparatively, historians argue one of the factors of Britain’s industrial revolution was a population increase growing from 7.5 million to 18 million in the late eighteenth century.)[108] Pamuk however highlights Morineau’s recent research with specie flows into Europe continuing to increase during the seventeenth century even after prices declined, casting doubts on the causality of inflation by bullion inflows.[109]

A number of dependency theories based on a world-systems framework divided the international economy into a centre of wealth and power and a dependant periphery of poor and exploited countries.[110] Decline was seen as caused by colonialists, financiers and multi-national corporations, the empire de-industrialised because of free trade treaties concluded with European powers in 1839-41.[111]

Issawi advocated three factors as to why the Middle East lagged behind Europe’s economic miracle – ecological, political and socio-cultural. Firstly, lack of rivers and forests that facilitated energy needs for machinery. Secondly, a government alien in culture and language to the subject peoples, with state interference in the economy inhibiting growth of markets and civil societies, retarding economic growth. Thirdly, like Bernard Lewis, cultural structures such as large families, early marriage and high rates of illiteracy detracting economic from growth.[112] Recent studies have showed Issawi’s assertions to be partially true at best. Cuno and Goffman looked at Egypt and Anatolia and showed economic policies and processes changed prior to European involvement. Social life in the Middle East was changing at varying paces across the region – Quataert, Tucker and Doumani showed family size, marriage patterns and inheritance were neither static nor consistent across the region. Scholars like Shield argued Ottoman policy and economic development to be more complex than Issawi would have us believe. [113]

Kuran argues a case of underdevelopment in relation to Europe rather than an absolute economic decline. He believes certain Islamic institutions were obstacles to economic development generating evolutionary bottlenecks.[114] Though not posing disadvantages at the time of emergence, they became handicaps by perpetuating themselves. He concludes, “As Islamic contract law stagnated, Europe developed a series of new organizational forms capable of accommodating more members” leading to the creation of the joint stock company.[115] He does not however evaluate what economic impact such issues had.

Faroqhi believes Ottoman history as one characterized by "crisis and change," rather than "decline". She points to some of the epistemological problems that historians of this period confronted, and cautions against uncritical adoption of received wisdom. Faroqhi argues that the turn of fortunes was prompted in the late eighteenth century with the disastrous six year war with Russia (1768-74) resulting in political fragmentation causing adverse effects on some provincial economies reversed in the nineteenth century with a number of reforms (tanzimat).[116] She develops a polycentrism theme of the Ottoman economy, highlighting at least three major economic centres, Istanbul, Aleppo, and Cairo charting the role of merchant networks in sustaining the empire's trade.[117] Özmucur and Pamuk argue, “...the Ottoman state and society showed considerable ability to adapt to changing circumstances in Eurasia from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. The central bureaucracy managed to contain the many challenges it faced with pragmatism, flexibility and a tradition of negotiation to co-opt and incorporate into the state the social groups that rebelled against it. The Ottoman state also showed considerable flexibility not only in military technology, but also in its fiscal, financial, and monetary institutions.”[118]

Quataert whilst considering the last century of Ottoman rule argues Ottoman agriculture and manufacturing adapted to the industrial revolution. Although the economy by 1914 had become semi-colonial, cultivators, merchants and manufacturers did not simply capitulate. Rather, they adapted to new markets and techniques, in some cases recapturing domestic markets and developing export-oriented versions of older crafts.[119] Quataert’s view also appears to be "activity and change," rather than decline.[120]

Palairet whilst considering the Ottoman legacy in the Balkans, argues the changes Ottoman institutions underwent in the early nineteenth century had a profound and beneficial effect on the Balkans economies.[121] Centralisation did away with roving bandits, regular tax demands and military supplies stimulating development of proto-industries. However, with expulsion of Ottoman elites, taxes were drastically reduced and many governments[122] discouraged peasant involvement in the market, resulting in reversion to subsistence economies, collapse of protoindustries with many towns declining having lost their political and economic functions. As such, national independence was a misfortunate rather than a stimulant to Balkan economies with European capitalists avoiding incorporating regions of limited productivity into the world system. Palairet argues elites desiring urbanisation and industrialisation of Serbia, Bulgaria or Bosnia were better to remain within the Ottoman orbit.[123]


“However singular and exceptional a powerful nation’s qualities might be, it cannot, forever, expect to determine the way in which the international system operates.” (Michael Cox) [124]

The Ottoman state began in 1300 as a Turkish frontier principality focusing on the gaza (holy war). This gaza character underpinned the Ottoman state’s conquest policies, military structure and predominance of the military class. The seizure of Gallipoli in 1354 gave this principality, status of an empire, spanning the Balkans and Asia Minor. The fledgling empire fell with Bayezid’s challenge of the Mongol overlord Timur in 1402. Stability was returned during Mehmed’s rule followed by rapid conquests with competent Sultans from Murad, Bayezid and Mehmed through to Suleiman in the sixteenth century who amongst other strategies, developed naval supremacy in the Mediterranean.[125] Ottoman institutions assumed their classic forms and patterns over a number of centuries. The empire in the sixteenth century, signified by the period of Suleiman, represented the peak and maturity of this structure.[126]

The Ottomans saw military expansion and fiscalism as the source of wealth, with agriculture seen as more important than manufacture and commerce.[127] Western mercantilists gave more emphasis to manufacture and industry in the wealth-power-wealth equation, moving towards capitalist economics comprising expanding industries and markets whereas the Ottomans continued along the trajectory of territorial expansion, traditional monopolies, conservative land holding and agriculture.[128]

This section seeks to provide an insight into the Ottoman economy.


Ottoman censuses began in the early nineteenth century, with population approximations having to be created with demographic patterns for earlier periods.[129]

It is unclear why the population in the eighteenth century was lower than that in the sixteenth century. However, it began to rise to reach 25-32 million in 1800, with around 10 million in the European provinces (primarily the Balkans)[130], 11 million in the Asiatic provinces and around 3 million in the African provinces. Population densities were higher in the European provinces, double those in Anatolia, which were triple Iraq or Syria and five times Arabia.[131] In 1914, the Ottoman population was 26 million, similar to that of 1800,[132] in between being reduced from over 3 million square kilometres to around a third. This means there was a doubling of population, increasing population densities in the empire. The average lifespan comprised 49 years towards the end of the empire, compared to mid-twenties in Serbia at the beginning of the nineteenth century.[133] Epidemic diseases and famine caused major disruption and demographic changes. In 1785 around one sixth of the Egyptian population died from plague and Aleppo saw its population reduced by twenty percent in the 1700s.[134] Six famines hit Egypt alone between 1687 and 1731 and the last famine to hit Anatolia was four decades later.[135] They were brought under control in the nineteenth century with improvements in sanitation, healthcare and transportation of foodstuffs.

The rise of port cities saw the clustering of populations caused by the growth of steamships and railroads. Urbanization increased from 1700-1922, with towns and cities growing, especially with the improvements in health and sanitation, which made them more attractive to live and work. Port cities like Salonica, in Greece, saw a population rise from 55,000 in 1800 to 160,000 in 1912 and Izmir saw 150,000 in 1800 grow to 300,000 in 1914.[136] Some regions conversely had population falls - Belgrade saw its population drop from 25,000 to 8,000 due to political causes.[137] Population statistics thus mask varying experiences in different regions.

Economic and political migrations had impact across the empire, for instance the Russian and Austria-Habsburg annexation of the Crimean and Balkan regions saw large influxes of Muslim refugees – 200,000 Crimean Tartars fleeing to Dobruja.[138] Between 1783 and 1913, approximately 5-7 million refugees flooded into the Ottoman Empire, at least 3.8 million of whom were Russians.[139] Some migrations left indelible marks such as tensions (Turkey and Bulgaria) whereas centrifugal effects were noticed in other territories, simpler demographics emerging from diverse populations. Economies were also impacted with the loss of artisans, merchants, manufacturers and agriculturists.[140]


During the nineteenth century, new technologies radically transformed the challenge of distance to both travel and communications. Through the invention of the steam engine in Britain, water and land transport revolutionised the conduct of trade and commerce. The steam ship meant journeys became predictable, times shrank and unimaginable weights could be carried more cheaply. Quataert cites the Istanbul-Venice route, a main trade artery, taking anything from fifteen to eighty-one days in the past, was now reduced to ten days. Sail ships would carry 50 to 100 tonnes – steamships could now carry 1,000 tonnes.[141]

New routes once not possible were now traversable – rivers that carried cargoes only in one direction could now be traversed both ways bringing innumerable benefits to regions. New routes like the Suez Canal were created, prompted by steamships, changing trade demographics across the Near East as trade was rerouted. Quataert’s research shows volume of trade began to rise in the nineteenth century. By 1900 sailboats accounted for 5 percent of ships visiting the Istanbul, however this 5 percent was greater in number than any year of the nineteenth century.[142] In 1873, Istanbul handled 4.5 million tons of shipping – this was 10 million tons by 1900.[143] These ships accelerated growth of port cities with deep harbours to accommodate ever-growing ships. Europeans however owned 90 percent of commercial shipping operating in Ottoman waters.[144] Not all regions benefitted from steam ships as rerouting meant trade from Iran, Iraq and Arabia now did not need to go through Istanbul, Aleppo, and even Beirut, leading to losses in these territories.

The Ottoman world split into the European provinces of wheeled transport and non-wheeled transport in Anatolia and the Arab world.[145] Railroads revolutionized land transport profoundly, cutting journey times drastically promoting population movements and changing rural-urban relations. Railroads offered cheap and regular transport for bulk goods, allowing for the first time the potential of fertile interior regions[146] to be exploited. When built near these regions agriculture developed rapidly with hundreds of thousands of tons of cereals being shipped by this way.[147] Railroads had additional benefits for non-commercial passengers who began using them with 8 million passengers using the 1,054-mile Balkan lines and 7 million using the Anatolian 1,488 miles.[148] Railroads also created a new source of employment, over 13,000 workers by 1911.[149] With low population densities and lack of capital, the Ottomans did not develop extensive railroad or shipping industries.[150] Most of the capital for railroads came from European financiers, which gave them considerable financial control.[151]

Existing economic activity did not fall, on the contrary rising. The business and animals used previously to transport goods between regions found new work in moving goods to and from trunk lines. The Aegean areas alone had over 10,000 camels working to supply local railroads - Ankara station had a thousand camels at a time waiting to unload goods.[152] Furthermore, additional territories running by railroads came under development and agriculture. Like sailing vessels, land transport contributed to and invigorated trade and commerce across the empire.


The Ottoman Empire was an agrarian economy, labour scarce, land rich and capital poor. Majority of the population[153] earned their living from small family holdings and this contributed to around 40 percent of taxes for the empire directly as well as indirectly through customs revenues on exports.

Cultivator families drew their livelihoods from a complex set of different economic activities and not merely from growing crops. This included growing a variety of crops for their own consumption[154] as well as rearing animals for their milk and wool. Some rural families manufactured goods for sale to others, for instance Balkan villagers travelled to Anatolia and Syria for months to sell their wool cloth.[155] This pattern established for the eighteenth century had not significantly changed at the beginning of the twentieth century. [156] That is not to say that there were no changes in the agrarian sector. Nomads played an important role in the economy, providing animal products, textiles and transportation. They were troublesome for the state and hard to control – sedentarization programs took place in the nineteenth century, coinciding with huge influxes of refugees. This dynamic had the effect of a decline in animal rearing by tribes and an increase in cultivation. The rising commercialization of agriculture commencing in the eighteenth century meant more people began to grow more. With increased urbanisation, new markets created greater demand, easily met with the advent of railroads. State policy requiring a greater portion of taxes to be paid in cash influenced the increased production. Finally, increased demand for consumer goods themselves drove an increase in production to pay for the same.[157]

Quataert argues production rose due to a number of factors. An increase in productivity resulted from irrigation projects, intensive agriculture and utilisation of modern agricultural tools increasing in use throughout the nineteenth century. By 1900, tens of thousands of plows, reapers and other agricultural technologies such as combines were found across the Balkan, Anatolian and Arab lands. However, most of the increases in production came from vast areas of land coming under further cultivation. Families began increasing the amount of time at work, bringing fallow land into use. Sharecropping increased utilising land that had been for animal pasturage. Along with state policy, millions of refugees brought vast tracts of untilled land into production. The empty central Anatolian basin and steppe zone in the Syrian provinces were instances where government agencies parcelled out smallholdings of land to refugees. This was a recurring pattern across the empire, small landholdings the norm. Foreign holdings remained unusual despite Ottoman political weakness – probably due to strong local and notable resistance and labour shortages. Issawi et al have argued that division of labour was not possible, being based on religious grounds.[158] Inalcik however demonstrates that division of labour was historically determined and open to change. Agricultural reform programs in the late nineteenth century saw the state founding agricultural schools, model farms, and education of a self-perpetuating bureaucracy of agrarian specialists focused on increasing agricultural exports. Between 1876 and 1908, the value of agricultural exports just from Anatolia rose by 45 per cent whilst tithe proceeds rose by 79 percent.[159]

However, cheap American grain imports undermined agricultural economies across Europe in some cases causing outright economic and political crises.[160]


Whilst looking at Ottoman manufacture, a significant area of technology transfer, Quataert argues one must not only look at large factories but also the small workshops. “One will find then find that Ottoman industry was not a “dying, unadaptive, unevolving sector...” [but] vital, creative, evolving and diverse”.[161]

Over the nineteenth century, a shift occurred to rural female labour with guild organized urban-based male labour less important. The global markets for Ottoman goods fell somewhat with certain sectors expanding. However, any changes were compensated by an increase in domestic consumption and demand.[162] Mechanized production even at its peak remained an insignificant portion of total output. The lack of capital, as in other areas of the economy, deterred the mechanization of production. Nonetheless, a number of factories did emerge in Istanbul, Ottoman Europe and Anatolia. In the 1830s steam powered silk reeling factories emerged in Salonica, Edirne, West Anatolia and the Lebanon.[163]

Under the late eighteenth century fine textiles, hand-made yarns and leathers were in high demand outside the empire. However, these declined by the early nineteenth century and half a century later production for export re-emerged in the form of raw silk and oriental carpets. The two industries alone employed 100,000 persons in 1914 two-thirds in carpet-making for European and American buyers. Most workers were women and girls, receiving wages that were amongst the lowest in the manufacturing sector. Much of the manufacturing shifted to the urban areas during the eighteenth century, in order to benefit from the lower rural costs and wages.[164]

Guilds operating prior to the eighteenth century did see a decline through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Guilds provided some form of security in prices, restricting production and controlling quality and provided support to members who hit hard times. However, with market forces driving down prices their importance declined, and with the Janissaries as their backers, being disbanded by Mahmut II in 1826, their fate was sealed.[165]

By far the majority of producers targeted the 26 million domestic consumers who often lived in adjacent provinces to the producer. Analysing these producers is difficult, as they did not belong to organizations that left records.


Domestic trade vastly exceeded international trade in both value and volume though researchers have little in direct measurements.[167] Much of Ottoman history has been based on European archives[168] that did not document the empire’s internal trade resulting in it being underestimated.[169]

Quataert illustrates the size of internal trade by considering some examples. The French Ambassador in 1759 commented that total textile imports into the empire would clothe a maximum of 800,000 of a population of at least 20 million. In 1914 less than a quarter of agricultural produce was being exported the rest being consumed internally.[170] The early 1600s saw trade in Ottoman-made goods in the Damascus province exceeded five times the value of all foreign-made goods sold there. Finally, amongst the sparse internal trade data are some 1890s statistics for three non-leading cities.[171] Their sum value of their interregional trade in the 1890s equalled around 5 percent of total Ottoman international export trade at the time. Given their minor status, cities like Istanbul, Edirne, Salonica, Damascus, Beirut or Aleppo being far greater than all three, this is impressively high. These major trade centres, dozens of medium sized towns, hundreds of small towns and thousands of villages remains uncounted – it puts into perspective the size of domestic trade.[172]

Two factors that had major impact on both internal and international trade were wars and government policies. Wars had major impact on commerce especially where there were territorial losses that would rip apart Ottoman economic unity, often destroying relationships and patterns that had endured centuries.[173] The role of government policy is more hotly debated – however most policy-promoted barriers to Ottoman international and internal commerce disappeared or were reduced sharply.[174] However, there appears little to indicate a significant decline in internal trade other than disruption caused by war and ad-hoc territorial losses.


Global trade increased around sixty-four fold in the nineteenth century whereas for the Ottomans it increased around ten to sixteen fold. Exports of cotton alone doubled between 1750 and 1789. The largest increases were recorded from the ports of Smyrna and Salonica in the Balkans, however they were partially offset by some reductions from Syria and Constantinople. While cotton exports to France and England doubled between the late seventeenth and late eighteenth centuries, exports of semi-processed goods to northwest Europe also increased. Whilst the Ottoman market was important to Europe in the sixteenth century, it was no longer so by 1900. The Ottoman Empire was not shrinking - quite the opposite in fact – however it was becoming relatively less significant.[175]

As regards trade imbalance, only Constantinople ran an import surplus. Both Lampe and McGowan argue that the empire as a whole, and the Balkans in particular, continued to record an export surplus throughout the period.[176] The balance of trade however moved against the Ottomans from the eighteenth century onwards. They would re-export high value luxury goods, mainly silks from the Far East and exported many of its own goods. Luxury goods began being imported. Through the eighteenth century, exports moved to unprocessed goods[177] whilst at the same time commodities were imported from European colonies.[178] Most of these commodities were produced by slave labour undercutting domestic production. However, according to most scholars, a favourable balance of trade still existed at the end of the eighteenth century.[179] Nineteenth century trade increased multi-fold,[180] however exports remained similar to eighteenth century levels. Foodstuffs and raw materials[181] were the focus with carpets and raw silk appearing in the 1850s.[182] Although the basket of exports remained generally constant, relative importance of the goods would vary considerably.[183]

From the eighteenth century onwards, foreign merchants and Ottoman non-Muslims became dominant in the growing international trade.[184] With increasing affluence, their political significance grew especially in Syria. Muslim merchants however dominated internal trade and trade between the interior and coastal cities.[185]


Ottoman bureaucratic and military expenditure was raised by taxation, generally from the agrarian population.[186] Pamuk notes considerable variation in monetary policy and practice in different parts of the empire. Although there was monetary regulation, enforcement was often lax and little effort was made to control the activities of merchants, moneychangers, and financiers.[187] During the "price revolution" of the sixteenth century, when inflation took off, there were price increases of around 500 percent[188] from the end of the fifteenth century to the close of the seventeenth.[189] However, the problem of inflation did not remain and the eighteenth century did not witness the problem again.

The eighteenth century witnessed increasing expenditure for military related expenditure and the nineteenth century for both bureaucracy and military. McNeil describes an Ottoman stagnation through centre-periphery relations – a moderately taxed centre with periphery provinces suffering the burden of costs.[190] Though this analysis may apply to some provinces, like Hungary, recent scholarship has found that most of the financing was through provinces closer to the centre.[191] As the empire modernized itself in line with European powers, the role of the central state grew and diversified. In the past, it had contented itself with raising tax revenues and war making. It increasingly began to address education, health and public works, activities that used to be organised by religious leaders in the communities – this can be argued as being necessary in a rapidly changing world and was a necessary Ottoman response. At the end of the eighteenth century, there were around 2,000 civil officials ballooning to 35,000 in 1908.[192] The Ottoman military increasingly adopted western military technologies and methods, increasing army personnel of 120,000 in 1837 to over 120,000 in the 1880s.[193] Other innovations were increasingly being adopted including the telegraph, railroads and photography, utilised against old mediators who were increasingly marginalised.[194]

Up to 1850, the Ottoman Empire was the only empire to have never contracted foreign debt and its financial situation was generally sound.[195] As the nineteenth century increased the state’s financial needs, it knew it could not raise the revenues from taxation or domestic borrowings, so resorted to massive debasement and then issued paper money.[196] It had considered European debt, which had surplus funds available for overseas investment, but avoided it aware of the associated dangers of European control.[197] However, the Crimean war of 1853-1856 resulted in the necessity of such debt.[198]

Why had the Ottomans not developed their own financial system in line with London and Paris? It was not for the want of trying. Since the beginning of the eighteenth century, the government was aware of the need for a reliable bank. The Galata bankers, mostly Greeks or Armenians, as well as the Bank of Constantinople[199] did not have the capital or competence for such large undertakings.[200] As such, Ottoman borrowings followed the Heckscher-Ohlin theorem.[201]

Borrowing spanned two distinct periods, 1854-1876 (see Table 4). The first is the most important resulted in defaults in 1875. Borrowings were normally at 4 to 5 percent of the nominal value of the bond, new issues however being sold at prices well below these values netted of commissions involved in the issue, resulting in a much higher effective borrowing rate – coupled with a deteriorating financial situation, the borrowing rate rarely went below 10 percent after 1960.[202]

European involvement began with the creation of the Public Debt Administration, after which a relatively peaceful period meant no wartime expenditures and the budget could be balanced with lower levels of external borrowing.[203] The semi-autonomous Egyptian province also ran up huge debts in the late nineteenth century resulting in foreign military intervention. With security from the Debt Administration further European capital entered the empire in railroad, port and public utility projects, increasing foreign capital control of the Ottoman economy.[204] The debt burden increased consuming a sizeable chunk of the Ottoman tax revenues – by the early 1910s deficits had began to grow again with military expenditure growing and another default may have occurred had it not been for the outbreak of the First World War.


“A comparative perspective has helped students of the period recognize that the late Ottoman Empire shared and took action against many of the same problems confronting its contemporaries, East and West. The assertion of Ottoman agency has been critical to finishing off the stereotype of “the sick man of Europe” but the persistent legacies of modernization theories and nationalistic historiography continue to obscure our view of the period” (Fortna)[205]

The Ottoman Economy - Growth and Expansion

Those considering the late Ottoman period, seventeenth century onwards, seem better placed to argue an economic decline, when visibly the European powers overtook the Ottomans militarily and technologically.[206] However, there appears to be a tendency to assume an economic decline due to a relative shift in centre-provincial relations and fiscal problems the state faced.[207] As Williams rightly comments, “The UK floods of the summer of 2007 offer an interesting analogy. The river Thames consumed towns and villages around Oxford, not because they were in decline, sinking beneath the waves, but because the river was rising.”[208]

General overviews of Ottoman history can be made to cohere to an economic decline theory. However, when put to the test against detailed Ottoman archives for a number of regions, the decline thesis begins to unravel.

The most important of industries in the empire was that of agriculture. Like the commercial and manufacturing sectors, it had its own internal dynamics whereby it was able to adapt to changes in trading conditions. Sometimes this would result in new centers, more often than not existing methods changing or new products developing to capture new markets and opportunities.[209] Despite having undergone a number of changes over the period under examination, output continued to rise devoid of any significant European involvement in the sector.[210] Much of this rise was exported to Europe and America contributing to increasing export figures.

Manufacturing through the period 1600-1914 witnessed remarkable continuities in the loci of manufacturing; industrial centers flourishing in the 1600s were often still active in 1914.[211] Manufacturing initially struggled against Asian and then European competition in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries whereby handicraft industries were displaced by cheaper industrially produced imports.[212] However, manufacturing achieved surprising output levels, with the decline of some industries being more than compensated by the rise of new industries.[213] Decline of handicrafts production saw a shift of output move to agricultural commodity production and other manufacturing output.[214] For instance, silk reel production from the Levant emerged in the nineteenth century, as did the production of raw silks and carpets.

Foreign trade, a minor part of the Ottoman economy, became slightly more important towards the end of the nineteenth century with the rise of protectionism in Europe and producers looking to new markets. Its growth was seen throughout the period under study, in particular in the nineteenth century. Throughout the balance of payments was roughly on par with no significant long-term deficits or surpluses.

One of the distinguishing factors of the Ottoman Empire from other peripheries was that it was never colonised – as such, it was subject to inter-imperialist rivalry. The empire did have difficulty trying to protect and develop its nascent industries (which arguably contributed to its financial difficulties in the late nineteenth century), however this problem was no different to that faced by other nations at the time. Unable to develop financing models and techniques like the British and the Dutch, along with its inability to mobilise and equip reserves en masse like its European counterparts, this shortcoming contributed towards its military weakness and shrinking borders.[215] With the defeat against the Russians in the mid-nineteenth century and fighting on many fronts, it had to capitulate against Britain and allow an influx of zero-tariff goods along with an increased European military presence on its lands resulting in a weakened position in international relations. These capitulations prevented it from reorganising itself through its own finances having to rely on European finance on unfavourable terms. A number of subsequent financial crises did emerge towards the end of the nineteenth century that increased European involvement in the empire’s internal affairs, primarily in collecting taxes from securities pledged against debt. However, with foreign debt dropping from 242 million Turkish pounds in 1875 to 139 million in 1914 these events appear overstated in the literature and cannot be construed as causes or be considered part of a larger decline.

Disruption to the centrifugal forces in the socio-political environment had little impact on the economy over the long run. The balance of power between the central and provincial authorities saw the power of the provincial ayan (ruler) fall rapidly from 1808 with the successful recentralization reforms in the 1820s by Mahmud II.

With the brief comparative analysis, with all its limitations acknowledged, the Ottomans did not seem to be considerably outpaced by the British Empire that developed in parallel nor any of its rivals.

In conclusion, it appears that although there was no industrial revolution in the empire, it did achieve and sustain improving levels of living to its end.[216] Overall, the Ottoman Empire was growing and expanding at the beginning of the twentieth century addressing a changing world, a similar experience and challenges that its contemporaries were facing. Faroqhi and Quataert’s descriptions of the empire appear more appropriate, a series of calamities and changing world circumstances with the Ottoman Empire adopting to change rapidly but in relative terms not fast enough.

General Decline Theses

Each era of the Muslim civilisations brought about its own challenges and responses, some successful, others less so. The less successful responses generated low periods,[217] resulting in a Toynbeean idealization of the past making it more difficult for new dynasties and thinkers to match the idealized performance of those of the past.[218] Having reviewed the general theories of a long protracted decline and those on the economic dimension, the evidence does not appear to support such a thesis. The scholarly attempts at identifying abstract theories rely on essentializing Muslim history in ahistorical ways, going against the considerable range of variation, contours and trends, in favour of implicit ideal types – the decline thesis being a case in question. Toledano states, “The main flaw of explanations based on the Ottoman decline is their all encompassing nature. With the growth in scope and sophistication of studies treating the history of the empire in the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain the uniform view of processes over such a large geographical expanse, during such a long period of time, and covering all aspects of human history – the political, the economic, the social, the cultural and others.”[219]

Furthermore, the mere fact that explanations of a general decline thesis are so heavily contested amongst scholars renders them doubtful.[220] With such vastly varied accounts of the same phenomena, it questions the credibility of a decline thesis. As such, in my view, a decline thesis as an analytical structure should “buried”.[221]

Cause of Demise

The main challenge the Ottomans appeared to struggle with unsuccessfully, remaining a legacy across the modern Muslim world, was that of a socio-cultural political identity.[222] Though not discussed in detail in this article as it does not comprise a decline theory as such, it explains why the Ottoman society were unable to meet the challenges of leading a heterogeneous society in the twentieth century. The European territories for the first time created a balance in the Muslim empire where non-Muslims were a majority – the socio-political identity of Turkic-Persian-Islam seemed unable to provide a cohesive and unitary identity that the entire population could accept and remain loyal.

The Ottomans, like the European states, had to form ever-changing alliances playing one power off against another preventing any one of them to be in a position to take on the empire. However, they suffered from the disadvantage that they struggled to maintain territorial integrity from nationalistic forces in the European territories. Even so, it was only after the First World War, with its strongest ally Germany defeated, Russia marginalised,[223] the Austria-Hungary Empire in tatters, the stage was clear for Britain and France to divide its territories between themselves without the involvement of the other powers as planned in secret agreements between themselves made during the war.[224] Prior to this, a delicate balance between the powers was maintained, whereby no one of them was allowed to disrupt this balance in their favour, as it would lead to that nation dominating the others.[225]

Current Reality of a Post-Colonial Muslim World

It could be argued that the political decline may have been short lived had the empire been able to take advantage of German assistance to catch up with its European adversaries. Given no structural or institutionalised problems, the pragmatic and creative ability to adopt the latest technology, methods and ideas as seen in regular reforms and initiatives there is no reason to believe that this was not possible.

Like the Germans, had the empire been allowed to survive intact with its own independent sovereignty, it could have rebuilt itself after the First World War into a formidable power once again with a new political and economic configuration[226] - a situation not unlike that was faced by Bismarck in the late nineteenth century.[227]

However, with the colonialist domination of all its organs and institutions of power after the First World War, initially directly and after independence indirectly, the trajectories of the new nation states of the Ottoman Empire continued along colonially inspired lines.[228] A colonially dominated future imposed institutionalised constraints on the subsequent states, [229] forcing them to be inward looking rather than one based on the spirit of the Ottoman legacy, a future of independence, expansion and progression.

[1] Sarton, G, The Incubation of Western Culture in the Middle East, A George C. Keiser Foundation Lecture, March 29 1950, Washington DC, p. 35

[2] According to Pirenne, a Norwegian historian, the real break in Roman history occurred in the 7th century because of Arab expansion. Islamic conquest ruptured economic ties to Europe, cutting the continent off from trade and turning it into a stagnant backwater. This began a steady decline so that by the time of Charlemagne, Europe had become entirely agrarian at a subsistence level, with no long-distance trade. Pirenne says "Without Islam, the Frankish Empire would have probably never existed, and Charlemagne, without Muhammad, would be inconceivable". However, this thesis has come under question by recent scholarship.

[3] During the period described as Islam’s eminence, luminous scholars, philosophers, scientists and translators within Islam made invaluable contributions to human civilisation and the Muslim world was the centre of industry, trade and commerce.

[4] Itzkowitz, N, Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition, University of Chicago Press, London, 1980, p. 63

[5] Braudel believed the destruction of the Muslim Mediterranean trade led to the Islamic decline, Pirenne’s theory mentioned above in effect reversed – Braudel, F, Grammaire des Civilisations, Flamarion, 1987, p. 117 - cited by Faroqhi, S, op cit, 2000, p. 19

[6] Shortly after 9/11, Bernard Lewis a prominent American historian published, “What went wrong?” He addressed the difficulty Muslims had in the last three centuries in adapting to modernity. Like his predecessors, he did not provide persuasive answers to the intriguing question he posed. His explanation for failure is cultural, citing a number of problematic cultural traits Muslims have singling two out for special attention – the mixing of religion and politics and unequal treatment of women – insisting these are Islamic flaws. (Lewis was one of the historians Edward Said had heavily criticised in his deconstruction of Orientalism.) Lewis’s explanation however does not work for most researchers. However the question raised does deserve a better response – Lewis, 2002, op cit

[7] From across the Balkans (Bulgaria, Rumania, Greece and Serbia) and the Arab world including modern Turkey

[8] In most textbooks on Bulgarian and Greek history for instance, six centuries of Ottoman history barely warrants a chapter and even then, a very dark and hostile one is presented.

[9] Quataert, D, “The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000, p. 192

[10] Poppe, I and Ma’oz, M, 1997, Toledano, E R, “Ottoman-Local Elites”, op cit, p. 145

[11] In countries such as Serbia to Rumania, Turkey to Syria and Iraq - Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, pp. 193-5

[12] Doumani, B, 1995, op cit, p. 12; Fortna writes, “A comparative perspective has helped students of the period recognize that the late Ottoman Empire shared and took action against many of the same problems confronting its contemporaries, East and West. The assertion of Ottoman agency has been critical to finishing off the stereotype of “the sick man of Europe” but the persistent legacies of modernization theories and nationalistic historiography continue to obscure our view of the period” -

[13] Lewis, B, “Some Reflections on the Decline of the Ottoman Empire”, Studia Islamica, No. 9, 1958, pp. 111-27;“The Ottoman Empire stood at the crossroads of intercontinental trade... from the early sixteenth century up to World War I. At its peak in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, its population exceeded 30 million. One might have expected that the economic institutions that sustained this large, multiethnic entity for so long would be of interest to economic historians. Unfortunately, mainstream economic historians have long neglected the land regime, manufactures, economic policies, and the daily existence of ordinary men and women. As a result, the longevity of the Ottoman Empire remains an anomaly and even a mystery for many.” - Özmucur, S and Pamuk, S, “Real Wages and the Standards of Living in the Ottoman Empire 1489-1914”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 37, Iss. 04, Nov 2005, p. 295

[14] An attempt to identify the causes, factors and their effects were to be traced to produce a cogent and meaningful theory and analyze the volume of contested explanations.

[15] Regarding the Ottoman Industrial Revolution, Edward Clark said, “Ottoman responses to this European economic challenge are relatively unknown, and even the extensive and costly Ottoman industrial efforts of the 1840s seemingly have been dismissed as the casual, if not comical games of disinterested bureaucrats... What were the nature and magnitude of these Ottoman responses? What were Ottoman objectives? What main factors contributed to their failures? What if any achievements resulted?” Clark assumes the Ottoman Empire underwent an economic decline – Clark, E C, “The Ottoman Industrial Revolution”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 5, No. 1, Jan 1974, pp. 65-6

[16] Territorially spread across Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Gulf and Egypt to the Maghreb with trade, commerce and industry ranging from agriculture, transport, textiles, crafts, raw materials and commodities

[17] Scholars Gibb and Bowen

[18] Faroqhi, S, Approaching Ottoman History, Cambridge University Press, 1999, p. 177

[19] For the same reason the Ottomanist Boogert warns against the use of perceptions of the eighteenth century Ottoman capitulatory system by European and Western diplomats - Boogert, M H V D, “The capitulations and the Ottoman legal system; Qadis, Consuls and Beraths in the 18th century”, Studies in Islamic law and society, Vol. 21, Brill Academic Publishers, 2005

[20] Faroqhi, S, 1999, op cit, p. 29

[21] Argued by: Issawi, Lewis, Shaw, McNeill, Itzkowitz, McGowan, Lapidus, Sarton, Sachau, Wiet, Itzkowitz and McGowan

[22] Özmucur, S and Pamuk, S, “Real Wages and the Standards of Living in the Ottoman Empire 1489-1914”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 37, Iss. 04, Nov 2005, p. 294

[23] Voll, J, “Foundations for Renewal and Reform”, Oxford History of Islam, ed. Esposito, J, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999, p. 514

[24] Ibid, p. 511

Allowing the Ottomans to outlive their historic rivals like the Venetians, Byzantines, Spanish and Portugese and modern contemporaries such as the Romanovs, Habsburgs and Austrians.

Hamdani, A, “Ottoman Response to the Discovery of America and the New Route to India”, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 101, No. 3. Jul-Sep 1981, p. 323

[25] The Mamluks were not seen as leaders of the Muslim world, pledging allegiance to the Abbasid Caliph’s uncle after the demise of Baghdad in 1258. The Caliphate was transferred (albeit with some dispute) to the Ottoman Sultan Selim in the early sixteenth century. Aurangzeb of the Moghul dynasty pledged his allegiance to the Ottomans and the Safavids were regularly defeated by the Ottomans. As such, from the perspectives of, legitimacy and reality, the Ottoman dynasty was seen as the official leaders of the Muslim world and with their demise, the Muslim world perceived its demise.

[26] Cirakman’s dissertation of the European stereotypical views of the Ottomans is enlightening - Cirakman, A, “From Tyranny to Despotism: The Enlightenment's Unenlightened Image of the Turks”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 2001

[27] Doumani, B, Rediscovering Palestine, Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900, University of California Press, London, 1995, p. 2

[28] Grant, J, “Rethinking the Ottoman "Decline": Military Technology Diffusion in the Ottoman Empire, Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries”, Journal of World History, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1999, p. 180

[29] Including Ataturk, al-Banna, Qutb, Arsalan, Mawdudi, Alatas and Nebhani

[30] The functional specialists would broadly be categorised as follows, each contributing their expertise to the subject:

• Historians – Ibn Khaldun, Toynbee, Sarton, Lewis, Spengler, Schweitzer, Kennedy, Itzkowitz

• Ottomanists – Faroqhi, Inalcik, Toledano, Quataert, Abou-El-Haj Rifa’at, Barkhan

• Economists – Chapra, Issawi, Ibn Khaldun, Faroqhi, Inalcik, Pamuk, Quataert, Özmucur, Clay

• Politicians – Lufti Pasha, Bey, Hajji Khalifah, Hazarfenn, Sari Pasha, Mustafa Ali and the Koprulus

• Jurists – Ibn Taymiyyah, Ahmed Sirhindi, Shah Walliallah, Maqrizi, Ibn Khaldun

• Revivalists - Abduh, Alatas, Afghani, Qutb, al-Banna, Nebhani, Arsalan

These categorisations provide an intriguing insight into how the decline was viewed from a multi-disciplinary dimension.

[31] Including Barkhan, Inalcik, Itzkowitz, Faroqhi and Findley - Poppe, I and Ma’oz, M, 1997, Toledano, E R, “Ottoman-Local Elites”, op cit, p. 147

[32] Some believed the starting period was the first century of Islam with the Umayyad dynasty, the second century with the schisms and new Abbasid dynasty, others saw the invasions of Muslims lands with the Christian or Mongol invasions, whilst others looked at the mid to late Ottoman periods of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.

[33] Ibn Taymiyyah was a Hanabalite jurist, wrote during the period of Mongol occupation of many of the Islamic heartlands leading him to question that causes that had led to such a situation

[34] Some modern scholars like Dr. Taha al-Alwani of IIIT argue in a similar vein saying "both the Prophet(saw) and the Qur'an rejected taqlid, the companions of the Prophet and many others considered it an evil and also rejected it".

[35] A highly controversial matter given the fluidity, breadth and dynamism of Islamic jurisprudence

[36] The Orthodox positions of the Sunni Asharites, Maturidites and Tahawites

[37] Furthermore, it may be argued that the adoption and implementation of Ibn Taimiyyah’s views by Abd al-Wahab and his Saudi coalition resulting in modern Saudi Arabia has created an autocratic, static society with puritanical interpretations of Islam which are condemned globally.

[38] Voll, J, “Foundations for Renewal and Reform”, Oxford History of Islam, ed. Esposito, J, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999, pp. 515-16

[39] A Spanish Arab social scientist, historian, economist, statesman and jurist

[40] Royal authority, religious law, military, justice, people and wealth and the inter-relationships

[41] Mua’wiyah with the appointment of his son Yazid as Caliph during his lifetime in the eighth century began a dynastical rule in the Umayyad branch of the Quraish of Arabia

[42] Umar Chapra (a contemporary Saudi economist) argues in a similar vein using a revised model where he broadens each of the elements and extends the period of analysis to the twentieth century - Chapra, U, The Future of Economics, An Islamic Perspective, The Islamic Foundation, Leicester, 2000

[43] Hess, A C, “Islamic Civilization and the Legend of Political Failure”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies , The University of Chicago Press, 1985, pp. 35-8

[44] Umar bin Abdul Aziz, the famous Umayyad ruler, initiated a number of reforms during his period of rule; the rise of the Abbasid dynasty was a major political reformation by Shiites and non-Umayyad Arabs against the perceived tyranny and oppression of the Umayyad leadership; Ma’mun, a subsequent Abbasid Caliph, attempted to initiate a number of reforms to resolve the tensions with the Shiites during his rule, some of which were successful, others less so.

[45] Caused by Christian Crusaders in the eleventh century and Mongols in the fourteenth.

[46] For Ibn Khaldun the coming of the Turks was a manifestation of God’s beneficent concern for the Muslims and brought them strength and renewal at a time of weakness and decadence. Kitab al-Ibar, Vol. V, Bulaq, 1867, p. 371 translation in Lewis, B, Islam from the Prophet Muhammed to the Capture of Constantinople Vol. 1, New York, 1974, pp. 96-9

[47] Ottomanists see the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries as the Ottoman golden period, with a continuous chain of great leaders, sound policies, expansion and growth of the state, expansion of trade and commerce and a sequence of uninterrupted military victories - Shaw, S, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey – Volume 1. Empire of the Gazis: The Rise and Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1280-1808, Cambridge University Press, 1977, p. 113

[48] Hasan Kafi Bosnevi (1544-1616) documents these problems in his book Usul al-hikem fi nizam al-alam and later by Koci Bey (1630) in his Risale – Karpat , K H, “The Transformation of the Ottoman State, 1789-1908”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1972, p. 243

[49] Mustafa Ali was a major Ottoman historian and litterateur with experience in the religious, bureaucratic and military professions one of the earliest and most vocal critics of the Ottoman administration - Fleischer, C H, “Bureaucrat and Intellectual in the Ottoman Empire: The Historian Mustafa Ali, 1546-1600”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 22, No. 1, Feb 1990, pp. 127-8

[50] Faroqhi, S, 1999, pp. 149-50; Fleischer, C H, 1990, op cit, p. 127

[51] Turner, H A Jr., “Human Agency and Impersonal Determinants in Historical Causation: A Response to David Lindenfeld”, History and Theory, Wesleyan University, 1999, pp. 300-2

[52] A system where land was parcelled out to officials and military personnel to collect taxes directly from the peasant workers saving the administration overhead of the state undertaking this task

[53] Koci Bey, best known as the Ottoman Machiavelli, was concerned with the military and agrarian breakdown. Akhisari’s Usul ul-Hikem fi Nizam ul-Alem (Principles Concerning the Order of the World) outlined four causes for the problems of the empire: unsuitable leaders who ignored justice, disregard for the ulema, breakdown of army discipline and training and corruption and reign of women - Aksan, V, “Ottoman Political Writing, 1768-1808”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 25, 1993, p. 54

[54] Howard, D, “Ottoman Historiography and the Literature of Decline in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries”, Journal of Asian History, 22, 1, 1998, pp. 52-77; Poppe, I and Ma’oz, M, 1997, Ehud R. Toledano, “Ottoman-Local Elites”, op cit, pp. 153-54; Genc, Mehmet, 2004, ed. Islamoglu-Inan, H, op cit, pp. 347-8

[55] This theory became the forerunner for many of the reform attempts that subsequently followed as Naima was the officially commissioned historian of the Ottoman Empire, even though he wrote about much, which he had not witnessed in person.

[56] Along with the emphasis of justice and security emphasized centuries earlier by Ghazali and Nizam al-Mulk

[57] The theory stated that:

(1) there can be no mulk (rule) or devlet (state) without the military;

(2) maintaining the military required wealth;

(3) wealth was gathered from the subjects;

(4) the subjects could prosper only through justice;

(5) without mulk and devlet there could be no justice - Thomas, L V, A Study of Naima, New York, 1972, p. 78; Abou-El-Haj, Rifa’at, A, Formation of the Modern State, The Ottoman Empire, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries, SUNY Press, New York, 1991, pp. 24-8

[58] Howard, D, “Ottoman Historiography and the Literature of Decline in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries”, Journal of Asian History, Vol. 22, 1988, p. 54

[59] Faroqhi, S, 1999, op cit, p. 155

[60] Sari Mehmed Pasha (Chief Financial Officer 6 times over 15 years), Sari Mehmed and Ibrahim Muteferrika being such examples - Aksan, V, “Ottoman Political Writing, 1768-1808”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 25, 1993, p. 55

[61] A one-time Grand Vizier and codifier of Hanafi law

[62] Faroqhi, S, 1999, pp. 156-7

[63] Abou-El-Haj, R, 1991, op cit, pp. 24-8

[64] Faroqhi, S, 1999, op cit, pp. 151-2

[65] "The closing of the door of Ijtihad is pure fiction suggested partly by the crystallization of legal thought in Islam, and partly by the intellectual laziness which, especially in the period of spiritual decay, turns great thinkers into idols. If some of the later doctors have upheld this fiction, modern Islam is not bound by this voluntary surrender of intellectual independence" - Iqbal, M, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Ashraf, Lahore, 1988, p.178

[66] Such pronouncements were made believing the existing body of Shariah law expounded by earlier generations of jurists, known as the classic jurists, during Islam’s high period, as sufficient and trying to limit the number of wayward and conflicting arguments that were arising in the eleventh and twelfth centuries – Juwayni is often cited as one of the earliest jurists to express such a view in the eleventh century.

[67] In the Sunni world notably Ibn Rushd, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qudama, Suyuti and Shatibi opposed this trend with new and innovative views

[68] Prominent revivalists of the nineteenth century, Abduh was the student of Afghani. Afghani ascribed Muslim failure to catch up with the West in science and technology to their deficient outlook and faulty perspective, arguing Islam created the desire in early Muslims to acquire knowledge. Abduh joined the attack on traditionalist ullema, “The truth is where there is proof and those who forbid science and knowledge to protect religion are really the enemies of religion.” - al-Hassan, Y; Ahmad, M; Iskander, A Z, Factors Behind the Decline of Islamic Science After the Sixteenth Century, UNESCO, 2001, – reviwed 30/10/2007

[69] The decline of the rational sciences in Islam is attributed by some to the madrasa system (which flourished after the founding of the Nizamiyya Madrasa in Baghdad by Nizam al-Mulk in 1067). Historically the educational system was based around the madrasa system favouring theology and law whilst rational sciences were studied independently. Astronomy and maths were usually pursued in observatories, equipped with specialized libraries and observational instruments. Other sciences were studied under individual renowned scientists. Most madrasas were established by individuals, the purpose usually religious. Centres studying rational sciences were usually dependent on the state, and would deteriorate and cease to exist with the decline of the states - Ihsanoglu, E, The Madrasas of the Ottoman Empire, Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation, April 2004, p. 17,, reviewed 15/10/2007

[70] Thus encouraging scholars to concern themselves with subsistence more than research – Ihsanoglu, E, 2004, pp. 15-17

[71] Bilge and Baltaci’s statistical research supports geometric growth within a number of regions studied, for example there were 40 madrassas in the fourteenth century, 97 in the fifteenth and 189 in the sixteenth

[72] Ihsanoglu, E, 2004, op cit, p. 16

[73] The Ottoman state expanded its role in educational projects through the nineteenth century supporting and accelerating educational reforms and transfer of knowledge from Europe to the empire under the famous the tanzimat reformations starting in 1839 - Clark, E C, “The Ottoman Industrial Revolution”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 5, No. 1, Jan 1974, pp. 65-76

[74]About Ashari, Browne compared the destructiveness of his influence to Jenghiz Khan and Hulagu. Sarton labelled the views of Ashari and Ghazali as scholasticism, obstacles to the progress of science in the middle ages. Sarton argued that until the sixteenth century, developments in science were taking place both in the East and West, but Western science began to grow outpacing Eastern civilization. He concluded that the West overcame scholasticism, while the former did not - al-Hassan, Y; Ahmad, M; Iskander, A Z, 2001, op cit; Sayili, A, The Observatory in Islam, Amo Press, New York, 1981, p. 410

Sarton, G, Introduction to the History of Science, Krieger, New York, 1975, p. 626

[75] Ibn Khaldun’s Muqadammah did not get introduced into al-Azhar until 1970s “yet parallels Adam Smith” – Rahman, 1982, op cit

[76] Alatas, 1977, op cit

Thus nation states of Europe moved in aggressively with new technology, military power, and comparative advantage all derived from rational knowledge to fill the Islamic core and vacuum – Issawi, C, 1982, op cit

[77] Especially in warfare where they were only a step behind the Europeans throughout the nineteenth century

[78] Kinross, J P, 1977, The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and the Fall of the Turkish Empire. New York, HarperCollins Publishers, p. 211

[79] Examples are cited in the research papers: Mandaville, J E, “Usurious Piety: The Cash Waqf Controversy in the Ottoman Empire”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1979; Litvak, M, “Money, Religion, and Politics: The Oudh Bequest in Najaf and Karbala', 1850-1903”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 33, No. 1, Feb 2001; Ihsanoglu, E, 2004, op cit

[80] He argues after 1258 regional substitutes emerged with warlords and conquerors cultivating parallel non-Muslim concepts of authority including sultans, kings, shah, malik etc whilst continuing past patronages for legitimacy. Thus the Ottomans regarded themselves as caliphs and the Safavids as Imams - Lapidus, I, “Sultanates and Gunpowder Empires”, Oxford History of Islam, ed. Esposito, J, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999, pp. 353-55

[81] Quataert, D, op cit, 2000, p. 189; Tibi, B, Arab Nationalism – A Critical Inquiry, tr. by Sluglett, M, and Sluglett, P, St Martin’s Press, New York, 1981; Hudson, M C, “Arab Nationalism: A Critical Enquiry”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1985

[82] Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University

[83] Hanioglu, M S, Garbcilar: their attitudes towards religion and their impact on the official ideology of the Turkish Republic, Studia Islamica, Vol. 2, 1997, pp. 133-58

[84] Itzkowitz, N, 1980, op cit, pp. 96-7

[85] Chapra, Toynbee, Hitti, Hodgson, Baeck and Lewis however disagree and show Islam played a positive role in the development of Muslim societies.

[86] Religion in itself is not the source of economic backwardness. Prior to the 17th century the Ottoman Empire recognised the dominant position of the Shariah in relation to political and economic life whilst allowing significant economic growth to be achieved.

[87] Lewis, B, What Went Wrong?Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002

[88] Lewis states absence of women from social life is marked out as “probably the most profound single difference” between the Islamic world and the West. Absence of separation between religion and the state is the second cultural barrier to Muslim modernization according to Lewis. Muhammad, achieved victory in his own lifetime, creating a state in which he himself was the supreme sovereign. Resistance to the “systematic” quality of modernity is the third cultural barrier he cites; framing the point metaphorically, states the Muslim world adopted the “words” of various Western cultural innovations while nonetheless failing to master the “music.” – Ibid

[89] Alam, M S, “Bernard Lewis: Scholar or Sophistry?”, Studies in Contemporary Islam, Vol. 4, Iss. 1, Spring 2002, pp. 53-80

[90] Poppe, I and Ma’oz, M, 1997, Ehud R. Toledano, “Ottoman-Local Elites”, op cit, pp. 157-9

[91] Hourani, A, A History of the Arab Peoples, Faber and Faber Ltd, 1991, p. 250

[92] al-Hassan, Y; Ahmad, M; Iskander, A Z, 2001, op cit

Sarton, G, op cit, 1975, p. 626

[93] Pamuk, S, “The Price Revolution in the Ottoman Empire Reconsidered”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 33, No. 1, Feb 2001, p. 69

[94] Mehmet , O, Islamic Identity and Development: Studies of the Islamic Periphery, Routledge

[95] Grant, J, 1999, op cit, p. 179

[96] Cox, M, “Is the United States in decline—again? An essay”, International Affairs, July 2007, Vol. 83, Iss. 4, p. 651

[97] Ibid; Berkes, N, 100 Soruda Turkiye Iktisat Tarihi, vol. 1: Osmanli Ekonomik Tarihinin Temelleri, vol. 2 Istanbul: Gercek Yayinevi, cited by Faroqhi, S, 1999, op cit, p. 189

[98] A number of internal conditions also served to inhibit new economic development. A lack of national homogeneity, the persistence of medieval groups, the unmercantilistic policies of government and monetary and fiscal measures necessitated by economic decline in the commercial, industrial and rural sectors. Economic decline had pushed the fiscal-administrative-military institutions basic to Ottoman rule out of gear, reflected in failures-military, economic etc. The vicious spiral of decline that seals the doom of a system was in its last coils by the end of the seventeenth century. The statesmen of that century were sucked into the vortex at each attempt to make reforms. The eighteenth century was to have the task of deciding at which point the spiral could be broken and turned into a linear path towards a new order - Berkes, N, The Development of Secularism in Turkey, McGill University Press, Montreal, 1964, pp. 23-9; Faroqhi, S, 1999, op cit, pp. 188-9

[99] For example Haldon (1992)

[100] Berkes, N, 1964, op cit, p. 55

[101] Itzkowitz, N, 1980, op cit, pp. 94; Inalcik, H, “The Ottoman State: Economy and Society, 1300-1600”, 1994,op cit, pp. 22-4

[102] Ibid pp. 93-9

[103] Inalcik, H, “The Ottoman State: Economy and Society, 1300-1600”, 1994,op cit, p. 25

[104] Ataman, B K, “Ottoman Demographic History (14th-17th Centuries). Some Considerations”, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1992, p. 187

[105] Influenced by Russian scholar Chayanov’s theory that a peasant economy works along the rhythm of the social family cycle rather than according to market opportunities, i.e., social rather than market laws apply - Chayanov, A V, The Theory of the Peasant Economy, Homewood, 1966

[106] Thus, the peasants of Niksar took up the cultivation of rice, a semi-luxurious item oriented at the market. It would also explain why their lands were not expropriated even with decentralisation, as the increase in revenue was taken in taxation - Faroqhi, S, 1999, op cit, pp. 104-6

[107] Pamuk, 2001, op cit, pp. 71-2

[108] Brown, R, Revolution, Radicalism and Reform, England 1780-1846, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 116-17

[109] Pamuk, S, 1987, op cit, p. 1; Pamuk, S, 2001, op cit

[110] According to Wallerstein, a world-economy is a single social economy containing multiple state or political structures that operates a capitalist mode of production in which a ceaseless accumulation of capital guides the system. The capitalist world-economy comprises a core, a periphery, and a semiperiphery. Nation-states reach the core by successfully exploiting other geographic areas in the periphery. The semiperiphery forms a buffer zone, where geographic areas can move up into the core or down into the periphery. Geographic areas outside the world-economy are relegated to the external arena. They are eventually and inevitably incorporated into the system, however. During incorporation, a geographic zone is "hooked" so it can no longer escape. Peripheralisation follows, whereby the zone is swallowed up in the capitalist mode of production, governed by pressures for capital accumulation at the core. The zone is exploited chiefly for raw materials and forced to import finished products from the core - Reeves-Ellington, B, op cit; Frank 1966, Wallerstein 1974, Amin 1977

[111] Pamuk, S, 1987, op cit; Kasaba, 1988, op cit

[112] Khater, A F, “The Middle East Economy: Decline and Recovery”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp. 146-8

[113] Khater, 1998, op cit, pp. 148-9

[114] 1) Islamic law of inheritance, which inhibited capital accumulation; 2) Islam’s lack of a concept of corporation, hindering organizational development; and, 3) Waqf, Islam's form of trust, locked vast resources into organizations likely to become dysfunctional over time - Kuran, T, “Why the Middle East Is Economically Underdeveloped: Historical Mechanisms of Institutional Stagnation”, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer 2004, pp. 71-2

[115] He cites the example of mudaraba where, according to Islamic law if a partner died during a project the partnership was dissolved and heirs would decide if it were to be rejuvenated. A large number of heirs would usually preclude this possibility, making such ventures more difficult – Ibid, p. 79

[116] Woodhead, C, “An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1914”, The English Historical Review, Oxford University Press, 1996, pp. 123-4

[117] Faroqhi, S, Towns and Townsmen of Ottoman Anatolia: Trade, Crafts and Food Production in an Urban Setting, 1520-1650

[118] Özmucur, S and Pamuk, S, 2005, op cit, p. 290

[119] Silk and carpet manufacture

[120] Reilly, J A, “An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1914”, Canadian Journal of History, Dec 1996

[121] Reeves-Ellington, B, op cit

[122] Especially in Serbia

[123] Faroqhi, S, 1999, op cit, p. 201

[124] Cox, M, “Is the United States in decline—again? An essay”, International Affairs, 2007, Vol. 83, Iss. 4, p. 653

[125] Inalcik, H, 1994,op cit, pp. 44-54

[126] İnalcık, H, “Political Modernization in Turkey”, From Empire to Republic, Essays on Ottoman and Turkish Histroy, Istanbul, 1995, p. 123

[127] Berkes described the Ottoman economy as a “war economy” where its primary revenue comprised booty from expansion. This idea has been supported by Ottomanists Halil Inalcik, 1994, op cit, and Suraiya Faroqhi - Faroqhi, S, The Ottoman Empire and the World Around it, The Library of Ottoman Studies 7, I B Tauris, London, 2004

[128] In economic terms, neither the Marxian Asiatic mode of production, nor the feudal mode found in mediaeval Europe reflect the Ottoman economy accurately, as it falls somewhere in between the two - excess peasant production was taxed by the state as opposed to it being paid in rent to feudal lords - Faroqhi, S, 1999, pp. 189-91

[129] The Ottomans developed an efficient system for counting the empire’s population in 1826, a quarter of a century after such procedures were introduced in Britain, France and America – Shaw, S J, “The Ottoman Census System and Population, 1831-1914”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1978, p. 325

[130] This area comprised roughly half the Ottoman population in the 1850s and towards its demise, when this area had been separated and fragments remained with the empire, it still comprised a quarter of the population – the Balkan fragmentation did have a significant impact on the state in the late nineteenth century, demographically and economically

[131] Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, pp. 110-11

[132] Ibid, p. 111

[133] Ibid, p. 112

[134] Ibid, pp. 112-13

[135] Ibid, p. 113

[136] Ibid, p. 114; Pamuk, S, “The Ottoman Empire and the World Economy: The Nineteenth Century”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 23, No. 3, Aug. 1991

[137] Ibid, p. 114

[138] Ibid, p. 115

[139] Ibid, p. 115

[140] Ibid, p. 116

[141] Comparatively ships like the Titanic could carry 66,000 tonnes - Quataert, D, 2000 op cit, pp. 117-8

[142] Ibid, pp. 117-8

Quataert, D, “European capital and Ottoman port workers, 1880-1909”, ed. Islamoglu-Inan, H, 2004, op cit, pp. 302

[143] Quataert, D, 2004, op cit, pp. 301-2

[144] Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, pp. 117-9

[145] Ibid, pp. 119-24

[146] Places like central Anatolia, Hawran valley in Syria etc

[147] Ibid, pp. 117-20

[148] In contrast the Arab provinces carried 0.9 million on 1,488 miles of track

[149] Ibid, p. 120-1

[150] Egypt on the other hand with dense populations did have a strong rail network system

[151] Pamuk, S, 1987, op cit, p. 131

[152] Ibid, p. 124

[153] Around 80-90 percent

[154] Cereals, fruits, olives and vegetables

[155] Islamoglu’s study of Anatolia from the seventeenth century onwards finds state policy by way of taxation and inheritance laws encouraged peasants to commercially develop fruits, vegetables and sheep - Islamoglu, 2004, ed. Islamoglu-Inan, H, op cit, p. 123

[156] Quataert, D, 2000 op cit, pp. 128-9

[157] Ibid, pp. 129-30

[158] Issawi, C, The Economic History of the Middle East, 1800-1914, A book of Readings, University of Chicago Press, London, 1966, p. 114

[159] Quataert, D, “Dilemma of Development: The Agricultural Bank and Agricultural Reform in Ottoman Turkey, 1888-1908”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 1975, pp. 210-11

[160] Critz, J M; Olmstead, A L; Rhode, P W, “"Horn of Plenty": The Globalization of Mediterranean Horticulture and the Economic Development of Southern Europe, 1880-1930”, The Journal of Economic Histor,yEconomic History Association, Vol. 59, No. 2, Jun 1999, pp. 316-352

[161] Frangakis-Syrett, E, “Manufacturing and Technology Transfer in the Ottoman Empire, 1800-1914”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 1994, p. 115

[162] Quataert, D, 2000 op cit, p. 132

[163] Ibid, pp. 132-7; Frangakis-Syrett, E, 1994, op cit, p. 116

[164] Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, p. 133

[165] Reeves-Ellington, B, op cit; Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, pp. 132-137

[166] Pamuk, S, “The Ottoman Empire in the "Great Depression" of 1873-1896”, The Journal of Economic History, Economic History Association, 1984, p. 111

[167] Quataert, D, 2000 op cit, pp. 126-7

[168] Usually English or French

[169] Faroqhi, S, 1999, op cit, p. 142

[170] Quataert, D, 2000 op cit, p. 126; Pamuk, S, 1984, op cit, p. 109

[171] Diyarbekir, Mosul and Harput

[172] Quataert, D, 2000 op cit, pp. 126-7

[173] Loss of the northern Black Sea shores to Russia meant the loss of significant textiles markets to Anatolian producers and loss of the Balkans had an even greater economic impact.

[174] Ibid, pp. 124-5

[175] Reeves-Ellington, B, op cit

[176] As early as 1850, French authorities became concerned that imports of 27.3 million francs from the Ottoman Empire exceeded what France was exporting to them 19.9 million francs and were anxious to balance the two figures - Raccagni, M, “The French Economic Interests in the Ottoman Empire”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1980, p. 342

[177] Cotton, cereals, tobacco, wool and hides

[178] Including sugar, dyestuffs and coffee

[179] Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, pp. 126

[180] 1840-1914 particularly

[181] Including wheat, barley, cotton, tobacco and opium

[182] Pamuk, S, 1984, op cit, p. 109-111

[183] For instance, cotton would fluctuate considerably, soaring during the American Civil War and subsequently collapsing. Colonial goods remained high on the imports list with finished goods like textiles, hardware and glass becoming more important.

[184] At first it was dominated by Europeans, however gradually through the eighteenth century they too gained capitulatory privileges (lower taxes) helping to increase their influence.

[185] In 1793, Aleppo alone issued 1,500 certificates to Ottoman non-Muslims for such privileges which through the course of the eighteenth century allowed them to replace their European counterparts. Istanbul boasted over 1,000 registered merchants in the early twentieth century, of which only 3 per cent comprised British, French or German merchants – Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, pp. 127-8

[186] Ibid, p. 71

[187] Under Islamic law usury was prohibited, Pamuk quotes a number of stratagems that were used, notably double-sale agreements. - Wilson, R, “A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire”, Business History Review, Boston, Summer 2003, Vol. 77, Iss. 2, p. 384; Pamuk, S, 2000, op cit

[188] These figures are based on price indices Pamuk constructed for Istanbul in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; other scholars have recorded similar trends for the period - Ibid

[189] Pamuk argues the Turkish economic historian Omer Barkan is incorrect in attributing price rises to imported inflation rather the cause being the velocity of circulation of money drove prices up, as well as increasing commercialization with the growing use of money as a medium of exchange – Pamuk, S, 2001, op cit, pp. 73-85; Wilson, R, 2003, op cit, p. 384

[190] McNeil’s contribution was informed by his research on relations between centres and peripheries of world empires - McNeil, W, Europe’s Steppe Frontier 1500-1800, The University of Chicago Press, London, 1964

[191] Finkel, C, The Administration of Warfare: The Ottoman Military Campaigns in Hungary 1593-1606, Vol I, Vienna, VWGO, 1988, p. 308, cited by Faroqhi, S, 1999, op cit, p. 180

[192] Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, p. 62

[193] Ibid, p. 63

[194] These comprised diverse groups such as the Janissaries, guilds, tribes, religious authorities and provincial notables – Ibid, p. 63

[195] Ibid, p. 341; Pamuk, S, 1984, op cit, p. 110

[196] Clay, C, “A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire”, The Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Vol. 54, No. 1, Feb 2001, p. 204; Pamuk, S, 2001, op cit

[197] Ibid, p. 71; Raccagni, M, “The French Economic Interests in the Ottoman Empire”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1980, p. 343; Anderson, O, “Great Britain and the Beginnings of the Ottoman Public Debt, 1854-55”, The Historical Journal, Cambridge University Press, 1964, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 47-63; Clay, C, “The Origins of Modern Banking in the Levant: The Branch Network of the Imperial Ottoman Bank, 1890-1914”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 26, No. 4, Nov 1994, pp. 589-96

[198] Between 1854 and 1881, the Ottoman Empire went through a critical phase of the history. Beginning with the first foreign loan in 1854, this process involved sporadic attempts by western powers to impose some control. From 1863 a second and more intense phase began leading to a snowballing effect of accumulated debts. In 1875, with external debt at 242 million Turkish pounds, over half the budgetary expenditures going toward its service, the Ottoman government facing a number of economic crises declared its inability to make repayments. The fall in tax revenues due to bad harvests and increased expenditure made worse by the costs of suppressing the uprisings in the Balkans hastened the slide into bankruptcy. After negotiations with the European powers, the Public Debt Administration was set up, to which certain revenues were assigned. This arrangement subjected the Ottomans to foreign financial control from which they failed to free themselves, in part because of continued borrowing. In 1914, the Ottoman debt stood at 139.1 million Turkish pounds, and the government was still dependent on European financiers - Clay, C, Gold for the Sultan: Western Bankers and Ottoman Finance, 1856-1881, IB Taurus, 2001; Anderson, O, “Great Britain and the Beginnings of the Ottoman Public Debt, 1854-55”, The Historical Journal, Cambridge University Press, 1964, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 47-63; Clay, C, 1994, op cit, p. 589; The Encyclopaedia of World History,, reviewed 24/10/2007; Eldem, E, “Ottoman financial integration with Europe: foreign loans, the Ottoman Bank and the Ottoman public debt”, European Review, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 13, Iss. 03, July 2005, pp. 431-45; Pamuk, S, 1987, op cit, p. 57

[199] The Bank of Constantinople was active between 1845 and 1852.

[200] Raccagni, M, “The French Economic Interests in the Ottoman Empire”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1980, p. 343; Clay, C, 1994, op cit, pp. 589-90

[201] Capital-abundant countries will export capital-intensive goods and likewise, labour-abundant countries will export labour-intensive goods

[202] Pamuk, S, 1987, op cit, p. 59

[203] This involved a consortium of foreign creditors (mainly French) overseeing parts of the economy to ensure the debt was repaid conditional to further borrowings being allowed.

[204] Pamuk, S, 1987, op cit, pp. 130-1

[205] Fortna, B C, “Islamic Morality in Late Ottoman "Secular" Schools”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 369

[206] Jonathan Grant questioned an inexorable decline thesis by considering military technology, showing the Ottomans could reproduce the latest military technology (however it is disputed whether the help of foreign expertise was necessary or not from the fifteenth century onwards Kenneth Chase (2003)) maintaining this relative position through two technology diffusions until the nineteenth century. They failed to keep pace with technology from the industrial revolution becoming dependant on imported weapons – Grant, J, 1990, pp.179-202; cited also by Alam, 2002, op cit, p. 11

Grant’s view contrasts with the Muslim military position of the mid-thirteenth century where they were using canons in warfare with ideal compositions for explosive gunpowder, a formulation which the Europeans and Chinese began utilizing over a century later. Gunpowder Composition for Rockets and Cannon in Arabic Military Treatises in Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries,, reviewed 25/11/2007

[207] Owen (1975) and (1981) – cited by Pamuk, S, The Ottoman Empire and European Capitalism, 1820-1913, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1987, p. 7

[208] Williams, M J, “The Empire Writes Back (to Michael Cox)”, International Affairs, Vol. 83, Iss. 4, Sept 2007, p. 948

[209] Inalcik, H and Quataert, D, 1994, op cit, pp. 5-6

[210] Pamuk, S, 1987, op cit, p. 8

[211] Inalcik, H and Quataert, D, 1994, op cit, p. 5

[212] Quataert’s study of the Istanbul port workers and their struggle over two decades against the European companies with indirect support from the state highlights the difference between colonial administrators elsewhere and the Ottoman government – Pamuk, S, “Social Disintegration and Popular Resistance in the Ottoman Empire, 1881-1908: Reactions to European Economic Penetration”., The Journal of Economic History, Economic History Association, Vol. 44, No. 3, Sep 1984, pp. 872-73

[213] Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, p. 110

[214] Pamuk, S, 1987, op cit, p. 8

[215] Ottoman responses to this perceived weakness were to emulate the French revolution and its subsequent successful expansion with efforts at strengthening sentiments and loyalty amongst the population in general, and the non-Muslim (significant) minorities by the reinforcement of Ottoman nationalism.

[216] Ibid, p. 110

[217] For instance, the Crusader and Mongol invasions,

[218] Something that plagues contemporary discourse across the Muslim world with comparisons of golden ages like the Khulafah Rashida, Muslim Spain and Abbasid Baghdad.

[219] Toledano, E R, 1997, op cit, p. 157

[220] And how can it not be with its proponents significantly disputing all aspects of it – the dating of its origins and causes disputed by over a millennium; its description, nature and characteristics varying from social, political to cultural; no agreement on its causes, factors, symptoms and effects as well as the epistemological premises and models used.

[221] Fleischer, C H, 1990, op cit, p. 128

[222] Deringil, S, “The Invention of Tradition as Public Image in the Late Ottoman Empire”, 1808 to 1908, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 1993; Lieven, D, “Dilemmas of Empire 1850-1918. Power, Territory, Identity”, Journal of Contemporary History, 1999

[223] Immediately following the Bolshevik revolution, Russia became isolationist – a golden opportunity for the Ottomans (had they survived) to regain their entire territorial losses from her around the Black Sea and Caspian

[224] Britain had defences in place in Egypt and Palestine to ensure its route to India was protected so had no further need of the Ottomans – the French were keen to take the Levant and reinforce its claims in North Africa – Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, pp. 56-72

[225] Russia’s policy in this balance evolved to perpetuate Turkish weakness so that she was open to Russian influence. The means used by Russia were military pressure, diplomatic activity and after 1878, the indemnity to block Turkish loans destined for military and economic modernization. Germany however tried to work with Turkey to modernize and strengthen her to develop the economic potential, a policy contrary to the Russians - Milgrim, M R, “An Overlooked Problem in Turkish-Russian Relations: The 1878 War Indemnity”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 9, No. 4. Nov 1978, p. 521-24

[226] Advantages of the potential of a major internal trade network, with the abundance of raw materials and discoveries of further raw materials especially in the Persian gulf, a swelling resource base and the peaking of industrialisation all centrally co-ordinated providing a major potential contender

[227] “What is truly remarkable about Germany is that it went from being a cluster of insignificant states in the 1850s to the most powerful state in Europe, in the period of a lifetime. Before 1871 the geographical area known as Germany had consisted of 39 states of varying sizes. Thirty-eight of these had been brought together in a process known as unification. In reality, this meant their conquest by the largest state, Prussia, in a very short space of time. Under the guidance of Otto von Bismarck, Prussia’s first minister, the northern protestant states were absorbed in 1866 and the southern catholic ones in 1871. The new state was known as the Second Reich (Empire) and the Emperor (Kaiser) was the King of Russia. The Empire had both a central government and a federal structure. Its political structure was authoritarian and conservative though there was a parliament with little power. Germany, then, was a new nation, but it developed quickly.

The sheer speed an extent of Germany’s growth in industrial commercial and military/naval terms was phenomenal and by 1914 had put it well ahead of France and Russia, and probably Great Britain as well. Germany had a relatively well-educated population, an efficient army, a protected and productive agricultural sector and prodigious industrial growth. Coal production was second to Great Britain but steel production exceeded that of Britain, France and Russia combined. Exports tripled between 1890 and 1913 and it would only be a matter of time before the country would overtake Britain as the world’s leading exporter. The dramatic build up of the German navy... (second in the world behind Britain in a decade) was another impressive indication of German capacity. For political reasons the German army was not expanded so dramatically (the elite feared socialist infiltration of the ranks and a dilution of the social standing of the officer corps), but between 1910 and 1914 there was a change of gear as expenditure doubled. Furthermore, Germany could mobilise and equip millions of reserves and the army’s equipment and training was of the highest standard.” - Darby, G, Origins of the First World War, Addison Wesley Longman Ltd, Essex, 1998, pp. 3-4

[228] Nasr, V S R, “Legacy of Colonialism”, Oxford History of Islam, ed. Esposito, J, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999

[229] Independence ended the sovereignty of European powers over their territories; however, it did not produce states afresh. Despite the rhetoric of planting of new seeds, the new states were nothing more than new branches based on a trunk, planted during the colonial days. Colonial institutions, policies and attitudes towards governance determined the direction of the post-colonial nation states, all developing in the European intellectual, legal and cultural legacy. The machinery of the colonial state was inherited and to varying degrees the model of the colonial state was followed with ideological continuities visible despite the rhetoric of the new leaders. The preponderance of colonial power ensured all discourse be both hegemonic over and repressive of the Islamic world. It was not a dialogue between equals nor a conversation, but an attempt to reconstitute Islam and Muslims both at the level of consciousness and at the social level. The impact of this historical experience is not difficult to discern and has been highlighted by numerous researchers.

Nation States - Colonization started with India, the scramble for Africa and the division of Ottoman lands following the World War I ending after World War II. Islam received harsh criticism from the colonialists and their scholars instilling a sense of inferiority in the local elites and rising bureaucrats including those who opposed colonialism.

For Muslims with a world outlook, territorial limitations had been irrelevant. Colonial territories did little to unify their peoples to create national societies or cultures, with focus in defending territories against other colonial powers, with promotion of the sanctity of boundaries leading to permanent borders. This prevented lasting identities seen the diverseness and tensions in Lebanon, Iraq, Indonesia and Nigeria. Loyalty was moved from universal to territorial values, with deliberate manipulation of diversities to strengthen rule with increasingly fractured societies, tensions and wars inevitable - Sudan, Iraq, Malaysia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya and Chad etc. Territorial disputes involved Morocco, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Malaysia and Singapore.

Education - The colonizers encouraged and invested in education and educational institutions for those who would run the machinery of state. Over time, they influenced generations of Muslim leaders and intellectual developments in the Muslim lands. Famous institutions included University of Punjab, University of Malaya, and Atchison College in Lahore. The elite sent their sons to schools in Eton, Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge in England or in Paris and Amsterdam. Iqbal studied at Cambridge and Heidelberg Universities as well as Lincoln’s Inn where Jinnah received his law degree. Many of the North African liberation movement leaders were students in North African French schools and Paris Universities. Amongst the militaries, officers would be trained at places such as Sandhurst and Saint Cyr or officer schools modelled on European counter parts such as Quetta Staff College in Pakistan. The pervasive impact of education introduced the Muslim world to western literature and philosophy. Figures such as J S Mill and Rousseau and over time, Sartre and Camus, became models for dissenting intellectuals just as Lenin, Castro, Mao and Che Guevara captured the imagination of activists.

State Institutions - The colonial state was highly centralised utilising institutions with a European flavour; the police, judiciary, military and bureaucracy being key repositories of its authority. Institutions were not designed for society – for instance, the bureaucracy was designed not to maintain order but to ensure the smooth running of government and economy. This structure allowed a European minority to rule vast territories, managing the economic flow of resources and goods between the parent state and its territories. These institutions, embedded in subsequent states determined the basis of state, its character, relationship with society and other states. Pakistan for instance replicated the colonial state in role and function, with Jinnah the first governor-general and the India Act of 1935 being law of the land until 1956. In Turkey, the law was secularized based on the Napoleonic Code, the script Latinized, polygamy prohibited and the constitution amended to remove “Turkey was an Islamic state”.

Security - Security forces were trained to provide support to their colonial masters. The training ensured soldiers, and importantly the officer corp, internalized the military ideas and political values of the colonialist, resulting in an over-preoccupation with order and impatience with politics of the masses. Militaries were trained not for external war but for preservation of internal order, giving them a perceived right to interfere in politics to restore order. The size of the militaries was usually based on interests of the colonisers and Muslim states inherited omnipotent militaries, too large for their population sizes and economic strengths. The colonial policy of recruiting amongst minorities was due to their closeness with the colonial order and willingness to suppress the dominant community and unresponsiveness to religious calls like Jihad. The Great Indian Mutiny of 1857 influenced thinking resulting in Alawis dominating the Syrian army and Punjabis in the Pakistani army. The forces having fought with their colonial officers up to independence institutionalised attitudes of mistrust and cynicism of those who fought for independence. Indonesian generals remained wary of Sukarno, removing him with the pretext of Communism, like those who lead coups in Bangladesh, Nigeria and Sudan. Even the left-leaning junior officers who overthrew their old-school senior officers in the anti-imperialist struggles did not resolve the tensions between military and civilian orders, leading to military takeovers in Egypt, Libya, Iraq and Syria.

Bureaucracy - Like the military, the bureaucracy was moulded in the ethos of colonial culture, sharing the same political outlook. Due to their power over the state machinery, politicians would have little control over them lest they disrupt the workings of state. As such, they had major input into state formation, ensuring continuities in the ethos and mode of operation of the state before and after independence. In Pakistan the bureaucracy eclipsed the political elite in managing the country, replacing Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Liaqat Ali Khan after 1951 by senior bureaucrats Ghulam and Iskandar, both having risen through the bureaucracy under the British.

Judiciary - The British colonies generally had a system of justice modelled after Britain, with some degree of autonomy, its independence from the executive branch becoming embedded in the postcolonial state. As such, colonial subjects usually had respect for it. In Pakistan, the judiciary regularly defied the executive branch - opposition to Ayub Khan’s banning of Jamaati Islam in 1964 and Ghulam Khan’s dismissing of the government in 1993 and most recently the stand-off against Musharraf. The Malaysian judiciary has a similar history as do most British territories.

Governance (Politics of Identity) - Colonial rule was often through manipulation of divisions: ethnic, linguistic and religious. By accentuating social differences, they were institutionalised by different treatment of communities in law, at polling booths, resource allocation, recognition of religious rights etc. This encouraged the politics of identity at the cost of development of uniform civil societies. In India, the All-India Muslim League in 1906 lobbied for separate electorates for Muslims and Hindus with similar reactions in Malaysia, Nigeria and Palestine.

The importance of certain geographic locations to colonising powers (e.g., North West India to the British for supply of troops) or where the colonisers arrived late (e.g., the French agricultural relationships with Syria) meant they developed patronage networks, leaving indelible marks in state-society relationships. The state emerged as paternalistic and society came to see patronage as its function (the Malays remaining aloof from economics and commerce expecting the state to guarantee economic standing).

Authority - Colonial administrators varying rule over vassal populations accounted for the different experiences in state formations. In Algeria and Libya colonial rule was direct while in Morocco, Tunisia, Malaysia and India local elites were used. The Dutch in Java, utilised the local elites to resolve labour shortages, entrenching socio-political positions, creating dependencies between the peasantry and elite (the Dutch permitting exploitation and impoverishment for their own ends). The British carefully controlled 250 princes controlling a third of the Indian population – control of the rest by manipulation of landowners, local chiefs and grandees.

Symbiotic relationships resulted, entrenching the positions of these local elites, who favoured compartmentalisation of policy in favour of a uniform national political arena. This allowed them to control their polity and negotiate with the centre, still visible in Pakistan with landowning classes controlling politics and resisting land reforms and the power of monarchy in the Gulf States and tribal chiefs in East Africa and Nigeria. The Algerian experience with direct French rule to ensure integration into France and exploitation through commercial gain for their settlers resulted in centralised rule – local elites and leaders were seen with hostility, a reflection of the post-colonial Algerian landscape.

In conclusion, colonialism's structural expressions continue to reproduce themselves in a fashion that perpetuates this power relationship. Elites in most Islamic countries are largely products of superimposed constitutive educational and political structures wherein lies the essence of the polarization and bifurcation between elites and masses in the Muslim world. Muslim intellectuals, imbued with the Western discourse of rationality, entered political life as natural allies to the local elites and the colonialists. The masses had no choice but to fall back on the values of their own society to protect themselves from the new class that sought to pattern life along Western lines. Without social cohesion, the State is unable to deal with strains, penetrate society and regulate social relationships. Cleveland, W, A History of the Modern Middle East, Westview Press, 2004; Esposito, J, The Oxford History of Islam, Oxford University Press, 1999; Ferguson, Niall, Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, Penguin Books Ltd, 2004; Hitti, P, History of the Arabs, Macmillan, 1970; Hourrani, A, History of the Arab Peoples, Grand Central Publishing Ltd, 1992; Khadduri, M, The Islamic law of Nations - Shaybani's Siyar, The John Hopkins Press, 1966; Lewis, B, A history of the Middle East, Scribner, 1997; Roberts, J, M, The New Penguin History of the World, Penguin Books, 2004; Enlightened Thought,, reviewed 25/11/07