The Closing of the Muslim Mind

The Closing of the Muslim Mind

How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis

Book - 2010
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Islam s Intellectual Suicide and the Threat to Us All

People are shocked and frightened by the behavior coming out the Islamic world not only because it is violent, but also because it is seemingly inexplicable. While there are many answers to the question of what went wrong in the Muslim world, no one has decisively answered "why "it went wrong. Until now.

In this eye-opening new book, foreign policy expert Robert R. Reilly uncovers the root of our contemporary crisis: a pivotal struggle waged within the Muslim world nearly a millennium ago. In a heated battle over the role of reason, the side of "irrationality" won. The deformed theology that resulted, Reilly reveals, produced the spiritual pathology of Islamism, and a deeply dysfunctional culture.

Terrorism from 9/11, to London, Madrid, and Mumbai, to the Christmas 2009 attempted airline bombing is the most obvious manifestation of this crisis. But Reilly shows that the pathology extends much further. "The Closing of the Muslim Mind"" "solves such puzzles as:

. why peace is so elusive in the Middle East

. why the Arab world stands near the bottom of every measure of human development

. why scientific inquiry is nearly dead in the Islamic world

. why Spain translates more books in a single year than the entire Arab world has in the past "thousand" years

. why some people in Saudi Arabia still refuse to believe man has been to the moon

. why Muslim media frequently present natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina as God s direct retribution

Delving deeper than previous polemics and simplistic analyses, "The Closing of the Muslim Mind"" "provides the answers the West has so desperately needed in confronting the Islamist crisis.


"The lack of liberty within Islam is a huge problem. Robert Reilly s "The Closing of the Muslim Mind" shows that a millennium ago Muslims debated whether minds should be free to explore the world and freedom lost. The intellectual history he offers helps to explain why Muslim countries fell behind Christian-based ones in scientific inquiry, economic development, and technology. Reilly provides astonishing statistics . . . and] also points out how theology prefigures politics."
" World Magazine"

"As Robert R. Reilly points out in "The Closing of the Muslim Mind ." . . the Islamic conception of God as pure will, unbound by reason and unknowable through the visible world, rendered any search for cause and effect in nature irrelevant to Muslim societies over centuries, resulting in slipshod, dependent cultures. Reilly notes, for example, that Pakistan, a nation which views science as automatically impious given its view that an arbitrary God did not imprint upon nature a rational order worth investigating, produces almost no patents."
" American Spectator"

"""What happened to moderate Islam and what sort of hope we may have for it in the future is the subject of Robert Reilly s brilliant and groundbreaking new book. "The Closing of the Muslim Mind "is a page-turner that reads almost like an intellectual detective novel...One thing Reilly s account makes clear: Only when we move beyond the common platitudes of our contemporary political discussion and begin to deal with Islam as it really is rather than the fiction that it is the equivalent of our Western culture dressed up in a burqa will we be able to help make progress in that direction." " ""National Review Online"


Publisher: Wilmington, DE : ISI Books, 2010.
ISBN: 9781933859910
Characteristics: xii. 244 p. ; 23 cm.


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Aug 31, 2011

From the foreward by Roger Scruton: "[Reilly's} purpose is to show that Islamic civilization, which led to the urbane princedoms of Andalusia in the West, and to the mystical laughter of the Sufis in the East, underwent a moral and intellectual crisis in the ninth to the eleventh century of our era, when it turned its back on philosophy and took refuge in dogma. Several factors are responsible for this sudden ossification, but the principal one, in Reilly's view, was the rise of the Ash'arite sect in the tenth century and the defeat of the rival sect of the Mu'tazalites. The Ash'arites found a potent voice in the Imam al-Ghazali (d. 1111), a brilliant philosopher and theologian whose tormented spirit found refuge in a mystical oneness with Allah. Human reason teaches us to question things, to discover things, and to make new laws for our better governance. Hence reason was--for al-Ghazali--the enemy of Islam, which requires absolute and unquestioning submission to the will of Allah. In his celebrated treatise The Incoherence of the Philosophers, al-Ghazali set out to show that reason, as enshrined in the writings of Plato, Aristotle and their followers, leads to nothing save darkness and contradiction, and that the only light that shines in the mind of man is the light of revelation. Although al-Ghazali's arguments are soundly refuted by Averroes (Ibn Rushd) in his The Incoherence of the Incoherence, Islam rushed to embrace the Ash'arite doctrine, which made so much better sense of the ruling idea of submission. Averroes was sent from Andalusia into exile, and the voice of reason was heard no more in the courts of Sunni Muslim princes."


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Jan 31, 2012

The author shows how when Islam was exposed to Greek thought and philosophy centuries ago, a debate ensued as to how this affected the interpretation of the Koran and other Islamic writings. The fundamentalists won and so unlike Christianity, which believes that all true knowledge comes from God, and that revelation and reason are not incompatible, Islam is based on religious texts alone. God is not obliged to be just or loving but is absolute power, and something is good because he says so, not because it has any intrinsic worth of its own. This is how modern terrorists justify their actions, in their eyes any deed done to further the cause of Islam is justified. How you behave will depend a lot on how you see the God whom you serve.


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