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By Y. Noorani

This paintings is a examine of the character and starting place of nationality and glossy social beliefs within the heart East, really Egypt, within the past due 19th to mid-twentieth centuries. Bringing jointly writings on political and social reform with literary works, Noorani demanding situations dominant assumptions concerning the emergence of modernity. It indicates that whereas nationalist, liberal, and democratic beliefs emerged within the heart East less than ecu impression, those beliefs have been however created out of latest cultural values by means of reformers and intellectuals. The significant portion of this procedure, the publication argues, used to be the transformation of advantage into nationality.

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These frameworks can be characterized as Islamic jurisprudence, Arabic poetry, Persianate kingship, and Greco-Islamic philosophy. I will argue that a key element in all of these is the posing of an externalized relationship between order and desire, both within the self and within the polity, such that self-rule, in both cases, is conceived as a relation between two opposing yet mutually constitutive elements. This means that sovereignty or legitimate authority is always depicted as external and hierarchically superior to that which it orders.

Chapter 1, “Sovereign Virtue and the Emergence of Nationality,” suggests that the initial representation of the nation as a collective agent was made possible through the transference of the model of the virtuous individual to the collective body as a whole. The first part of the chapter lays out central features of premodern Islamic models of Introduction 21 individual and social order as seen particularly in al-Ghazali (1058–1111) and Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406). The second part focuses on the deployment of this kind of model in the poetry of political rebellion composed by the Egyptian general, statesman, and Urabist leader Mahmud Sami al-Barudi (1839–1904) and the Levantine intellectual Ibrahim al-Yaziji (1847–1906).

With this kind of justice the heavens and earth stand” (234). Virtues are dispositions of practical rationality to control the lusts, accompanied by dispositions of the lusts to be led by reason, while vices are dispositions of practical reason to succumb to the lusts (204). The function of practical reason is governance of the lower powers of the self as well as governance of households and polities (232, 265). Practical reason serves theoretical reason by freeing the latter to “face the angels” and acquire divine knowledge, the ultimate purpose of human life (205).

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