Could Arabs Have Renaisance Like Europe? I Strongly Doubt.
Articles on Arab Renaisance, Series in Arab History
Hasan A. Yahya, Ph.ds
Arabs today need a “Renaisance Group” as was the case in Europe, not a “Renaisance Man”. A group to lead people toward real Arab Renaisance. Making science its goal, and rules of logic and reasoning, principles of the new Arab Renaisance. With less emphasis on or omitting dogmatism supported by faith.
In Europe, the Renaissance spanned almost as a cultural movement three hundred years (from the 14th to the 17th century) in Europe to take its perfect form.
In the Arab countries so far, depending on historical factors and political changes after the Uttoman Empire collapse, have a little under one century period.
In Europe, away from the Muslim and Arab influence of wars, too many elements were in action and goals planned or expected were set for accomplishments. Wars between competing states have been launched, Some defeated, others were victorious. Enlightenment age was the result of competition between the state and the church. The facts of science began to replace the spiritual facts about the universe.
The Arab countries, unfortunately have less control of wars, because wars were under colonial powers control. With no competition between state and church, the competition was between national identity and occupying forces. The struggle was directed toward formulatin an identity lost for several centuries. And to be free from foreign domination. This was the prime goal in most Arab countries, immediately after the collapse of the Uttoman Empire.
The factor of searching for Arab identity, was inspired by the attempt made by Jamal Abdul-Nasser of Egypt in 1951, as well as the nationalist Movement in other Arab countries, in what was known as the Nationalists Syrians,(initially led by Christian Arabs) transformed to Nationalist Arabs led by the resurrection party in both Iraq and Syria.
While both were defeated after 1967 war, The competition trnsfered to be between nationalists led by Egypt, and Islamists led by Saudi Arabia (who hosted most Muslim Brothers leaders from Egypt after the defeat of their movement by hanging Sayyed Qutb, the spiritual father of the Muslim Brothers after Hassan al-Banna)
In Europe, science and arts, chemistry, biology, physics and humanities sciences began to take place rigorously following the spirit of age of scientific investigation. The population size was exploding, new technologies were established under industrial rules. Information was booming by discoveries of other areas, peoples, and cultures. The need for securing lines of communication through oceans created the need for new forces and new type of information to secure ability to secure shores, transportation lines, and factories overseas, Maps were created, knowledge became the supreme power for modern nations. Colonization was a must for powerful nations, the poor nations and poor peoples lack for education, information, effective means for resources production. Knowledge defeated ignorance all over the world. Domination of the rich powerful nations to the rich resources nations was common to Industrial nations. Life is no more spiritual, materialism is becoming the new god of industrial nations.
In the Arab countries, North African Arab countries were struggling colonialism, few Arab intellectuals were having education outside the Kuttab schools, until Taha Hussein graduated fro the Sorbone, and appointed as the Minister of Education, where he signed the first law in his job, which was making education free for all, instead of education for the wealthy in 1924.
Few Arab countries were independent, but most of them were struggling to get rid of colonialim, which was working to suppress any progress made by the people on lands. A practice enforced equally, to keep colonial powers in control and national aspirations incabable of ruling themselves.
Therefore, science and art including chemistry, biology, physics and humanities sciences did not have the chance to strat an age of scientific investigation. While Aab population was increasing, they were not permitted to technologies as was the case in Europe which defeated ignorance.
In the Arab countries, poor people lack education, information effective means for resources production, which was almost completely owned and controlled by colonial powers. People were more spiritualists than materialists as the case in Europe.
In Europe, Renaissance began in Florence in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. As a cultural movement, it encompassed a resurgence of learning based on classical sources, the development of linear perspective in painting, and gradual but widespread educational reform. Traditionally, this intellectual transformation has resulted in the Renaissance being viewed as a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern Times. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term “Renaissance Man”.
In the Arab countries wealthy people were selfish, civil organizations were traditionally managed, authoritarian regimes were established to secure their survival, were their effort to mak a difference, or a leap as in Europe was not found, Most resources went to Islamists who distribute Qur’an without doing any effort to promote logic, and reasoning which science depend on. Instead, people were interested in the form not the content. The media served well in this regard. And justice was lost or practiced among the few who are wealthy or supporters of the status quo. Theologians have lost their credibility by conforming to the regimes who appoint them. Intellectuals were supressed and presoned.There is no city or wealthy family in the Arab nations takes lead to support sciences and rules of research for a Renaisance like Florence in Italy-Europe.
In conclusion, a Renaisance cannot be established in a land without the basic principles of thinking and reasoning of science. These basic principle in the Arab lands still not existant. Instead, what we see, is promoting theologians to lead the society whith their mysterious interpretations and solutions of scientifc fields and everyday life. We need a group of men, similar to the man described by William Shakespeare in Hamlet: “What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable in action, how like an angel in apprehension, how like a god!” Even though the seeds of a group is transforming in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Libya, Yemen, etc., they are in chios wither to make the government civil or theological.
The only way, as I see it, to form a new renaisance in the region is to keep traditional theological thinking orders at homes, in order to establish scientific reasoning of social, economic and political areas in, schools, universities and institutions. Otherwise, religion will be remain Troid Horse as a means to steal the revolution victory in all the Arab lands. The cases in Tunisia, Egypt and Kuwait, and may be in Syria are few examples. www.arabamericanencyclopedia.com
*** The writer is a former Professor of sociology, Michigan State University, Gratuate.
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